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“A Natural Resource for Business” Annual Report - Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

2015 ACE: Award of Excellence

With rising printing and mailing costs, the Chamber’s primary means of communication is -- at the members’ request -- email. Yet even with frequent communication through newsletters, emails and media releases, anecdotal and secondary research confirmed that many members and prospects do not realize the scope of activities the Chamber is influencing, especially in the areas of advocacy, education and workforce development. When surveyed about their top challenges in February 2014, 48% of members said finding skilled workers and 51% said government regulations and tax issues. Yet, when members cancelled, they were not aware of the Chamber’s accomplishments on their behalf in these areas. For more than a decade, the Fort Worth Chamber has included its Annual Report in the Annual Meeting program at one of its largest events of the year with 700+ business leaders. In 2014, Chamber leadership decided to create an annual report separate from the event program to draw more attention to measurable results.


Date: July 18, 2015
Organization: Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Website: http://www.fortworthchamber.com
City: Fort Worth, TX
Community Peer Group: Metro Cities
Revenue Category: $2,000,001 and up

“A Natural Resource for Business” Annual Report - Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

Synopsis:

NEEDS IDENTIFICATION AND RESEARCH

With rising printing and mailing costs, the Chamber’s primary means of communication is -- at the members’ request -- email. Yet even with frequent communication through newsletters, emails and media releases, anecdotal and secondary research confirmed that many members and prospects do not realize the scope of activities the Chamber is influencing, especially in the areas of advocacy, education and workforce development. When surveyed about their top challenges in February 2014, 48% of members said finding skilled workers and 51% said government regulations and tax issues. Yet, when members cancelled, they were not aware of the Chamber’s accomplishments on their behalf in these areas.

For more than a decade, the Fort Worth Chamber has included its Annual Report in the Annual Meeting program at one of its largest events of the year with 700+ business leaders. In 2014, Chamber leadership decided to create an annual report separate from the event program to draw more attention to measurable results.

OBJECTIVES

  1. Highlight specific, measurable accomplishments in key areas from the past fiscal year.
  2. Distribute Annual Report beyond the event by mail to current membership of almost 2,000, and to new members and prospects throughout the remainder of the year.
  3. Use Annual Report to help sales staff and volunteers articulate and illustrate recent Chamber accomplishments, especially during the Chamber’s inaugural 2-day membership campaign later in the year.

PLANNING & EXECUTION

With readers’ short attention spans and the need to highlight results, staff directed a design approach with short copy, large numbers, infographics and photos. A member agency was approached to design the Annual Report on a short timeline. Staff supplied donated photos and a freelance writer organized narrative and infographic copy. The theme, A Natural Resource for Business, is a double entendre to position the Chamber as the essential element that meets vital business needs and fuels community growth. Using a photo of a literal natural resource on the cover -- the Trinity River that runs through Fort Worth -- the cover featured a knockout leaf to tease the reader to see the rest of the picture. A die-cut would have been over our budget, so a varnish was applied over the photo to reflect light. The Report was included in a folder with the Annual Meeting program and other materials at each seat, and later mailed with a theme-related envelope and cover letter from our CEO. The PDF was converted to a digital flipbook and e-mailed to every individual member rep and carried in e-newsletters.

Timeline:

April 18 – agency retained
April 29 – Report outline / theme confirmed
May 22 – Copy and photos due
June 2 – Report to print
June 13 – Annual Meeting – Annual Report included in folder at 700+ seats
July 11 – Annual Report mailed to each member company (1,906)

Budget:

Design / agency services $3,900
Writing / editing $2,500
Printing (qty. 3500) $3,836
Printing (cover letter/envelope) $ 741
Mailing $ 811
$11,788

EVALUATION

Fewer folders left behind at the 2014 Annual Meeting than in past years meant more attendees took the Annual Report with them. The digital flipbook was viewed 348 times. The mailing provided an opportunity to touch the members more tangibly with an impressive, easy-to-digest review of accomplishments made possible by their dues and investments, and better-educated volunteers using the Annual Report brought in 234 new members.

 

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