Fireworks for July 4th!
Saturday, July 7, 2012
(at Hoke High School)
Chambers & Volunteers Work for the Community and You!
All across the United States, there is change at work. From the congested suburban areas to the quiet agricultural towns, people from all backgrounds and occupations are working to make a difference in the future of their communities. Without the prestige of public office or the glamour of a corporate title, one will find, in most of the counties, cities, and towns, a group of people dedicated to economic growth and community involvement. They are known as Chamber volunteers and staff. They form the backbone of the thousands of local Chambers of Commerce throughout the country.
The Chamber of Commerce concept is familiar to nearly everyone, but far from widespread understanding. Chambers of Commerce are not just places to get tourism information, or a business information center; local Chambers are typically the key agents for change in a community, involved in planned economic development, educational improvement, legislative issues, networking, and numerous other services to not just members, but their communities.
Chambers often are the first point of contact for visitors and traveling business people, serving as ambassadors for their communities. They are the liaison between the business community and local government, bringing groups together to work out issues of concern, and maintain and improve the climate of doing business. They often are heavily involved in educational projects, community improvement programs, and cultural and social events. In short, Chambers give life to the communities in which they serve.
Although most Chambers work closely with elected officials, Chambers of Commerce are not government agencies or committees. They are associations composed of individuals, firms, companies, and corporations that unite to serve their mutual business interests. Members pay annual dues, which typically are low enough for even small businesses to join, in order to pay the costs of a staff and operating the Chamber office. Non-dues revenues come from a variety of special activities, including various Chamber-sponsored publications and events. The size of a local Chamber is as varies as the size of the towns and cities across the nation.
The local Chamber is an independent organization, but has as resources both its state Chamber and the United States Chamber. Most Chambers pay dues to belong to both organizations, and keep members informed of state and national issues. Most state Chambers and the U.S. Chamber are more heavily focused on government and legislative issues than most local chambers, which rely on both for legislative tracking and "action alerts" to spur grassroots effort on important state and federal legislation. The mission of the three groups is the same; to enhance business opportunities for their membership.
The local Chamber's strength is its ability to have a real impact on the economic and social climate of the local area. Working with state organizations and their local governments, local Chambers take the lead in plotting a course for the future development of communities. Although strategy sessions and the development of new contracts may begin at the state level, the real work of securing new development falls on local Chambers. They must market their communities and pave the way to attract new tourists and businesses, or allow existing industry to expand. They also are called on to carry out new programs or projects developed at the state and federal levels in other areas, such as education reform, implementation of technology, healthy workplaces, and leadership development. For the many roles they play, Chambers of Commerce are vital to the prosperity of the local areas they serve.