Running a Chamber on a Solid Foundation

At a recent ACCE Annual Meeting, I attended a fundraising breakout session where they talked about using different vehicles to raise revenue to fund your program of work.

The following blog post are from my notes.  It was a great session!

The session started with the traditional methods of raising money:

  • Dues;
  • The movement to non-dues revenue over the years; and now
  • Fundraising through your Foundation to raise money.

There is a lot of money in your community.  Deca millionaires?  They stated that 1.02 per 100 households in America have $10 million or more money in your communities.  You just don't know who they are, yet!

They also mentioned that you need to be intentional about your fundraising using your Foundation.  Raise money for education, workforce development, or community based projects.

People will cut a check for a cause or issue they care about.

They went on to say, get the right people on the Foundation board to help you raise money. Foundation board members should have a minimum commitment (you figure out what that donation point is - $10K, etc.) for a seat on the board.

It is important to define your body of work that you want to raise money for.  It is more important to stay true to your mission.  Sometimes you may have to turn money away if it’s not in your scope of work or part of your mission.

The session speakers mentioned that many chambers may have a dormant Foundation and now might be a good time to ramp it up and raise money for your program of work. You will get bigger checks to your Foundation vs membership dues.

You can potentially raise money from sources your chamber would have never been able to access in the past.  You may also be able to raise more money from corporate America from different buckets within that corporate structure.

Make sure you are able to tell your story and have 3rd party folks tell that story!  Make sure you tie that story to your Chamber's program of work.

Be transparent and make sure you have your governance in order.

Never forget the Foundation is part of the your chamber.  The chamber is the c-6 parent where the Foundation is the c-3 under the c-6 umbrella.

Good luck!

Volunteer Development

At a recent seminar I attended, Shari Pash led a discussion on volunteer development that I wanted to discuss on my blog.

If you have a diverse membership, it is important to have diverse volunteers!

Tap into their expertise, skill-set, influence, availability to commit, industry segment

Do you have the right people doing the right things?  Set-up an excel sheet to identify and track the different attributes above.

Opportunities for volunteers - do you have a brochure that describes the different opportunities?  You should create a profile for each opportunity:

  • Name of opportunity (i.e. workforce, GR, Women’s Group);
  • Purpose and goals of this opportunity - outcomes which are measurable; and
  • Number of volunteers needed - long term, or short term (two weeks, in person or virtual).

Job Descriptions - what goes into a good job description?

  1. Expectations;
  2. Summary of position;
  3. Term of service;
  4. Attendance requirements;
  5. Qualifications; and
  6. Relation to staff and budget to get you started.

Recruitment of volunteers - you want to be strategic, relevant, sustainable.

Understand the volunteers motivation to serve as a volunteer - is it recognition, giving back, believes in your chamber?

What’s the DNA of a great volunteer?  Next Generation Volunteer - they want to be asked,  make a difference.  Young professionals are digital, is your volunteerism analog or digital.  They process information quickly - they have been doing this their whole life.

In my opinion, one of the most critical aspects of onboarding new volunteers starts with a solid orientation - you need to formalize the orientation process whether it be in-person or a webinar.

How are you recognizing your volunteers?  It’s important to thank them in a way that works for you and will showcase your volunteers.

Good luck with your volunteer management!