Robins Regional Chamber Guarantees Benefits for Engaged Members

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce is so confident that members who actively engage in its programs will realize meaningful value, it recently issued a money-back guarantee. Any member who follows the Chamber's recommended guidelines for attending events and meets stated criteria but is not satisfied after one full year of membership may receive a refund of their membership dues.

"We want to publicly declare our confidence in the value we offer our members," said Robins Regional Chamber President and CEO Morgan Law.

"The early response from new and prospective members has been very favorable. People are pleased and impressed we are standing behind our membership."

According to Law, active membership in the Chamber offers opportunities to connect with potential clients, vendors, consultants and other business partners, as well as educational programs of interest to business owners.

Building a Member Marketplace
In another recent effort to enhance member benefits, the Chamber launched Member Marketplace, a feature on the Chamber's website – – that enables members to offer deals, respond to requests and promote their business for free.

Anyone in the region can take advantage of deals offered on Member Marketplace, but only Chamber members can sell on the site. In addition, anyone can submit a request for specific services and the system will connect them with members providing those services.

"We modeled our Member Marketplace on a similar feature offered by the Greater Raleigh, NC Chamber of Commerce. Their site features more than 400 offers from chamber members," Law said.

"We're starting small. We have about 20 offers out there today and as the number of offers grow, we'll promote the site more on social media."

Rebuilding the Chamber
Law joined the Robins Regional Chamber about two years ago. Previously, he held the position of Executive Director of the Houston County Development Authority in Warner Robins, Georgia, for more than 11 years. He also served as a professional Congressional staffer and worked in retail banking.

"Membership in Chambers of Commerce across the country dipped in the recession. It's an elective expense for businesses," Law said.

"Our membership dropped from 1,200 in 2006 to 900 in 2014. Those numbers affect everything we do."

Over the past 18 months, the Chamber has focused on reworking its membership structure. According to Law, the Chamber conducted focus groups with businesses at every membership level to understand what they wanted from their membership. As a result, a very complex membership dues system was simplified from more than 50 different levels to just seven.

"Eighty percent of our members have less than 10 employees. Dues for those members are $300 per year whether they are engineers, surgeons or shoe salesmen," Law said.

At higher membership levels, sponsorship opportunities are included in the annual dues. Members know upfront that their names will be part of specific events such as a golf tournament or legislative breakfast. At the highest membership level, members can send their employees to any Chamber event at no added cost.

"We don't want to nickel and dime our members. Their support and participation is so valuable to us. After making this change, we've gone from one Cornerstone member – our highest level – to six so businesses appreciate the value," Law said.

The Chamber also continues to refine its strategic plan. According to Law, the Chamber board will soon work with a professional consultant in a facilitated session to determine what the Chamber is doing well and what needs improvement.

"We continue to rebuild the Chamber into a vibrant and strong organization. While we are internally focused now, we will turn the lens externally once we have a more robust organization so that we can have an even greater impact on our community," Law said.

More information on the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce is available at


About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.