Virtual Reference Desk

Need contact information for someone you just heard about? How about ideas for fundraising? Want to know which chambers have developed apps for mobile devices? Let ACCE answer the who, what, when, why and how questions you have on the job. Expect a reply within 24–48 hours. This is a free service for members.

Use our contact form and make sure your question goes directly to who needs to see it.

Frequently Asked Questions

My chamber is considering a merger - what other chambers have merged?

Email [email protected] for a contact list of chamber CEOs who have performed successful mergers and acquisitions.


Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce (Md.) - West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce and the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce


Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce (Idaho) - Boise Metro Chamber and Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau


Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (Ohio) - Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce


Capital Region Chamber (N.Y.) - Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber and the Chamber of Schenectady County 


Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce (Maine) - Caribou Chamber of Commerce and the Central Aroostook Chamber; Related samples


Envision Greater Fond du Lac, Inc. (Wis.) -  Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, Inc. and the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation


Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (Calif.) - La Quinta, Indio and Coachella Chambers of Commerce and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians


Indy Chamber - Indy Partnership, Develop Indy, and Business Ownership


Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (Va.) - Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Region 2000 Business and Economic Development Alliance


Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce - Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Zeeland Chamber of Commerce


Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce (S.C.) - Mount Pleasant Chamber and the Mount Pleasant Business Association


Northern Medina County Chamber Alliance (Ohio) - Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce and the Valley City Chamber of Commerce


OneZone (Ind.) - Carmel Clay Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated and Fishers Chamber of Commerce, Inc.


Shoreline Chamber of Commerce (Conn.) - Guilford and Branford Chambers of Commerce


Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce (Mass.) - Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, Inc. and Springfield Chamber of Commerce


Stateline Chamber of Commerce (Ill.) - Rockton Chamber of Commerce and the Roscoe Area Chamber of Commerce


Tri-Village Chamber Partnership (Ohio) - Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce


United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce (Texas) - Hispanic and Corpus Christi Chambers of Commerce

I need the presentation handouts for the 2017 Sales Training Conference.

2017 Sales Training Presentation Handouts

I need the presentation handouts for the 2016 Sales Training Conference.

I need the presentation handouts for the 2015 Sales Training Conference.

2015 Sales Training Presentation Handouts

I want to watch the prior years 60 Membership Ideas in 60 Minutes webinar recordings.

I want to learn more about Government Relations Committees.


A government relations (or advocacy) committee is a group of chamber business members that advise the board on adopting public policy positions and assist with advocacy efforts. 


Government Relations Committee samples 

Public Policy samples 

Government Relations and Public Policy Chamberpedia page 


A Government Relations Committee provides a forum for chamber members to track, research, and discuss important public policy issues. The committee should be viewed as an advisory group that develops public policy position recommendations for the board of directors to consider. The committee should draft positions that are consistent with the organization’s values, principles and policies as established by the board of directors. 
Government Relations Committees vary in size with anywhere from 8 to 25 members. Committee membership may be open to all chamber members in good standing or restricted to members at a specified dues level. Members are often selected by the committee chairman and approved by the board of directors. Public sector members may be barred from serving on the Government Relations Committee. 
The committee is led by a chairman who is usually a member of the chamber board and often serves on the executive committee. The chairman is the primary advisor to the board of directors on public policy issues. 
Government Relations Committees may have subcommittees that focus on a specific policy area (i.e. energy policy) or on a specific level of government (local, state or federal). 
Government Relations Committees may have regularly scheduled meetings monthly, quarterly or semiannually, but they should able to assemble quickly should a particularly pressing policy issue arise. Some meetings may be open for any chamber member to attend. 


Primary Functions 

The primary functions of a chamber Government Relations Committee are: 

  • To monitor, analyze and prioritize public policy issues which impact chamber members and the greater business community. 
  • To recommend to the executive committee and/or the board of directors, policy positions regarding local, state and federal legislation and proposed regulations. 
  • To prioritize issues that may require special attention by the chamber. 
  • To prepare plans of action for the chamber staff and volunteers to participate in the government, community, business, media and other arenas to achieve action on the policy positions adopted by the chamber. 
  • To assist the chamber in developing and maintaining positive relationships with local, state and federal officials.

I would like to see examples of retail market studies.

