Tips and Pointers on Getting Started Using Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE launched Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking at Convention in August 2014. The system is live and all ACCE members can access Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking now. The platform has combined the Operations Survey and Salary Survey into one easy-to-use system, available 24/7, where comparisons and reports can be instantly obtained, once data is entered. 

Here are several tips and pointers on getting started with using Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking:

  1. Go to our Research page to access Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking along with additional information on surveys. Login with your ACCE username and password. If you don’t know it, email
  2. Click here for more tips on getting started with this new survey platform or download the Quick Start Guide (pdf). An FAQ will be available shortly from our Research page.
  3. Support and help are always available! In Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking, click on “Support” for guides, definitions, and a Data Collection Worksheet with all the survey questions listed. Email for more help.
  4. Start with Section 1 – Chamber Profile and review or update your information. Think of this section as required - Data entered in this section is used for calculations throughout the platform. Select either Fiscal Year (FY) 12 or FY 2013. FY 2014 will be opened up in early November.
    a. FY definition: For ACCE's surveys, we ask that you use your actual financial data ending in the fiscal year specified. As of now, because FY 2014 data collection is not open yet, for the most recent and immediate results, you will need to use FY 2013. You can also catch up and enter or review your data for FY 2012. Coming next year, the platform will provide a year-over-year comparison feature. 
  5. Then move to Section 2 – Operations Survey and Section 3 – Salary Survey (for CEOs or their delegates; email permission to Select either Fiscal Year 2012 or FY 2013. FY 2014 will be opened up in early November. 
  6. When you have 50% or more of the questions answered, you can access the Compare Chambers and Reports and Charts tools for each of the survey sections and areas. Use the filters for the most accurate comparisons.
  7. Compare Chambers shows your chamber’s raw data and answers, metric-by-metric, for each question within the survey sections.
    a. Use this to view your chamber’s answer and percentile on-screen, plotted alongside the 25th, 50th/median, and 75th percentiles.
    b. Use the filters for true insight and apples-to-apples comparisons. Create your own Peer Cluster filter, which chambers you choose, using aggregate data to keep actual data anonymous.
    c. View or download these stats metric-by-metric with the On-Demand charting and save as PPT or PDF. Insert into slides or reports.
    d. Use the “Save As” feature to download (PDF or Excel) your responses shown with the percentiles.
  8. Reports and Charts shows the calculations and ratios you’ve seen in the past with our report publications for Operations Survey, Membership Statistics, and Salary Survey.
    a. Select the filters to build your reports with and set your benchmarks. The Peer Cluster filter can also be applied here. Create as many different Peer Cluster groups as you’d like and re-rerun the reports to view the different benchmarks and your chamber’s activity
    b. Download reports for your Chamber’s Profile, Operations Survey and Membership Statistics, and Salary reports (CEO report available now; non-CEO salary report coming soon this fall as soon as we have enough data to build reports. We need your help to get the data in here so we can get the data out for you!
    c. Download the reports in PowerPoint in a matter of seconds!
  9. Remember that you can access Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking anytime you need to. The platform is available 24/7, 365 days per year, FREE to ACCE members. You can review/update your data and access comparisons and reports whenever you need these stats, whether for your board meetings, annual reports and plans, strategic planning, for presentations, or for reviewing your chamber’s work and activity. Use Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking as your go-to management and analysis tool.
  10. We welcome your testimonials, case studies, questions, and feedback. Would you like to be a part of our future Lunch and Learn Webinar Series on Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking to showcase how you’re using the platform? We want to hear from you. Email

Tags: Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking Tips and Pointers

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Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP): Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles

Hannah Nequist on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 11:10:00 am 

Is an airport a vital player in your region’s economic strategy? Are there ever ‘issues’ with your airport and its services? 

If you answered yes to either, you should make time to join a conversation about the Airport Cooperative Research Program hosted by researchers from Mead & Hunt. 

