Whether you're new to the chamber industry or you've been working in it for years, the more time you spend as a chamber pro, the more you (probably) compare your chamber to others. If that's the case, you may be wondering whether you are doing everything you can for your members.

Should you be doing more?

Are you doing the right things to help them succeed?

This basic checklist will give you some idea of the things you should be doing in addition to recruiting and retaining members. Then again, it's these other activities that help with recruitment and retention.

Chamber Basics for Your Members

Every chamber and community are different. Urban businesses have different needs than agrarian ones, just as small businesses have different needs than larger organizations. However, there are basic things that every chamber should be doing for its members.   


When educating your members, you want to make sure they know the following:

  • What a chamber is: One might think that the fact they joined a chamber might mean they understand what chambers are and what they do. This is not the case. Some members may have joined out of tradition or the desire to go to an event. Or even a fear of missing out. They may not understand everything the chamber can do (and is doing) to help them succeed. Educating your members on this will assist them understand just how valuable a chamber membership is.
  • ​Keep members informed about chamber activities, economic news, and opportunities.
  • ​Chamber benefits based on needs: Any member can read a list of chamber benefits. But you want to make sure they know how it applies to them. Explaining "What's in it for me?" to them will often change the mind of even the toughest holdout. Spend some time understanding what each demographic that you serve needs and how you might meet those needs.​
  • How the chamber helps the larger business community: It's easy for people to think chambers only do events but they do a lot more. You need to market what you're doing to the larger community. It may feel like you're bragging but it's the only way you can ensure people understand the role the chamber plays.
  • ​Educate your board so it understands what is expected.
  • Professional development. Create and host workshops, videos, and webinars to help businesses develop essential skills or navigate how to start a business or maintain one as it grows. Courses are some of the hottest commodities in the business world these days. Providing cost effective (or free) courses can be a very big draw to potential members. Chamber membership then goes from a "nice to have" to a "need."​
  • ​Provide members with up-to-date information on market trends, economic data, and business resources. 
  • ​Maintain a resource center or website with relevant business tools and information.​


One of the main skills chamber pros have and one of the best uses of their time is connecting and building. That can be member to member, community leader to business leader, or even resources with recipient and vice versa.

You do this through:

  • Job fairs. Help businesses find the employees they are looking for.
  • Networking events.
  • ​Participate in community events and initiatives.
  • Partnerships with educational institutions. This is another way to help your employers find skilled workers. 
  • Collaborate with local organizations to enhance the overall well-being of the community.
  • Mentorship and Leadership programs. Since this is a checklist every chamber should be doing, it's important to point out that while you don't need a leadership program, having one can help you groom future leaders as well as break down the silos that may exist in your community. If you aren't able to create a leadership group or mentoring program, you could think about a...
  • Referral group. If you could help your members make more money through obtaining referrals, wouldn't you? After all, landing a client or two could pay for their annual membership.

Advocacy and Representation

  • Advocate for the interests of local businesses at the local, regional, and national levels.
  • Represent members on relevant policy issues and regulatory matters such as zoning challenges.
  • ​Foster positive relationships with local government officials and agencies
  • ​Monitor and communicate relevant legislative changes and updates to members.

Marketing and Promotion

As the Voice of Business, the chamber has a large and varied audience. A little promotion for your member businesses could result in big outcomes for them. It can also bring in revenue for the chamber through some of the ways mentioned below:

  • Promote member businesses through various channels, such as online directories, newsletters, targeted campaigns (like Small Business Season) and/or social media.
  • Organize promotional campaigns to boost the visibility of local businesses such as advertising the tech corridor or healthcare highway to shine the spotlight on strengths and opportunities in your community.

Behind the Scenes

  • Ensure responsible financial management of chamber resources.
  • ​Develop and adhere to a transparent budget.​​
  • ​Draft a strategic plan on the initiatives you are working on and share it with the public. You want them to know how you are impacting the community and the business environment.
  • ​Embrace technology for communication, event management, and member services.
  • ​Regularly communicate with members through newsletters, emails, and social media.
  • Maintain an updated and user-friendly website.

  • ​Invest in the professional development of chamber staff and leadership.
  • ​Stay informed about best practices in chamber management and adapt accordingly.
  • ​Create a board reputation that attracts the best and brightest leaders in your community. It should be an honor to be asked to be on the chamber board.
  • ​Establish channels for member feedback and input.
  • ​Regularly evaluate chamber programs and services for effectiveness.

This may feel a bit overwhelming but we're not suggesting you do this all overnight. Plus, you're likely already doing a lot of it. These are just the major areas you should concentrate on in addition to recruitment and retention. However, if you're looking for a few additional projects, check these out.

What would you add? Share in the Chamber Pros Community Facebook group.


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