The Glendale Star
What does the Glendale Chamber of Commerce do?
What a chamber of commerce does is a question we are frequently asked.
Simply put, we champion a prosperous community – it is our sole reason for being.
So what exactly does a chamber of commerce do, for both a member business and the community?
A chamber is an organization that helps to further growth in a community. How it serves that mission through benefits, services and products is where chambers differ. Each chamber is unique to the community it serves, but the commonality between all chambers is they strive to be the underlying support network and unified voice of the businesses they serve. A chamber accomplishes this through a group of members invested in strengthening the community, bettering the business climate, and creating opportunities for their respective region to advance in a global economy.
Here is how chambers of commerce generally break down accomplishing these goals:
A chamber of commerce – depending upon its size and composition – formidably champions pro-economy policies and people. Historically, chambers of commerce have provided guidance on policy issues and topics which impact the local business community, on everything from transportation to economic development and workforce issues. Chambers of commerce usually liaise on a local level, and as they get larger and gain a critical mass of members, will also weigh in on state and sometimes federal issues as they pertain to the business community and potential impacts upon it.
Many businesses do not have the resources to dedicate in-house personnel to regulatory and government affairs. To be constantly vigilant of legislation and regulatory matters that could potentially derail businesses from hiring and growing, as well as advance issues that bolster business development, takes an immense store of energy, time and resources. Chambers of commerce serve smaller businesses by acting as their in-house lobbyist and government affairs representative, speaking for the business community on a myriad of issues. Chambers also work in tandem with members representing larger businesses to create synergies and opportunities for collaboration regarding government affairs matters.
What your chamber does: With a dedication to representing the business community in the halls of government, guided by a Government Affairs Council, as well as a local and statewide effort on behalf of chambers of commerce throughout Arizona, the Glendale Chamber advocates at all levels of government for its members and the West Valley business community on a broad range of issues. Since the inception of chambers of commerce, membership has often conveyed a business’s trustworthiness and community-minded culture. In this regard, a chamber helps give credibility to a business and demonstrates the intention to operate in a trustworthy manner. In fact, in a recent survey from The Schapiro Group Inc., when consumers know that a business is a member of their local chamber, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of the business and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from that company. And, identifying a business as a chamber member is much easier in the digital age. Customizable profile pages, social media, plaques, and window clings can help distinguish a business as a chamber member and help send the message that the business is community-minded and reputable.
What your chamber does: You can place your window cling and proud member logo at your place of business, on your website, emails, collateral, etc. Your profile page on www.glendaleazchamber.org can be personalized with your company’s logo, photos, social media, and even video, to help potential customers get familiar with your business and how it can serve them. A chamber is a chief negotiator for cost-savings programs and benefits. It can often negotiate group pricing for office supplies, insurance, shipping, software, and other products and services, so its smaller members can take advantage of pricing structures to which they normally wouldn’t have access (or pricing mostly reserved for large corporations with significant buying power, and therefore, better negotiating power).
What your chamber does: There are many discount and savings programs for every member of the Glendale Chamber, including Office Depot/Office Max, Constant Contact, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Vision Care, and more. Members can harness the buying power of the entire chamber membership and have access to competitive pricing on everyday business expenditures.
Chambers of commerce convene the business community by providing programs and opportunities to educate business owners and operators on relevant topics, as well as provide venues for meeting one another, growing business relationships, and increasing referrals. Chambers will also bring in local business and community leaders for Q&A opportunities and keynote addresses to inform and educate members on an issue. These types of programs aim to increase business activity and promote a united business community.
In addition, to help increase the leadership capacity of a region and educate local leaders about relevant community issues, some chambers even foster leadership development classes, either as a long-term track or as “one and done” education sessions.
What your chamber does: The Glendale Chamber hosts more than 100 events each year, dividing programming between morning, afternoon, and after business hours to cater to different schedules. In addition, the Glendale Chamber produces a number of events targeted to directly benefit our members.
Chambers of commerce, since their inception in the United States more than two centuries ago, have helped shape some of the most powerful policies that have defined pivotal moments in our nation’s history. Almost from the beginning in 1892, The Glendale Chamber has been instrumental in creating a pro-business climate and prosperous local economy.
Communities rally around strong leaders, and chambers of commerce have led the charge in improving and protecting the business communities they serve. Now, perhaps more than ever, the need for belonging and the cause of advancing a strong, supported, and unified business community is imperative for our future success – as a city, as a region and as a country.
Chamber of commerce myth busters
Chambers are part of the local government: While many chambers enjoy productive working relationships with their local and state municipalities, those relationships are voluntary. Chambers of commerce are completely separate from and do not operate as “chapters” or “divisions” of any jurisdiction.
Chambers are only for big business: Many chambers’ memberships are comprised primarily of small business members. The Glendale Chamber, a broad-based business organization, maintains more than 80 percent of its membership as businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
The chamber will do it with or without me, so it doesn’t matter if I join: While a chamber’s mission is to advance business in a given community, or geographical area, it cannot function without the support of members. Aside from the monetary resources of membership dues, a strong and invested chamber membership sends a powerful message of a united business community dedicated to advancing the local economy. This messaging resonates with audiences as large as federal elected officials, who will ask a chamber about overall business impact of a piece of legislation, to large business service organizations designing group discount programs. But it takes numbers to have that kind of impact on a community. If not you, then, who? How can more than 1,200 business leaders making up the Glendale Chamber be wrong?