Our new environment is demanding elasticity and creativity in diversifying income stream for the future. Chambers are pulling apart what they used to do and leveraging expertise and partnerships to create a new paradigm.
Forecasting revenue is the first step in adaptation and requires aligning resources to support your priorities. The following outline was developed based on remarks by Mark Field, Senior Vice President of Investor Development & Experience at Knoxville Chamber (TN) at the May 20, 2020 Membership Development Division roundtable call.
Review your strategic plan.
Keep this question in mind during review: What do we need to maintain to allow our members to stay open and thrive in this environment?
Eliminate anything that is not necessary to meet that goal.
Review your budget.
Understanding your current budget and revenue sources allows you to determine where to go from here. Questions to ask:
Forecasting for future allows you to make immediate decisions and a hard realization is that there is some revenue that will not be mitigated. Cuts for many chambers has included:
Look at your data and adjust revenue projections.
Generally, chambers are indicating that their revenue opportunities are between 50 - 75% of pre-COVID opportunities.
Determine what is important to your members.
Check in with members to understand what their needs are, their ability to sponsor, and gain a realistic view of the problems they are facing.
By leaning heavily on what members are saying to move forward, you may discover revenue sources that wouldn't have been discovered. For example, some members may want new marketing opportunities and exposure in the virtual sphere that were unavailable to them previously.
Tip: If you don't have the staff to contact members, lean on your board. It's not about you asking them for a favor, it's about them helping their community.
Build a team and create short and long term solutions.
Based on your determinations, your data, and your revenue opportunities, create scenarios and plan for 3, 6, and 12 months out.
Creating a cross-departmental Revenue Team will generate new ideas, break down silos, and create a culture in which being prudent about expenses and exploring avenues for revenue generation is every staff persons role.
The big questions: