‘I Am the Chamber’ Initiative Makes Waves


Michele Trice

Sometimes the best way to encourage support of your chamber or organization is not to encourage support of the organization itself but of its members. That’s the idea one chamber takes each year for Support Your Local Chamber Day with their ‘I Am the Chamber’ initiative.

The Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce decided several years ago that the best way to celebrate Support Your Local Chamber Day, held annually on the third Wednesday of October, was to turn their focus not upon themselves but to their members.

“It felt uncomfortable to focus on us,” said Debbie Evans, Executive Vice President with the Greater Vidalia Chamber. “We wanted to do something different to show our support for and love of our members. We wanted to do that rather than telling them to love us.”

And thus their “I Am the Chamber” initiative was born.

The first year, they created signage with their slogan on it and encouraged members to drop by the chamber offices to take their photos with the sign, proclaiming “I Am the Chamber.” They had snacks and balloons and a festive atmosphere.

Everyone was encouraged to post their photos to the chamber’s social media to be entered into a drawing for $500 in the chamber’s Community Bucks.

“We had such a good response from our members,” Evans said. “The local newspaper heard about what we were doing and did a follow up story and ran some of the photos.”

Evans and her team recall that the chamber offices were non-stop all day that day, much to their delight.

“The next year, we secured a sponsorship for the event through our REACH (Total Resource Campaign) program,” said Dana Brown, the chamber’s Membership Services Director. “We had their logo on everything we did.”

“We had cookies made in the shape of the sponsor’s logo, and we had a big sign in front of the chamber offices that also had the sponsor’s logo included,” said Evans.

The outdoor sign turned into a wonderful photo opportunity, an unexpected benefit given that Covid-19 concerns meant many people were uncomfortable coming into the building. They found many people still came to participate in the event. They simply took their photos outside with the “I Am the Chamber” sign on the lawn.

This is their third year, and they decided to shake it up a bit.

“We’re doing a BINGO card this year,” said Amber O’Connor, the chamber’s Office Manager. “This gets both the chamber and our members’ attention.”

When creating the card, they intentionally created enough blocks that required no financial expenditures that community members who wanted to participate without spending anything could easily do so. They are options to take a selfie at a member business or Like one of the chamber’s Community Facebook pages.

“It’s already been a big success,” O’Connor said. “We’ve had easily five people in the chamber today alone.”

They are also using the BINGO cards to promote upcoming chamber events like their Business Expo.

“By supporting chamber members and community events, it supports us and what we do,” said Brown.

If you’d like more information, you may follow the Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.

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