I love chambers of commerce. Always have. Always will. I’ve committed thousands of hours to them over the years. I am not one to leave behind a chamber membership, but I’ve had to with two recently due to current conditions with my business development. Business decisions are not always easy. The responses from each were as different as night and day; one exhibited leadership and the other…not so much. Both have benefited from my giving of hundreds of hours of time to their goals.
Three weeks ago, I responded to the email from the chamber rep. The message to me served as a reminder that it was renewal time. I replied that I would not be renewing for the year. I have received no communication from anyone at the chamber to say they were sorry to lose me, to hope that I would reconsider, to find out why I left. The only “feedback” that I received was that the executive of the chamber unsubscribed from my newsletter that I send to chamber leaders.
For the other chamber to which I conveyed that I could not renew at this time, I received a sincere, supportive email from the CEO. The message copied the board president and a couple of the chamber staff for whom the information was important. She also included an “exit survey” to learn more about why I was not renewing. She provided encouragement and appreciation for what I had done with and for the chamber over the time of my membership and said she looked forward to the day that I could re-join.
Organizational cultures matter. Whether your organization is a nonprofit, an association or a for-profit business, the tone and tenor, and the responsiveness of the team matter.
True leaders care no matter what the conditions or circumstances are. Guess which chamber I will re-join when conditions allow for it, and which I will champion in the communities that I serve. (I won’t speak ill of the one, but I will laud the other.)