Body of Knowledge

ACCE developed the Body of Knowledge for the chamber profession. It establishes benchmarks for the chamber profession and serves as the foundation for ACCE's educational programs. The document outlines general job competencies and is updated, as necessary, to reflect current chamber profession practices. It is understood that chamber professionals need not have expertise or direct responsibility in all of these areas yet should have a comprehensive understanding of how each component impacts the chamber. By reviewing the Body of Knowledge and working towards comprehending and implementing these practices, chamber professionals will be empowered with the essential skills necessary to be successful in the profession.


 General Management

  • Apply management theories for effective management of chambers of commerce
  • Promote an organizational culture that is sensitive and responsive to the needs, interests, and values of the entire membership
  • Develop and implement strategies to encourage best practices and introduce and introduce and manage change and innovation
  • Apply logical steps to project management processes, including needs analysis, planning, prioritizing, program development, implementation, management, and evaluation
  • Incorporate understanding and application of the trends explored in ACCE's Horizon Initiative analysis in all aspects of chamber management, leadership, and decision-making


  • Establish, integrate, and maintain an effective governance structure (e.g., board, executive committee, nominating committee) to guide the mission of the chamber
  • Establish and maintain effective committees and task forces to support the development and implementation of chamber priorities
  • Conduct ongoing review of governance documents (e.g., articles of incorporation, bylaws) to ensure that they reflect current practices
  • Establish and maintain appropriate volunteer recruitment, training, recognition, and accountability systems
  • Educate and orient board members, volunteers, and staff regarding their respective roles and responsibilities, both internally and externally as spokespeople and advocates for the chamber

  Decision Making

  • Consider the chamber mission and relevant social, demographic, political and other factors when making strategic decisions, balancing both intuitive and analytical thinking 
  • Assess and calculate risk in making decisions in the best interest of the chamber, and balance those decisions with the best interest of the community
  • Practice and demonstrate collaborative leadership
  • Develop future community leaders and involve them in decision making process
  • Consider member goals and the impact that chamber decisions may have on those goals
  • Practice and ensure the use of effective and ethical negotiation skills to resolve conflict and/or achieve consensus
  • Include benchmarking and data as components of effective decision making

  Consensus Building

  • Identify and bring together groups with a common interest to develop a plan reach mutual goals
  • Communicate mutually advantageous goals and objectives to appeal to new allies
  • Encourage and support partnerships to address regional issues vital to business growth and community prosperity
  • Use effective negotiation and facilitation skills in collaborating with other organizations and stakeholders to achieve chamber goals

Planning and Development

  Strategic Planning

  • Ensure a focused mission and vision that solves significant challenges and maximizes opportunities in the community and that is communicated to members, staff, and the public
  • Establish and implement a strategic planning process that advances the chamber’s mission and vision
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic plan on a continual basis and revise as necessary
  • Ensure that decisions on staff, resources, programs, and services are aligned with the chamber mission
  • Conduct research to strengthen operations, understand the needs of the membership and community, and advance chamber/community goals (e.g., needs assessment, market analyses, benchmarking, best practices studies)
  • Evaluate feedback and data from diverse sources (e.g., trend monitoring, focus groups, evaluations)
  • Develop a business plan with tactics advancing the chamber’s strategic goals
  • Use appropriate metrics to track and measure results and outcomes of strategic initiatives

  Public Policy Development and Advocacy

  • Monitor local, state and federal legislation and regulations
  • Recommend and advocate for public policy positions that support the needs and goals of the business community
  • Develop specific action steps to position the chamber to garner increased legislative influence
  • Serve as the principal and powerful advocate of business interests
  • Develop and cultivate members’ grassroots involvement in public policy development and advocacy
  • Form coalitions where appropriate to address single issues of common interest
  • Understand the different ways to engage and cultivate effective relationships with public sector partners

  Economic Development and Talent Attraction

  • Identify and address key factors that encourage the start-up, attraction, retention, and expansion of business
  • Enhance and leverage the talents and resources of members to create a climate for growth and prosperity
  • Evaluate the need for investment in cradle-to-career education and workforce development initiatives to facilitate economic growth and community wellbeing
  • Identify other stakeholders and lead collaborative efforts in the community to bring together key stakeholders in the community around common workforce goals

  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Ensure that volunteer leadership and committees represent the diversity of the membership and the community
  • Work towards a chamber membership that reflects the diversity of the community, and develop an understanding of why certain contingents of the community may or may not have participated previously
  • Create an organizational climate of inclusiveness that promotes understanding, respect, and appreciation for diversity
  • Work to more deeply involve minority-owned enterprises in the regional economy and promote recognition of the purchasing power of minority groups.
  • Promote equitable community economic growth that creates opportunities for all

