25 Ways You Can Support Your Small Town Chamber of Commerce So That They Can Support You

by Joanne Steele on October 7, 2009

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Beatty, Nevada Chamber of Commerce
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nevada Tumbleweed

Chambers of Commerce are the most important tourism marketing organizations small rural towns have.

I regularly travel to small towns. Like over 70% of the traveling public,  I  start my trip planning online, usually at the chamber of commerce web sites for the towns on my route.

I have observed that small towns that have an active, valued chamber with a strong online presence and some type of visitor center are usually doing better than towns without.

Many small town businesses underestimate the value and importance of their chambers of commerce.

For the past month I have been working on a list of 25 things that people can do to support their small town chamber.

I’m up to #16 and I’m eager to get this thing published. Help me get it finished with your comments and suggestions.  When we reach 25, I’ll offer it to all small town chambers to republish in their newsletters.

25 things you can do to support your small town chamber so that they can support you.

1. become a member of your chamber – it’s money well spent.

2. If you’re already a member, run for the Board

3. Enourage other businesses to join.

4. Volunteer to help with chamber events.

5. Go to meetings.

6. Support other chamber members’ businesses and thank them for being part of the chamber.

7. Network with other chamber members with complimentary businesses and create a co-op marketing group.

8. Take your business needs to your chamber board and ask for them to consider researching or adding services you need. Things like:

  • Business skills development workshops at reduced costs
  • Group health insurance options
  • Event insurance to be used for business group events

9. Take your concerns about the chamber directly to the director or chamber president – don’t gossip, it’s damaging to your whole town.

10. Offer your skills and expertise to other businesses in town through a presentation for your chamber.

11. Link to your chamber’s web site on your own web site.

12. Link to other chamber members.

13. Hold a chamber mixer at your business.

14. Advocate for you chamber at City Council meetings. Keep the chamber on your City Council’s agenda when it comes time to distribute funding.

15. Send a letter to the editor in your local newspaper talking up what your chamber does for your town.

16. Thank your chamber board often for their service to your town and business community.

1 Barbara Cross January 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Find out about the committees your Chamber has and volunteer to be on one! Most small Chambers have a Board of 5-9 business owners who have very little free time and if they are lucky, one paid employee. Committees usually include Marketing, Promotion, Publicity, Events, Finances, Membership, Website, Welcome, Re-location, Fund Raising and more. More help is much needed and appreciated!

2 Daryl Phillips October 10, 2009 at 6:49 am

Share your experiences of chamber or community best practices that you have observed as working well in other communities in which you have done business.

3 Joanne Steele October 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Daryl, Good point. Sometimes rural communities end up inventing the wheel because they haven’t checked to see what has been working in a community just down the road! In our area of northern California a major linkage between towns is membership in multiple chambers. We should look at those members as great resources.
It looks like you work in a part of the country I’ll be visiting in the next two weeks. Mind if I give you a call?
Joanne

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