The Buddy System: Chambers Supporting New Year’s Health Resolutions
It is often said that the key to sticking to your New Year’s resolution is using the buddy system: enlisting a partner to support your journey and report your progress to. In the New Year, chambers of commerce are taking on this role in their communities for members who want to support their employees’ workforce wellness resolutions. Both the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Saratoga (NY) Chamber of Commerce have announced new initiatives to boost the health of their communities in 2015:
- Along with community partners, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has unveiled a new Wellness Toolkit, in an effort to help its small business members make Iowa the healthiest state in the country by 2016. With one year to tackle this goal, the Chamber has created a business-friendly 12-month toolkit.
According to the press release, “many small business owners like the idea of helping their employees remain healthy, but don’t have enough time, knowledge, or resources to implement a program. The Get Active Wellness Toolkit seeks to remove those barriers by arming small businesses with ‘plug-and-play’ content to help them implement a wellness program within their offices.”
Each month in the toolkit represents a different health theme, from fitness to dental health. Each kit contains a poster that lays out wellness tips, facts, and resources. Employers can also download packets that contain more health facts, suggestions for activities to implement in the workplace, and daily health tips that they can email to employees.
Also found on its wellness homepage, the Partnership has created various fact sheets regarding health and fitness, compiled a directory of resources for wellness in the workplace, and even supports a mobile app that connects members of the Des Moines community who have committed to an active lifestyle.
- The Saratoga (NY) Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Blue Shield of Northeastern NY, is hosting Saratoga’s first-ever Health and Wellness Week from January 5-11. Enlisting the participation of member businesses, the event will showcase many of the health and wellness opportunities available in Saratoga, with the goal of inspiring the community to live healthier in 2015.
Throughout the week, member businesses will help create buzz and excitement around health and wellness by offering a wide range of workshops, classes, discounts and seminars. These mini-events are designed to help community members explore new health and wellness products and services. Examples include mineral water tours, free fitness classes, mini facials, and cooking classes.
The Saratoga Health and Wellness Week was the brainchild of the chamber’s new Health and Wellness Committee, which is charged with expanding the chamber’s already expansive initiatives to make Saratoga one of the healthiest communities to live in.
For more information on how chambers are helping create healthier communities:
- Visit the Workplace Wellness and Community Health Chamberpedia Page to learn how chambers support childhood obesity prevention, corporate wellness, and access to healthcare
- Download the Workplace Wellness Communication Briefs to disseminate to members and broader community to explain how businesses can support healthy communities and healthy economies.
Withstanding Forces of Change
Today some chamber executives worry about whether their institutions can withstand the forces of change. A look at the past may give you some clues as to just how much chambers can handle. See this blog of an article by ACCE’s Chris Mead on the site of ACCE official corporate partner Accrinet.
International Trade Resources Now Available
The HERO team has added a new page on International Trade to Chamberpedia’s Economic and Community Development section. We’ve compiled related chamber services, programs, reports and publications, as well as federal trade resources, including research and statistics. We'll be adding to this page in the coming weeks, so please take a look and let us know at HERO@acce.org if your chamber has a program in this area that you’d like us to feature!
The Facts Are In: Evidence-Based Policymaking Works
Policymakers today face tough budget and policy choices that affect the outcomes they can deliver for citizens. By using "rigorous evidence" to inform these decisions, policymakers can achieve better results by funding public programs that are proven to work. "Rigorous evidence" is data from programs that has been evaluated multiple times and found to be reliable by using rigorous testing methods such as randomized controlled trials and statistically controlled evaluations.
New Mexico has become a national leader with its sophisticated evidence-based approach that measures the costs and benefits of public service programs to improve policy and budget decisions. Since state policymakers began partnering with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in 2011, they have a clearer picture of the value of taxpayer investments and they can direct resources to the most effective programs. By using the Results First model, New Mexico has:
- Helped inform legislative funding decisions to direct $49.6 million to evidence-based programs that will deliver high returns for New Mexico residents.
