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Here's one area where your board should never speak for the members

Your board thinks that every business is just like them, feeling the same pains, having the same reactions to change. It's why I developed the Map to Remembership: To help your board and staff understand that different businesses have different needs.

I've talked with many of you about email conversations you're having with your executive team, and they are making a lot of assumptions.

  1. Members can't afford membership renewals right now. This breaks my NUMBER ONE rule: Never say no for someone else. Don't tell them they can't afford it. Believe in your value.

  2. Things we used to charge for should be free right now. Why? Because someone else is offering something for free? Great plan. Hey when we close for good and you're the last one here, get the lights, would ya?

  3. Chamber functions aren't essential right now. C'mon man. Hey if you believe this, get off my email list.

People commonly do something called projection in group settings where social constructs exist and they want to...

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Everything is cancelled

Community leaders need community followers. And I was on a call with about twenty or so community leaders here in Salem, Oregon, last week. They were talking about events and gatherings that they had planned for their followers -- and they were using the word "cancelled" over and over again. 

Man that is depressing. What a bunch of quitters. But Kyle it's too hard. Hey I'm a Chamber People OK? We find the upside to stuff. We look for opportunities. 

Hey if you don't believe in your own cause then by all means, cancel that thing you never should have been doing in the first place. 

Quick story: There was a conference last week. It was supposed to be $3,000 to attend this two-day conference with about two or three hundred people in Nashville, Tennessee. The leader of that team said, "We will not cancel. Our people are counting on us to find a way." 

Not only did that show go on, but they wound up with 900 people in this conference. Because they...

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What should you do about invoicing your members right now? 


I get it: when the economic mood changes, sending invoices for membership renewals can make you feel uncomfortable. 

Three things you need to know before you delay your invoicing.

  1. Delaying your renewals is a bad idea. I've been through four of these shifts in my chamber career and if anything you should be thinking sending invoices early by a week or two. Don't be the last one to get paid. 

  2. Not every business is hurting right now. Grocery, McDonald's double drive thrus, shipping companies, delivery businesses and home improvement stores are all still busy. So are gun shops and many of the remaining local book stores, especially religious book stores. 

  3. You need to know about the Economic Recovery Grant. It's something my boss and I created in 2009 and it still works today. 

There are two situations where it's appropriate to use this valuable tool. 

  1. When a member reaches out to you to cancel their membership

  2. When a member is more than 30...

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What should you do next? 

What should we be doing next? Three things...

  1. Don't contribute to panic, doom or gloom

  2. Deal in facts

  3. Refuse to predict

Don't panic... When you add adjectives to your message, such as "unprecedented" or "crazy," you are piling on to the emotions of those we are trying to help. If you need to vent, or rant, make sure you're doing it privately. Your tribe needs you to be on your A-game. 

Deal in facts... There are lots of organizations who now believe they are in the business of sharing unfiltered information. The problem is that the information is buried in corporation-speak. Instead of passing along information they already know or are getting from somewhere else, be the filter. Pass on ONLY the directions they NEED to KNOW or the advice that only you can give. 

Refuse to predict... Everyone is a pundit, it seems. Don't fall into the trap of trying to predict an outcome here. Everyone is dealing with change. Not every business is suffering. If you don't believe...

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How can you keep your meetings during a stay-at-home order? 

  Your meetings can keep on happening -- and I believe they should. Here's what you need to know about virtual meetings. 

  1. Live Video has the best engagement, so if you're comfortable with it, I suggest you give it a go with Zoom or Facebook Live.

  2. Second best for engagement is to record your video, upload it to Facebook, and then do a watch party at a time where you would normally meet. 

  3. Many of our members are asking for ways to engage and connect with each other and not just your chamber. With that in mind, you should be thinking about creating a GROUP on Facebook for each of the different groups that you manage. Even better, when you broadcast live for that group's meeting, you can do your Facebook Live right inside that Facebook Group. 



