Joining our local chamber of commerce is not often on the list of must-dos for nonprofits – but it can be a smart move when it comes to growing a loyal base of supporters for your organization.
The internet is a great place to find and connect with donors, advocates, and volunteers – but it’s a crowded space in which to try and gain a foothold. Building in-person relationships is still the number one way to garner real, lasting support for your nonprofit.
And building relationships is where your local chamber of commerce shines!
While membership might not include every business near you, the members who do participate are typically actively involved and invested in community matters. This gives you the opportunity to introduce your organization as a provider of essential services in your city.
Joining a chamber of commerce is a great way to increase awareness of your organization and the services you provide. You’ll have the opportunity to meet others involved in your local community – even to promote your organization’s events and initiatives through chamber calendars, newsletters, and in-person meetings or conferences.
Your chamber membership gives you access to a ready-made network of other nonprofit and business professionals. These professionals then bring their networks to the table. These are potential donors, advocates, volunteers, and board members – even, perhaps, future staff!
Chambers of commerce tend to have relationships with elected officials. Your participation lets you get to know these local decision-makers – and they’ll get to know you and your organization, as well.
Building rapport and trust with your local officials is the best way to bring them around to your cause over time, giving you an effective opportunity for advocacy.
Local chambers often host workshops, trainings, or educational sessions for their members. From workshops on marketing best practices to actual training courses on things like graphic design or accounting software, your chamber membership can help you gain new and improved skills.
Paying dues is only the tip of the iceberg! To really get the most out of your chamber membership, take advantage of the many opportunities it provides:
Playing an active role in your local chamber of commerce is the best way to get your name in members’ minds – and keep it there!
Joining your local chamber of commerce might sound stuffy or old-fashioned to some. It might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to nonprofits in general.
But especially for community-based organizations, making these connections can boost your profile and win you new friends and supporters!
There’s more! Get access to the extended version of this article and lots of other great resources by joining THE LAUNCHPAD – the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s membership program brings regular tips, tricks, and best practices to nonprofit leaders across the country! We'd love to have you join us!