Chamber Foundation QuickPoll - Results Available
The vast majority of respondents to our recent QuickPoll on Chamber Foundations either currently manage a 501(c)3 foundation or have one in the works. The results provide details on foundation missions, funding, and staffing - as well as some good advice from your chamber peers. Some highlights:
"Establish foundation governance that shows independence from your Chamber board. Establish a clear financial firewall between the Chamber and your foundation so that the IRS will not consider your foundation to be a supporting organization for your Chamber activities. Supporting organizations under 509(a) cannot receive grant funding from private foundations. Create strong contractual documents for rental of space and allocation of costs for staff time and network resources, etc. Draft your mission very broadly before submitting form 1023 to the IRS. Think big picture in allowing enough leeway to include programs or initiatives you may want to incorporate years down the road. You do not want to have to resubmit to the IRS when you expand your focus later."
"Talk with other chambers who have already gone through this process. Use the ACCE & WACE resource library. Ask everyone you know about nonprofits. We launched our foundation 3 years ago and at that time it was difficult to find chambers that had active or successful foundations. Do not give up, keep asking, and push forward."
"Be in it for the long haul."
Thanks to all who participated! For more information and resources related to Chamber Foundations, please see our Chamberpedia page on the topic.
(The full list of ACCE QuickPolls is available here.)
Chamber Statistics Snapshot Reports
We have several new FY 2014 reports available, based on chamber data collected in Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking:
- The Membership Statistics Survey – FREE to all members
- Operations Survey Report – Available for purchase; free to Horizon Investors and All ACCEss Pass members.
- Salary and HR Statistics for Large, Mid-Size, and Small Chambers – Available to CEOs in the ACCE Bookstore (also free for Horizon members!)
If you have any questions about how to find these reports, please contact HERO@acce.org.
Affinity Programs QuickPoll Results
We recently polled members on the performance of their affinity programs. Here's a sampling of the results:
The majority of chambers managing affinity programs earn less than 1% of their total revenue from these programs:
And these chambers don't necessarily expect this to change: Less than a quarter of respondents are seeing increasing revenues from affinity programs.
Click here for the complete results, including the types of products and services chambers offer, as well as how members rate the performance of their affinity programs.
For related information and resources, visit our Chamberpedia page on Affinity Programs.
Help HERO Help You!
Three minutes of your time is all we need! We’d really love to get our members’ opinions of the HERO services. Please click here to answer four simple questions about HERO, and let us know of anything we could add or improve upon to serve you better. Thank you!
Gauging the Skills Gap: Is Your Community Workforce Career-Ready?
Results from the ACCE Education Attainment Division's recent QuickPoll are now available! More than 100 chamber professionals responded to questions about their business community’s perception of candidates, the importance of several core skills, and their chamber’s initiatives. Take a look below, and click here for the complete QuickPoll results.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that jobs aren’t filled because of a technical skills gap:
- Half find that a lack of non-technical skills (e.g., communication skills and teamwork) is also a huge challenge:
- Of the core skills we asked about, critical thinking and problem-solving is the most highly valued by poll participants:
For more on ACCE's Surveys and Data, including QuickPolls, view our Research Overview page.
International Trade Resources Now Available
The HERO team has added a new page on International Trade to Chamberpedia’s Economic and Community Development section. We’ve compiled related chamber services, programs, reports and publications, as well as federal trade resources, including research and statistics. We'll be adding to this page in the coming weeks, so please take a look and let us know at HERO@acce.org if your chamber has a program in this area that you’d like us to feature!
ACCE's 2013-14 Operations Survey Report Now Available
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.
Grant resources for your chamber
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.
- Foundation Center's Funding Information Network - The Foundation Center provides free funding information through more than 470 Funding Information Network locations at libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers located across the U.S.
- Foundation Center's Top Funders - A list of the top 100 U.S. Foundations by Total Giving
- Grants.gov - Grants.gov is the centralized place to find and apply for federal grants.
- GrantStation - GrantStation.com, 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
- Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) - Assistance through HUD.gov
- Disaster Assistance from FEMA
- Disaster Assistance from SBA.Gov
- Disaster-related grants through Grants.gov
- See the Disaster Preparedness Chamberpedia page for more on disaster recovery efforts.
Have a few minutes? Read articles from the Chamber Executive archvies with great grant ideas:
- The Wright Way to Restore a Hotel and Revive a City, Chamber Executive magazine (Winter 2013)
- After the Headlines series, Chamber Executive magazine (Fall 2011)
- After the Headlines: Chamber Execs Lead Disaster Recovery Work, by Katherine House
- After the Headlines: Disaster Relief Success Stories, by Katherine House
- After the Headlines: Tips for Before and After Disaster Strikes, by Katherine House, Chamber Executive magazine article (Fall 2011)
- Legal Matters: Grants & Federal Contracts Requirements, Chamber Executive magazine article (July/August 2006)
- Grants and Federal Contracts Requirements: Strict, Complex, Specific, by Rebecca E. Pearson, Esq., Chamber Executive magazine (July/August 2006)
- Government Money: Gift or Gift Horse?, by Patricia Lee, Chamber Executive magazine (July/August 2006)
- Grant's Anatomy, by Gail Vertz, Chamber Executive magazine (July/August 2005)
Has your chamber had success with grants? Tell us about it! Comment here or tell us more about the resources you used. Email HERO@acce.org.
A policy is a plan
A policy is a plan. Any size of chamber with staffing small to large, needs personnel policies. Chambers often have practices of reviewing personnel policies and handbooks on an annual or every other year basis. Many chambers have a personnel planning committee to help with the task of reviewing policies and other personnel related matters. ACCE's Chamberpedia page on Personnel Policies lists examples of Employee Manuals & Handbooks, Workplace Violence and Safety Policies, Financial Policies, IT-related Policies, Social Media Policies, Remote/Teleworking Policies & Info, and more.
The HERO team often receives questions about social media policies and how to handle the personal use of social media while on the job. Here are several examples of chambers that address social media.
- Social Media Policy - Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
- Social Media Policy - Chester County Chamber of Busines & Industry
- Social Media Policy - Greater Killeen Chamber
- Social Media Policy - Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber
- Employee Handbook - See the Social Media Policy & Guidelines section within the Employee Handbook from St. Tammany West Chamber
Handbooks provide the guidelines your staff needs to ensure your office runs smoothly and with high standards. Here are several examples of handbooks from chambers.
- Employees' Manual - Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
- Policy Manual - Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce
- Employee Personnel Handbook - Greater Springfield Chamber
- Employee Handbook - Longview Area Chamber of Commerce
- Personnel Manual - Santa Rosa Chamber
- Employee Handbook - St. Tammany West Chamber
Does your chamber have a personnel policy, employee handbook, or other type of policy to share? We want to hear from you. Email us at HERO@acce.org.
Membership Orientation Resources
Does your welcome packet and membership orientation need to be refreshed? Looking for new ideas or just want to know what other chambers are doing for orientation? Visit our new Chamberpedia page on Membership Orientation for great ideas direct from chambers. New Member Orientations can provide members with leadership, advocacy, networking, involvement and professional development, meeting the chamber staff and other new members, showcasing resources, and learning the benefits of chamber membership. Here you will read ideas from 8 chambers who recently posted their orientation processes on ACCE's LinkedIn group. See several sample welcome letters, learn what to include in a welcome packet, find examples of chamber booklets, view return on investment checlists, and check other ways chambers can thank members for joining. Does your chamber have a solid orientation program or new member packet that you'd like to share? Or have questions for the HERO team? We want to hear from you. Email us: HERO@acce.org