The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) is an industry-driven, applied research program that develops near-term, practical solutions to problems faced by airport operators.  Mead & Hunt, Inc. is a nationally recognized aviation consulting firm leading this research team. This project will address common “disconnects” between community expectations and the realities faced by airport management about the roles that general aviation and commercial service airports play in their communities.

Project Objective:

This study will:

  • Identify the “Top 10” issues – the most significant controversies that arise as a result of confusion over the various roles played by airports.
  • Develop a Handbook to describe best practices for communicating the diverse roles of the airport to the general public, elected officials and the business community.
  • Enhance the Handbook with a user-friendly database that incorporates information and resources supporting the various components of the Handbook

What does ACRP want from you?  

  • One hour of your time to participate in a conversation on the phone
    • Date:  Thursday, October 9
    • Time:  2 pm EST 

Space is limited. To sign up and participate, just complete this brief survey that will provide your contact information to the research team.

Why does ACRP need your help?

The resulting Handbook will be used to help industry professionals respond to questions and criticisms with specially-designed resources and tools.  ACRP needs your help to:

  • Identify the “Top 10” issues from your unique perspective
  • Understand what kind of tools and resources will be most helpful

Teleconference log in information will be provided approximately one week prior to the call. 

Please note this is NOT an ACCE sponsored event… we are passing along the information because we believe the issue is very important to so many communities.

Tags: transportation airport research

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Labor Day 2014 Greeting

Mick Fleming on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

“Summer? What summer?” That is the refrain I hear too often this time of year. Others of you will feel summer’s heat for another month or more. It is therefore unwise to remind people of the unofficial end to the season. Instead, I will wish you a very enjoyable football, back-to-school, leaf peeping, sweater golf, MLB “second” season. REALLY – have a good Fall!

Labor Day also marks the beginning of a new ACCE year – new officers, new strategic plan, new name, new brand and new marching orders from the board.

Hope you’ve heard about Chris Mead’s book, The Magicians of Main Street. This history of the chamber movement is getting rave reviews, especially from the hundreds of people at the convention who had copies personally signed (some had time to read half of the 350 pages while waiting for Chris to greet their friends ahead of them in line!). Visit for previews. Then help Chris out (it’s his, not ACCE’s, publication) by ordering a few hundred. Or maybe just 5 (for you, your chair, news editor, local library and office copy).



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Obesity is a Business Issue

Michelle Vegliante, Jessie Azrilian on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

More than two-thirds of US adults are obese or overweight, with 14 states touting an obesity rate above 30 percent. Now, Consider how a population of unhealthy adults impacts businesses - increased health care premiums, decreased employee productivity, and increased absenteeism. If current trends continue, the obesity rate is predicted to rise above 50% in the next 15 years.  A majority overweight or obese future workforce is harmful to U.S. competitiveness and holds potentially debilitating long-term economic impacts.

Children often learn habits from their parents, and research indicates that unhealthy kids become unhealthy adults. Employer measures to promote a culture of health in the workplace and greater community through corporate wellness programs and childhood obesity prevention initiatives can help ensure both the current and future workforce is healthy and prepared to succeed in a competitive economy.

A new report by the American Heart Association indicates Americans overestimate their own health: while 74% of the 2,000 surveyed employees reported being in good or very good health, in reality 42% of these employees had been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure. While this is a troubling snapshot of employee health, the findings also reflect important opportunities for business leaders to improve health outcomes in the workplace. Notably, the study highlighted the influence senior leadership has in driving employees to engage in workplace health programs.

Workplace and Community Wellness:
A recent Quickpoll of ACCE’s membership asked chamber leadership to describe their community’s and member’s concern related to the impact of employee health and childhood obesity on both the current and future workforce. From the 90 chamber executives surveyed, 93% rated their members as being either very concerned or slightly concerned about the impact of employee health on their businesses and 85% of chambers said their communities are concerned about preventing childhood obesity.

