Chambers Respond to COVID-19 Crisis
Chambers of commerce around the world are taking action to provide leadership and help member businesses and their communities deal with the challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak.
ACCE launched our Coronavirus resource guide, and we continue to update it with relevant links, resources and templates chambers can use as a starting point for communicating with members, staff, event participants and more.
We’ve organized peer sharing calls for the CEOs within our community peer groups and chamber staff professionals within our divisions. We will continue to hold regular connection calls throughout the crisis.
Through this outreach we’ve pulled together examples and best practices, but we know that what we have now is just the tip of the iceberg. We encourage you to share your most innovative initiatives with us so that we can share it across the network. Email your examples to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actions Chambers Are Taking
Keep Members Informed
Examples of chamber of commerce COVID-19 resource webpages:
- Arvada Chamber
- Charleston Metro Chamber
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
- Los Angeles Area Chamber
- North Carolina Chamber
- Orlando Economic Partnership
- Salt Lake Chamber
- Wichita Falls Chamber
Examples of member communication:
- Metro Atlanta Chamber COVID-19 Emerging Trends Report
- Grand Rapids Chamber Message to Our Members
- Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Daily Digest
- The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro: 7 Things Your Business Should Do Right Now
- Greater Louisville Inc.: COVID-19 Update for Small Business
- Many chambers are also calling all of their members. Here is a sample outreach script from the Greater Scranton Chamber.
Hold virtual programs on topics relevant to business needs:
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber: COVID-19 Business Briefings
- Association of Washington Business: COVID-19 Business Impact Webinar
- Greater Spokane Incorporate: Weekly Business Leaders Call on COVID-19
- Gwinnett Chamber: Virtual Networking
- Nixa Area Chamber: Weekly Mastermind Calls
Send video updates to members:
Survey to Understand Impact
Member surveys can gain a sense of the economic impact and how the chamber can be most helpful.
- Greater Des Moines Partnership
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
- Greater Spokane Incorporated worked with community partners on a regional business impact survey
- Given rapid developments, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance followed its original survey with a “quick pulse” follow up survey.
Support Local Businesses
We’ve seen lots of activity focused on encouraging support for local businesses, with a heavy focus on restaurants due to mandated closures. Examples include:
- Help businesses find access to capital by making information about federal and local grant and loan programs easy to find:
- Tips and reminders to buy local:
- TakeOut Blitz to support restaurants:
- Other ideas for supporting restaurants:
- Answering member questions:
- The Indy Chamber launched a Rapid Response Hub, partnering with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to engage faculty, students and alumni to expedite answers to business inquiries.
- The Kentucky Chamber is leveraging its staff expertise and coordinating with experts from member businesses to answer business questions.
- Greater Louisville Inc. is working with business and community leaders to share answers to frequently asked questions.
- The Greater Gainesville Chamber created a door sign to help explain the modified hours and capacity restrictions
Coordinate with Community Foundations and Other Stakeholders
Chambers do this all the time, but it’s especially important during times of crisis. Work with your community foundation on efforts to support businesses, employees and vulnerable populations within your community:
- Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia worked with the city, the community foundation and other corporate and philanthropic partners to establish a fund to support local nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The PHL COVID-19 Fund will distribute money to nonprofit organizations that have a track record of helping at-risk groups such as seniors, people with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged and people experiencing homelessness.
- The Baton Rouge Area Chamber promotes the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Employees First program. The program helps employers set up a grant to provide financial assistance to employees impacted by COVID-19 and receive beneficial tax deductions while doing so.
- The Greater Des Moines Partnership promotes the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Disaster Recovery Fund, which focuses on disproportionately affected communities by addressing economic needs and the health impact on vulnerable populations caused by COVID-19 related closures and other impacts.
- Greater Louisville Inc. was part of a community coalition who recently launched the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, which will rapidly deploy resources to individuals, businesses and community-based organizations working at the frontlines of our region’s coronavirus outbreak.
Chambers are working with a host of other partners to address short- and long-term challenges related to economic recovery.