- Shifted funds from ineffective programs to alternative programs that analysis shows will improve outcomes for citizens.
- Compared the long-term costs and benefits of critical programs in adult and juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and substance abuse, and early childhood.
In a Sept. 17 letter to the director of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce said "The goals of Results First are aligned with many of the Chamber's policy priorities, including transparency and accountability in government, fiscal responsibility, reducing crime and recidivism, and improving education and child welfare outcomes. Because of this alignment, the Chamber's Board has voted to approve an official position supporting Results First."
New Mexico legislators continue working closely with the state's Sentencing Commission and Corrections Department to support ongoing criminal justice reforms and to explore effective means for reducing crime at lower costs. The same approach will be used in other policy areas such as juvenile justice, behavior health, and public education. Details of the New Mexico experience are available in a new 12-page report, "New Mexico's Evidence-based approach to Better Governance," by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. It highlights next steps for using the Results First approach and how other state policymakers can benefit from it. The report also offers insights from New Mexico's experience and key considerations for using the approach.
With Results First, governments can reduce wasteful spending, expand innovative programs, and strengthen accountability. For details about building a system of evidence-based governing, see Evidence-based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government from the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. This 25-page report explains five key components of evidence-based policymaking:
- Program assessment. Systematically reviewing available evidence on the effectiveness of public programs.
- Budget development. Incorporating evidence of program effectiveness into budget and policy decisions, giving funding priority to programs that deliver a high return on investment of public funds.
- Implementation oversight. Ensuring that programs are effectively delivered and are faithful to their intended design.
- Outcome monitoring. Routinely measuring and reporting outcome data to determine whether interventions are achieving desired results.
- Target evaluation. Conducting rigorous evaluations of new and untested programs to ensure that they warrant continued funding.
Results Available From New QuickPoll on the Chamber Professional
ACCE's HERO division has released the latest QuickPoll results about the Chamber Professional. Thanks to the nearly 500 participants who answered five questions about their chamber experience and professional goals, and provided a slew of interesting comments! Here’s a look at a couple of the questions and responses:
How likely is it that you will be working in chambers in 2025? Nearly a third of respondents plan to retire by 2025.
Pick the most important change your chamber must make for you to consider your current position a dream job: 40% of respondents want a higher salary.
For questions or more information about this QuickPoll, please contact HERO@acce.org. For more on ACCE's Surveys and Data, including QuickPolls, view our Research Overview page.
Addressing Poverty and Economic Disparity in Center State New York
CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO), which houses the CenterState Chamber of Commerce, recognizes the growing need for economic support in its twelve county region in New York State. Although the region’s average wages are on the rise, the U.S. Census Bureau reports tens of thousands still living in poverty in urban, suburban and rural areas alike. Backed by a commitment to driving and sustaining economic growth, CenterState CEO hopes to bring the community together to increase wealth and improve quality of life for all.
In an effort to inform their work, CenterState CEO identified a community to watch in the effort to bolster their region through economic inclusion: Cleveland, OH. In an open event in Syracuse on October 24, titled Building Equity – Lessons from Cleveland – How to Connect Growth and Opportunity, key leaders from Cleveland shared their history and progress in securing a vibrant future for their community. The event welcomed between 80-100 attendees, representing civic, business and community leadership from across the Center State region.
Natoya Walker Minor, Chief of Public Affairs with the City of Cleveland and Brian Hall, Director of Inclusion with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, each shared their perspective on what key things were happening in each of their areas before the public and private sectors came together to develop a policy around community benefit agreements.
Cleveland has gone on a journey over the last 14 years since the community first marshalled around the concept of tracking and increasing diversity on boards and among senior management, workforce and supplier networks. What began as more of an awareness effort, has gained buy-in from the business community and has blossomed to include more emphasis and programming around how to get the work done.