The graph below reflects chamber members’ concern about employee/family wellness as it affects the current workforce:


Chambers of commerce support both workforce and community wellness in several capacities- from convening members and serving as a health and wellness resource for businesses- to scaling their impact through community-wide initiatives. The ACCE Quickpoll revealed that 65% of surveyed chambers promote corporate wellness programs now or plan to do so in the future. Examples of how chambers engage include: hosting events such as roundtables and conferences to promote corporate wellness plans to members; joining or forming community-wide partnerships to address wellness issues; leading regional initiatives through chamber wellness committees, councils or sub-committees; and including corporate wellness in chambers’ economic strategic plans.  Both the Meadowlands (NJ) and Charlotte (NC) Chambers are prime examples of how Chambers are promoting these initiatives:

  • The Meadowlands (NJ) Chamber of Commerce’s Health & Wellness Committee focuses on supports that directly impact their members, producing an Annual Health & Wellness Guide with vital information to help members navigate healthcare insurance, health programs, safety compliance and wellness.
  • The Charlotte (NC) Chamber of Commerce seeks to impact the broader community through their health initiatives. The Healthy Charlotte Council, which is comprised of the chamber’s members, has a goal to help Charlotte achieve a top 10 ranking in the American Fitness Index within the next five years. The Council has set very specific goals for Charlotte, including: identifying key indicators of the fitness index and tracking status, establishing connectivity with pertinent organizations to drive community collaboration, and increasing the national reputation of Charlotte as a healthcare hub.

Childhood Health and Obesity Prevention:
In addition to corporate wellness initiatives, 65% of surveyed chambers from the Quickpoll also currently promote childhood wellness programs or plan to do so in the future. Examples of specific activities chambers noted include: supporting childhood obesity prevention in a chamber’s legislative agenda; working with local governments to implement child care ordinances; and providing topical surveys, reports and communication briefs to members.

Chamber Involvement in Supporting Childhood Wellness:

One example of Chamber involvement in this arena is the The Traverse City (MI) Chamber of Commerce. The Traverse City Chamber  is leading the way in supporting childhood wellness and connecting economic success to early childhood health and education through the Traverse Bay Great Start Collaborative. Great Start is Michigan’s early childhood initiative and prioritizes “health” as one of its five main focus areas. Their farm to preschool initiative encourages early healthy eating habits by connecting local farms to home-based and center-based child care facilities to incorporate locally-grown fruits and vegetables into preschool meals and create age-and-culturally appropriate curriculum for students and parents to learn both deliver fruits and vegetables as well as teach children where their food comes from.


Interested in learning more? Visit the new “Workforce Wellness” webpage to learn how chambers are helping create healthier communities through initiatives to support childhood obesity prevention, corporate wellness, and access to healthcare.


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Forbes Etiquette Guide: How To Work A Room

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

As summer marches on, events requiring great networking skills seem to culminate. With chamber's summertime programs and events, as well as professional networking through events like ACCE's Annual Convention, not a day goes by without some kind of networking opportunity.

Even if you're a star networker, or perhaps want to learn to be a better one, we can all pick up some great yet simple tips from this fun, quirky, retro-style video with key points on how to effectively network. (If anything, the amusing graphics and music will make you smile and tap your foot, at least!) Watch the Forbes Etiquette Guide: How To Work A Room (2.23 min) and start applying these points to your own networking style. This was originally posted on ACCE's LinkedIn general discussion group in the thread on How to Work a Room- Get the Most out of Real-Life Networking.

More networking ideas are listed on ACCE's Chamberpedia pages for Networking Events and Networking Icebreakers, available in our Events and Programs main section.

Questions, thoughts, comments? We enjoy hearing from you! Email us at

Tags: Convention, events, icebreakers, Networking

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Results Available From New QuickPoll on Obesity Prevention/Corporate Wellness

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE's Education Attainment Division and HERO have released the latest QuickPoll results on Obesity Prevention/Corporate Wellness. 90 participants answered more than 7 questions on how chambers are involved in health initiatives. Here is a brief recap of several of the questions and responses.

