This month, I decided not to renew my memberships in local Chambers of Commerce.
To be honest, I’ve invested a ton of time – and money – into chamber memberships these past five years, not including extras like leadership programs (not cheap) and events not covered by the membership fees (luncheons, speakers, networking events, hob nobs, what have you).
But I have found the return on investment for time, energy, and capital spent to be a wholly one-sided affair… with me and my business doing all of the giving, and not a whole lot of taking to be had. Speaking with colleagues this year, I see this as not something unique to me.
Oh sure – I could go to the business mixers and be “rushed” to buy insurance or financial products. Or hear another speaker tell me how I should be answering my phone for the fifth time (long boring story – not even worth telling).
I want to be part of a collection of companies looking to mutually grow business, and particularly, growing MY business.
Sadly, that ain’t the model of most chambers of commerce.
To be brutally honest, I’ve gotten more business from contacts I met at Tweetups than I ever got from a single Chamber function.
And that is indeed very sad, for organizations whose sole purpose is to better its member businesses.
I will be putting my thoughts together later this week on how I think Chambers of Commerce may better serve their constituencies.
But for me, for now, I simply have to say my local Chamber is not holding up its end of the engagement. With the emphasis on lack of engagement.