The Hidden Value Behind Chamber Membership
Traditionally, a chamber of commerce is a membership organization that supports the interests of its business members. It is not affiliated with the government, nor is it a charity. The chamber is separate from the Better Business Bureau. Now that we’ve explained the traditional notion of chamber membership, let’s dive into what it means to be a member of the Alameda Chamber & Economic Alliance today.
If you think chambers are outdated, it’s time you take another look.
As a chamber member, you are represented by a powerful organization. Because we are not government-affiliated, we weather the political storms. The Chamber cannot get voted out of office, and always represent the business community. And since healthy communities are good places to work with strong employment opportunities, the Chamber helps all members of our community.
Chamber members are a critical part of the following work in Alameda.
What Does it Mean to Be a Chamber Member?
There is a long list of benefits to chamber membership. But those benefits are only the surface of what you and your employees receive from joining. If you want to be part of something larger than yourself and your business, striving to improve opportunities in Alameda, chamber membership is an ideal way to do that.
Volunteerism and Cause-based Marketing
There are many ways to volunteer for the Alameda Chamber. From assisting with events to running educational webinars, serving on the board to working with our Foundation’s scholarship program or chamber’s foundation. Your skills or sponsorships will be leveraged in a way that helps you increase your network, your knowledge, and your business exposure.
When you volunteer—and the Chamber shares that information with others—your business is aligned with the cause in the eyes of Alameda. We embrace many causes to improve the quality of life for everyone in Alameda. Check out our Strategic Plan on our home page to see what we’re working on in 2023. You may be surprised by what we’re championing such as:
- Homelessness and affordable housing solutions
- Workforce and leadership development
- Creation of safe streets
Many people who question membership have a narrow-minded view of the Chamber as a “business only” entity. They don’t realize that every issue in the community affects business. If Alameda is not seen as a prosperous community, people won’t want to live, work, or open a business here. Being pro-community is pro-business.
You can help with the causes that are important to you through Chamber work. Plus, you can also strengthen your business and grow your network with cause-based marketing.
Community Leadership and Responsibility
Chamber members are viewed as reputable and dedicated to creating (or continuing) a flourishing community. When you become a Chamber member, you are announcing to Alameda that your business is here to stay and you’re investing in the success of the Bay Area. Through membership, you are choosing to be part of an organization that has championed the cause of business for over 91 years.
At first glance, you may assume the Chamber is comprised of a very homogenous mix of business owners. That is no longer the case. The Alameda Chamber is leading diversity initiatives. We understand the importance of representing every aspect of business and ensuring each voice is heard. Representing minority- and women-owned businesses is a responsibility that we take seriously because together we can affect change. By amplifying business owners’ voices by convening community leaders, business owners, and employees, we are advocating for legislation, hosting town halls, and providing educational DEI programs for the greater good.
We often recognize what the business community needs before individual businesses can address it themselves. As a member of the Chamber, you are part of helping traditionally underserved populations discover the joy, opportunity, and challenges of business ownership.
Being a Chamber member in the 21st century goes beyond the list of benefits you’ll see in the membership brochure. Sure, those items are good investments for your business, and they can save you money and help you grow, but the Alameda Chamber offers much more than that. The Chamber is leading the efforts to make our community a better place to live, work, and play for everyone. And membership offers you a highly visible opportunity to be part of that excitement.