Looking for the best chamber training? If you’re brand new to the chamber industry or you’re just looking for places to fine-tune your existing skills, we know where you can find the most specific and targeted chamber training available today.
In order to best help everyone, we’ve compiled a list of chamber training that varies in time commitment and budget. Even if you have zero time and no money, you can still use some of these resources and invest in your own professional development.
Are you ready?
Let’s get to it.
10+ Resources for the Best Chamber Training
First, it’s important to note that not all of these sources are free. Where applicable, we’ve mentioned cost and the time commitment (if there is one). Some of these resources are self-paced learning. Others require yearly attendance.
Even if you don’t currently have the money in the budget for professional development, talk with your board to try and get some set aside for the future. Many chamber professionals will tell you the value of these paid experiences is extraordinary.
But if you don’t have the budget, don’t worry. We’ll address those options too.
Paid Training, Meetings, and Memberships
- Institute (IOM): Institute for Organization Management is a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It is a “nonprofit professional development program for association, chamber, and nonprofit professionals fostering individual growth through interactive learning and networking opportunities.” The program has five locations: Midwest, Southwest, West, Winter, and Northeast. Attendees select a geographic institute and commit to a four-year learning curriculum that includes core classes and electives over Five days each year.
Discounts: There is a $200 discount for early enrollment. U.S. Chamber members are also eligible for a discounted rate.
Scholarships: are available. There is one national scholarship per site for first-year attendees and a Regents scholarship that may be available as well.
Cost: standard enrollment fee (with no early-bird or chamber member discount) is $1,595.
2. The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE): offers all sorts of professional development and networking opportunities including an annual convention that is held in a different location throughout the US or Canada each year. The association also publishes many helpful resources including chamber benchmarking reports, videos, a template section for frequently used documents, a job watch board, employee benefit group plans, and Horizons 2025 which features a view of the chamber of the future and the critical pieces affecting it. You can also become a certified chamber professional by receiving your CCE.
Cost: Membership prices are based on your chamber’s revenue. Memberships start at $470 for a chamber with total revenues (including non-dues revenue and sponsorships) that equal less than $300,000.
3. Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada (CCEC): Similar to ACCE, CCEC is the professional association of Canadian Chamber Executives. The group is comprised of members who are part-time or full-time executives or administrative staff of chambers or boards of trade. They focus on networking and providing resources to enhance the overall performance of chambers and chamber professionals. CCEC hosts an annual professional development conference, webinars, and also offers a library of sample documents. Their bi-annual compensation survey and awards ceremony are also very popular.
Cost: Membership fees and allotted representatives are based on member size of the chamber and ranges between $200-400.
4. Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE): the professional networking group for chamber execs boasts a membership of over 830 chamber professionals in 18 western states and Canada. The organization gives members access to a resource library, a career opportunity bulletin, and survey results to current issues of interest. They also host an annual conference as well as webinars and workshops. Academy is a three-year, three-day summer program on chamber management essentials.
Scholarships: Scholarships are available for members to attend educational programs, including a conference scholarship.
Membership fees: membership fees are based on the annual salary of the chamber exec and start at $180. If the exec belongs and a chamber staffer would also like to join, that staffer can do so for $70.
5. State/Province Chambers and State Chamber Executive Associations: each state has a state chamber of commerce and many have an association of chamber of commerce executives. They provide resources to local chambers. Most state chambers and exec associations offer helpful self-service content including information on issues that are of concern to business through podcasts, ebooks, apps that make contacting legislators easier, webinars, lunch and learns, and other learning experiences. They also provide a tremendous amount of advocacy.
Membership costs vary by chamber and state chamber executives association.
6. Chamber Pros Education (CPEd): CPEd is an online, easy-to-use video-based program that brings chamber professionals chamber-specific knowledge and training from top experts inside and outside the chamber industry. It’s accessible 24×7 so learning can be completed on your schedule. There are no travel requirements and it’s available to the entire chamber staff, not as a head count license. The videos are exclusive to this program and tailored for chambers, not generic business expertise.
Cost: Regularly this training is priced at $299 per year but during special enrollment, it is discounted to $149. There is a free trial available.
Free Chamber Training Resources
If you simply have nothing in the budget for professional development that doesn’t mean you have to forgo it all together. In fact, you shouldn’t. This is a very poignant time for chambers and keeping up with the changing industry is extremely important. Below are some of the best chamber training options and resources options out there for free:
7. The Chamber of Commerce Professionals Facebook Group: this private group connects chamber professionals from across the globe. It’s an active community of nearly 7,000 members who ask each other best practices, exchange information, and even upload examples of things that are working for them at their chamber. With about 40 members added each week, this community is abuzz with great ideas, resources, and suggestions. YOU make it one of the best chamber training resources on the internet!
8. FrankJKenny.com: this website (Hello. you’re already here.) is full of valuable articles and insights. As of this writing, it contains over 1,500 articles not to mention helpful downloadable checklists and detailed resources on subjects like government affairs, social media, event themes, networking advice, and much more. Don’t forget about the ebooks on the site as well on timely topics such as:
- remaining relevant: updating your chamber’s business model
- using secret laws of society to influence action and gain attention
- 5 leaps of faith for chambers to advance their mission and programs
9. The Frank J. Kenny Weekly Newsletter: if you don’t feel like you have time to check out the website or Chamber Professionals Facebook group on a weekly basis, sign up for the free Chamber Industry News newsletter. With the newsletter, the hottest topics in the community will be delivered straight to your inbox each week for free.
10. Assorted Websites: while the resources we’ve presented up until this point have all been chamber-specific, you can still get some good learning from other areas of the web that aren’t geared specifically toward chambers. Here are a few favorites:
- Associations Now: this online magazine/blog provides an amazing amount of information daily about what associations are doing. Many of these ideas easily translate to the chamber world. They cover interesting topics like events, member engagement, and technology.
- Chambermaster: this chamber software vendor offers a ton of free resources including white papers, articles, case studies, videos, and webinars.
- Hubspot: another technology vendor that succeeds in content marketing and offers a robust learning library on topics outside of its products. The focus is mainly on business but there are a lot of applicable resources and templates that translate to chamber use as well.
- ConstantContact: the Constant Contact blog offers a lot of suggestions and best practices for email marketing and other topics. This can help you in your chamber marketing but also provide good content for sharing with your members.
- SmallBizTrends: American Express’ Small Business Trends site targets the small business owner but provides a wealth of knowledge on topics that translate to chambers as well. Things like management best practices, hiring and firing, and social media.
- Moz.com: if you’ve wanted to learn more about SEO as part of your chamber training, there are few sites that are better than this one. They have an active blog as well as a number of resource tools that can help you better understand your chamber site’s traffic. This may not be on your immediate list of things to do but unless you can afford to outsource your SEO, you will eventually want to become more knowledgeable on this topic. When you’re ready, this site is a great place to go.
- ContentMarketingInstitute: marketing has changed quite a bit over the past decade. People are no longer responding to canned marketing speak and invasive messaging. Instead, they want to learn about you and what you offer without the sales pitch. They want to get to know you as well as trust and like you. One way many organizations are doing this is through content marketing. Providing helpful resources in order to stay top of mind. This is important to businesses on the fence that are not ready to become members. Content Marketing Institute has tons of free resources that will show you how to use content marketing to stay connected with your ideal member and provide the kind of content that will help them make a decision to join.
If you’re new to the chamber industry, welcome. It’s an exciting business with some of the most congenial peers around. They really believe in helping one another. No matter what your chamber budget, you can use the best chamber training and resources to help you begin your professional chamber journey. We look forward to connecting with you.