If you spent any time on the Interwebs a year or so ago, you likely saw/heard the phrase “Okay, Boomer.” It was meant as a derogatory statement and used frequently by members of Gen Y and Gen Z all over Tic Toc and Instagram. It showed a dislike of following in their parents’ or grandparents’ footsteps. The memes and videos made fun of that generation for a lack of understanding and attributed much of what is wrong now with them.
In that light, chamber membership may be a hard sell to Millennials--and when they get old enough to join--Gen Zers. They may naturally see the chamber as an organization that Boomers join, not a place for young people who are taking on the world. But chamber membership makes a lot of sense for these younger generations once they understand the true reason and value behind the chamber.
The following is an article you can share with them to help convey the benefits behind membership.
If you’re a Millennial and see yourself as a future leader or entrepreneur, the chamber is not just for Boomers. You can get a lot of value from it too.
7 Reasons Millennials Should Love the Chamber
MentorshipsThe chamber is filled with seasoned professionals who can help you and guide you, once you get to know them. Many chambers have formal mentorship programs and those that don’t have countless opportunities to network and form an informal mentorship relationship with someone in your industry or desired industry.
SavingsIf you feel like you can’t afford to do nearly as much as you want to, you’ll appreciate the discounts the chamber offers you on businesses in the community. Some chambers can help on health insurance or group rates on other costly expenses.
Backing for EntrepreneursIf you would like to run your own business someday, it helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of, go to for funding (or help you find sources for it), and receive suggestions from someone who has walked that same path. The chamber can help you meet those influential people.
ExperienceAre you tired of going for interviews and being told you’re lacking leadership experience for the management role you want? If so, the chamber can help. The chamber has plenty of volunteer opportunities including ambassadorships, committee memberships, task forces, and board roles. Getting involved with the chamber can help you build that resume quickly and introduce you to the people making hiring decisions. Some chambers also have a Young Professionals Group that can help you lead in a group of your peers.
AdvocacyYou may not give much thought to the advocacy the chamber does on behalf of businesses in your community, but you would’ve if you owned a business that was shut down because of COVID. Chamber leaders have worked tirelessly during the COVID pandemic to ensure that the voice of business is being heard in regard to things like closings and funding.
Sure, you could send your own letter to your state rep or congressperson but contrary to what your poli sci professor may tell you, one voice is not as powerful as a group like the chamber of commerce, which reflects the concerns and interests of the business community.
EducationDo you have the skills to do what you want to do? Do you spend a lot of time on YouTube trying to find good videos to watch to learn new things? The chamber can help. Stop wasting time trying to find credible, up-to-date sources for information on professional development. The chamber offers classes and webinars to help you sharpen your skills.
CareerHave you considered a new career or industry? The chamber can often put you in touch with people that can help make that possible.
Also, any recruiter will tell you there’s something called the hidden job market. That phrase refers to all the jobs that are available that are never published because they are filled before that happens. Positions are often filled by someone who knows someone. The chamber can help you discover these amazing opportunities by allowing you to become someone that someone knows through networking and introductions.
We know you’re ready to take on the world and you want to cast aside anything the generations before you set forth. But chamber membership has some really incredible opportunities for about the same price per month that the coffee and avocado toast are costing you.
Not only is it a great investment in your professional development but if you work for someone right now, they may already be a member. You could be receiving these benefits at no cost to you. Contact us today or speak to your employer about membership and how you can start using the benefits immediately.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.
Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.