1. Does your chamber promote corporate wellness programs now or plan to promote it in the future? 65% said yes. See the results to find out how chambers are involved in these programs.


2. Does your chamber promote childhood wellness now or plan to promote it in the future? 65.5% said no. See the results to find out how chambers are involved in these wellness initiatives.


3. How would you rate your community's attitude towards preventing childhood obesity? 71.1% said "slightly concerned" and 14.4 percent said "very concerned". See the results to find out what chamber's members say about the potential impact of childhood obesity on the future workforce. 


To see all the results, view ACCE's QuickPoll page on Obesity Prevention/Corporate Wellness. Find out more about how chambers are getting involved in wellness initiatives and read feedback from chambers on ways they are working with both corporate and childhood wellness.

For questions or more information on this QuickPoll or on the Education Attainment Division, please contact Jessie Azrilian, Director of Education Partnerships.

For more on ACCE's Surveys and Data, including QuickPolls, view our Research Overview page.

Tags: Corporate Wellness, Obesity Prevention, QuickPoll

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Bicentennial Insanity

Mick Fleming on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:31:00 pm 

It was in the summer of 1976.  I was a young teacher in a prep school in New York and was four days into a 30-day school tour of the United States--14 high school kids in two Ford passenger vans. Another teacher and I had organized the 8,000-mile road trip as a Bicentennial experience for our relatively well to do students. One traveler’s father was a famous New York banker who arranged to get us onstage during the 4th of July show at the Grand Ole Opry. I didn’t like Merle Haggard or Minnie Pearl and most of the kids considered it cruel torture (“we could have been at Opryland!”), but none of us will ever forget that afternoon sitting in church pews in clear view of the huge audience, slightly behind the performers. Well, one kid may forget it because he fell asleep during an especially long Roy Clark ballad. I’m pretty sure it was about a horse and a woman, or maybe a pickup. A hundred other adventures ensued over the following weeks: rain the first 12 days in a row, red ant attack in Iran, Texas, sleeping on the red rock formations under the stars in Moab, sending the kids off to explore the French Quarter on their own, Hollywood, Sedona, 50 yard line in Nebraska stadium, White River Junction, an everything store that sold guns, baby furniture, alcohol, prescription drugs and authentic tacos in the attached café. A month and many adventures later, we got home safely from this crazy trip. As my fellow chaperone put it: “It was great! Nobody was hurt, sick or pregnant.” P.S. 5 years later, the banker mentioned above helped get me my first job in chamber work.

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ôLet the Pros Do It."

Mick Fleming on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:30:00 pm 

My best 4th of July holidays were as an adult, not as a kid. When our kids were young, my attorney brother bought a 20-acre gentleman's farm.  Driving 400 miles home for Independence Day included a mass sleepover for 20 or so folks in his great country house on Snake Run Road in East Otto, N.Y. (no kidding). Each year, after a day spent splashing in the muddy pond, and hiding in the corn field, a do-it-yourself fireworks show was the holiday climax, followed by a big campfire. It was right out of a Norman Rockwell painting . . . most of the time.

One year, the brother-in-law assigned to purchase contraband explosives (in New York state) was ripped off at the pop-up fireworks stand in Virginia. Those were some OLD roman candles! At least half were duds, which were disposed of in the boxes they had come in. Later in the evening, as the last song faded by the dying fire, my always-efficient sister cleaned up the yard, throwing papers and other trash into the barely glowing embers, which was the way we dealt with farm garbage in prehistoric times.

A few minutes later, our tranquil evening resembled a scene from Apocalypse Now. Violent explosions erupted in and above the fire, sending tracers and flames between the screaming, crawling family members. I spotted my two kids in perfect boot camp position on bellies and elbows. Nana had flung her walker and shuffled away from the duds coming to life with remarkable agility for 92. My eldest nephew shouted without a trace of irony: “Mom, I’ve been hit!”

