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Membership Policies and Procedures

As private membership organizations, chambers need to have membership standards and qualifications – both for individual behaviors and for business/organizational activities - and should be written, either in by-laws or a policy statement. With written policies, a chamber can clearly state membership-related strategies to deal with issues such as privacy, admittance to membership, termination of membership, non-payment consequences, and use of copyrighted material or website policies. Some chambers have had to make difficult decisions regarding denial of membership or termination of membership. Chambers need to have an appeal process in place; i.e., “if you would like to meet with a committee of the board to discuss the rejection, please contact us to make an appointment for such a meeting.” If the by-laws or process documents do not have written membership eligibility qualifications (and disqualifications) statements, then the chamber likely will need to seek legal counsel to help set a course of action and resolution.

Samples

  • Chamber Policies - Asheville (NC) Chamber of Commerce's member policies addressing events, privacy, and website policy.
  • Polices and Procedures: Membership Sales - Austin Chamber of Commerce describes a fully-detailed set of policies and procedures for every aspect of a chamber's Membership/Sales department.
  • Bylaws from the Bandon-By-The-Sea Chamber of Commerce - States that their board of directors shall have the right to deny membership to any person or organization.
  • Marijuana and the Workplace: An HR Discussion - Event listing and chamber program idea from the Bellingham Whatcom (WA) Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
  • Board Approved Policies 2015 - The Billings Chamber of Commerce policy document includes membership policies, fiscal policies, and other policies such as mailing list agreement, conference center usage, and conflict of interest.
  • Bylaws of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership - Addresses Termination of Membership due to non-payment or for any member who engages in conduct prejudicial to the Corporation or inimical to its purposes.
  • Membership Policy - Cecil County Chamber of Commerce's policy statements for membership terms, admission, termination of membership, non-payment of dues, privacy, and logo use.
  • Membership Policies - Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's policy addresses membership terms, admission, honorary members, termination, non-payment of dues, privacy statement, and logo use.
  • Bylaws - Columbia Chamber of Commerce states, the "Board may summarily deny an application if the applicant or a designated representative of the applicant has been convicted of any felony. After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Board may deny any application upon a determination that the applicant’s membership would be prejudicial to the aims or repute of the Chamber. Applications approved by a majority of the Board shall be accepted for membership after the annual dues have been paid."
  • Chamber Policy on Allowing Cannabis-Related Businesses to Join - Fort Collins (CO) Area Chamber of Commerce addresses the chamber's membership policy for businesses licensed to sell marijuana and hemp.
  • Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Advertising Statement. This has been added to their membership applications, ad sales contracts, and other marketing materials.
    • “All advertising and sponsorship design (including print and electronic ads and banner advertising) is subject to approval by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association staff to insure accuracy and appropriate content.”
    • The board is then presented with the new members in the consent agenda for monthly meetings.
  • Chamber Forms, Guidelines, Applications, Agreements and Policies and Procedures - Grandville Jenison Chamber (These guiding documents are updated each year by the Board of Directors).
  • Membership Policy - Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce addresses membership terms, admission, termination, Non-Payment of Dues, and privacy.
  • Bylaws of the Greater Miami Chamber - Addresses membership termination.
  • Ethics Policies - Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce has created this policy manual for ethical standards. Addresses appointments and employment, use of public property, conflicts of interest, statement for disclosure of economic interest, ethics commission, and the establishment of an Ethics Officer.
  • Membership Application and Terms & Conditions - Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce includes terms and conditions in their membership application.
  • Bylaws of the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber - Addresses termination through its policy: "Membership in the Corporation shall be terminated by death, or by expulsion by the Board for noncompliance with terms of eligibility and/or adopted policy with opportunity for a hearing before the Board to be provided, or by resignation after payment of all accounts due the Corporation, or by non-payment of dues as in the next section provided."
  • Membership Conditions and Standards - Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber provides a list of "good business principles" and states that "membership is a condition of good business principles, and the Chamber reserves the right to revoke membership for any reason."
  • See all Bylaws examples in ACCE's Samples Library.
  • See also the U.S. Chamber's Best Practices collection, which includes policies, bylaws, and other plans.

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Last Updated: 10/17/2017

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