There was a question recently on the Chamber of Commerce Professionals group on Facebook as to whether membership should be a requirement to hold the position of Chamber Ambassador. The obvious answer from all of the chamber pros who rang in was a resounding yes but the contrarian in me had to ask why would you not want them to be members?
Why Should Chamber Ambassadors Be Members?
This question is a whole lot easier than the flip side. Here’s what a couple of chamber pros had to say:
Elizabeth McMahon from the Cobb Chamber of Commerce shared, “Ambassadors serve as a resource to new and existing Chamber members. While Chamber staff can promote how great the programs and benefits are, Chamber staff is paid by the Chamber — Ambassadors invest with the Chamber through membership, and their testimonies/suggestions show a high ROI that should appeal to other members, ultimately encouraging involvement and engagement.”
Heather Rawlings from the Corona Chamber of Commerce had a different take on the reason. She brought up opportunities and that’s something you’d want for your members. Heather said, “It is a privilege to be an ambassador, and (it) opens doors that would not otherwise be so easily opened without being one.”
But what reason would you have to open up ambassadorship to everyone in town?
Reason Why an Ambassador Needn’t Be a Member
I can think of only one and that goes along with believing all community businesses are chamber members. If your chamber adopts that idea, then you would have to open up Ambassadorship to anyone who had an interest and was willing to take on the duties. Chamber Ambassadors are the same as brand ambassadors for companies and they don’t pay a membership fee. But those people support the company by buying loyally from them.
So what if you had a Chamber Ambassador who wanted to be involved in the chamber? They came to events, sponsored things, and gave referrals. But they simply didn’t want to join. Could/should they be an ambassador? They would have to be skilled in answering the question of why they loved the chamber so much but didn’t want to join. That’s a difficult question to answer so navigating that would be the first step in opening up ambassadorships to the community.
What am I missing? What are the advantages of using chamber ambassadors who aren’t members?