Top ideas to provide more value for your chamber of commerce members

Chambers of commerce are essential to the economic growth of our communities. They help business owners and others through making introductions, facilitating projects, maintaining data on the areas served, and keeping abreast of pending development projects. 

But chambers must ensure the business community understands the value of chamber membership – the return on investment (ROI), as the benefits of membership can be easily overlooked during times of cost-cutting. 

How to provide more value for your chamber of commerce members

A key solution to lagging membership is assessing how you provide value for your chamber of commerce members. You can’t count on local businesses joining just because they are new to the area and need to make connections. And these days, many current members can’t find time to make it to in-person chamber meetings and networking events.  
A great solution is to provide a web presence, such as a chamber of commerce private online community, free to dues-paying members. Through an online member community, members can:  

  • Network – An online community provides a convenient forum in which business owners and other members can connect with each other (virtually) on their schedule.
  • Update their own information – It’s more efficient to allow members to update their listings than it is for your administrators to make multiple changes to each member’s profile throughout the year. Plus, the changes can be seen in real time. There’s no waiting for the next printed membership list to reflect the update. Since members are responsible for updating their own profiles, admins no longer must gather information and hold it until it becomes worth their time to update multiple profiles at once.
  • Promote their business – An online community allows member businesses to promote their businesses and offer each other deals through a secure environment. You can make editable web pages available to a top chamber of commerce membership level.

Just imagine smaller businesses, which previously thought they lacked the knowledge and capabilities, can now have a web presence through your site. They can make page updates without HTML or coding knowledge. Now you’ve tied the small business website in with your own, allowing your members to offer something they didn’t think possible.

You can also use your online community and website to offer banner ads as a way of grabbing additional revenue. For example, consider allowing companies to post discounts for members on the chamber website. It not only brings them business, but also allows others the opportunity to maximize their dollars through additional advertising and revenue.

TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) by Community Brands includes online community functionality to help you easily build a thriving online member community.


  • CommunicateImprove communications and information dissemination with your chamber members through blogs, forums, and collaboration pages within your online community. You can also use quizzes and surveys to get feedback from your members.
  • Educate themselves – You are the keeper of important economic information for your area. So, why not share it through your online community so that member businesses can easily access it? How about creating a webinar and linking to it from your online community? You can also upload informational PDFs and white papers.
  • Find a job – Combine your online community with an online career center, or online job board, to help members search for jobs in the area and allow them to sign up for alerts when new postings are available.
  • Find an employee – Hiring can be a costly proposition for member businesses. By adding an online job board, you can make it easier for them and facilitate the process by allowing them to post jobs on your site. 

TIP: YourMembership AMS integrates with YM Careers by Community Brands, which offers job board software built for associations. It makes it easy to set up an online job board that allows job seekers to connect with companies who are hiring in your business community and for employers to access highly qualified candidates.

How can your chamber of commerce attract members?

In addition to offering an online community, consider these ideas for attracting more members and providing greater member value: 


  • Consider the ROI of anything you’re cutting. Maybe your budget requires eliminating some networking events or other member benefits. Just make sure not to discard the benefits that cause people to join your organization in the first place.
  • Adapt your chamber of commerce activities to the times. Does it make sense to have an extremely expensive golf outing if many member businesses are struggling? Improving members’ bottom lines is out of your chamber of commerce’s control, but you can help bring people together. Consider dropping a costly outing and offering a “speed dating” job session instead. Match up job hunters with businesses that need employees, and give them three minutes to talk with each other before they move on to the next company.
  • Reframe goals around something other than member numbers. Don’t dwell on the number of members who are not renewing memberships. Measure your success by something your chamber of commerce has more control over, such as number of jobs you’ve helped people land or number of economic projects you’ve helped bring to the community.
  • Broadcast it when you reach your goals. Share the attainment of your chamber’s goals on the chamber website, to local media, to other chamber organizations – really to anyone who will listen.
  • Innovate. Brainstorm with your chamber’s board, family, your favorite charity, or anyone who’ll spare the time about what can be done to bring new life to your chamber of commerce. Consider something that has never been done before. For example, offer a free membership to the first 10 businesses who share an idea with you via your social media channel. Try a virtual scavenger hunt among business members. Just try something new.
  • Reward your stars. Whether it’s employees or members with the largest number of referrals, make sure that they know (that you know) you are successful because of them.
  • Reach out regularly and offer a human touch. Whether it’s through newsletters, a blog, RSS feeds, emails, or other communications, give members information on a regular basis. The more they hear from you, the more they’ll understand what it is you do for them. While you’re giving them information, make sure you also stay friendly and conversational. And be sure to offer a mix of virtual and in-person correspondence. Also, if possible, reach out to those cancelling their memberships and ask them what would’ve made them stay (or might make them return). You might gain valuable information in the process.
  • Be attentive. Know what your members want by asking them on a regular basis. Then use the information they provide. Use polls, surveys, or old-fashioned face-to-face conversations – and then act on members’ suggestions and be attentive to their needs. 

Learn more about how to provide greater value for your chamber of commerce members

Find out how YourMembership AMS can help your chamber of commerce promote membership and activities in your community.

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