Pandemic Keepers: Virtual/Hybrid Meetings, Telework, Special Currency for Community

What, if anything, has your chamber implemented during the pandemic that you find to be an improvement and you plan to continue even once things return to “normal”?

Bridget Dixson
Santa Fe (NM) Chamber

The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce created the first Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico to provide the citizens of the state easy, safe and free access to the state’s governmental leaders throughout the legislative session, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with organizations and chambers across the state, the Virtual Roundhouse has been an opportunity to engage in presentation from community organizations, cabinet secretaries, and legislators in one-on-one virtual office hours.

The event has been so well-received and well-attended that we intend to incorporate a virtual component to all future legislative events to support the State of New Mexico’s access to important information.

Mark Turner
Gilroy (CA) Chamber

Several things come to mind, but the one thing that stands out is the remote work effort by some of the staff. During this period, we have discovered work can continue to be done as effectively and efficiently as prior to the pandemic.

What I can see doing more than anything is developing a modified remote work policy where we have staff in the office one to two days per week and allowing remote work the other three. The flexibility for staff will create a happier and more productive environment.

Marnie Uhl, ACE
Prescott Valley (AZ) Chamber

The Chamber’s Board of Directors moved to virtual meetings due to following guidelines issued by the local health department for group gatherings. We found that we had greater attendance by the board members since they did not have to travel.

We have resumed in-person meetings, but have also adopted a hybrid model where the meeting can be attended virtually through a Zoom link and in person. Again, we have better attendance and usually full participation by the board members.

We have adapted our board room with large televisions, microphones and cameras, which makes a Zoom meeting easily accessible to all participants. We also amended our bylaws to allow for quorums for electronic attendance.

Jim Johnson
Georgetown (TX) Chamber

Hybrid events. In the summer of 2020, we implemented hybrid events that provided attendees the opportunity to attend live or virtual.

We quickly realized that members value the content of the program as much as they do the in-person connections and will pay a fee when they believe in the program. This option will continue and has shown a revenue stream for the organization and additional member engagement.

Ailis Vann
Executive Director
Greater Palmer (AK) Chamber

We developed “Palmer Bingles,” which are a form of currency that can be spent only at chamber businesses. We gave them away as prizes for our fall raffle as well as our Christmas Festival contest winners.

The bingles have been well-received by the community: businesses purchased them for their employees for holiday gifts, spouses purchased them for stocking stuffers, and people are continuing to purchase them for other occasions. The chamber sells the bingles and then reimburses the businesses for the bingles they submit.

The bingles ensure that money stays in our economy at our locally owned shops and eateries. They are a uniquely Palmer design and we are definitely going to use them for many years to come!

Rick Lee
Rock Springs (WY) Chamber

At the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, we now have a good working relationship with our community’s health organization. We are connected to an area of business that we had not worked with much before, but found that the chamber can be a valuable asset in times of crisis.

We are now “checking in on” all businesses in the community to see how they are doing and what we can do to help. The experience has encouraged us to be more relevant and essential and to better understand our role in the community. We have had to rethink, recalculate and reset everything we do.