Advocacy is just a Word Until You Need an Advocate
When I first became President of the Chamber, I made it my mission to eliminate the question of value the Chamber represents to its members and the community as a whole. It could be “Why should I be a Chamber member?” or “Why should I renew my Chamber membership?” Or “What has the Chamber done for me lately?”
Unfortunately, when many people try to find value in a Chamber membership they think about mixers and other community events, which of course we do offer.
I believe that the primary reason the Chamber exists is to be an advocate for the Alameda Business Community, the conduit between business and the City.
I base that idea on the fact that the first Chamber of Commerce was established primarily as a defensive tactic. In 1599 in Marseilles, France, traders banded together for protection against common enemies and to establish policies to govern trade. This was eventually extended as a means to exert influence on governments and legislation.
My answer to the question of value is advocacy. Behind the scenes, we have been an integral part of bringing new business to Alameda, keeping businesses in Alameda and making it easier to do business in Alameda. Our work continues to help businesses stay in business and thrive in Alameda. You can’t put a price tag our work to promote prosperity by improving the business environment in Alameda.
Our focus on advocacy has made the Chamber more relevant to the community than it has been in many years. It is now a common occurrence for City Officials to ask our position on issues that arise and keep us informed as to the City’s undertakings. We have met one-on-one with City Officials and Staff, attended City Council Meetings on behalf of our members and hold monthly Government Relations and Economic Development committee meetings to discuss issues facing the business community.
Advocacy is just a word until you need an advocate. Then it becomes something much bigger. Whether it’s a small issue, such as the A-frame sign legislation, or a very large issue such as Alameda Point Development, The Alameda Chamber exists, first and foremost, to unite the voices of the business community and deliver your message to the City.
You can’t put a price on advocacy, but it could be the very thing that keeps your doors open or increases your business’ bottom line.
Alameda Chamber of Commerce
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