Of course I can tell the story now with such relish because we all escaped without permanent scarring. Psychological damage to young’uns appears to have been temporary, though I still wonder about one niece. And the lesson (I always need a lesson) for chamber folks from this story from the Fleming family annals?  Let the pros do it.

The work you do requires skill and wisdom. You can’t trust just any volunteer to spend the money carefully, handle the project properly, put on a good show and wrap things up without a hitch. You’re the pro. At least supervise to avoid explosive situations for those around your campfire.

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ACCE's 2013-14 Operations Survey Report Now Available

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 12:00:00 am 

ACCE's Annual Operation Survey report for 2013-14 is now available. With the most recent data collected in the spring of 2014, the 10th Annual ACCE Chamber Operations Survey Report provides the most comprehensive benchmarking data for the chamber industry. The PDF report features 28 charts and graphs, and is built on data sets collected for 2008-2013. Current statistics (for program year 2013) have been calculated from 248 chambers and cover the following areas: organizational structure and function, governance, staffing, membership, and finances.

For participants in the survey cycle (which ran in Feb-Mar 2014), you may now download the report and spreadsheet of responses at no charge here, through My Account. Login, then select "Operations Survey & Online Results" and choose "Review Results 2013-14 Operations Survey." You can download the PDF report and Excel spreadsheet of results.

If you did not participate in the survey cycle, you may purchase a copy of the 10th Annual ACCE Chamber Operations Survey Report through the ACCE Store.

Free to all members, we have the ACCE Annual Membership Statistics report, available for download here.

Please note, the HERO team will not be creating custom operations survey PowerPoint presentations this summer... However, stay tuned for some exciting news about a new survey platform to launch later this summer, which will allow all survey participants to access reports and custom benchmarking options. The product is currently in development stages and watch for our updates and announcements through the summer. For the very latest news, please visit the ACCE booth during our Annual Convention, August 12-15, and experience a live demonstration and tour of the new system.

Find more information on ACCE's Surveys and Data offerings, including the Chamber Operations Survey, Salary (Compensation and Benefits) Survey, QuickPolls, and Other Research with whitepapers, the Schapiro Report, and other studies.

If you have any questions or need additional information to access the Annual ACCE Chamber Operations Survey Report, please contact

Tags: HERO, Operations Survey

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Grant resources for your chamber

HERO Team / Sarah Myers on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 7:00:00 am 

Chambers, like all businesses, investigate ways to bring in funding. Grants are one funding stream to look at. Our Chamberpedia page on Grants and Contracts addresses starting points for grant research. Federal grant and contract money can be another viable source of chamber income. However, seeking and securing these funds can be time consuming and expensive. The acquisitions process is typically heavy in administration. Once an agreement is reached, a chamber must be diligent in avoiding conflicts of interest with the government agency. However, many believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. Grants and contracts can provide funds that greatly accelerate community development in areas such as tourism, infrastructure, business and other special projects. Where to start learning about grants? Read ACCE's whitepaper on Chamber Revenue Models. See specifically the section on grants in these chapters: Convention and Visitors Bureaus chapter and Economic Development Funding chapter.


Dive in to grant resources and databases:

  • Foundation Center - Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.
  • - is the centralized place to find and apply for federal grants.
  • GrantStation -, Inc. is a for-profit service that offers nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies the opportunity to identify potential funding sources for their programs or projects as well as resources to mentor these organizations through the grantseeking process.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Free Grant Database - This free resource requires sign-up to search for educational and non-profit organization grant opportunities. The database is continuously updated.
  • Small Business Administration Loans & Grants - Resources and directories on finding grants


Facing a disaster? See these specific grants for disaster assistance


Have a few minutes? Read articles from the Chamber Executive archvies with great grant ideas:


Has your chamber had success with grants? Tell us about it! Comment here or tell us more about the resources you used. Email


Tags: Grant research, Grants, HERO

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