By Megan Eppley, Programming and Events Coordinator
The past year has been full of change and progress for the chamber. The staff of the chamber, myself included, is pleased to have relocated to our fabulous new work space, which was made possible by the generosity the community. We feel quite privileged to be a small part of this big project, so we thank you!
We would like to introduce a couple of things we have been working on this year. I am really happy to be a part of one of our new initiatives, our Be Engaged plan for member engagement. You may have heard the phrase regarding the chamber, “you get out of it what you put into it.” But what does that mean? How can you be more involved with the chamber?
With that in mind, we created the 8-4-2-1 plan, to give you a little bit of a road map for engagement. We think that if you can try it out, and commit to these opportunities, your community connections and engagement will give you a better appreciation for all that the chamber can do for your business. There are four parts to the plan: Attend, Vocalize, Volunteer, and Invest.
Attend: 8 Times.
The chamber hosted over 60 events last year. From our big events like the Holiday Gala
to our monthly Business after Hours and Rise and Shines, there are many opportunities to interact with your fellow members and the community at large. This year we have expanded our Lunch and Learn series to take place monthly for even more educational opportunities. But we realize that attending every event that the chamber puts out is nearly impossible: even when you work there. But, if you can commit to attending just 8 of these events, many of which are free of charge, you really will appreciate the chance to grow your network and relationships within the community. Take advantage of these opportunities.
Vocalize: 4 Times.
Our electronic newsletter reaches nearly 1,100 inboxes weekly and our monthly print newsletter is included monthly in the Big Rapids Pioneer, reaching all subscribers, chamber members and the community at large. How do we pick what news and events are included in these outlets? They are submitted by you: our members! If you have any news or events coming up regarding your business, share them with us! We can help spread the word. Put your events on our online community calendar, so visitors to our web page know what you have coming up. You are able to access your chamber page and create events yourself, but if not, give us a call and we can help you. We also can, when
appropriate, help you to share big news via e-blasts and social media. You are welcome to share more often, as many of you do, but if you are just starting, aim for 4. If you share just 4 times a year, it will help to keep your business’ name at the forefront of the community’s mind.
Volunteer. 2 times.
The chamber is staffed by four people: your Executive Director, Jennifer Heinzman; myself, Megan Eppley, Programming and Events Coordinator; and our Administrative Assistants, Jayna Wekenman and Whitney Buffa. As I said, we create and host over 60 events a year, and as much as we love it, it can be a lot for three people! We absolutely could not do it without our volunteer committees! We have many opportunities for volunteers: help us plan an event, join one of our advisory committees, be an ambassador, or if you can’t commit to that, offer to volunteer at an actual event. There is always something to be done, so join us and volunteer at least 2 times. It is an easy and fun way to interact with the chamber and your fellow members.
Invest. 1 Time.
s a chamber member, you are included in our annual membership directory, and when people call our office and look for referrals, we always recommend chamber members first. You can enhance that community recognition, by taking advantage of one of our many sponsorship opportunities. From premium memberships, to event sponsorships, there are a number of chances for you to have your business more prevalently featured in Mecosta County. There is a list of sponsorship opportunities in your Annual Report, but if you don’t see something that seems to fit your business, come and talk to us. We will find something that is just right for you. As previously mentioned, we have a number of Lunch and Learns coming up, and lunch sponsors would really help to make that program a success.
We really think that if you give this plan a try and commit to following this model, we are confident that you will definitely feel a greater connection with the chamber and the community as a whole.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at the chamber at (231)796-7649 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.