Monday, January 16, 2012

Fundraising Plans this Year? Of Course!

Who wouldn't have fundraising plans for a chamber of commerce?  It would be insanity to think funding levels remain the same each year for a non-profit entity like a chamber, but even more so in a sluggish economy.  Planning a series of fundraisers for 2012 will be one of the most essential jobs both executive directors and board members will have to accomplish together.  One cannot do it without the support of the other, so a single vision for the chamber's future is essential for everyone to share fundraising success.

Given the thousands of fundraisers that can be created and successfully implemented into the chamber's annual plan, usually it's best to start with a fundraising scout assigned to look for the programs that could be most beneficial to your chamber's finances.  For a more diverse perspective, several scouts could comprise a team to bring many ideas back to the board members for a vote of approval.  Then the absolute best fundraiser would win out, as opposed to having two or three mediocre ideas presented to the board.

Here are a few of the best promotional product ideas used by chambers of commerce for fundraising.  Poke around, take notes, and share the links with board members, peers, and any associations who may be partnering with your new chamber fundraising program.  Collaboration is the key to creating a fantastic fundraiser for a chamber of commerce:

(Click any one of the links to review example product designs and custom pricing)
Once you've explored the community fundraising items perfect for a chamber of commerce, you can present the idea to your board members.  A tip for getting approval from the board: Do all the research yourself if you are presenting the idea to the board.  That way you know all the answers and can help propel the fundraising forward.  If you are relying on someone else to complete some product research for you, make sure to review the information gathered for a complete understanding at least 2 days before your meeting.  This will prevent any unnecessary delays in getting started on your fundraising plans.

The more you plan to fund raise during 2012, the more financially successful your chamber of commerce will be starting out in 2013.  The key is to plan well, and learn from your first experience running a chamber of commerce fundraiser.  For the experienced chamber director or board member, the key is to improve on your fundraising success each year.  Plan, execute, measure results, and tweak your plans for more success every year.  Let's make 2012 fundraisers better than ever for your chamber of commerce!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reaching out to Businesses = Building Chamber Membership

     New businesses in a sluggish economy?  Yes, it's happening every day.  Despite the economic tight spot, new businesses are coming out of the ashes as the economy shifts and reforms from the hardships experienced over the last 3 years around the globe.  New businesses are being formed from the learning experiences of failed businesses before.  Marketing tactics have changed from the explosive growth of e-commerce, social media, and shifting production demands for consumer products.  With all of these changes, how does your chamber of commerce constantly adapt its promotional efforts so it remains relevant in the face of change?

That's where Keystone Specialties, a promotional marketing company specializing in helping chambers of commerce, can help your chamber adapt its promotional tactics for the sweeping changes of today.  From tourism development promotions to business mixer promotions, we have over 800,000 products available to customize your advertising.  Here is a list of promotional products most chambers of commerce should be using to help a statement in the region you serve:

Recognition Plaques

   Used to recognize outstanding business members, civic groups that make notable contributions to the community, or staff members who excel at their responsibilities, personalized recognition plaques can be presented in the media spotlight or at private events.  They show that your chamber of commerce is engaged with what's happening in the community.  They can help recognize owners and managers of new businesses who reach their 1 year anniversary or help bring innovative products and services to your region.

Avenue Banners

    Avenue banners bring public awareness to the vibrancy of your community by showing a colorful side of life in your region.  The street scene is where festivals, art shows, and public interaction takes place constantly, so why not have attractive custom street banners on display?  If your chamber sponsors the purchase of new street banners, each banner can be printed with your chamber of commerce name as part of the graphic design to bring recognition to the contributions your chamber is making to your region's attractiveness.  Street banners can be reserved for the most traveled streets, or an entire neighborhood to distinguish it as a special area of commerce.

Custom Printed Napkins/ Custom Printed Plates/ Custom Printed Cups

     Business mixers, parties, and grand opening events should be decked out with promotional plates, cups, and napkins provided by the chamber of commerce.  This is where your chamber can be sure to acquire new business members by providing these party goods for free as a courtesy and welcome package to the new business.
     Here's how to make this happen:  As soon as you hear of a new business being developed in your region, find out when the expected opening is, and who the manager will be.  Then contact the new manager or owner if they would like to have a grand opening party co-sponsored by your chamber.  Offer to have the chamber provide the plates, cups, and napkins for light refreshments along with some of the food as a welcome package if the business joins your chamber.  Who could refuse?  The business manager or owner will want to bring positive publicity to the business and meet other business owners in the community to introduce their products or services to everyone.  It's a win-win-win for the new business, the chamber, and the community as everyone gets introduced to others.

