Throughout my career I have been a member of several Chambers of Commerce. I can remember asking myself at times if it was really worth it. I would go to all the meetings, networking events and even became an ambassador. Connector is what they called it. I made a lot of friends. Many people that I am still friends with today, over 17 years later.
In an effort to find more value and get more involved. I joined a committee. I don't really remember the name of the committee, but it had something to do with the local schools and kids. That committee made sense to me since I was owner/operator of a martial arts school that had a student base that was two thirds kids under 12 years old.
After spending several months on this committee and participating in the discussions and activities I developed several relationships. But, the one that stood out was with Stan Scheer, the Superintendent of Littleton Public Schools. It's funny, because for a long time on that committee I didn't know what his role was with the school system.
I don't really remember what sparked the conversation, but Stan and I started talking about the kids and my leadership program and other activities at my school. He then invited me to visit him in his office. Of course I went! While there, he introduced me to Shirley Trees, the Director of Elementary Education for Littleton Public Schools.
Shirley and I spent some time talking over a few weeks and she arranged for me to present to the Directors of the Before and After care programs of the elementary schools. I guess they may have voted or something, but they notified me that I could present my Stranger Danger, ABC's of Success, and Bully Prevention programs in their schools. Which we started to do immediately. Over the summer we presented to all the schools that were within a five mile radius of my martial arts business. Some of them had us do all three programs I offered.
The value of a student for me was around $2500 per year. My chamber membership was $600 per year. I really only needed one new student from that one activity to be a success. We had more than 10 times that per year. We ran that process for several years. I would say that Chamber membership was really worth it!
Sometimes we have to dig deeper to calculate the true ROI that we are receiving. We have to go beyond those initial meetings, and we have to drive several layers deep into the relationships that have been established that could have led to more business that we didn't count. Maybe we overlooked it.
The power of a Chamber relationship is the community that we create. To gain benefit from a community, we have to give to a community. Get involved with the Las Vegas Health & Fitness Chamber of Commerce and ask what you can give, before what you can get!