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Chamber Non-Dues Revenue and Affinity Programs . Webinar presented by: Chris Mead, Senior Vice President American Chamber of Commerce Executives To: Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals

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Chamber Non-Dues Revenue and Affinity Programs

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Chamber Non-Dues Revenue and Affinity Programs

Webinar presented by:

Chris Mead, Senior Vice President

American Chamber of Commerce Executives


Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals

American Chamber of Commerce Executives May 29, 2013

Incidentally. . .

Such programs existed long before today’s sponsorship and affinity programs.

1768-1815: New York & Jersey CoC Privateers

Chicago Board of Trade

A Texas Innovation


Texas City’s Official Greeter and ‘Welcome Wagon’ Helps to Keep Trade at Home.

Special Correspondence of the NEW YORK TIMES.

SAN ANTONIO, Tex., April 16. – San Antonio adopts a practical method of welcoming newcomers to the city. An official greeter, accompanied by the “Welcome Wagon” stocked with provisions, visits the home of each newcomer. The “Welcome Wagon,” one of the most novel and valuable pieces of constructive effort ever put out by any city of the United States to make newcomers feel at home, has been placed in operation under the guidance of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

The official greeter, Mrs. T.E. Everitt, receiving the addresses from newcomers from a list prepared daily by the Chamber of Commerce from information obtained from the railroads and the Public Service Corporation, drives to their homes in the handsome white automobile, and delivers to the woman of the house a basket of San Antonio products, at the same time extending a cordial welcome and impressing upon the newcomers the value of buying at home. Among the items delivered are free theatre tickets, an ice pick and coupons for 100 pounds of free ice, coupons for one quart of milk, butter and ice cream. A sack of flour, a pail of lard, bread and cake, a map of the city, a savings bank and a two-weeks’ subscription to The San Antonio Express and Evening News.

Merchants have reported a large increase in direct business since the “Welcome Wagon” has been operating, and believe the first direct contact of the newcomer with the native products results in obtaining permanent customers.

The Buy Local Idea from 1928

196932% of total revenue

200661% of total revenue

Today non-dues revenue continues to account for a mounting percentage of total income for chambers.

Recent Historical Trendsin Non-dues Revenue

Chamber SizeDues Rev.Non-Dues Rev.


Under $450,0004852

$451K - $900K4357

$901K - $2 Million3763

$2 - $5 Million3565

Over $5 Million2773

Average Non-dues Revenue: 62%

Snapshot for Today

  • Advertising

  • Affinity Programs

  • Economic Development

  • Events

  • Restricted Grants & Contracts (ED, CVB, etc.)

  • Product Sales

  • Other, Misc. Items

Non-dues Revenue Components

Chamber SizeAdsAffinityProducts

Under $450,000512

$451K - $900K541

$901K - $2 Million521

$2 - $5 Million241

Over $5 Million272

A Few NDR Sources for Chambers

Chamber SizeED RestrictedEvents

Grants &


Under $450,0002629

$451K - $900K21028

$901K - $2 Million62018

$2 - $5 Million62217

Over $5 Million112912

More NDR Sources (% of total revenue)

$2.5 million budget – membership revenue less than $10,000!

North American Non-dues Revenue Champion

Affinity Programs

Chamber affinity programs are business partnerships in which a company offers special rates or services to a chamber’s members, usually with a revenue component for the chamber.

  • Affinity programs can provide additional revenue streams for chambers.

  • They can provide products & services that help you better meet the needs of existing members.

  • Affinity programs add perceived value to businesses interested in joining the chamber.

  • For businesses – the chamber distribution channel is amazingly inexpensive compared to other ways to introduce a new product (e.g., national advertising campaigns).

Value of Affinity Programs

  • Running affinity programs can be time consuming.

  • Chambers often do not have the resources to sell external products/services.

  • Small chambers face limited returns – if 5 percent of members use a product, and the chamber has 500 members, that’s just 25 customers.

  • Some of these programs may compete with a chamber member.

Limitations of Affinity Programs

  • Big companies don’t want to compete with their own existing sales channels and therefore often find it difficult to give chambers a preferential rate.

