Last week we issued a challenge.  The Membership180 team spent 11 days on the road working with the Loudoun County Chamber in VA, the Dekalb County Chamber in GA, the Jefferson Chamber in LA and wrapped the trip up with a membership campaign in Midland, TX.  We KNEW that we’d be so busy we wouldn’t be able to put out our regular weekly blog post, so we cheated.  We offered to bribe our readers for some great ideas that are putting their Chambers on the path to long-term, sustainable membership growth and we got some pretty solid responses.  Our three finalist and their comments are below:

manage your time
Corrie Melton, Director, Membership Recruitment and Resource Development, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce:

“This is a new strategy I have been using that is actually based on one of your blogs.  In kicking off a new tiered dues strategy, I now provide custom proposals to every new prospect.  I document challenges that they indicated they face within their business, then suggest the tier that best meets their needs and highlight particular benefits that will help meet the needs.  I include a short explanation of how each benefit ties directly to the challenge that surfaced in our conversation.  In the short time I have used this strategy, new members have come in at levels higher than I feel they would have before and we’ve set an engagement plan of sorts from the beginning.  This also helps sell the value of membership rather than tickets to events (don’t get me wrong, our events are valuable!!).”

Nikki Mendez, Membership Director, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce:

“This idea is not new, but it works for me.  I listen to my members, and try to address their needs by connecting them to others (potential clients, partners, nonprofits, mentors, events, seminars, etc.).  My goal is to find their pain, point them in the direction to alleviate it, and make myself and the Chamber an indispensable part of their business.  Sometimes I just listen – because that may be all they want.  Other times I’m a sounding board.  How has this helped me?  First, my members feel as though I’m a trusted advisor for their well-being and that I care about them (which I do).  Secondly, they refer others or, better still, introduce me to their connections to see how I can help them and discuss the Chamber with them.  Lastly, they become more engaged with the Chamber, see its value and potential, and continue to invest in renewal.  These touch-points, while intangible, are extremely effective.”

Gayle Potter, President, Liberty Area (MO) Chamber of Commerce

“We are always trying to find a way to engage members and feel that one of the best ways is through social media.  We are implementing a “selfie” contest for our members.  They will be encouraged to take a “selfie” at our events and then tag it using #chambersnap.  At our annual dinner in January, we will show all the photos and announce the winners of the contest & award a prize.  This will help with promotion of our members, our organization and the events.”

While we think all THREE ideas are wonderful and would certainly recommend implementing them where possible within your OWN organization, we can have only one winner.  To eliminate any semblance of favoritism, we picked a winner from these three finalists out of a hat and the winner of a BRAND NEW iPAD MINI is…

NIKKI MENDEZ of the Oakland Metro Chamber!  Congratulations Nikki and thanks to ALL our entrants for some really great ideas.  We’ll be shipping that iPad Mini out shortly and we’ll have a real knockout blog post ready for everyone next week.  Stay tuned…and THANK YOU to all our loyal Chamber & Association readers.