2017 Downtown Retail Assessment - Greater Des Moines Partnership (IA) - Prepared for the Greater Des Moines Partnership in conjunction with Capital Crossroads, the City of Des Moines, and the Urban Land Institute.


Study sees potential for new shops, restaurants in downtown Kalamazoo (MI) - A Downtown Kalamazoo Retail Market Analysis was commissioned by the City of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in partnership with Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.  


Downtown Las Cruces Partnership (NM) developed the Downtown Las Cruces Retail Market Analysis 


The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership (OR) and the City of Hillsboro partnered to conduct a Downtown Hillsboro Retail Market Analysis 

Do you have examples of workforce training centers focused on technology and jobs of the future?

Chambers are partnering with city governments, local community colleges, corporations, and other agencies to establish workforce development centers focused on technology. 



Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.) - Partnered with the City of Joplin, Crowder College and Workforce Innovation Board to develop the Advanced Training & Technology Center. The Center offers workforce training and business incubation; Crowder College offers customized training opportunities for area businesses. Read more here.


Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce (Md.) - Partnered with Jane Addams Resource Corp. and the city to create a Workforce Development Center with a focus on computerized machine tool skills and others "expected to be in the future in advanced manufacturing."


Robins Regional Chamber (Ga.) - Partnered with the U.S. Air Force to create the Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace, which "will provide quick reaction and qualification capabilities for new technologies and processes in a non-production environment; training capabilities for advanced technology equipment and processes; and cross-discipline collaboration space to share ideas and interact real-time in a fast-paced and dynamic environment." Read more here.


Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce (Iowa) - Partnership with the local community college and many other local organizations makes job training programs and facilities readily available for specialized production training at the Technologies Training Center.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) - The Chamber plans to expand the tech ecosystem by convening local chambers  with business, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders. Has working groups such as the Autonomous Vehicle Working Group, articles such as, Can Tech Create Enough Jobs to Continue the Recovery?, and statistics on AI and other tech industry topics.

I need some resources on amending bylaws.

Like all board bylaws, chamber board bylaws will require revisions and amendments. These resources provide the background and general process information for revising bylaws.



Amended and Restated Bylaws - Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce - Amended and restated bylaws of Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce for the merger of the Mount Pleasant Chamber with the Mount Pleasant Business Association.

Bylaws - OneZone, Inc. - Amended and restated bylaws of OneZone, Inc., formerly known as Carmel Clay Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated, following a merger with Fishers Chamber of Commerce, Inc.



The Balance: Learn About Bylaws for a Nonprofit - an overview of bylaws, including reporting changes to the IRS on Form 990.

Blue Avocado: Bylaws Checklist  - offers guidelines on creating bylaws and briefly mentions revisions.

BoardSource: Bylaws 101 - includes a section on Amending Bylaws.

For Dummies book: Robert's Rules for Amending Bylaws - guide to amend bylaws, step by step.

GrantSpace: What are nonprofit bylaws? Where can I find samples? - gives guidelines on reporting amendments and links to more resources and samples.

Venable LLP: The 15 Most Common Nonprofit Bylaw Pitfalls: How to Avoid the Traps – offers guidelines on bylaws amendments and revisions.

Westside Toastmasters: Robert's Rules - Chapter 20 and provides clear information on amending bylaws.



Resources from chamber membership pro and consultant Cathi Hight.

Cathy Hight is an ACCE partner and expert membership consultant. Links to her free resources are listed below.

Video blog posts, some highlights:

Membership articles


I need examples and guidance on how to manage ribbon cutting events.

Ribbon Cuttings are poignant events marking a business grand opening, reopening, or other momentous event. Ribbon cutting ceremonies are popular chamber events for chamber members, with chamber and local officials, chamber board and ambassadors or volunteers in attendance. The event is symbolic with the cutting of a ribbon suspended across an entrance.


Do many chambers offer ribbon cutting services?

It is very common for chambers of all sizes to hold ribbon cutting services to member and non-members in their business community.


Do they charge extra?

Some do and some do not - the typical charge is between $100-200 if a chamber does charge. Some charge non-members and include the service to members free-of-charge, or waive the charge at a specified membership level.


Are there best practices for ribbon cutting services?

Below are some examples of chambers that offer ribbon cutting services and some have tip guides outlining expectations, roles, and responsibilities.


Are there any pitfalls/challenges that should be considered?

