I live just steps away from the famous Southfork of the Snake River. It is a beautiful setting and people come from all over the world to fish and experience this part of the globe. It is not unusual to get wildlife walking through my backyard. Just this morning, there were three whitetail deer munching on my grass next to the kids’ trampoline. Recently, I heard a commotion in the yard and went out on the deck to investigate. I found a large cow moose with her calf and the neighborhood dog barking loudly. I watched as the dog would circle the moose, sneak closer, bark loudly and then retreat. I know he was just having fun with the enormous mammal, but I could not help but think how ineffective the dog was against such a large creature.
There is a reason dogs (wolves and such) hunt in packs. One, fairly small, animal against a larger one is not typically very effective. Working together however, canines can have much more affect. There is strength in numbers. The same is true for people. It can be a lonely and challenging place to find yourself alone against a formidable foe. Combining with other, like-minded individuals however can have a much better effect.
As appraisers, we are constantly being presented with new regulations, increased scope-creep and other challenges. Though we can choose to roll-over and ‘take it,’ that would not be my first suggestion. Rather, we should find and join like-minded groups who can work together to cause change. There are coalitions, lobbying groups, and guilds a plenty. Which one is right for you?
I have been asked why I have not joined a national appraiser coalition. “Practice what you preach, Dustin!” It is a fair criticism. It is a decision I have not made lightly. Rather, I have carefully analyzed reasons to join or not join given my unique situation. I have been approached at one time or another by every national group, union, guild, or coalition out there. I like what they are all doing (and my principles align more with some than with others). The problem is that I do not see one alone as being a ‘best fit.’ Each have their place. Because I find myself in the appraiser spotlight (a proverbial big fish in a very small pond), I have to be a little more careful (so as not to necessarily be seen to endorse one group over another). Instead, I have chosen to take a different approach. Though I have not joined a particular group, I have given my support (in the form of time and money) to most of the major appraiser coalitions over the years. I continue to support their individual efforts as they align with my own governing principles.
There are some who would argue that there are too many coalitions out there. In a way, each group is a ‘lone wolf,’ and would do better if they would combine efforts. I can see that point of view and it is a topic perhaps for another day. In the end, we can only control what is directly related to ourselves. Perhaps it is time to stop chasing the moose on your own. Consider joining with other, like-minded appraisers today. Find the right group, board, guild, or coalition today and join. Then, get involved. They need more than your money.