  • Many companies will not tailor a specific offering just to chambers.

  • Some affinity programs do very well, but most provide small or middling returns.

  • Many vendors refuse to pay up-front fees; they just want to pay a percentage of what is sold.

Limitations Continued

Current Statistics & Trends(Quick Poll with 210 Respondents)

Total Affinity to Unrestricted Revenue

Current Statistics & Trends continued

Current Statistics & Trends continued

Current Statistics & Trends Continued

  • Limited to certain states

  • Shrinking margins

  • Potential impact of new healthcare legislation

  • Major revenue contributors to some chambers (Cleveland, Detroit, etc.)

Health Care Affinity Programs

Benefit/Insurance Programs Offered by Year

Study of 70 Metro Cities Chambers

  • Overseas trips

  • Office products

  • Mobile apps

  • Local buying “Chamber Bucks” type programs

Popular Non-Dues Revenue Programs over the Last Decade

  • ChamberMaster (1,000+ chambers)

  • Constant Contact (2,000+ chambers)

  • CommunityLink’sMarketWise – (1,800+ templates)

  • Microsoft’s Community Connections – (800+ chambers)

  • Google’s Get Your Business Online – (600+ chambers)

Other fast-growing chamber programs in last decade

  • Prescription drug discount cards

  • Electronic certificates of origin

  • Credit card processing

  • Logistics/shipping

  • Apps

  • Online real estate and other directories

Up and Coming Programs(past three-four years)

Electronic Certificates of Origin Processed in the United States

eCertify’s Growth 2010-13

Other Benefit/Affinity Programs Offered by Year

Study of 70 Metro Cities Chambers

Chamber Events

A Few Events We’ve Had a Hand In. . .

Events and Programs

  • Annual Meetings

  • Awards and Contests

  • Business Advancement Events

  • Celebrations

  • Community Issues

  • DC Fly-Ins

  • Festivals, Parades, and Pageants

  • Golf Tournaments

  • Government Relations Events

  • Intercity Visit

  • International Travel

  • Leadership Development Programs

  • Networking Events

  • Training and Seminars

  • Young Professionals

Resources for Chamber Event Planners

  • Event Promotion

  • (Recording from the 2011 Convention)

  • Education for Event and Meeting Planners

  • General Resources for Event Planners

  • Room Rentals

  • Technology for Events

ACCE’s HERO: Events & Programs

Golf Tournaments

  • Many chambers of commerce run golf tournaments as a way to generate revenue and offer a fun networking event for both members and non-members. Below are links to resources related to planning golf tournaments and sample documents that chambers have used for registration and publicity. Decreasing Your Handicap by Phil Immordino, Chamber Executive, Spring 2004

  • Golf Digest Planner is a quick and easy way to set up a golf event website - including online registration, payment processing, tools to market your event, sell sponsorships and attract players

  • free resources to help make your outing a success; including, a planner/checklist, and Microsoft Excel based budget, and a set of 5 standard letter templates, which can be easily modified for your tournament needs.

  • TournEase shares tips, ideas, advice and helpful information to make your tournament a success


  • Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce- Form: Chamber Golf Tournament Registration

  • Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce- Brochure: Bonita Springs Golf Tour

  • Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce- ACE Entry, Event Synopsis- ELF Mini-Golf - Education & Leadership for the Future

Example of link from main page:Golf Tournaments

Young Professionals

  • Many times, chamber events center on specific constituencies. In hundreds of communities, chambers have established complete calendars of events and programs to serve large cadres of young professionals. YP entities and their events are often semi-autonomous from the chamber’s regular calendar of programs. Events for young professionals can range from leadership series, happy hours, health and fitness groups and much more. Get an idea of the events you can offer from the samples below. Through the Maze- Careers in Association Management: a guide for young professionals interested in associations. By Beau Ballinger, Jennifer Connelly, Benjamin Butz and Emily Crespo, February 28, 2011

  • ACCE- Young Professionals Networking Linkedin Group: join other YP group managers to share successes, challenges and best practices


