A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook recently shared an interesting post written by the Professional Consultants Association of Central New York about whether a business should join a chamber. The article is written by a chamber member and he offers that you get what you put into membership.
The article listed the following criteria as a way to help decide if chamber membership was right for your business:
- Which are you looking for, sales or networking? Sales is a quick business solution whereas networking is all about the slow simmer. Meeting someone today may mean an open door tomorrow.
- Is programming or sales more important to you? Chambers offer educational opportunities that are probably easier to come by than paid work.
- Does the chamber offer what you’re expecting in the amount you’re expecting it?
- Do the politics of the chamber jive with your own?
- Does the chamber practice fiscal responsibility?
The author’s experience seems to be with laissez-faire chambers who meet just to meet and expect connections to be made by the members. While there are chambers out there like this, and the author doesn’t seem to have a problem with them, chambers are only as good as their members.
If Your Members are Saying This, They Don’t Care
There’s an old saying in the restaurant business, if someone tells you their meal was good, you’ll never see them again. After all, there’s a decent amount of good in the world.
Chambers are not here to make sure their members’ businesses are good. Good is great when your babysitter uses it to describe how junior did, but it’s awful when someone says it was a good event.
Good is not memorable. Good is not something you rave about.
Good is a polite average.
Yes, chambers need to innovate but they also need members who will give them something more than good. An engaged member will tell you if an event no longer holds any interest. A member who cares about your organization will tell you what they think and you’ll be the better for it.
That’s my problem with this article. The writer makes blanket statements about the chamber industry and makes excuses for his lackluster experience with them. He’s not being judgmental. It’s all good.
As chambers we shouldn’t shy away from criticism. We need to appreciate it and figure out how to use it for the betterment of our chamber and our community.
But if your members are going around telling you everything is good, neither one of you will ever have the chance to be spectacular.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by stevendepolo