Chambers that successfully manage ribbon cuttings clearly spell out roles and expectations of chamber staff and ambassadors. Successful chambers also have a dedicated staff member managing ribbon cutting applications. This avoids creating unmet expectations or fumbled events with disappointed business members. The below are good examples of ribbon cutting event management.


Chamber Examples

See all Ribbon Cutting Samples in ACCE's Samples Library. 


Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce (OR)

Columbia Chamber of Commerce Chamber (MO)

Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce (MI)

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce (MI)

Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce (IN)

Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (NC)

Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce (KS)

Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce (KS)

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (SC)

Richfield Chamber of Commerce (MN)

Do you have samples and guidance on Member Surveys?

Articles & Tips

American Society of Association Executives (ASAE):


SurveyMonkey: Guide to Writing Survey Questions Like a Pro 

WildApricot: Getting Started with Online Surveys


See all Member Survey Samples

See all Member Exit Survey Samples

  Member Priorities Survey - Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce - This survey seeks advice from members to help the chamber make choices that will best serve members over the next five years.

Member Survey Exit Interview - Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, Inc. - Former members are often in unique positions to provide Chamber staff and Board members with valuable information. This exit interview is provided to former members to clarify their reasons for dropping their Chamber membership.
Young Chamber Membership Survey - Brownsville Chamber of Commerce - This membership survey was used as a resource to educate the chamber of the expectations and needs of its newest membership tier and committee, Brownsville Young Chamber.

Related Topcis

Also see the Net Promoter Score Chamberpedia page

How can my chamber remove a disruptive member of the board?

Removing a board members can be a fraught process and can have legal implications. According to BoardSource, it is best practice is to have a provision that details how to remove a difficult board member in your bylaws. It is easier to point to an established process when you have a particularly difficult individual who needs to be removed. The below resources consistently suggest several steps before resorting to impeachment by board vote.

Four Ways to Remove a Board Member - from Blue Avocado. Describes specific language the board president can use to request a resignation.

How to Properly Remove a Nonprofit Board Member - from Board Effect. Recommends consultation with an attorney to avoid legal issues.

How to Remove a Nonprofit Board Member - from NonProfit Hub. Recommends impeachment by board vote only if all else fails.

How To Fire A Toxic Board Member - from Joan Garry Consulting. Discusses steps to secure allies and buy-in during the process of removal.



Bylaws - Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce (ID) - Section 7 addresses board member removal with specific procedure. 

Amended Bylaws - Indy Chamber (IN) - Board member removal addressed in section 3.5.

Amended and Restated Bylaws - Dallas Regional Chamber (TX) - Removal of board members in section 3.9.


Click here for more Bylaws resources.

Click here for Conflict of Interest samples.


Are chambers still holding business expos and trade shows? Are they profitable?

Chambers are still holding Business Expos and Trade Shows, but may offer more “bang for the buck” by combining them with procurement/job fairs, motivational/networking speakers, and awards shows.


Has your chamber checked with your key members through a forum, focus group, or a member survey about improving or changing your Expo? Member and sponsor feedback is vital to the success of events to keep them fresh and interesting. One point from ACCE’s Events Conference (Oct 2017) is that you have to keep your regular events renewed with new elements to bring in the attendees. Something special, something new, something different (like a new theme, contest, raffle, etc.) will keep the interest high. Many chambers fall into the “same old same” with their regular, on-going events. Have fun and jazz it up, and definitely get feedback from your members on the Trade Show/Business Expo. 


ACCE VP of Member and Sponsor Relations, Chris Mead, also gave this excellent advice:

If the chamber measures precisely how much time the annual expo takes, the important question to answer is: is it still profitable?  Most chamber events are not profitable. In the case of an unprofitable event, simple cancellation may be enough, if 1) other profitable activities can be substituted for the time involved, or 2) the labor involved in the task is dismissed. The second option can be difficult in the short term but good in the long term. Still another option is to grow the event, marrying it to something like a gala dinner. An expo might take place from 3:30 to 6:00 pm and the dinner from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Attendees may not go to both events, but the dinner would insure that some big sponsors would step up and sponsor the whole day.  Both the expo and the dinner might have extra attendance from people who ordinarily would not attend.


Key Resources


I need the presentation handouts from the 2017 Events Training Conference.

