The Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) recognized The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce as the 2011 Indiana Chamber of the Year. Shelli Williams, President of the Indiana Chamber Executives Association, announced the award to the membership during the Annual Governor’s Luncheon held yesterday in Bloomington, Indiana.
“The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce stands strong as a leader with a commitment to moving the business community forward,” Williams said. “It is an honor to present this award to the members of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.”
The Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award recognizes organizational excellence in chambers of commerce and provides a unique benchmarking opportunity to assess organizational strengths. The award is based on the U.S. Chamber’s accreditation process for local chambers and highlights accomplishments in the areas of leadership/governance, finance, advocacy and membership development. Applicants are individually reviewed and scored by a panel of judges comprised of chamber professionals who reside outside of the State of Indiana.
Chamber President & C.E.O. Christy Gillenwater commented, “We are so proud to be named Indiana Chamber of the Year because this award is the highest compliment that ICEA can give. We were in competition with chambers from across the state, but Bloomington stood out because of our tremendous board leadership, dedicated volunteers and engaged members. “
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce celebrated a banner year in 2010. The organization revamped its approach to membership and the results exceeded expectations. The new tiered dues structure was introduced to nearly 134 new members joining in 2010. In addition, retention rate remained higher than the national average for chambers of similar size.
The Chamber also made it a priority to stay on the leading edge of social media and technology by not only embracing these innovations for marketing and public relations efforts, but also by educating the business community on how to utilize the new technology.
“Not only did we grow our presence on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, we exposed the Chamber’s upcoming events to more than 130,000 Facebook users through the pay-per-click advertising offered,” explained Gillenwater. “With Twitter, The Chamber has positioned itself as the ‘go-to resource’ for business news and advice with nearly 500 followers.”
In addition, The Chamber also initiated inBizCafe, a new portal offering a robust platform that can change the way businesses search and receive information to help with growth. inBizCafe connects local entrepreneurs and business owners with targeted resources they need to succeed. The site focuses on assisting the hottest business growth areas – entrepreneurial and small business companies.
Gillenwater continued by saying, “All of these emerging technologies that The Chamber embraced in 2010 serve different purposes, but also complement each other by providing outlets for dialogue with members, promoting Chamber members, and helping increase exposure for the Chamber on search engines and online in general.”
Advocacy is a primary function of The Greater Bloomington Chamber. Each year, advocacy goals and priorities are set through a strategic planning process with most of The Chamber’s advocacy positions enhancing commerce within the community and region. The Advocacy Division includes dozens of member volunteers that help The Chamber reach set goals. One sample of a very successful advocacy initiative that The Chamber implemented in 2010 was a community-wide initiative to encourage healthier lifestyles through public policy and environmental change. Through the Chamber’s two designation programs – Healthy Business Bloomington and Green Business Bloomington – the organization has elevated its leadership in these two areas.