Your Chamber of Commerce must work to get exposure for the organization and to encourage businesses to become members. Your chamber also needs to offer attractive benefits to members while marketing their businesses effectively. Part of the task of keeping your chamber afloat is through internal efforts and community events. Consider these fundraising ideas to build revenue for your group.
No matter what industries you're serving, get all of the member businesses involved by submitting an entry for a chamber cookbook. Send out a notification requesting businesses to submit their favorite office recipe for publication. Allow businesses to take out ads and sponsor multiple pages in the books. Market the cookbooks to your entire database, making sure to bring them to special events. Winter holidays, the Fourth of July and other food-focused events are ideal times to display the books for purchase. Publish a new cookbook annually as an anticipated fundraiser to the community.
Utilize networking opportunities to the chamber's advantage. Ask a local business venue to host your networking mixers, and arrange for informal panel discussions for a small entry fee. Use the event to allow business card exchange opportunities while raising money for your organization. Entry fees can be as little as a $5 for members or for $25 featuring drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Plan for networking events to be engaging and interactive, and facilitate ways for people to meet each other, such as through scavenger hunts, lock and key events or raffle drawings. Secure appealing prizes--such as special event tickets or luxury gifts--to raffle auction-style to attendees to raise more revenue for your chamber.
Schedule large events open to the community such as a fun-run marathon. Between the runners' entry fees, attendee admission fees and business participation fees, you can expect to make a good profit from this type of event. Feature chamber businesses, and allow them to set-up tables to exhibit their services. Charge a higher fee for non-members to display. Entry fees normally start at $20 per person to run. Plan in advance for event promotion via press releases for news coverage and calendar postings throughout the community. Set a reasonable admission fee for families to participate, if not free, and add plenty of activities and entertainment to keep them engaged.
Crystal Green is a marketing and event management consultant specializing in non-profit organizations and small businesses. Green spent the last seven years working for a statewide education association directing their trade publications, writing articles for programs' training teams and other event-related freelance projects. Green hold a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, and is currently working on advanced degrees.