2017 Events Training Conference Presentations & Handouts (Atlanta)

I need the presentation handouts from the 2016 Events Training Conference.

2016 Events Training Conference Presentations & Handouts (Louisville)

I need the presentation handouts from the 2015 Events Training Conference.

Are there examples of chambers who have changed their membership model to include an a la carte feature that is inclusive of non-members?

 A La Carte Membership Model

The Lancaster Chamber (PA) made headlines in January 2017 by moving away from a traditional membership model. They shifted to a new investor model of membership that opens its business services to nonmembers in an  à la carte fashion. This model allows for flexibility and inclusiveness of nonmember businesses. Read more in these articles and presentation:

To find out more about the process and results of the Lancaster Chamber's switch to an à la carte model, contact Lancaster Chamber CEO Tom Baldridge:

[email protected]


Here's what CEO Tom Baldridge had to say in response to questions about the new model.

1. How did you implement the new model? 

It was a two-year facilitated process that began with looking 15 years into the future, creating the ideal community/chamber and working back from there.

The process invited us to think differently about everything we did and to assess the impact of trends on our future. 

While there are obviously many more details, the actual implementation of the change occurred over a 15-month time frame.  From January – March 2017, members were given the choice to renew as a member or to come on board as an investor (a form of tiered dues). We offered a special promotion wherein companies would be forever called “charter investors” if they came on in those early months. From April 2017 on, renewing members were signed on as investors.

As expected, we have seen an erosion of members/investors in the conversion. The new model accounted for fewer members/investors but a greater market to sell our other products and services (since it was no longer member-exclusive). That part of our expectation has come to fruition, as well, but not as strongly as we had hoped.

2. What have the results been?

Mixed. In retrospect, there was a lot we did wrong in the roll-out, particularly with messaging. The overwhelming lesson learned was that the vast majority of companies don’t give a damn about our business model….they just want to know what we’re doing. Our biggest roll-out error was in constantly trying to explain the new model, not the new – and better - impact it could have on a business.

To be clear, however, we are staying the course. And are continuing to adjust along the way.


More Examples

Other chambers are offering  à la carte and customizable packages as part of their tiered membership models:

  • Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce (CO) - No matter which investment level a business may choose, events, programs and services are available on an  à la carte basis to enrich any level of membership.
  • Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce (WA) - Organized membership and benefits in a tiered dues structure with six tiers, a “Friend of the Chamber” membership and á la carte options.
  • West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (CA) - Tiered structure wherein members can opt for a benefits package from an à la carte menu better tailored to their needs & matters. 

Where do I find my Member ID? Your ACCE webinar registration forms are asking for this information.

You can look up your Member ID number by following these steps:

1. Login with your Username and Password. If you don't know it, request it here or email Lydia Mugga at [email protected].

2. Click on the Menu button (upper right) and choose "Profile Update" to view your contact information, professional interest areas, and your member ID. Or, from the same Menu, you can choose My Account. From there:

2a. Choose "My Membership" and then select "Change My Username and Password". Your ID number, name and login information will appear. From here, you can either return to the menu choices or continue on to review/change your username and password. 

3. Still need help? Email [email protected].

How do I update my Chamber's information, including my chamber's staff, that you have on file for me?

Instructions for Updating Chamber Information:

1.)    Login to with your Username and Password (if you don't know it, click here to have your login information emailed).
2.)    Click on Menu at the top of your window display, next to the Search box.
3.)    Select My Account from the Menu drop down. 
4.)    From here you can Update your Chamber Staff, view events you have registered for or items you have purchased, view My Membership details, change your login and password, and more!

I’m getting a “page cannot be displayed” message when I try to access the ACCE website.

If you have recently installed a free antivirus software called AVAST on your computer, you may have trouble logging in to or accessing portions of the ACCE website. Here are a few simple steps to correct this issue:

  1. Open the AVAST main menu and select Settings.
  2. Click on Active Protection.
  3. Click on Customize next to Web Shield.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Enable HTTPS scanning.

You should now be able to successfully log in to your ACCE account.

Still need help? Email [email protected]

How do I find or change my username and password for the ACCE website?

Current members can click here to obtain their usernames and passwords.

If you already know your username and password and would like to change it, follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Account and log in with your known username and password.
  2. Click on "Your Membership", then click on "Change My Username and Password", next click on the "Change It" link next to your login name, and then enter your new login information as desired.
  3. Press "Submit Changes" button when finished.