  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce YP Program

  • Charleston Young Professionals Programs

  • Tulsa Young Professionals Events Website

  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce- YPN Events

  • Nashville Chamber of Commerce: Emerging Leader Awards, Networking Events, Annual Signature Event

  • Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce- Young Professionals Flyer

  • St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association- ACE Entry, Best and Brightest- St. Louis Attracts Young Professionals

  • HYPE (Houston Young Professionals Endeavor) Website

  • YP Sponsorship Opportunities (Webinar)

  • Launching Your Chambers YP Group (Webinar)

Example of link from main page:Young Professionals


Principles for Event Success: 1


Principles for Event Success: 2

Marquee Event

Principles for Event Success: 3

Use Your Base

  • Local politicians/celebrities

  • Greatest TRC expertise in the nation (Charlotte, Charleston, etc.)

  • Issues/ideas that captivate the community

Principles for Event Success: 4

Three From Dick

  • Dick Hakes, Publisher

  • Chamber Executive Network newsletter

  • Author, Show Me the (Chamber) Money!

  • 712-732-7718


Ideas from Dick Hakes

“Game On! Sierra Vista”

Source: Sierra Vista (AZ) Chamber, 520-458-6940

  • Aims for gamers, science fiction fans, and fantasy enthusiasts

  • Targets the public, including soldiers at Fort Huachuca

  • Partnering with local computer game store

  • Dozen+ exhibitors; Arizona Avengers in capes; etc.

  • Target of modest $2,000 profit in Year One

Idea No. 1: Gamers and Geeks

Seasonal Sips

Source: Windham Region (CT) Chamber, 860-423-6389

  • $7,000 net

  • “Taste of” event with this crucial distinction: the food and drink are local

  • 17 local vendors

  • Publicity on two radio stations

  • Sample-sized food provided free by the vendors (in hopes of future sales)

  • People surprised that some food and drink is made locally.

Idea No. 2: Local “Taste of” Event

'Tasteful' calendar of undressed businessmen --  net $5,000

Source: Greater York Region (ME) Chamber, 207-363-4422

  • Men of York calendar featuring humorous photos of local businessmen aged from 20 to 70+

  • “In reality, the photos show no more than you would see on a sunny summer day at the beach.”

  • Tickets to the “Men of York Revealed” unveiling party -- $35 each including the $20 calendar.

  • Included humorous show with music and a shot of each month’s business leader.

  • Four professional photographers donated talent to the project.

Idea No. 3: Raising Funds and Eyebrows

Five from Glenn

  • Glenn Shepard, President

  • Glenn Shepard Seminars

  • 800-538-4595


Ideas from Glenn Shepard

1. North Myrtle Beach (SC) Chamber of Commerce

Marc Jordan and Team

Raised $60,000 in 60 days by putting QR codes in magazines, newspapers, etc. that prospective visitors read. Takes visitors to, where local companies pay from $1,250 to $5,000 to be listed.

2. Liberty (TX) Chamber of Commerce

Mary Anne Campbell and Team

Raised $50,000 by selling 500 tickets at $100 each for a chance to win a Chevy Silverado.

Chamber paid just $13,000 for the Silverado; the dealer threw in an equivalent amount.

The chamber has about 400 members.

3. Greater Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce

Jerry Libbin and Team

The chamber got a local dealer to provide, for free, a one-year lease on a new $90,000 Jaguar.

The group sold tickets for this opportunity at its annual dinner, raising $100,000 – enough to pay off the chamber’s mortgage.

4. Wabash (IN) Chamber of Commerce

Kim Pinkerton and Team

She more than doubled the sponsorship dollars brought in at the chamber’s annual dinner by asking the winner of the Business of the Year for a list of his largest vendors. She then called each and asked, “Wouldn’t you like to sponsor a table in front while your big customer is being recognized?” Everyone said “yes.”

5. South Sioux City (NE) Chamber of Commerce

Lori Warner and Team

A few years ago, this chamber began permitting 12 companies to be listed on its letterhead as members of the Covington Society. Each company pays about $1,000 per year for the privilege. This brings in about $12,000 per year – a small fortune for a chamber with 200 members.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Mead

Senior Vice President

(703) 998-3545

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