Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to Use Your Chamber Membership

1. The Membership Team helps you navigate our programs and projects.
Teri Robinson with support from Geri Batt make up our membership team. They are familiar with all Chamber events, programs and projects and are good resources to help you take advantage of what the Chamber has to offer. Looking for the best Business to Business Opportunities, Teri or Geri can help. How about finding ways to better reach the Business to Consumer audience? They can help you find your target audience.

2. Check out the FREEBIES
As a Chamber member you can have a member profile in our eNewsletter at no cost to you. Write up your profile (about 250 words) and submit with a photo or logo to

The email address you give us when you sign up, automatically generates access to the MEMBERS ONLY area of the Chamber's website. There you'll find a .txt file of the Chamber membership database that you can download for free and import into Excel or other database software to generate customized direct mail, telephone and email pieces.

The Chamber has a brochure on Ribbon Cutting Tips, address labels of local officials, ribbon and scissors for your grand opening. If you're a new business, celebrating a special anniversary or remodeling, you might want to do a Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

Chamber eNewsletterand eBlasts
Criteria for qualifying for an eBlast include:
 Chamber members only
 Clearly advertising the member business only
 Must be time sensitive and include a special invitation or member to member offer available only for Chamber members.
 Limit one eBlast per event/activity per member per month.

3. Advertise your membership!
Put your membership sticker in the window.
Ask Teri for a Membership window cling--great for cars, interior office windows and more.
Include the Chamber logo in your print advertising and on your website.

4. Investigate cost savings opportunities you may qualify for now that you're a Chamber member.
Access to group rates for health insurance, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Office Depot Discount program--sign up on line and start saving with your next order! (link at
Access to employee benefit resources such as 401k's, liaibility insurance and more.
**The Chamber has a brochure of our Chamber members who offer employee benefits and which benefit programs they work with--ask Teri or Trisha for an updated copy.**

5. Read your mailings from the Chamber to get to know other Chamber members and learn more about Chamber events.

6. Include your flyer in Advertising Advantage (monthly mailing to 1000 area businesses.) for just $150 (Special price through December 2010)

7. Begin to meet other Chamber members at BOBs, Luncheon Mixers, Open Houses and Ribbon Cuttings. There are many opportunities throughout the year to jump in and meet some fellow members. If you're a little shy about coming to an event, connect with an Ambassador ahead of time and ask them to meet you there. Ambassadors are excellent at making it comfortable and fun to meet new people.

8. Consider volunteering on a committee or for just a few hours at an event. Every opportunity that you have to work with and meet other Chamber members is an opportunity to grow your personal referral network!
There are many ways to take advantage of your Chamber Membership, even if you have limited time and resources.
These are just a few suggestions to help you get started!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No, we are not raising your dues investment for 2011

The summer months are planning months for the upcoming fiscal year. Our programs, projects and budget are researched and developed.

It's a time for data collection and analysis. And for review of past strategies, goals and outcomes.
I ran across this column that I wrote 2 years ago and decided to share it with you

It's Budget Time. Or shall I say, Budget Crunch time?
As the Board of Directors set the parameters and guidelines for the 2009 Fiscal Budget, they have engaged in more serious discussion and debate than we have ever experienced at the Chamber.
Like you, we are experiencing inflationary increases in overhead costs such as utilities, banquet/meal costs, shipping and postage.
The gap between the amount of revenue brought in by Dues Membership and the actual expenses to run the Chamber continues to be a challenge.
The Board has discussed raising Dues and/or raising the registration fees for our networking events. Unanimously, however, they are selecting HOLD THE LINE on any increases.
Overhead expenses have been trimmed back.
We've returned (and not replaced) office equipment whose leases are up and we are seeking out more in kind trades and donations to help us meet our capital expenses and maintenance goals.
Like you, we know that business is out there and it takes more work to get it.
Like you, we are taking care with all of our resources to make sure we are strategically maximizing every dollar and every volunteer hour.
We appreciate you.
We know that you are loyal and committed Chamber members.
In today's economy, we are doing all we can to hold the line--without cutting the service, chamber value, programs and projects that you need to help your business be successful.

So as I read this, I realized that while the Board may change, the Presidents may change--the Chamber Vision continues to be true to putting MEMBERS first!

With careful budget planning, the Chamber is no longer in a severe financial crunch. We are close to meeting our target goal for fund equity. Our membership is slowly rising again and our events are growing in attendance and reputation.

The Board continues to hold the line on membership dues. There will not be an increase for 2011. We continue to review overhead expenses and critique events carefully to make sure we are doing the best we can with the resources at hand--for our members.