The beauty of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook is that it encapsulates the old adage – “If you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber. Since every chamber does things just a little differently, this group is able to share best practices, like this one:
Question – does your Chamber handle corporate sponsorships in trade differently than you do corporate sponsorships with a monetary value?
Not all chambers accept corporate sponsorships on a trade/in kind basis, meaning a trade of service for what the company provides.
Some accept them but only on things they would absolutely be purchasing, not the nice-to-have’s.
Trade can be great for things you know your chamber needs such as:
- Food at events
- Media coverage (ads, video, airtime, etc.)
- Copier lease
- Graphic design
- Event decorations (for special milestone events)
- Photographer or videographer’s services
While accepting a trade for sponsorship seems like a win/win for all involved, allowing companies to trade for membership becomes a much more difficult decision.
Trading for Chamber Membership
First, you have to value the trade. Are you giving them full cost of what someone would pay for the product or service or are you giving only the value of the item before their mark-up? If it’s a service like photography, and not a product per se, how do you calculate their mark-up?
The other problem besides calculating value/deciding what the trade is worth, is making it as equitable as possible to all of your members. These sort of dealings cause bad feelings within the community when members get wind that some businesses aren’t paying for membership. To avoid this, if you decide you do want to offer a trade for chamber membership, take some time to write a chamber policy that you will be able to refer to when someone asks you why you traded with Business X and not Y.
However tempting it may be to trade service/product for membership, give some thought to it prior to accepting such a request. You’ll want to ensure that whatever you accept is of real value and that the chamber isn’t devaluing its membership in the process.
Guest post by Christina Green
“I will gladly trade you a…” Image via Flickr by Jean Pierre Gallot
Looking for more help and ideas for chamber sponsorships? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Chamber Sponsorships