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Crisis Management

Tactical and practical resources for internal chamber crisis management and resources to share with your members.

The Value of Member Retention and Engagement

Member retention requires excellent customer service, clear communication of the value of the chamber, and promoting and tracking membership engagement. Effective onboarding of members and surveys to identify member needs are also part of an effective retention plan.

Learn more by exploring the collection of webinars and resources in the Member Retention Resource Bundle.

Best Practices for Membership Renewal

Chambers of commerce employed a variety of approaches during the COVID-19 crisis, seeking to find the right balance of showcasing compassion and empathy, highlighting member value and keeping revenue flowing into the chamber. The following steps and best practices were developed from Membership Development Division (MDD) roundtable calls and are useful membership renewal practices to adopt at any time.


Adjust the messaging in your renewal communications. Communicating to your members and highlighting the ROI of membership is imperative during times of crisis. Best practice is to include a letter with the invoice outlining:

  • What the Chamber is doing to support businesses during and beyond COVID-19
  • An extension of flexibility if the business is in dire circumstances

Adjustments to communications can include:

  • We recognize that these are unprecedented times, and the chamber is here to support your business.
  • Here are two or three specific things that your chamber is doing to showcase community leadership, support regional businesses and help our community get through this crisis.
  • Now more than ever, your support is crucial to help us continue this work.
  • If your business is experiencing issues that interfere with your ability to pay dues, we are here to help.

Search for Samples

Explore Renewal Notice samples contributed by peer chambers.



Choose an approach appropriate for your chamber (see below examples) and follow up with a phone call from a membership representative. Regardless of approach, best practice is direct outreach to members to see where they are at and to assess their needs. Some chambers have been able to add new members as a result of their outreach efforts and highlighting the value they are offering to their members and business communities. 

  • Talk to members about their needs and approach the call with compassion.
  • Walk the member through the Chamber's resource page, direct them to Zoom meetings and other programming.
  • If needed, offer dues solutions:
  • Deferred payment up to 90 - 120 days (this is the most common solution offered)Moving from annual renewal to monthly payments and implement auto-pay
  • Splitting payment into 2 or 3 payments
  • Reset renewal to a specified date in the future (July 2020)
  • Upgrading membership level for the same price (extend offer to all new members that were prospects prior to COVID-19 to solidify membership commitment)
  • Offer a membership grant based on membership longevity
  • Less common dues solutions include:
  • Offer free membership for up to 6 months to businesses who wish to cancel
  • Offer a discount:
  • 5% off membership for every year the organization has been a member
  • Discount based on the member’s situation – typically between 10-50% for a year
  • COVID-19 new member rate for a year


Check-in prior to invoicing

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber (AL) called all members and adjusted renewal options on a case-by-case approach during the pandemic shut-down. The chamber only sent invoices if the business was able to pay. Their campaign was internally called Operation Care with the following guidelines:

 RENEW: If the member was able to support the Chamber due to little to no impact from COVID-19

 RESET:  If the member was impacted, they offered a dues reset in July 2020 

 DROP:  Normal drop reasons, no longer in business, moved, financial constraints, per choice

With this approach, 52 memberships up for renewal in March 2020 broke-down as:

  • 20 Renewals
  • 21 Resets
  • 11 Drops
  • 7 New members


Operate as usual, with an offer of flexibility

Grand Rapids Chamber (MI) emailed renewal invoices with a letter outlining what the Chamber did to support businesses in response to COVID-19. The letter extended flexibility to create an optimal solution for the member to maintain their membership, but options were not detailed. A membership representative followed up with a phone call to determine if a flexible plan is needed. If needed, the Chamber offered:

  • Monthly payments
  • Deferred payment up to 90 (or 120 if really needed)
  • Splitting the payment into 2 or 3 payments
  • Upgraded membership to the next level  for the same price if the member can renew right now. This offer is also extended to all new members that were prospects prior to COVID-19, to incentivize membership commitment.