In a recent interview, Brian Hall noted that the commission was formed “because several business leaders were prepared to make a commitment for the region and did so publically and through their own organizations”. Hall sees this as a key recommendation for Syracuse and the CenterState region. His advice is to encourage not only the civic and community leadership to buy in, but that the core support of these efforts needs to come from the business leaders. Stating, “The question on success doesn’t ride on the process, it rides on the demand. And the demand comes from those that are doing the hiring and the purchasing”.
Cleveland’s commission began as a collaborative of 26 businesses, but now includes 120 companies, organizations and institutions – which they have committed to growing to 300 in the next five years through their new strategic plan. While there remains work to be done, the needle has certainly begun to move and Cleveland can serve as a positive example for work in Syracuse and beyond.
Main Street Makeovers for
Small Business Saturday
To commemorate year five of Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, five Main Streets across the country—in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, New York City and Chicago—will receive makeovers from professional fashion and interior designers. In Washington D.C., American Express commissioned renowned NYC-based designer Sheila Bridges to work with local businesses and give a special makeover to P Street NW in Georgetown.
This year marks the fifth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010, and it’s now part of the holiday shopping trifecta with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Participating P Street NW businesses in Georgetown include:
- Little Birdies, 3236 P Street NW
- Wedding Creations/Anthony’s Tuxedos, 3237 P Street NW
- Just Paper & Tea, 3232 P St NW
- Ella-Rue, 3231 P St NW
- P Street Gallerie, 3235 P Street NW
Other Small Business Saturday events in Washington, D.C.:
Adams Morgan: ShopSmall Street Art by Aniekan Udofia
American Express commissioned DC-based artist Aniekan Udofia (Facebook, Twitter) to create a Shop Small mural to celebrate the local small businesses that make D.C. unique. The mural is located at 2423 18th St NW (map), which is where Adams Morgan will host its STAY CALM and SHOP SMALL activities on Small Business Saturday. Images of the mural can be found on Dropbox.
Union Market: ETSY Trunk Show at Salt & Sundry with Mallory Shelter Jewelry
American Express and Etsy have teamed up to encourage small businesses to discover and showcase local artisans in their community by hosting local Trunk Shows in their stores on Small Business Saturday The Washington, D.C. event will be held at Salt & Sundry (1309 5th St. NE) with an in-store party in from 4-7 p.m. The event will feature Etsy seller Mallory Shelter, complimentary food and drinks, music by a live DJ, and an on-site photographer. More details available on Eventbrite.
Local governments face a slow, uphill battle for recession turnaround
Expanding on a 2013 publication, Pew Charitable Trusts has released a report exploring local governments' slow recovery from the Great Recession. According to the report, Recovering From Volatile Times, more than half of the 30 major U.S. cities reviewed saw governmental revenue decline from 2011 to 2012, double the number from 2010 to 2011. Although nine cities had surpassed their pre-downturn revenue peak in 2011, four of them fell back below that level again in 2012.
Decreased property values has had a staggering impact on these numbers, as many localities face collecting lower property taxes. Many cities saw property tax revenues hit their low point several years after the housing crisis, as the process for valuing homes, assessing taxes owed, and then collecting them takes time.
As many federal assistance programs hit their expiration date, cities face the road to recovery with decreasing support. State funding also has scaled back dramatically, placing a higher burden on local governments, which are already tightening their belts. In Phoenix, for example, a $201 million loss in intergovernmental aid amounted to 10 percent of the city's total revenue in 2012.
Not all cities saw year-over-year losses from 2011 to 2012 though, as Boston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, New York and Seattle exceed their prerecession revenue peaks mostly due to gains in sales and income taxes as well as increased charges and fees. Minneapolis was able to gain benefit from large construction projects - the city approving $1 billion in residential and commercial projects in 2012. Cities that collected sales and income taxes saw an average rise in sales tax of four percent from 2011 to 2012 and an income tax increase of three percent.
Spending cuts and cautious investments were also a theme from 2011 to 2012. Overall spending fell in nearly half of the 30 major cities reviewed, and those that did increase only did so by an average of two percent. With weak revenues forcing low levels of spending, some critical services remain in jeopardy. Half of the cities cut public safety spending, with six reporting the lowest level of spending in that category in six years.
