I just read a blog from Jim Crawford on ActiveRain. He makes some valid points but I have to say that when I think of what NAR does for me, as an individual REALTOR, I just think of the legislative lobbying. There are tons of programs out there that NAR offers but the most important , in my opinion, is the fight on Capitol Hill for my commissions, keeping banks out of real estate, protection of my tools to do business, and the many other fights they fight for me.
I am a new REALTOR and have not experienced all of the ups and downs that many talk about but I do know that I cannot go to Washington D.C. and fight for my needs. That is where the NAR is most important to me. I feel it is my local Board's responsibility to furnish CE, GRI, and any other programs that I and the rest of the membership feel is relevant and important at the current time.
If you want more CE or want to see a direct benefit from your dues dollars, check into what NAR has done on the Hill and then ask your local Board what they are doing with the money you are giving them. Make them give back to you in the form of programs, events, education, or whatever you find useful. If you only speak up in blogs and do not go directly to your Board with your complaints or suggestions, do not expect anything to change. You are "paying the bills" so to speak so make sure you voice your opinion in how the money is spent.