FAQ for Members and New, Would-be Members

 

How many members do you have?
615

What types of membership do you have?
Most memberships are based on number of employees the company has.  There is a sole proprietor membership with no employees, an associate member that is a non-profit with no employees, and a multiple member, where an employer has multiple locations.

Why should I become a member?
In the era of email, social media, and texting, local chambers of commerce may seem like dinosaurs. However, these business organizations remain one of the best ways to network with other entrepreneurs in virtually any community.  The Intuit Small Business Blog asked a few small-business owners how they’ve used their chamber memberships to grow their operations. Based on their experiences, here are five ways that any company may benefit from joining a local chamber.

1. Solve business problems. “I needed a tarantula for a photo shoot, and I couldn’t find one anywhere,” says Jeremiah Miller, Forging Leaders. “I called my chamber, and within an hour they had found a local tarantula handler for me.” Of course, your need doesn’t have to be as unusual as a scary arachnid. Perhaps you have a client who seeks a particular service that’s outside your expertise. Your chamber of commerce membership could help to quickly put you in touch with a potential subcontractor.

2. Learn something new (or act as an expert). Most chambers of commerce host free educational seminars for members. Says Joan Laubach, CSP Financial Group, “Starting next month, I will be hosting a monthly ‘Lunch and Learn,’ with topics covering retirement-planning strategies, tax issues, and other financial information.” Serving as a teacher can establish you as an expert to other members; when they need products or services that fall within your skill set, they’ll likely call you first.

3. Receive discounts from other members. Many chambers offer discounts to members, and developing relationships with colleagues also typically results in lower prices. “As a member of [our] chamber of commerce, you have the option to submit your businesses product or service via the weekly Friday email blast that goes out,” says Erren Robateau, Recycle Group. “Unlike Groupon, you are not required to share any revenue with the chamber that you may make from the offer.”

4. Get free press. Most chambers publish a newsletter and/or other materials for their members and the community-at-large. This can provide a forum getting your name out there. “The chamber has a monthly newsletter with a page dedicated to news from member companies. I try to send in press releases on a regular basis to get that additional free exposure,” says Christina Zila, Textbroker International.

5. Raise your profile. Lynn Hood, Crackerjack Marketing says, “I have been an active member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber for the past several years, with the key word being active. Rather than attend the regular networking lunches, I participate on committees and volunteer my services. This allows me to meet executives at big companies — who are my targets — and talk with them in a non-pitching environment. They also have a chance to see my ideas and contributions. This high visibility with the chamber staff keeps me top-of-mind, should they know of a business that is looking for marketing providers.”  Tim Parker, a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

Who is eligible to join?
Anyone is eligible to join, however individuals may not be eligible for certain benefits, such as health insurance, that are eligible for small businesses.

How do I become a member? 
A membership application is available online.  However, you can come in to the office and fill it out with us.  

How much does it cost to join? 
Most of the membership dues are based on number of company employees.  The other three membership levels are based on type of business.

Is an annual membership based on a calendar year? 
GOACC membership year goes from July to June.  Membership dues however, can be prorated or on a calendar basis on your preference.

What’s the best way to contact the membership office?  
Stop in!  We would love to help answer any questions you may have and introduce you to our staff.  The Chamber office is 120 North Union Street, Olean.  Also, our telephone number is 716-372-4433 and our email is member@oleanny.com.

What are your office hours?
Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Do membership rates change each year?
The rates do not change each year.  GOACC however placed a 3% increase on rates in 2015.  The rates hadn’t been changed since 2005.

How do I get a new membership card?
Once a member joins, a member packet is delivered which contains member cards and decals.  On renewal, a member card is sent with the member directory.

Are membership dues tax deductible?
Your Chamber investment is tax deductible as a business expense.

How do I make installment payments?
Your company can sign on as an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly payments.

What are your membership benefits?
Your member folder will contain copies of all the benefits for Chamber members.  The benefits are also available online.

Do you offer any membership discounts?
Yes, as a Chamber member, there are many discounts: member to member discounts, Chamber event booth discounts, networking event participant discounts, and discount theme park tickets.

I have a question that hasn’t been addressed by your FAQ.  Whom can I contact? 

Meme Yanetsko is our chief operating officer.  Her contact info is 716-372-4433, ext. 16, email meme@oleanny.com.