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How To Handle Renewals During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Many chambers have been in touch with us since COVID-19 concerns transitioned to a crisis, and the question of how to handle renewals has been top of mind across the board.

Chambers are in a tough spot. You have the same concerns about incoming revenue that other businesses do.  Your organization has financial obligations, including taking care of your team. But you also know your members are going through what may be the toughest test of their businesses that they will ever experience.

A chamber is supposed to be a source of support and assistance. With so many of your members struggling, is it the right time to be asking for money?

While there are no perfect answers, you can rely upon past experiences to help make decisions that will be in the best interest of your members and your organization.

Take wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters, for example. Many communities have persevered through these difficult times, and chambers led the way.

Yes, this pandemic is different, and only time will allow us to know just how different. But, what’s not different is human nature. And in crises, the majority of people try to do the right thing.

Chambers should also do the right thing. This is not a time to drop members. It’s a time to demonstrate that there is strength in numbers. It’s a time to show that when everything else seems uncertain, the chamber is steadfast. And, that when times are tough, the chamber doesn’t turn its back just because a business can’t write the check.


We think this tough time calls for a more proactive approach to invoicing and communicating with members who are in renewal limbo.

Messaging is critical right now to communicate that your chamber values its members, understands the situation they are facing, and is continuing to work on their behalf.

Here’s our suggestion on three message points that should be included on your invoices, for now, and for as long as this crisis continues.

1. Express the Chamber's appreciation for the member’s support of both the community and chamber.

  • Example: We appreciate your support and hope we can count on you and (business name) continuing to help the chamber and community.

2. Demonstrate an understanding that, for some businesses, the timing may not be right to renew right now. Encourage communication and ensure the member that they will not be cast aside.

  • Example: While your membership investment genuinely makes an impact, we understand that the timing may not be right. If that’s the case, please tell us, and, we will work out a solution.

3. Reinforce how the chamber, in times of uncertainty, is a resource to the community and businesses.

  • Example: Additionally, we have compiled resources for businesses on our website that we believe you will find invaluable (include URL)

Calling on invoices that have not yet been paid should be handled more as a means of checking in on your members and making note of where each one stands moving forward. When things begin to normalize, you will have the foundation to initiate a meaningful dialogue for re-engagement.

It’s not easy right now for any of us. But we cannot reinforce enough that we are here to help. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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