If you need assistance, please email Lydia Mugga, our Database Administrator, at [email protected].

I'm a CEO and want to know what resources are available to me and my staff through my ACCE membership.

CEOs, please use ACCE's My Account self-service menu items to access your chamber's ACCE Membership Profile, UPDATE Your Chamber's Staff, UPDATE My Chamber Information, get details on My Membership, see My Chamber's Activity, and more. Additional Chamber Membership information is available and lists the variety of benefits in your ACCE Membership. For specific membership questions, call (703) 861-9382 or email Dana Ketterling at [email protected].

We need information on how our Chamber can become an issuing body of Certificates of Origin.

ACCE's Chamberpedia page Certificates of Origin specifically addresses this and provides numerous resources. Here are few starting points:

How do I access items I have purchased in the ACCE Store, such as downloadable survey reports, PDF files, and eCourses?

Click on Log In and enter your username and password.  Click on Menu and select My Account.  Click on Online Products Purchased by Your Employer.  You will see a list of items purchased by you and others at your chamber.  You can download or access an item by clicking on the title.  

I've heard about ACCE's Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) program. Where can I learn more and find out about applying?

Please visit our page Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) for complete details including Eligibility Requirements, CCE Timeline, Application Process, and FAQs. You can also learn more through this recorded webinar, Earning Your CCE (October 11, 2017), available through ACCE University. Download the October 2017 presentation slides here

Where can I find resources, photos, and session recordings from ACCE's Annual Convention?

#ACCE18 -- Join us in Des Moines, Iowa from July 17-20, 2018

Click for:

We also post Convention handouts and materials to the appropriate Chamberpedia pages so that ACCE members will have access to previous Convention resources.

What is a chamber of commerce?

Review Chambers of Commerce: The Basics, which was created to explain the roles of chambers of commerce to those new to chambers.

How many chambers of commerce are there in the United States?

As of September 2017, according to the World Chamber of Commerce Directory, there are roughly 6,973 chambers in the United States and 575 in Canada. This includes chambers of all types. Additionally, there are 294 Foreign Chambers of Commerce Abroad and 105 U.S. Chambers of Abroad. These numbers can change month to month. Please visit the World Chamber of Commerce Directory to obtain up-to-date information or to purchase the annual chamber directory. Additional directories are found through the World Chambers Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce directory.

How do I start a new chamber of commerce?

See the U.S. Chamber's comprehensive Guide to Starting and Growing a Chamber of Commerce (pdf, 2017 edition).

See this guide to starting an association by Robert C. Harris of The Nonprofit Center - How to Start an Association (pdf). Visit the Nonprofit Center site for more resource downloads.

For accompanying information on successful chamber leadership and management, download ACCE's Toolkit on Making Your Chamber Make a Difference and explore the Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025

I'd like information on chamber staff and CEO salaries.

ACCE’s Operations and Salary Surveys are now combined into one powerful platform – Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking. Members can access both the Operations Survey and the Salary Survey (restricted access to CEO members or their delegates – contact [email protected] for any access requests) through the platform, 24/7. Data is easily added and reports, comparisons, charts, graphs, and downloads are quickly obtained with customized benchmarking options and filters specific to your chamber. Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking is FREE for members to access and all participants receive data and downloads for free. In Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking, the Operations Survey section provides chambers with information they can use to establish comparisons and benchmarks with similar chambers of commerce; the Salary Survey offers members the most accurate and reliable compensation information for the chamber industry.

For more on current Operations and Salary Survey publications, including membership stats and CEO salary & benefits stats, visit the page on Working with Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking.

Where can I find data to benchmark and compare my chamber with other chambers across the country?

ACCE’s Operations and Salary Surveys are now combined into one powerful platform – Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking. Members can access both the Operations Survey and the Salary Survey (restricted access to CEO members or their delegates – contact [email protected] for any access requests) through the platform, 24/7. Data is easily added and reports, comparisons, charts, graphs, and downloads are quickly obtained with customized benchmarking options and filters specific to your chamber. Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking is FREE for members to access and all participants receive data and downloads for free. In Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking, the Operations Survey section provides chambers with information they can use to establish comparisons and benchmarks with similar chambers of commerce; the Salary Survey offers members the most accurate and reliable compensation information for the chamber industry.