    As part of the package provided by your chamber, custom printed plates, printed napkins, and custom printed cups can be provided to promote the chamber of commerce for everyone to use at the event.  These can be environmentally friendly corn-based plastics and recycled biodegradable paper napkins to make a minimum impact on our environment.

Chamber Membership Plaques

     Make sure your current chamber members feel like they're part of something special by providing a custom plaque when they join your chamber.  The plaque can be molded with your chamber's logo, and have year tags below the logo for each year the organization is a member of your chamber.  From wooden plaques to engraved crystal to custom shaped plastics with bold colors, anything is possible to create your custom plaques.

Custom Lanyards and Name Badges for Events

     The next trade show or convention you attend, take a look at what everyone is wearing.  Clothes, of course, but notice the accessory around everyone's neck?  They're called lanyards.  If they're not wearing a lanyard, they're probably wearing a name badge clipped on their lapel or stuck to their shirt.  Of course we sync data and are used to pulling our smart phones out to exchange contact information on the fly, but the humble name badge and lanyard are hard to replace.  Why?  It's a quick visual reference to see the organization someone represents by looking at their badge and know their name when meeting for the first time.  That's an important exchange of information at a trade show or convention, so make sure your chamber orders custom lanyards and name badges to represent yourselves at every event.  The great fact about lanyards or name badges is that they can be ordered once and re-used for many events. 

Custom Collectibles to Promote Your Region

     Make the assets of your region stand out on custom collectibles everyone will enjoy.  Tourists will have something to purchase and remind them of your region, but more importantly residents can grow their appreciation of what your region offers.  Feature everything from architectural wonders to beautiful natural features.  Even feature businesses that have been well established and known throughout your community as an asset.  There are thousands of subjects you can choose for these collectibles to bring publicity and appreciation to your community. 

     After reading through these top promotional ideas to help bring new members to your chamber of commerce, it's time to take action.  Contact Keystone Specialties by phone or through our website.  See examples of fundraisers & promotions we've created for other chambers of commerce throughout our 28 years of business, or shop for promotional products by key word or category on our website.  Imagine the possibilities! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Adding Promotional Value to Your Chamber of Commerce

     Attention all chamber directors, secretaries, presidents, and CEO's!  It's time to dust off your reticence to new concepts, promotions, fundraisers, events, and such like, and kick your chamber membership into high gear!  Business growth promotion is the primary function of a chamber, and anyone who thinks its simply about a clique of "good ole boys & girls" schmoozing is in for a rude awakening in the global economy.  Setting your chamber apart from the pack (the rest of the micro-economies in the U.S. and abroad) means you help set your business members apart as progressive businesses in a global marketplace.
     As part of that strategy to raise the bar, you help establish a higher standard of business expectations for members and non-members alike in your community.  You bring relevant and current issues to the group before the issues are broadcasted in the media.  You bring a sense of progress to members through strong leadership, providing business counseling service connections, business financing connections, media advertising connections, and much more.  On top of the fundamentals of business resources, you coordinate the events that bring the various members together for education, community events, and celebrations.  It's about business strategy and dynamics, fundraising for civic purposes, redevelopment resources for fading areas of the community, entrepreneurship, business education, and much much more.
     With all the possibilities for progress as a chamber director, where do you focus to gain the most return on investment?  Start by focusing resources on your membership.  Start by partnering some of these dynamic new ideas with business members so it's a win-win situation.  "What types of partnerships would be beneficial?", you may be thinking.  Start an educational seminar one evening per week.  To increase your attendance, rotate the evening to a different day each week to allow for other events that may prevent some members from attending due to their schedules.

     To make it a fun and educational event, add a mixer atmosphere with beverages and hors d'oeuvres served in a central location.  Make sure to set up a projector for the business presentation to be broadcast where everyone can see it from anywhere in the room.  Also set up tables each featuring a specific educational subject on them, and add a game related to discovering the information featured at the tables.  This keeps people up and moving during the mixer, their bellies are full, the libations can loosen them up a bit.  Most importantly everyone attending will be discovering subject matter that can improve their business management skills for an increasingly global business world.

     The educational chamber mixer is a fun and informative way to keep your chamber membership actively involved with each other, the chamber of commerce, and the world of business.  For more ideas on increasing the value of your chamber membership, visit the links below:

Find Chamber of Commerce Mixer Party Supplies Here



 Discover Chamber of Commerce Fundraising Ideas Here:

Community Afghan Fundraisers