And while some may consider the question to be self-serving, I believe it is exactly THE most critical, and absolutely, the right question to be asking before shelling out your hard-earned dollars for membership.
Of course, it’s our job to answer that question because there should be some intrinsic value to your belonging to a Chamber. It is this very exchange, the asking and answering of What’s in it for me? that shapes and defines our existence and purpose.
At its core, the purpose of a chamber is to support business.
That’s the simple answer.
There will always be several core benefits a chamber offers; however, beyond that, support can often come in a variety of forms and broad scopes.
Support is largely determined by the specific makeup and dynamics of its business members, the local community, and available resources—just consider the difference in needs and capacities between a large urban staff-run chamber versus a smaller volunteer-run rural chamber.
Over the last year, I went on a bit of a quest as I familiarized myself with the Chamber movement in Atlantic Canada. I asked people: Why did you join? What keeps you engaged? What key values or benefits do you get from your membership? In other words, I asked in multiple ways: What’s in it for them?
And here’s a snap shot of the ten common things members told me keep them coming back to the chamber.
- Brings credibility to business
- Increases visibility in the community
- Creates networking opportunities
- Gives a voice in government
- Facilitates business contacts
- Provides information and knowledge
- Helps gain customer referrals
- Coordinates events and special local programs
- Provides promotional and publicity opportunities
- Offers access to members-only discounts and services
It’s a collaborative partnership that evolves and grows as business’ needs evolve and grow—as evidenced by a century’s old relationship between chambers and member businesses who work together for success.
So, by all means, ask what’s in it for me? We’re happy to listen and to answer.
Make the #ChamberConnection today.