Should your Chamber Rescue an Orphaned Event?

A person in the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:chamber events

Trying to bow out of an event gracefully.  Those who benefit and have the biggest volunteer base spoke in no certain terms that they didn’t want to proceed on.  Now the leaders of these groups have gone to the Chamber Chair saying they don’t understand, etc.  Numerous meetings and conversations had led me to believe it was “too much work” for these organizations to take it over.  We have 3 part time employees and there is NO revenue generated from this event.  What do I tell the Chair?

While I understand the desire to help out in a situation like this, I can see only a handful of reasons to take on an event that will inevitably drain your staff resources for no revenue.

Take on an Orphaned Event if…


  • It has wide community appeal. If this event is something your entire community looks forward to every year, something that is symbolic of your town, you may want to take it on even without the promise of revenue for your chamber.
  • You’ll gain additional exposure from it. Although chambers are well-known in the communities they serve, and name recognition is seldom a problem, if you feel you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your value to a previously untapped group of potential members, go for it.
  • Revenue creation. Maybe the current “owners” aren’t making any revenue from it but you think there’s a possibility that you can turn that around and the event would become a source of revenue for the chamber.
  • Quid Pro Quo. Sometimes as community stewards we find ourselves having to do things we don’t think are in our best interests or that of our chamber, but are in the best interest of our community or one of our stakeholders. If you find that your actions are dictated by the people involved, you may have to take on an unwanted project in order to advance another cause that does benefit your chamber and its members.

No matter what you decide in a sticky situation like this one, operating with transparency and stating you simply don’t have the resources to give this event the attention it needs may be your best bet. If the others feel strongly enough about it, maybe they will find a way to allocate more resources to you.

Guest post by Christina Green

Image via Flickr by torbakhopper


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