Membership, Communications, and Revenue

 Membership Recruitment and Retention

  • Conduct needs analysis by member segmentation, including, for example, large employers, small businesses, transactional members, and community investors
  • Determine current members’ needs in the context of the chamber’s mission and objectives
  • Plan and implement membership recruitment and retention programs based on the strategic plan and results of the needs analysis
  • Ensure that member retention program includes a focus on customer service and meeting the needs of individual members
  • Develop strategies and metrics for evaluating, measuring, and sustaining member engagement
  • Identify and implement strategies continually to gather member feedback and increase member return on investment
  • Invest in systems, databases, and supporting technology to evaluate, measure, and improve efficiency in managing membership
  • Benchmark market penetration and member retention rates with chambers of similar communities and chamber scope
  • Determine the appropriate balance between dues and non-dues revenue to enhance the engagement, support, and loyalty of members

  Events, Programs, Products, and Services


  • Plan events, programs, products and services that are aligned with chamber mission and goals and the needs of the community
  • Conduct needs assessment and market research to evaluate the feasibility of introducing new events, programs, products, and services
  • Conduct regular and ongoing review and evaluation of events, programs, products, and services and make recommendations regarding their maintenance, improvement, or termination

  Development of Revenue Sources

  • Identify, develop, and monitor revenue sources (e.g., event, sponsorship, and other non-dues revenue opportunities, including royalties from overseas travel and affinity programs)
  • Include a focus on programs/products/services that are transformational for the chamber and community and not just transactional
  • Identify funding opportunities that may be available through creation of a chamber foundation aligned with chamber goals and mission
  • Create a diverse portfolio of partners for sustainability of programs/initiatives
  • Engage in third party evaluation of your work to demonstrate successes and opportunities for improvements to members and funding partners

 Communications and Marketing

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive marketing and communications plan to promote key initiatives, programs, products, and services and to enhance member recruitment and retention
  • Build awareness and visibility of the chamber by persuasively communicating its successes to members, policy makers, and the community, to demonstrate ROI and the chamber’s value
  • Incorporate storytelling techniques in public relations and media efforts
  • Utilize an effective information-gathering and management system that establishes the chamber as an information resource center
  • Develop strong interpersonal, written, public speaking and presentation skills
  • Develop a well-rounded online presence to include but not limited to social media, website and email marketing to meet the needs of your organization
  • Ensure targeted and customized communication to meet the needs of modern members
  • Automate communications where appropriate and feasible


  Financial Management

  • Ensure appropriate financial resources to support chamber initiatives
  • Demonstrate sound fiscal management
  • Develop, recommend, and implement budgets that support the strategic plan and systems for monitoring and managing financial performance
  • Demonstrate knowledge of IRS code and structure of tax-exempt organizations
  • Establish a financial reporting system providing clear, accurate and complete reports for the board
  • Ensure that finances are independently reviewed and audited on a yearly basis
  • Develop long-range financial plans
  • Establish, implement, and manage a reserve and investment policy
  • Establish value pricing of products, services and membership
  • Demonstrate knowledge of contractual relationships with regards to affiliates, foundations, endowments and for-profits

  Human Resources

  • Recruit, hire, and train qualified staff
  • Ensure a work environment that fosters staff teamwork, communications, efficiency, and effectiveness, and an organizational culture that allows a healthy work-life balance
  • Demonstrate inclusiveness, ensuring that the staff is an accurate representation of the community
  • Promote quality work performance and encourage professional excellence
  • Participate in and promote professional development and training to enhance knowledge and skills
  • Develop and manage a system of providing competitive and equitable compensation (salary and benefits) to all employees, including regular benchmarking and salary structure adjustments
  • Establish criteria for and conduct effective performance evaluations
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate personnel policies manual and procedures manual
  • Maintain a safe work environment, including the chamber’s physical plant location and equipment
  • Maintain legal documents; follow federal, state and local laws; and document all instituted policies and bylaws
  • Develop and administer an organizational policy and culture that encourages truthful and confidential reporting of suspicious or fraudulent activity, and appropriate follow-up, without retaliation to the employee making the report
  • Protect the fiduciary interests of the chamber, members, volunteer leaders, and staff through insurance
  • Develop and maintain proper security and emergency procedures in the workplace


  • Determine the appropriate information technology system needed to support and advance chamber goals and initiatives
  • Conduct ongoing analysis to confirm that information technology system is performing in line with staff and member needs and expectations
  • Identify areas in which new or innovative technology tools can improve design, development, and delivery of communication, products, and services and advance chamber and community goals
  • Ensure that a technology plan is in place that addresses technology management, policies, budgeting and staff training
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