Opportunities for entirely new revenue streams are emerging as chambers develop fee for service programs in hybrid and virtual formats. Chambers are using connections in their business community to develop programming such as leadership training and continuing education.
Understand your community's needs.
Survey your members and ask how they will develop and train their employees in the new climate of limited business travel. This is an opportunity to build and understand your community and take a snapshot of what employers are doing to adjust. For example, employers may still allocate funds for training, but not travel.
Next, use your data to develop and guide programming.
Leverage your members' expertise.
Leverage the capacity of your membership by tapping into their expertise. Use your unique access to your business leaders to develop programing that employers will value in this new climate.
Examples of leveraging expertise, contributed by Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce (NC):
In response to the small business crisis created by the pandemic, the Indy Chamber (IN) launched a Rapid Response Loan Fund to offer immediate, affordable loan options for small businesses and began processing federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. This is a replicable model that could become a non-dues revenue stream for chambers while also providing capital into marginalized communities that have historically been left behind by mainstream finance.
The Indy Chamber’s Rapid Response Loans are administered by the Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) in partnership with Bankable, a local nonprofit lender. As the umbrella organization for the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneurship Division, BOI is a recently certified community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides emergency assistance for small businesses affected by COVID-19 via free one-on-one business coaching and access to lending capital.
Read more in the article below:
Chambers are revisiting the rental of their physical spaces as meeting areas and even virtual studios. Here are some examples of chambers making their spaces available to members and non-members.
Affinity programs are partnerships with companies who offer special rates or services to a chamber’s members in an effort to increase revenue for both organizations. For instance, a chamber may sell discounted prescription cards to its membership and profit share with the card provider. These programs typically provide a small but steady stream of gradually increasing income. In order to be successful, there must be a true price advantage and value for the member. It is important to consider the reputation of the company as well as the revenue potential compared to the time investment of the program before entering into an affinity arrangement.