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What is a chamber?

A chamber of commerce is a voluntary association whose membership is comprised of companies, civic leaders and individual business people. Our Chamber was founded in 1773 and has a mission to initiate, advocate and empower our region to advance a prosperous business environment.  With the support and input of our membership, the Charleston Metro Chamber serves as the collective voice of the business community, and a catalyst for regional economic advancement and member success through Talent, Government Relations, Leadership and Business Development.

Is the Chamber connected to a local or state government?

No. The Charleston Metro Chamber is not operated under a government or municipality. It is a 501(c)6 organization incorporated under the laws of the State of South Carolina. A chamber of commerce is a voluntary association whose membership is comprised of companies, civic leaders and individual business people.

What area does the Charleston Metro Chamber cover?

As a metro chamber, we serve businesses in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Why do businesses join a Chamber?

Membership in your local chamber offers numerous benefits and keeps business leaders like yourself on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within your community and local marketplace. Not only that, but research points out that consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local chamber of commerce. It’s true! According a research study by The Shapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street Services, when consumers know that a small business is a member of their local chamber of commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future. Not only can membership make your business look more credible in the eyes of the community, but your membership has many other perks. For example:

  • You increase your visibility in the community. As a Chamber member you are listed in our directory, you are able to advertise to fellow members through us and we share your news through our website and social channels!
  • Grow your network! We have numerous events throughout the year of varying types, there is definitely something for everyone.  From social gatherings to leadership development programs, there are hundreds of ways to make connections when you are a Chamber member.
  • You gain a voice in government. Do you have a full-time lobbyist in the State House advocating for a healthy business climate? You do if you’re a Chamber member.
  • You have access to members-only discounts and services. As a Chamber member, you can take advantage of several member discount programs that have the potential to positively impact your business’ bottom line. Not only that, but throughout the year, we hold many powerful events that only members can access.
  • Customer referrals? Yes. Customer referrals. Every day, people call your local chamber or go to your local chamber’s website looking for potential vendors, and both the chamber and chamber members typically recommend chamber members. Plus, if you aren’t a member,  you aren’t in our member directory.
What is the difference between Charleston Metro Chamber and other chambers?

Our region is fortunate to have many wonderful business associations and Chambers. When you really look at it, all Chambers have a similar core mission. That mission is to support the business community in the area that they serve. Our Chamber is a regional chamber, meaning that we serve the entire region rather than a specific town, county or group. Our Chamber is also a relatively large Chamber, with more than 1,600 member organizations representing approximately 160,000 professionals. Because of our size and our regional focus, our Chamber is able to focus heavily on our work in government relations and education. We have a full-time lobbyist who works in Columbia each day of the legislative session, advocating on behalf of our region. In 2017, we received our third consecutive 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and in 2018, we were named Chamber of the Year in the Metro Chamber Category by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). If you aren’t sure which organizations you would like to join, we encourage you to speak to current members and Chamber team members to find out if our Chamber is the right fit for you!

What are the different levels of membership?

We have many options for membership. Our basic membership is the Executive Business Partner. Some members find that they would like to invest at a higher level.

Are there any required commitments?

No. You aren’t technically required to do anything upon joining (except pay your membership dues). However, we strongly encourage you to engage with the Chamber and your fellow members. Simply put, what you get out of chamber membership is directly relative to what you put in. Chambers plan events so that its members benefit. Only by participation can a business get their maximum benefit. However, no…we will not come knocking on your door and chastise you for not coming to enough events!

How many of my staff members are included in my chamber membership?

ALL OF THEM! All of your employees can take advantage of the benefits of membership, which includes attending events, leadership development programs and joining Charleston Young Professionals.

What is Charleston Young Professionals? What ages are included?

Charleston Young Professionals (CYP) was created as an arm of the Chamber to attract, retain and develop young professionals in the Charleston Region. CYP members are typically between 21 to 40 but…we don’t card. As a Chamber member, all young professionals in your organization are eligible (and encouraged) to join CYP!

Does the Chamber do things for small businesses?

Absolutely! More than 80% of our members are small businesses. We offer a variety of services and programs with small business in mind. Research indicates that chamber membership stimulates business-to-business commerce in the local community. Other businesses in town are more likely to do business with you and your company if you are a member of the Chamber. Because a major part of a small business typically comes from business-to-business services, it is essential to maintain a positive standing within the local business community.

Local Area Chambers- Can I only attend events near my home or business?

Members are free to attend any Local Area Chamber event they choose. Local Area Chamber events are designed to give you easier access to the Chamber. By creating local hubs of Chamber activity, we ensure that you have monthly programs or events that are within 15 – 30 minutes of your home or your workplace. We are also able to focus programming on issues that are more specific to each area. We accomplish this through relying on a local steering council, made of up business leaders representing the community they serve. However, if you see an event that interests you- we encourage you to attend!

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