‘Listen and Deliver’ Key to Chamber Success

Dave Kilby

In my opinion, a key component of success in the chamber business could be summarized as “listen to your members and then do your best to deliver for them.”

The “listen and deliver” action steps are definitely key strategies for many mission-driven chambers. They find out what problems and challenges are facing their members and then take appropriate actions to address them as dedicated problem solvers.

This “listen and deliver” focus has also long been an important component of our W.A.C.E. programming.

Data Center

Years ago, when our members wanted more information about industry norms and best practices, we responded by becoming much more data oriented as an organization by conducting regular surveys and opinion polls.

As a result, we have the answers when asked questions like these below (and many more), including the salary info included in the “Snapshot” on page 1:

• How many chambers are engaged in workforce development?

• How many chambers raised dues in 2022?

• How many chamber CEOs got a bonus last year?

• What chambers have a 501(c)(3) foundation?

Podcast Info Nuggets

Another example of W.A.C.E. “listening and delivering” is our Chamber Leadership podcast. A few years ago, members would regularly ask for short nuggets of information on trends and best practices that could be shared with their staff and board leaders. Our podcast was started to try to address that need. We have now released our 100th episode and the good news is that all our podcasts are archived and available for you to listen to or share whenever the need arises.

Board Basics

The latest result of “listening and delivering” is our new Board Basics page (featured as the lead article in this Insider issue).

For years, I’ve been doing Chamber Leaders workshops several times a year around the West. Members who attended the workshops regularly asked us to have content that they could share with board members who couldn’t attend in person. The new page is loaded with content and three great videos with chamber board members as our target audience.

Members’ needs and challenges can definitely change, so instilling “listening and delivering” into your chamber’s culture is, in my opinion, essential, if you’re going to be relevant.

Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber