Chamber - EDC Structure Options

This page is a guide to help chamber leaders understand the various ways regions align and structure traditional chamber of commerce and economic development functions. It focuses both on organizational structure and organizational brand.

Chambers and EDCs are as unique as the regions they serve; therefore, this short list does not fully capture the nuance inherent in any chamber-EDC arrangement. The examples are intended to provide context but may not exemplify every aspect of the model under which they are listed.

Single entity

Chamber and EDC together under one roof with one management team and one governance structure. Chamber is primary economic development entity in the territory.

Single entity with distinct ED Brand

Chamber and EDC together under one roof with one management team and one governance structure, but with a distinct organizational brand for external economic development marketing.

Principal-subsidiary relationship

EDC is a subsidiary entity of the chamber (often a legally separate 501c3). EDC has a separate board and often has its own organizational brand, but the chamber has significant control over its management and governance.

Umbrella Partnership Model

Chamber and EDC both exist as separate subsidiary divisions under a regional partnership umbrella that may also include CVB, downtown council, etc. Entities will have separate boards and management, but are tied together by one parent holding company.

Funding Partnership

Chamber and EDC are separate entities with independent governance structures but are inextricability tied by a formal fundraising partnership where the chamber funds the EDC. Prevents two organizations from undertaking fundraising initiatives that tap the same pool of private sector investors.

Informal Regional Cooperation

Fully separate and independent chamber and EDC have clearly delineated economic development roles to complement each other rather than overlap services and roles. Chamber will often take on business retention/expansion, public policy advocacy, and/or infrastructure development while the EDC takes on regional marketing.

Fully Separate Entities

Chamber and EDC are completely separate legal entities. They may share common board members but have no governance or management connection.

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