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Why you should be a member of your local chamber of commerce

Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce? If not, you should be. In case you think I’m being nosy and/or presumptuous, I’ve been a member of mine since 1977.

Community growth only happens when constituent groups, like business, politics, education, the arts, sports, neighborhoods, etc., have a place to state their interests, work out their differences and pull together for the common good. Your local chamber of commerce is the only organization in your community that can create the venue where discussions can be conducted that cut across all of the emotional and ideological boundaries that get erected over time in a community.

“What’s the chamber ever done for me?” you might ask. Well, the chamber IS you. Your local chamber isn’t part of the local government; it’s a private non-profit organization founded and nurtured by local leaders, just like you. There are hired chamber professionals who staff the office and coordinate the work, but most of what happens in your chamber is attributed to a local citizen who volunteers to help the chamber – and, therefore, the community and marketplace – be all it can be.

To paraphrase a great American, ask not what your chamber can do for you, but rather, what you can do for your chamber. I believe being a chamber member is the most important investment I make in my community. And as far as the financial commitment is concerned, I think you’ll be surprised, maybe shocked, at how small it is.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about my devotion to chambers, how they work and why I think you should be a member. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to my thoughts. And be sure to leave your comments.

3 Responses to “Why you should be a member of your local chamber of commerce”

  1. 3
    Jim Blasingame Says:

    Craig, It sounds like you’re confusing the local chamber of commerce with the U.S. Chamber in Washington, D.C., which is a 100% political advocacy organization. For most local chambers, political advocacy is probably no more than 10% of the work they do for their members and communities. The minimum wage issue is but one of many policy issue a chamber may or may state a position on - minimum wage in particular only surfaces once every decade or so - and the chamber’s position on this or any other issue is whatever the majority of its members decide. Surely, you don’t have a problem with this democratic approach.

  2. 2
    Craig Says:

    With all due respect, Chambers were never intended to be anything other than a political voice for business owners, ie. restauranteurs, nursery owners, fast food franchise owners, etc. vying for cheap labor. Keeping the minimum wage to a meager nonlivable wage and brownnosing the big corporations with their deferred tax programs(or in some cases NO TAX programs).

    Its a closed system that I hope has run its course…”business” deserves better.

  3. 1
    Zachary Traxler Says:

    Love this!
    Favorite part: “What’s the chamber ever done for me?” you might ask. Well, the chamber IS you.

    I enjoy your continuing discussion on the importance of being a part of a Chamber of Commerce and look forward to more!

    Thanks Jim,

    Zachary

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