For anyone in the Chamber industry, the thought of orchestrating a membership drive can rank among their top 10 least favorite things to do. This thought process can be caused by poor past experiences, pre-conceived notions or by unrealistic expectations. Today we would like to clear a few things up for all!
- Our Chamber can’t find that many volunteers – You don’t have to. This program is driven by the leaders at the top. The Chamber only needs to find 8 – 10 Community Leaders and they build it from there.
- YCC makes it too crazy – This program only becomes as “crazy” as your volunteers make it. The participation and celebrations during the Event are a direct reflection of the personalities the Chamber chooses to lead. Some may show up looking like a bunch of Bankers and some may show up dressed as Batman…it’s their choice as to whether they want to make crazy. Your Chamber Connection merely encourages thinking out of the box and making it exciting.
- The retention is poor – ACCE and WACE have both reported that the retention rate of first year renewals average 50%. This number does vary based on whether the Chamber is in a stand-alone community or part of a metropolitan area with competing Chambers. We expect our clients to lose at least 50% the next year, but if the Chamber has no retention program in place, they will lose more. We provide our Chambers with a recommended and proven retention plan that if followed will result in the standard retention rates.
- Our Board says we can do a Membership Drive ourselves – They are correct. You can indeed do one yourself, but that’s like a mechanic saying he can put fillings in your teeth. He probably can, but it won’t be anywhere as perfect and painless as the dentist. The results speak for themselves. The program followed as outlined will produce larger more successful results with very little participation from the board and a much smaller demand on the staff.
- Why does Jimmy wear the suit? It is completely out of my comfort zone – There is an old saying, “people are drawn to things that sparkle.” Our job is to make this program fun and in order to do that we must get their attention, pull them out of their comfort zone, and move egos and inhibitions out of the way. Jimmy accomplishes all three in a matter of minutes with the psychological impact of the suit. It works!
- It will conflict with our Total Resource Campaign/prizes and volunteers – We have numerous Chamber clients that conduct both a Total Resource Campaign and a Membership Event. It has been our experience that when conducting the Membership Event a couple of months prior to the TRC, the volunteers are still excited and educated about the value of the chamber. TRCs historically don’t recruit many new members. The Membership Event will cover that portion of the TRC and allow the Chamber staff and volunteers to focus solely on sponsorships, elite member clubs and renewals. It also provides the volunteers a large number of new members to contact for these additional opportunities.
- We don’t need the money – Our program is about more than raising money and increasing membership. While all our Chamber clients appreciate and enjoy the immediate revenue generated over three days, every Chamber expresses the same enthusiasm about the education and excitement it creates for their current members and community. Most businesses and community residents do not understand the impact that the Chamber has on their quality of life. This program educates the hundreds of volunteers that participate, the hundreds of new members that they called and signed up, and…all the companies they called that haven’t said yes yet. That’s immeasurable.
- We’re too big for a Membership Event – No Chamber can be too big or already generate too much revenue for this event, however, this program is about more than revenue or size, it’s about educating your current membership, staff and community about what your Chamber actually does and the impact it has on their quality of life.
- We’ve tried these Membership Drives and they don’t work in our community – You have never tried this program. This is not your typical membership drive where 20 people from the local bank show up to compete against 20 people from the phone company and another 20 people from the Real Estate company. The YCC program in driven by the 8 – 10 community leaders that the Chamber Board and staff select. These leaders will build diverse groups from their own business network meaning each member of their group comes from a different business background. Our events generate immediate revenue, there is no pledging or promise to pay in the future. The community/membership education has the biggest impact and is the most affective portion of our program.
- They won’t do it if we don’t give them prizes – In 25 years and with 700 Chambers, Your Chamber Connection and our clients have never offered prizes. We don’t want volunteers selling Chamber membership to win a trip, nor do we want businesses joining your Chamber because they get a free dinner. This encourages strong arming businesses to join. We want volunteers selling and business joining because they believe in the value of your Chamber and the impact it has on their quality of life. We teach them that value and for them, it becomes about the psychological paycheck.
- We can’t conduct an event during certain months of the year – Our results have proven that the time of year makes no difference on our results. Summers or Holiday months produce the same results as the rest of the business year as long as the Chamber has selected the right 8 – 10 Community leaders at the top.
- Our Board refuses to help with any sort of Membership Drive – They don’t have to. This is not a Board or Ambassador driven program. While we want the nod from the Board to show support, the leaders of this event are hand selected from your community. They are high profile, influential business executives that the Board and CEO of the Chamber will select. The leaders build it from there.
- It’s a lot of time to ask of our volunteers – This is not your grandfather’s old membership drive that goes on for months…The YCC program asks 5 – 6 hours from the event leaders, spread over a 12 week time period and 3 – 4 hours from the volunteers during the week of the event.
Small, medium, or large Chambers…this program works! The numbers speak for themselves!