You can also also purchase a copy of the FY 2016 Operations Survey Report publication, showing 5 year trends and analysis ($199 for members; $250 for non-members; FREE for Horizon Investors).

For the Membership Statistics report (a section of the Operations Survey report with only Member Stats) is available either through Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking with your chamber's customized comparisons or download the free mini publication.

Do you offer Professional Development courses?

Yes, ACCE University ONLINE offers courses taught by chamber professionals for chamber professionals in an easy-to-use, anytime, anywhere format.  Click here to learn more about ACCE University ONLINE.

Do you have recordings of your past and current webinars?

Yes! ACCE webinars are free to attend.  Click here for a list of upcoming webinars.
If you want to see a recording of a past webinar, you can look at our course catalog of recorded webinars here.  These are also free to watch!

We are rewriting our personnel manual. Do you have any samples?

See examples of personnel policies and employee handbooks on the Personnel Policies Chamberpedia page. See also the U.S. Chamber Best Practices for Accreditation site: Look under Human Resources and then at the Personnel Policies listed.

What do I need to know about using social media?

ACCE has a white paper for chambers just starting out with social media.

Below are some samples of social media use policies:

Also available is the handout from the social media session at the 2014 ACCE Convention, "Using Social Media to Gain New Members."

Be sure to look at our Chamberpedia page on Social Media for more resources.

I'm looking for sample position descriptions.  Do you have any?

In the ACCE samples library, you will find position descriptions for many of the most common positions at chambers.  Click here to browse the different job titles.  Click on the position title to view or download the position description.

Help! I'm a brand new chamber CEO.  What do I do now?

Resources for new CEOs, and CEOs wanting a re-boot!

A sampling to start with:

Chamberpedia pages with more resources:

Resources on furthering professional development:

Suggestions to broaden and deepen your knowledge:


I’m new to working with non-profit boards. What resources can help me get started? 

View the webinar on Building a Stronger, More Effective Board, presented by RaDonna Hessel, CEO, Grapevine (TX) Chamber of Commerce. Link to presentation slides here.

Review the resources from the Governance and Leadership Chamberpedia section specifically on boards.

Check out BoardSource, Bridgespan Group, and the Robert C Harris Nonprofit Center for more board-specific management ideas.

View the book list on boards in ACCE’s Bookstore. These can be purchased through the links provided or visit your local library.

Read the article How to Be a Better Nonprofit Board Member from Stanford Business to apply the fundamentals of corporate governance to charitable work.

Is my chamber board required to share all operating documents with members? 

Answer provided by the U.S. Chamber Foundation IOM Blog posting on Transparency in Associations by Bob Harris, President of the Nonprofit Center

"Last week a member of the board of directors gave his meeting packet to a local chapter president. It included the parent organization’s proposed budget, roster of dropped members, and confidential contract proposals. When asked why, he said, “We’re a nonprofit, we have to share the information with members.”

It is true there are regulations for public governmental bodies that facilitate openness and transparency. These laws are often referenced as “government in the sunshine,” “open records,” and “freedom of information.”

Among private sector associations, chambers, and nonprofits, the requirements are different. The public records for associations and chambers are generally the IRS Information Return, IRS Letter of Determination, and the IRS Application to be exempt from federal income tax. State laws may prescribe additional public records. Acceptance of public or governmental income may affect requests for information."

Read more in this policy sample

See also this IOM Blog, Discover the Many Fiscal and Financial Benefits of Embracing Transparency

Is our chamber required to provide Executive Committee minutes to the full Board? 

Full question: Are we in error by not providing Executive Committee minutes to the full Board? And even if it is not typically done, does a Board Member have the right to ask for and read Executive Committee minutes?

Answer: In most states, the Board of Directors has the authority to view minutes of all committees, including the Executive Committee. That does not necessarily mean that the Executive Committee must "push out" those minutes with the Board members, but there is a general right that a director is entitled to access to such records. There may be very limited exceptions, such as where the minutes are of an executive session and the director who wants to view the minutes has a potential conflict of interest.

This gives rise to a larger issue that is, that each state generally vests total authority for running an organization with an organization's Board of Directors. While an organization may also have an Executive Committee that acts with the power of the Board, the Executive Committee generally is not viewed as superior to the Board; usually it is the other way around.

