There are thousands of chambers of commerce all over the United States, and these are business organizations with hundreds of members. Each to expand networks, helping local economies grow, providing job opportunities, and helping local businesses thrive. It allows you to have a powerful influence on community developments. It can help benefit your own business as well. These are just some reasons why joining a chamber of commerce is a great idea. But building your own, a more challenging, yet fulfilling and better idea. If you’re planning to build your chamber of commerce, there are five particularly important factors to remember. These are:
1. Your mission
Although every chamber of commerce has the same objectives, they would have different mission statements. Which is to increase job opportunities and help local businesses thrive. Every chamber also has its mission and its own goals. Each chamber serves a specific community. Who will you serve, why, and how? Your chamber’s mission statement should answer this question.
Having a mission statement is important because it drives your organization to act to reach a certain goal. It is the very reason you function and exist. This is also what potential members will look at first. To see if your goals are the same as theirs or if joining your organization is worth it.
2. The members
Who will your potential members be, who will be your champions, your board of directors, and officers? What will be the organizational structure of your chamber? Your members are the most important factor in your chamber. Without your members, you would have no chamber, and you wouldn’t be able to reach your goals.
Recruiting members is the most important part of creating your chamber. Because it is your members that allow your chamber to grow. So, you have to ensure that you are taking proper care of your members right from the start. Even while they are only potential members. You can make handling members easier by acquiring membership management services.
Hiring professionals to manage your members for you will make your organization run smoother. It’s the easiest way for you to communicate with all of your members. Keep them updated with chamber tasks and activities, as well as payments and other important matters.
3. Operations and activities
Make sure that you have activities planned out for your organization. Have regular meetings with your board, officers, and members about potential activities. If they have any ideas on what you can do in the future. Operations also mean assigning tasks to certain members on what they should be doing in the organization. Who will do the lobbying, accounting, collecting of dues, and writing newsletters for example? Will it be purely volunteer-driven? Or will you hire a staff (whether part-time or full-time) to do certain tasks together with volunteers?
Like you can’t start a business without capital, you cannot start an organization without proper finances. You should know that. Luckily when it comes to a chamber of commerce, you have tons of sources of revenue. Membership fees, conference fees, sponsorships, and advertising are examples of sources of revenue. Membership fees are usually the number one source of revenue in chambers, especially in new chambers. Another reason why you should always prioritize your members.
To calculate how much member dues should be, take note of all your annual expenses and divide them amongst the number of (potential) members. Member dues will change depending on how many members you have and what your expected annual expenses will be. So, the more members you have, the better for the chamber and the better for everybody.
Public relations is extremely important. How else will you get the word out about your new chamber of commerce? This includes news releases, press, publications, websites, social media, and even stationery. Social media is the best way to spread the news about your chamber. So, you must have a strong social media presence. If you need advice on branding, you can read more about it here.
To summarize, the most important factor in a chamber of commerce is its members. Without the members, you have no chamber. This is why, when starting a new chamber, you must contact any potential members immediately. Prioritize public relations and start recruiting as soon as you can. Building your chamber of commerce will be a good opportunity, especially during a pandemic where businesses need to work together to survive. It won’t only benefit you but your community as well.