3 Ways a TRC Changes the Way Chambers View Sponsorships


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

Total Resource Campaigns (TRCs) change the way chambers view sponsorships in three key ways. If you were to jot down the number of sponsors your chamber currently has, what percentage of your members would be on that list? For most chambers, that number would most likely be less than 50 investors.

Do chambers want additional sponsors? Do they want more members as event partners? Of course.

Current Model?
Consider the following scenario. Is it familiar in your chamber?

The Annual Meeting has arrived, and the event is a little shy of meeting budget. Chamber staff members place calls to a few board members or existing sponsors to secure the needed funds. Once the allotted amount is met, everyone moves on to the execution of the planning the event. Then, it seems, the event is barely concluded before the attention is redirected to the golf tournament and raising funds for it. And thus, the cycle continues.

In that scenario, a select few businesses – often, those who appear closest to the organization – continue to monetarily undergird the needs of the chamber, while the majority of members never contribute beyond paying their dues. That majority of members miss out on sponsorship and publicity opportunities, often because they weren’t aware that those opportunities existed.

Do those members feel that they cannot sponsor Chamber events? In our experience, yes, businesses often feel that way. They want to sponsor, but they feel like they can’t access the opportunities or are simply unaware of them.

1. Try a New Approach
A Total Resource Campaign works to break this cycle and to increase a chamber’s sponsorships and member engagement.

A Total Resource Campaign – or TRC, as we call it – will open up a wealth of opportunities for chambers to increase non-dues revenue. In a first year TRC, 80% of the businesses who sponsor have never sponsored a chamber program previously.

Why do such a large number of new sponsors come forward in a TRC? The answer is simple. They have never before been asked to participate in chamber life at this level.

2. Volunteers Make a Difference
Simply conducting a campaign will not change the engagement. A large portion of the dynamic change is due the utilization of a larger volunteer base than in the past.

When volunteers take the business development opportunities offered to them through a TRC and discuss with members (and potential members) the sponsorship opportunities available, members begin to see sponsorships as marketing and advertising opportunities available through the chamber – not as philanthropic donations to the chamber.

3. Move Forward
Total Resource Campaigns are amazing ways to promote the chamber in the community and within the chamber membership itself. TRCs increase exposure in terms of membership, sponsorship and volunteer involvement.

Done well, a TRC can show local businesses in a very specific way why sponsoring the chamber is good for business – both for an individual business and for business as a whole for the community.

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