Chamber committees are a strong way to organize, engage, and interest volunteers.
It gives them specific work and leadership opportunities that are good for your chamber, the community, and even the volunteer’s resume.
While forming a committee just for committee’s sake is an act of unrewarding bureaucracy, creating the right committees that serve your members and chamber mission can help boost interest in the chamber and provide exposure for the things you’re doing.
What Kinds of Committees Does a Chamber Need?
There’s no magic number or absolute necessity when it comes to deciding on chamber committees.
The types of committees you have will be influenced by other resources in your area, your chamber’s mission, and your strategic plan/goals.
For instance, some chambers are very legislative-focused. In those chambers, you will find some sort of legislative committee overseeing the legislative goals, objectives, tasks, and activities.
But if you’re not involved in setting a legislative agenda in your area, a legislative committee might not draw interest.
In this article, you’ll find 20+ ideas and questions about chamber committees to start.
Whatever you chose will depend on what your mission is, the talent/volunteers you have available, and what else is in your community.
These suggestions can help you open up the conversations about what would best suit the needs of your members and community.
Keep in mind that you also should think about interest. It doesn’t do you any good to lobby for a marketing committee (even if it’s desperately needed) if you can’t get volunteers interested in it.
Finally, consider who will lead them. As you’re planning committees think about who you might approach to lead them as much as you think about who will join. As the CEO (or staff member) of your chamber, you may sit on a committee but you can’t lead them all.
How to Figure Out the Right Chamber Committees to Add
First, if you’re considering adding some committees to your chamber, consider what your goals are this year. Where could you use the extra hands?
Next, ask yourself the following questions:
- What skills or talents are on the board? How many board members could chair a committee and where do their talents shine? Marketing? Legislative? Events?
- What voices in the community need to be amplified the most? Is there an industry that is a major employer? Is there a group that doesn’t currently have a place at the table? Is there a group that needs help or an issue that is really affecting the community?
- What would make the community a better place to live? What’s missing?
- Does the chamber have a legislative agenda? Is grassroots organization important in what you are trying to accomplish?
- What area do you need help in?
From those questions you can start to get an understanding of what you need and what will be successful.
Many people are not signing up to volunteer for things these days. They are laying low or have a lot of responsibilities and very little time. They’re pulled in different directions. Volunteering is low on their list.
However, if you have committees that spark interest, that can help them do something they want or fulfill a need they have, or help them obtain something, they may be eager to join.
The Giant List of Committees, Groups, or Coalitions
Every chamber has a different way of naming things. Some refer to these volunteer groups as committees, others use coalitions. Some may even use task force or a specific name branded to what the group does.
You can call them committees or play around with a catchy group name. However, in our suggestions below we’re calling them by their most basic names and giving you a little information about what these chamber committees can do.
- Marketing/Communication. This group can help with all things marketing from drafting content to getting the word out on social media. Marketing is a big umbrella and you can customize what this group does based on your chamber’s needs and the talents of your volunteers.
- Events. Works on planning, inviting, marketing, and working chamber events. There will likely be overlap with the marketing/communications team.
- Chamber Ambassadors. These people are the face of the chamber. They get out there in the community and ensure people know what you’re doing and how you helped their business. They can help with recruiting, outreach, and retention. Some chambers have made this group virtual allowing people without a whole lot of extra time to help out. For instance, the ambassador may not be able to visit a business but they can post on social media about something the chamber is organizing.
- Legislative Advocacy. These are the grassroots organizers who will help with the legislative agenda and communicating it to members and the community. What they do will depend on how active your chamber is in advocacy.
- Industry Coalitions. This type of group helps communicate the needs of a particular industry in your area. For instance, the Alameda Chamber of Commerce created the Alameda Coalition for Personal Care Services so that people who worked in personal care like beauty salons and spas could ensure their voices were heard on a government level. It also helped these practitioners exchange ideas and best practices in surviving the pandemic when so many of them were shut down.
- Women’s Groups. These committees look to empower women. Some are for women only while others make it about supporting women so everyone who is willing to do so is invited to join.
- Young Professionals. While young professionals groups are generally thought of for people graduating from school and beginning their careers, many people over 30 continue to show interest in the group’s social calendar and focus on innovation. That’s why some chambers have decided there are no age stipulations on “young.”
- Minority Coalitions. These go under a lot of names. You may have a specific ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation that wants to amplify its voice or you may want to address all social justice issues under a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion group.
- Military Committee. For the chamber that has a large military presence in its area, a military group may be a good fit.
- Healthcare Committee. This is similar to the military, but for chambers that have a large healthcare presence in their community, a healthcare coalition or committee may help the chamber reach this segment and advocate for them on a larger level.
- Nonprofit Council. This group acts as a bridge between nonprofits and people who need services. It helps keep people aware of the resources in the community and how the chamber may work best with them. The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber’s Nonprofit Council was established this year to “bring together nonprofit leaders in the community to solve regional issues and to provide resources to other nonprofits to help them better meet their mission in the area.”
- HR & Talent. Recruiting, ensuring the region has enough of the types of workers employers need, and assisting businesses to find quality employees is a big concern these days. A coalition like this could help the chamber focus on the issue.
- Tech Talk. This group can be a place where people in tech network, learn more about new forms of technology, or discuss innovation. There’s a lot of room for education in a committee like this and the direction you go with it will depend on your needs. Take a look at how the Morris County Chamber + EDC has organized its group.
- Mastermind Groups. These advanced form of networking groups are limited in who they let in, usually ensuring that multiple industries are represented. They can do everything from peer-to-peer business coaching to creating lead opportunities for one another.
- Environmental (or Utility) Groups. Do you have serious environmental concerns in your area or are there energy resources like coal, oil, wind, or solar that require additional attention or discussion? Then this type of group may fit your mission.
Do you have successful chamber committees or groups that aren’t mentioned in this article? Then join the conversation on the Chamber Pros Facebook Group and share it with us.