Member Perspective by: Emily Clare,
(Chebogyan Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member &
owner of Purple Tree Books in downtown Cheboygan)
Membership is up, finances are balanced, events are successful, news articles and newsletters keep everyone informed, volunteers are engaged – Wow! Not all non-profit agencies can say that! As a member of the board of directors for the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce, I want to send a great shout out to our executive director Scott, our office manager Polly, and the rest of the staff and chamber volunteers! Way to go! Membership, finances, events, newsletters, volunteers – managing each of these facets (which translate into our five M’s: Membership, Money, Mission, Marketing, Manpower - per Scott’s leadership) effects how successful the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce is in advocating for you as a Chamber member.
Scott and Polly and the rest of the team – ambassadors, board members, and other volunteers – all work diligently to provide ways for us, as members, to engage with the community so our businesses can thrive. Below I have listed several ways how I can or have utilized the opportunities my membership provides.
First, as a business owner I like to advertise my events through the Chamber’s emailed newsletter, which is sent out to over 2000 emails, posted on the Chamber Facebook page, and usually shared by others. I also leave my bookmarks in the office business card & brochure display in the front entryway of the chamber where any visitor stopping in can grab one to have my business info.
Second, my business is listed in their online directory on the Chamber’s updated website. And did you know? The Visitor’s Bureau, who works hand-in-hand with the Chamber, has been a strong advocate and participant in the Pure Michigan campaign and when anyone checking on the Pure Michigan information for our area is linked to the Chamber website and information?! I love that! But that’s not it. My business listing is also featured in the Cheboygan Today magazine, an annually printed publication featuring chamber members in the community. This magazine is sent out in every visitor packet request, as well as, distributed across the state!
Third, I have numerous opportunities to get my business name into the community through event sponsorships. I know these events have been very successful in having great public participation and community support and are worked by dedicated volunteers. These events include the Waterways Festival, the Concerts in the Park, the annual Chamber Awards Dinner, and so on. The Chamber is also making great strides in wider reaching efforts because of the success and continuation of the Invest Cheboygan business event and the establishment of the State of the Community event. Mark your calendars! Invest Cheboygan is scheduled for November 1st, and the State of the Community is set for the morning of October 5th, both at the Cheboygan Opera House.
Forth, the Chamber’s networking events are very beneficial to meet and mingle with fellow business owners. We are all busy running our own businesses by day and these after-hours events allow us the opportunities to talk and learn from one another. Another opportunity to learn includes the educational classes the Chamber offers. Recently, the Chamber hosted a class on non-profit administration. A pertinent upcoming series is titled Make the Most of Your Membership! More classes are in the works so keep an eye out for them.
Fifth, I have had the pleasure to serve on the board of directors. This experience has been very enriching for me personally, getting to know the other members of the board and seeing how hard they work for the community. I admire how the members of the board have such a diversity of experiences, talents, ideas, backgrounds, personalities, and so on. Yet, there is respect around table. All board members work together to make thoughtful decisions, have a positive outlook, and utilize constructive problem-solving. We all seek to do our best on behalf of our Chamber members and community!
I could go on but I will end with this – there are lots of ways your membership can be of use to you and your business. You just have to take advantage of what is offered! So stop by and share your story with Scott & Polly at the Chamber office. They would be more than happy to help you find the best ways to get the most out of your membership! Meanwhile, submit your business events, sales, and info for the newsletter; go to the Chamber website www.cheboygan.com and update your online business profile; sponsor an event; network at business-after-hours; sign up for a class or two; and see the benefits of being a Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce member just as I have!