What You Need to Know Before Launching an Advocacy Program

It's serious business and yes you should be very active in supporting the business community before your elected officials.

The key is making sure you have a structure in place that can properly identify, review and decide on which issues your chamber members want you to get involved in.

It's imperative that you have a government affairs committee that can vet these issues and can make a recommendation to the full board.

The full board must vote on these recommendations and when supportive you need to communicate your position to your members, non-members and the community in general.

Remember, there will always be someone on the other side of your position. That's because we all listen to the same radio station WIIFM (What's In It For Me).  That goes with any issue in any community.

And that's why it's so important to have a transparent process on how your chamber decides on what issues to support, oppose or choose to not take a position.

You will also find that some issues you won't want to take up because it may be too controversial or you have members on both sides of that specific issue.

A proactive chamber advocacy program will garner a lot of attention from the press. Use it to further your cause and the publicity can be a great membership recruitment tool.

Start advocating now!

For past blog posts on advocacy for your chamber go HERE and HERE.

Fail Forward: Learn From Your Failures

I attended an educational session recently, on the title of this blog, conducted by Professor Rita McGrath, from Columbia University.

I found it fascinating!

There are many business books out there that talk about this concept.  In fact, the business community knows this concept all to well.

Statistically speaking, over 50% of small businesses fail each year (Small Business Association statistic).

The key is to learn from these failures and not make them again.  That's what a free enterprise system is built around.  Your small business members understand this concept.

Do you run your chamber like a small business?

Are you trying to be innovative, cutting edge for your membership and delivery value while at the same time learning from your successes and failures?

It's been said before, running a nonprofit (chamber) does not mean don't make a profit.

Be innovative and create value for your members.  Don't be afraid to fail. Learn from your mistakes and move forward.

For a copy of her book go HERE.

For a great resource on performance measurements from The Bridgespan Group go HERE.