Chambers mean successful businesses, communities

Chambers of commerce mean successful businesses, communities

In my experience of working closely with business people over 38 years, I have found they are deeply proud of what they do, they care about their employees and customers, and they want to make a positive contribution to their communities.

The part about helping communities is rooted in the need most of us have to leave the world a little better than we found it. Most business people want to help create communities in which they are proud to live.

An added benefit is that by helping their community, they also help create a good climate in which to operate their businesses. Great communities attract talent, they attract private investments, and those investments lead to job creation and the financial means via taxes to afford good public services and amenities like good schools, parks, public pools, sidewalks, and so on.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

Which brings me to my main topic: chambers of commerce.

Chambers of commerce have long been tools for business people to aggregate brainpower, financial resources, and consensus to get positive things done for business and the overall community and region.

Chambers of commerce have been such a useful device that they have endured for hundreds of years. The very first one was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France, and there was one in America in 1768 in New York City.

The resilience of chambers is due to their utility as a means of promoting commerce, promoting communities and regions, and serving as a place for business people to tackle problems or leverage assets in the marketplace.

There are generally two models of chambers of commerce in the world. The “continental” model includes chambers established and regulated by national legislatures. The other is the “private law” model and is the one we have in America. These are established by local business communities.

Some chambers of commerce accept funding from local government, but some like the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce do not.

Whether they take some or no government money, all chambers depend on investments from businesses. Almost all chambers have dues-paying members, most put on events that generate revenue from ticket sales and sponsorships, and some have key investors to work on major strategic initiatives. For instance, in the case of my organization, we have 100 investors underwriting the communications and lobbying effort to get North I-25 widened. To learn more visit NorthernColoradoProspers.com.

To make sure we have the financial means to do our work for the business community and the overall community, the Fort Collins Chamber conducts an annual campaign called Moving Fort Collins Forward!

During 10 weeks between Labor Day and the week before Thanksgiving, 12 teams of business people help recruit 100+ new members and raise $550,000 for programs and events. In the process of doing so, these 65 volunteers have a lot of fun, make great new business contacts, and make new friends.

The 2018 campaign is in its last few weeks. It is headed up by Deb Kelly with Guaranty Bank & Trust and Mat Dinsmore with Wilbur’s Total Beverage. The cost of the campaign is underwritten by Otterbox, Wilbur’s Total Beverage and Odell Brewing Co.

If you are looking for business to business marketing avenues for your company, you should look at sponsoring chamber programs and events. If you want to make new connections while at the same time supporting our work of making great communities, consider joining. If you want to help us accomplish big initiatives like getting I-25 widened, retain and attract talent to the community, and retain and expand our existing primary employers, consider investing.

You can find out more at fortcollinschamber.com/program/moving-fort-collins-forward-2018/ or by calling 970-482-3746.

Help yourself and help your community by supporting the work of your local chamber of commerce.

David May is the president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. Reach him at dmay@fcchamber.org.

Chambers of commerce mean successful businesses, communities

In my experience of working closely with business people over 38 years, I have found they are deeply proud of what they do, they care about their employees and customers, and they want to make a positive contribution to their communities.

The part about helping communities is rooted in the need most of us have to leave the world a little better than we found it. Most business people want to help create communities in which they are proud to live.

An added benefit is that by helping their community, they also help create a good climate in which to operate their businesses. Great communities attract talent, they attract private investments, and those investments lead to job creation and the financial means via taxes to afford good public services and amenities like good schools, parks, public pools, sidewalks, and so on.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

Which brings me to my main topic: chambers of commerce.

Chambers of commerce have long been tools for business people to aggregate brainpower, financial resources, and consensus to get positive things done for business and the overall community and region.

Chambers of commerce have been such a useful device that they have endured for hundreds of years. The very first one was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France, and there was one in America in 1768 in New York City.

The resilience of chambers is…