Top 13 Myths About Membership Events

For anyone in the Chamber industry, the thought of orchestrating a membership drive can rank among their top 10 least favorite things to do.  This thought process can be caused by poor past experiences, pre-conceived notions or by unrealistic expectations.  Today we would like to clear a few things up for all!

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If You've Seen One Chamber...

If you've seen one Chamber, you've seen one Chamber...and so this statement has persisted for over 300 years. Although Chambers of Commerce were founded back in 1599 in France at Marsellies, the first U.S. Chamber started in 1768 in New York City. Their primary objective stated was to promote commerce, support industry, involve themselves in resolving business disputes and develop laws and regulations that benefit general trade. Today Chambers of Commerce number in the thousands.

Your Chamber Connection has seen a variety of Chamber personalities over the past 25 years and each varies depending on the need of their business community.

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Call Centers 25 Years Ago

Membership Event Call Centers were somewhat different when Your Chamber Connection began 25 years ago. Mobile Phones, though in existence since the 1940s, were cumbersome and loud. The technology known as Second Generation, or 2G was newly developed in 1990, but still on the horizon for personal use. For many years prior, Chambers of Commerce would install 10 - 20 temporary land lines for their week long event.

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Travel Was Much Different 25 Years Ago...

While airplanes haven't changed very much over the last twenty-five years, the travel industry as a whole certainly has!

Imagine rising early from your Texas home to catch a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles, CA. with nothing more than a suitcase and a photocopy of a map that was handed to you as you were headed out the door. As a twenty-one year-old, you are haggled at the LAX rental car facility because you are too young to rent the 1990 Chevy Caprice that has been reserved for you. Frustrated, you storm out of the center to find a pay phone and call your business partner in Dallas to help resolve the issue while you realize that you also need to call the Chamber of Commerce you are scheduled to meet and explain your delay. The whole time you are praying that you can scrounge up enough change in your pockets to afford the calls.

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How It All Began

Twenty-five years ago, a fifty year-old mother of four became discouraged with what was then the standard Chamber of Commerce membership drive program. She had volunteered for several campaigns while living in Fort Worth, Texas.  The structure was made up of numerous business people that were interested in making a name for themselves.  They were summoned to build a team of individuals from their company, paraded them into the Chamber board room and were handed a list of businesses in the community that were not currently members. Each volunteer was asked to call as many as possible and ask them to join. In other instances, Board members were strong armed or “guilted” into spending a few hours at their Chamber in a call booth with a stack of index cards that included the name and phone number of every non-member business in town.  These calls went on for weeks as more and more volunteers became discouraged at the poor results and manipulation of their precious business hours.

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