Finally, note that many states (including DC), allow members of a nonprofit corporation to view meeting minutes and other records.

Find more answers to your board and governance questions in the Governance & Leadership section of Chamberpedia, located within the Information/HERO portal

The information above was provided by George Constantine, an attorney in the Associations Practice Group of the law firm of Venable, Baetjer, Howard and Civiletti, LLP, Washington, DC. He can be reached at [email protected].

What is the right size for a chamber board?

Is there a standard list of industry codes to classify chamber members? 

We suggest using this subset of NAICS codes which can be tailored to meet the needs of your chamber. 

I'd like Membership Retention rates for chambers across the country.

For membership retention rates and other membership statistics, access ACCE's survey platform – Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking which combines the Operations and Salary Surveys into one powerful benchmarking and statistics system. Members can access Membership Statistics through the Operations Survey section in the platform, which is available 24/7. Complete the Operations Survey section and go to the Reports tab where you can download either a full Operations Report, or just the Membership Statistics report. Reports are customized to your chamber and you can quickly view your percentile ranking in the reports.

Members can also download the free Membership Statistics report mini-publication (which contains only the Members Statsa section of from the full Operations Survey report).

Additionally, ACCE has a Membership Management Chamberpedia page which will also link you to our resources on Membership Retention, Sales, and more. 

I need some help managing my volunteers.

Check out our Volunteer Management Chamberpedia page for information, resources, and links.

What revenue sources are available to chambers? 

I'm not sure if my chamber is doing enough in economic development.  I'd like some resources on this.

Check out our Economic and Community Development Chamberpedia page for information, resources, and links.

I want to know who has done __________ before?  Who has experience with __________________? 

ACCE's Networks are a fantastic resource. Join one of our many groups on and ask your peers!  We have groups for all ACCE members, communications, membership, Young Professionals, and many more!  You can also search these LinkedIn groups by clicking the Search tab when you are on the group’s page. ACCE's Divisions also provide great peer-to-peer opportunities and some Divisions have their own specific LinkedIn groups. Sign up for an ACCE Division in your interest area today!

If this doesn’t answer your question, call or email our virtual reference desk, Ask ACCE.

Tell me about ACCE.

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) is a national association uniquely serving individuals involved in the management of chambers of all sizes. (What is a Chamber of Commerce?) ACCE's mission is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. The organizational vision is that ACCE is the organization of choice for chamber professionals. ACCE was established in 1914 and our mission is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. Read more about ACCE here.

Our goal is to empower chamber executives with a combination of knowledge, information, networks, connections, and career advancement.

How do I join ACCE?

Contact Dana Ketterling at (703) 861-9382.

How much does it cost to join ACCE?

Our membership dues are based on your organization’s operating budget.  If you receive government funds, we ask that you count 20% of received government funds towards your total operating budget.  Here are links to dues schedule for chamber memberships, affiliate memberships, international memberships, and associate memberships.

Our CEO is retiring. What should we do?

Visit the Hiring and Assessing CEO's Chamberpedia page and download ACCE's Hiring Toolkit, a document that will walk you step-by-step through the search, interview, and hiring process for a chamber CEO. 

Visit our Chamberpedia page on Succession Planning or see more Succession examples from the ACCE Samples Library. Once at that page, click on each link to take you to the page where you can download each file. 

Here is a link to Robert Harris' web resources on CEO Performance. Click on the link for "CEO Transition Plan" to download his perspective on CEO succession. You might also find the document, "Choosing a Professional CEO" to be useful to your board.

ACCE also has a 35-page book on Succession which is available through the ACCE Store. Members will need to login with your username and password to download the e-book.

What are some samples of dues structures and membership applications?

ACCE has numerous resources on Dues structures. Start by visiting the Chamberpedia page on Dues Models, part of the Membership Management section. We have specific examples and models on the Fair Share Dues page and the Tiered Dues page.

We have even more examples of Dues models and Sample Membership Applications, as well as Membership Campaign examples in ACCE's Samples Library.

Guides on dues models include:

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Let ACCE answer the who, what, when and why questions you have on the job.  This is a free service to ACCE members.  Call 703-998-3524 or email [email protected] and expect a reply within 24-48 hours.
You can also click on Ask ACCE and fill out this form to be sure your question goes to the right person at the ACCE office.

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