A chamber of commerce is a community’s business advocate. How this mechanism is best utilized is determined by the needs and desires of business and the community.
A chamber of commerce may be defined as a “vehicle” for mobilizing people to accomplish agreed-upon goals for the betterment of the community. Its purpose specifically would be to:
– Increase business growth and development of jobs within the market
– Assist in the orderly growth and development of the community and its people
– Contribute to building healthy markets to assure economic stability
– Retain the private enterprise system with free competitive markets
A spirit of volunteerism and a desire to contribute something back to the community are two important building components, helping to lay the foundation of a chamber of commerce. The organization is run by a board of Directors who have been elected by the Chamber’s membership.
Membership is open to any firm or individual who shares a common interest in improving and enriching the community. Members pay annual dues as their contribution to the organization and to help compensate expenses of the chamber. A variety of services, publications, programs, and events are made available to the membership and their employees free of charge or at a reduced cost.
The board is earmarked to set the policies and procedures for the chamber. These standards become the responsibility of the paid administrator (Community Outreach Coordinator). She along with her staff work with volunteers on task forces or committees to develop and implement courses of action for program/events, position statements, issues, etc.
A chamber’s activities or issues can be virtually unlimited. Again, this is determined by the needs of its members, the community, as well as the ability of the chamber. Projects are undertaken only after sound and thorough analysis of their value and importance is determined. A chamber can be a civic clearing house, a public relations counselor, a legislative representative at the local, state, and national level, and a research and promotion medium.
Simply put, a chamber is people working together to make their community a better place to live, work, and invest.