As a chamber pro, you have a lot on your plate. (I know. Understatement of the year, right?) You want to put every one of your chamber of commerce resources to work.
But you don’t have time to spend searching the internet, clicking through links, and scanning the content to make sure that’s what you’re looking for.
That’s exhausting and you could end up with a lot of time invested and nothing to show for it.
We don’t want you wasting any of your valuable time.
So we’ve scoured the internet to find you the absolute best in chamber of commerce resources (and yes, some of them are from us but that’s what we’re here for!). In order to make this list as efficient and functional as possible, we’ve created sections so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for.
Are you ready?
The Holy Moly! Grail of Free Resources for Chambers of Commerce
In this guide, we’ve fleshed out the areas of the biggest challenges for chambers and assembled a list of comprehensive resources to help with them. This list is comprised of internal guides and best practices articles as well as helpful groups, tools, consultants, and vendors.
Not only have we assembled a fantabulous reference tool of top advice for chambers, miraculously all of these chamber resources are free!
The Best Way to Use the List of Top Resources for Chambers
Sure, you can read this giant list and click through to each link. They’re all extremely helpful. But the most efficient way is to scan down the headers for your biggest challenge or obstacle and start there with the resources listed.
Then bookmark this list so you can come back to it when you need to. Let’s get started.
Chamber Organizations and Consultants
The following organizations create some amazing content on a consistent basis.
- The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)
- The US Chamber of Commerce
- Your State Chamber
- American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), make sure you sign up for their Associations Now email for some innovative ideas from the association community.
- Bob Harris offers tons of free downloadables on his site. Topics include information about committees, boards, agendas, and more. Many resources and downloads are free. Some are for sale.
- The Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook, this closed group has over 8,000 chamber pro members exchanging advice and best pratices. Plus, the group offers an extensive document library of shared resources from chamber profs across the country and world. If you’re not already a member, get there!
- The Chamber Focus Show is held live on the Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook every Friday at 3 pm eastern. It’s available on Facebook for about four days and then migrates to the Chamber Pros Education Resource.
- The Chamber Leadership Podcast with Todd Sanders (W.A.C.E.) features good information and best practices from chamber pros across the country.
- The Frank J. Kenny blog features weekly posts about solutions to the most pressing issues facing chamber pros today.
- 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.
- Chambermaster resource library. Chambermaster provides many whitepapers and downloadable PDFs for solutions to common chamber challenges such as the pitfalls of member onboarding and perks of chamber membership for young professionals.
Understanding Tiered Membership
One of the foremost experts in tiered membership for chambers is Cathi Hight. Her website is a treasure trove of helpful information for chambers. Cathi’s blog is in video and written format so you can pick your favorite way to absorb all of her wisdom.
Mary Byers writes mainly about associations but also offers up information on the tiered membership model.
Acing Chamber Marketing and Content
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with our intro to marketing: How to Create a Basic Chamber Marketing Strategy.
Marketing and member personas: it’s time to let go of the one-size-fits-all approach. You must personalize your messaging to members. Here is a “Meeting the Needs” series we put together that will help you appeal to the specific requirements of your chamber member demographics:
- Meeting the Needs of Family Business
- Meeting the Needs of Young Professionals
- Meeting the Needs of Advertisers & Sponsors
- Meeting the Needs of the Solopreneur
- Meeting the Needs of Agriculture & Agribusiness
- Meeting the Needs of the Established Business
- Meeting the Needs of Community Advocates
- Meeting the Needs of Networkers
Another source of amazing marketing content is Hubspot. While not chamber-centric, their templates are some of the best and easiest to use in marketing. Their offerings include social media calendars and a content marketing strategy guide.
Small Business Trends from American Express shares valuable information geared toward small business. It is an excellent source of info for your members and inspiration for your own business-focused content.
Another good resource for your members is the Small Business Administration (SBA). Here’s a helpful piece of theirs about starting a business. Falls City Chamber has a Business Start-up Steps section on their website that’s worth checking out too.
The SBA has a resource library of articles from other sources organized by business stage: start, build, grow, and manage.
Neil Patel provides a wide variety of digital marketing tips and best practices. His blog is well-organized with a search feature on what you’re most interested in learning about.
Seth Godin was once known for his three bullet-point blog posts. While his material is somewhat longer these days, it still has the effect that after reading the common-sense materials, you shake your head and wonder why you hadn’t thought of that. His content has a broad application for business and makes for a good source for shares to your community. He also has longer posts on Medium.
The Constant Contact Blog serves up all sorts of small business marketing information that can be helpful to you and your members.
Chamber Social Media Ideas, Tools, and Design Tips
Chamber Pros Social Media Planner (free download)
Entrepreneur offers a lot of good business advice including things you might not expect like this article on how to create a logo.
A Guide to Creating Awesome Images for Your Chamber of Commerce: 90 Tips, Tools, & Ideas
Chamber Events: Themes, Planning, and Promoting
100 Event Theme Ideas. Trying to figure out a theme for your next event? This free download is full of them.
Try these resources as well:
And since you can’t host an event if you can’t pay for it…
Networking Advice and Member Engagement
Speaking of events, how about that networking? Beth Bridges is a networking expert after investing 11 years as the membership director for the Clovis Chamber where she attended / organized over 2500 events. She also wrote a book on the subject: Networking on Purpose. Check out her networking tips and strategies blog where she digs deep into networking for professional and personal success.
Networking Hacks for Introverts (free download)
Need an icebreaker? This interactive tool will help you find the ideal one for your group.
Richard Millington heads up FeverBee, which works mainly with large companies to create engaging online communities for brands but his blog dishes up tons of information about building community and engagement that can be applied to members.
Amanda Kaiser is an engagement expert who works with associations. Her blog is ripe with member tips and engagement best practices.
Chamber Trips and Non-Dues Revenue Ideas
Make some non-dues revenue through hosting a chamber trip. These resources can help:
- Planning a chamber trip video
- The Ultimate Social Media Guide for Marketing Your Chamber Trip (free download)
- Best Non-dues Revenue Ideas (wrap-up post)
Corraling the Chamber Board
If your chamber board is making you feel like you’re at a cat rodeo, you need some help and here are a few resources to guide you:
- Meeting the Needs of Your Chamber Board
- Meeting Your Chamber Board’s Retreat Needs
- 10 Key Components of Board Development
Jim Brown wrote a book on the subject called the Imperfect Board Member: Discovering the Seven Disciplines of Governance Excellence, which you can find on Amazon or through other book dealers. The book isn’t free but this informative YouTube video is.
Check out Claire Coates Louder’s Louder NonProfit Strategies site. Her resources section includes some helpful things for boards including a board commitment form and board job descriptions.
BoardSource also has a valuable resource library.
Chamber Staff and Jobs
If you’re looking for a new position or are hiring in your chamber, don’t miss Glenn Shepard’s chamber job list. It’s sorted by state for easy navigation.
ACCE’s Salary Benchmarking Report will help you understand if the salary is right (members can access for free)
There you have it, a round-up of 61 of the best free chamber of commerce resources.
A Few Chamber of Commerce Resources Worth Investing In
If you have even a little money in the budget for training and professional development or content tools, here are a few ways to invest those funds that will pay great dividends:
- Institute for Organization Management (IOM) put on by the US Chamber
- Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.)
- Mid-America Chamber Executives (MACE)
- The Content Marketing Bundle Program and Education for Chamber Pros