August 20, 2021
Thank you to leaders of local Chapters and concerned NARI members who have reached out with questions about recent Chapter disaffiliations. In this CEO update, I am writing to answer your questions and share NARI’s point of view on recent events, lessons learned, and next steps for our professional association.
NARI’s mission has long been to advance and promote the professionalism of the remodeling industry. Local Chapters have served as vital partners in delivering benefits to our members. We are proud of your accomplishments and the communities you have developed.
Three years ago, we began a transformative effort at NARI to build our capacity as a professional trade association to extend the benefits of NARI membership and fulfill our mission nationwide. We are encouraged by members of NARI who support this effort, which continues to elevate the remodeling profession across the country.
To be the best stewards of our members’ dues, we moved to become more data-driven so that we could learn what would help members the most and focus on that. For example, we invested in developing the necessary resources in education, certification, accreditation, marketing, and member communication to extend NARI benefits to remodelers no matter where they live and provide greater value to Chapter members.
However, data also revealed that we needed to make some difficult and unpopular decisions. For leaders in some Chapters, these changes were difficult to accept. For example, redirecting legacy program funds (such as PIP funds) to national consumer brand awareness and membership acquisition initiatives.
Our goal of growing the national NARI community and awareness of the NARI name was misrepresented by some as a plan to eliminate NARI Chapters. This false narrative was spread to other NARI Chapters. We soon discovered that a few Chapters had been planning to disaffiliate from NARI for months, if not years, and that they were encouraging others to follow suit.
Out of frustration with this difficult situation, the NARI Board president at the time misdirected an email message to me inquiring about how to handle Chapters that were actively working to set up a competing organization. Although intemperate, the language in the email was not directed at all Chapters, only those threatening the integrity of the NARI brand.
We are profoundly saddened that these Chapters have left, and we think it is a mistake for them to believe that they could somehow deliver more value to members by eliminating access to the national benefits and services that NARI provides.
We were also disappointed that our attempts to engage directly with these Chapters in a productive dialog were, in some cases, unwelcomed and in other cases were ineffective at reaching common ground.
Looking back, we recognize there were lessons learned. We should have explained our goals more clearly and frequently, better demonstrated our ongoing commitment to Chapters, and invited collaboration and partnership with Chapters in implementing goals that impact the entire organization. We have since adjusted our course, and it has been extremely reassuring to hear from many Chapters and their leaders that share the vision for a strong, national NARI brand. Together, we share an understanding of the vital role local Chapters play in supporting NARI members and advancing the remodeling profession in their communities.
Our last three years of work are now bearing fruit. We have enhanced our ability to support Chapters, developed a robust system of education, enhanced marketing for certified members, re-launched our industry-exclusive accreditation program for remodeling companies, created an online discussion community, built out a professional in-house marketing department, created outstanding new marketing opportunities for Contractor of the Year (CotY) award winners (including the new NARI Magazine) and much more.
In addition to all of this, we are engaging in our largest-ever consumer awareness campaign to drive consumers to visit remodelingdoneright.com in order to find a NARI remodeler. The campaign will test a variety of marketing tactics to learn what works best including advertising on nationally recognized online properties, digital, print and radio advertising, paid advertising on search engines and social media, direct mail and even a co-sponsorship of a NASCAR.
The remodeling industry shows no signs of slowing down. Now is a fantastic time to be a NARI member. Member benefits have never been better, and the visibility of our profession has never been higher.
More to the point, now is also a great time to be a NARI Chapter. NARI Chapters develop outstanding networks locally, and they provide extra value to members through their partnership with NARI national.
We are exceptionally proud of, and grateful to, all the Chapters who remain with NARI, and you can be proud that your partnership with NARI national will simultaneously advance the interests of local remodelers as well as those of qualified, professional remodelers across the country. These mutual efforts will enhance public perception of the remodeling industry so that we will be seen as the professionals we are.
NARI national leaders, the entire national staff, and I are all absolutely dedicated to helping our chapters thrive, both now and into the future.
We are excited about continuing to advance NARI as the nationally recognized resource for homeowners seeking quality remodelers they can trust.
David Pekel, MCR, UDCP, CAPS