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What should you do when something you value is free? 

I was chatting with my copywriter the other day and she said, "OH MAN I was writing the BEST article in Evernote and something happened and now its GONE. I can't find it anywhere!" 

I reminded her that when she was getting her business systems set up -- she was using the FREE version of Evernote -- and I encouraged her to upgrade to the professional version. "Did you do that," I asked? 

Well she did and boy is she glad. Because she could go to and see all of her notes and articles and the various iterations... and there it was. Her article that she worked so hard on was in there. 

It's a good reminder to look around at the things in your life and in your work that you value and that add value to those you serve. If you value it and it goes away, what then? Is there something you can do that will help make sure that it doesn't go away?

So many businesses look at the work you do and say, "I'm glad they do it. I benefit from their work. They're going to...

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What is chamber of commerce weather?

Chamber people are optimists, aren't we? We're can-do people and the term chamber of commerce weather refers to weather that attracts people to your town. "It's like this every day here!" right? We see the positive everywhere and we get excited about all the new things in our community and we promote promote promote... 

I was a chamber of commerce weather person for my first couple of years in chamber work, but I found it much more beneficial to be a skeptical optimist. What the heck is a skeptical optimist? Well, the more chamber members I meet -- and I've met a few thousand across North America -- the more I see that our members are skeptical optimists. 

You see, when you own a business, there's a target on your back. Competitors are coming for you. Vendors are raising prices. Charities are beating down your door for their next ask. Your employees are demanding raises or new titles or stand up desks... And that city council candidate is decidedly anti-business. Taxes are...

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Did the Saratoga County Chamber start a movement? 


What would you do with an extra day? Well, my friends at the Saratoga County Chamber looked ahead on their calendar and they found one. They found an extra day! And they turned it into Leap of Kindness Day. They challenged their community to do an act of kindness on Leap Day, February 29th, 2016. 

Well Leap Year comes around every four years and here it is again in 2020, less than 2 months from now. And Todd and his team at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce are inviting you and me to participate in Leap of Kindness Day, Saturday February 29th. And I think the best way to participate is to do what they are doing and challenge their community to participate in an act of kindness. 

It costs nothing to participate and start Act of Kindness Day in your own community. The Saratoga County Chamber runs this program through their foundation and I've included a link below if you want more information. They are doing this as an Act of Kindness for communities...

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When should you be lobbying your elected officials? 

Elected officials are just like you. They have a job and a family and they volunteer. In this case, they have volunteered to put themselves in the public eye, under a ton of scrutiny by you and ten thousand others. If you don't have a relationship with your elected officials, you should, and as you might have guessed, I have three tips for you. 

  1. Catch them in the off-season. Find out their down time. If they are a state rep or senator, that means don't schedule time with them at the capitol building. Find time outside of session when they are back home in your neighborhood. 

  2. Find their hot buttons. What is on their agenda that you can help them with? Reciprocity comes when you help them first. 

  3. Ask them how you can help them. Wait didn't I just say that? No, I said "what's on their agenda." Now I'm suggesting that you literally say the words, HOW CAN I HELP YOU? And then sit there silently and listen to their answer. If they have never thought about it before,...

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What is the most important factor in choosing a member management software? 

I hear it all the time... I LOVE my member management software... AND I hate my member management software. Whether you love yours or hate yours, I have some things for you to consider if you're thinking about switching. 

  1. They are all 80 percent the same. It's the rest of the 20 percent that makes the big difference.

  2. Half of that 20% is in the User Interface. If you love yours, it's because you know where to find the features you use regularly. If you hate yours, it's most likely because you haven't spent enough time to locate the reports or features you need. Prove me wrong while you roll your eyes at me... 

  3. The other half of that 10% is in the customer service -- which comes in two forms. Proactive and reactive. Proactive customer service is when your member management software provider has anticipated your needs and questions for the most common applications. It should be easy to find instructions, links and videos explaining how to do something. Reactive customer...

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