Those members whose membership renewals come up in March will have seen that the Board has increased its annual fees. Increasing fees is never popular and the Board has attempted to hold its fees for the last number of years as our province slowly climbs out of the recession that started in 2009. In order to hold fees the Board has had to reduce expenses and cut our staff. While this allowed the Board to weather the same economic storm that much of our membership was facing, it is clear that we can no longer continue to deliver the level of service our members expect at the current membership rates. At our December 2013 Town Hall meeting we heard from our members that our Board needs to be more vocal in policy and international trade issues and those who attended supported a rate increase in order to accomplish these important objectives. And so that process now begins.
Chambers of Commerce have two main revenue streams-money raised through events and membership fees. As our Board strives to continue to provide critical membership events that allow our members to network, increase their business profile in the community and thereby realize the value of their membership, we must also look to our membership fees to fund the addition of communications and policy staff that will allow the board to continue its important advocacy functions. Our membership fees have lagged behind many of our neighbouring Chambers for a number of years, particularly Mississauga and Oakville. Our new rates will ensure that the Board will be able to continue to provide value to our membership through advocacy, networking and professional education events.
When one considers that even the increased rates are less than a 1Ž4 page ad in our local newspaper, we ask our members to consider that there is no better use of marketing dollars to connect with almost 900 businesses in our community. Our monthly Tradetalks publications reach almost 8000 businesses in Brampton which means that members can, through some of the most cost-effective advertising available, improve their profile in the community and attract business. There are many benefits of membership in the Brampton Board of Trade – our increased rates will make us more competitive with other local chambers and allow us to improve those services that allow our members “to be heard, be seen and belong”.
Please also keep in mind that the Board offers a flexible monthly payment option when members use their credit card to renew. Spread out over 12 months, your annual membership rate provides your business with a cost-effective way to connect to other businesses. Please feel free to contact our CEO Steve Sheils at SSheils@bramptonbot.com or myself at email@example.com should you have any questions concerning your new membership rates. Our new membership rates are now listed on our website.
Chair, The Brampton Board of Trade