In any membership organization, the success of recruiting and retaining members is determined by a great number of factors. Accounting for those factors, your Chamber has plenty of reasons to celebrate. While the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has experienced substantial success in attracting members for many years, the organization is poised to more than double the number of members recruited in 2021 compared to 2020.
Chamber staff were curious as to how recruitment would be affected by the pandemic, as it shook up every facet of our community in early 2020. Just prior to the pandemic, the membership team evaluated their past performance and made the decision to adopt a new process, one where more time was invested in developing a more in-depth conversation with prospective members to ensure we are meeting their needs.
Investing in getting to know our new members has proven to be a much better methodology than the more transactional process of years past. Since implementing the process in early 2020, recruitment grew by 68 percent, compared to 2019, despite the economic downturn from COVID-19.
The Chamber has long been concerned with delivering value to our members, helping them engage in meaningful Chamber activities, and educating them on how deeply ingrained the Chamber is in their community.
The response to this change in direction has been well received by our members. The Chamber has an affinity for serving small businesses, with nearly 60 percent of our members operating with fewer than 50 employees. Working to uncover their pain points and unique challenges allows us to adjust our advocacy efforts as well as to create refreshing functions to help meet their needs.
When asked directly why our members join the Chamber, responses vary, with most mentioning growth, visibility and credibility.
Jacqui Hodde, VP of Business Development for Texas Best Signs, a family-operated sign company employing just four employees, shared her thoughts on why her company joined the Chamber.
“For us, it’s not just about business, it’s about relationship,” she said. “Being an Ambassador has helped me learn and grow in my understanding of the business community.” She also mentioned that her direct involvement has resulted in several business transactions with other members.
Another example of how the Chamber met a member exactly when needed is Sarah Holland of Team Combat, a combat-themed entertainment venue with six employees. When Team Combat joined the Chamber, Sarah told her husband Aaron, “Let’s join the Chamber to network more,” but as she became more engaged, she came to appreciate the giving nature of the Chamber team, leading to her desire to spend more time giving back. Sarah immediately saw the benefit of joining the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee, which afforded her direct access to Chamber family newcomers through ribbon cutting celebrations.
As we look forward to the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the Membership Team will continue to educate those exploring ways to grow and engage with other business professionals in the largest and most experienced pro-business advocacy organization in the San Antonio region.
Investing in membership with the Chamber is one of the best ways a business can ensure our community continues to be prosperous. If you are seeking ways to grow your business, brand, or network, reach out, and let’s visit. Contact Joe Kampa, Vice President of Membership, at 210-229-2163.