While the report focuses on 2012, many cities are still struggling to reach prerecession levels for both spending and revenue. The effects of the weak national recovery are still impacting local governments, but with the housing market on the rise and declining rates of unemployment, there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Need Membership Stats, Salary Survey info, or Operations Survey details? Find it all in ACCE's Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking
Is it time for your chamber's annual reviews, board retreats, strategic planning or annual reports? Find metrics to benchmark your chamber's performing using ACCE's new survey platform Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking. The system is FREE to ACCE members and you can access it 24/7, 365 days per year.
When you first login to DCB, you will see a “splash” or intro screen. Simply click “Close” at the end of the splash screen and you will be launched into the platform where you will see the survey sections for Chamber Profile (required data) and Operations Survey. There is also a Salary Survey section that is open to CEO members or their delegates. CEO's can email permission to HERO@acce.org.
Start by reviewing your Chamber’s data in the Chamber Profile and complete any questions which are blank. The Profile section is required. Note the fiscal year you are working with. Currently the system is defaulting to FY2013. For immediate reports and comparisons, you will want to use FY2013. We did just open up data entry for FY2014 which you can now enter at any time, and those reports will be available in the early new year.
After you’ve updated the Chamber Profile, review and update all the sections under the Operations Survey and in the Salary Survey. Note the fiscal year you are working with. There are several new questions to answer in all of the survey sections. The Salary Survey has been expanded to include Senior Staff, Mid-Level, Sales Staff, and Support Staff, in addition to the CEO.
If you participated in previous surveys, your data was migrated. In the Salary Survey, only the CEO data was migrated because there are so many new questions in the survey. Please be sure to check the information for each fiscal year available. You can enter FY2014 data for those of you who have completed and audited your FY2014.
There are 2 options for viewing the results, both of which have robust filtering options for the best comparisons:
- Under “Compare Chambers” for each of the survey sections, apply the filters, and you can see your chamber’s responses to each survey question, compared to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of other participants. For Membership Statics, Revenue and Expenses, see the data under the Operations Survey. For Salary data, see the Salary Survey section.
- Under “Reports and Charts” for each survey, you can select the filters to apply, then download either the full Operations Survey Report or the Membership Statistics Report in the Operations Survey; or download the CEO Report in the Salary Survey. These reports show where your chamber stands with the calculations for revenue, expenses, membership stats, and more, compared to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. Note that we are working on building additional Salary Survey reports right now and will have these available soon!
Here are additional resources to help you get started:
- Participate now - Login with your ACCE username and password; Use Support for help in the platform
- Quick Start Guide
- Data Collection Worksheet (all survey questions)
- Research page with more info
- Email HERO@acce.org for help; We can also provide phone assistance or schedule a web meeting to show the system and answer any questions.
- View our 11/19 Recorded webinar and tip handout; View all our recordings to date.
- Sign up for the So, You Want to Apply for Chamber of The Year? Webinar on 12/4 at 3 pm Eastern. Learn more about the Chamber of the Year Award.
- Complete all the FY 2014 survey sections (Chamber Profile, Operations Survey and Salary Survey) by Feb. 27, 2015 to be eligible to apply.
Charleston Metro Chamber Wins Big for Area Schools
The Charleston (S.C.) Metro Chamber of Commerce had a lot to celebrate on Election Day. The chamber's successful Yes4Schools voter education campaign led to the extension of Charleston County’s Education Capital Improvement Referendum. Voters approved extending the referendum by 68 percent.
The Education Capital Improvement Referendum will extend a one cent sales tax for school construction for an additional six years.
Issued as a strategy to fight overcrowding in schools, this sales tax extension will help provide funding to ensure educational settings are safe, up-to-date, and conducive to learning. The referendum’s project list, which includes 35 school facilities across the district, will allow for new construction as well as the expansion of existing overcrowded facilities.
For more information see Chamber's Press Release.