Here at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, we focus on 8 central ideas of how we can support our members: Networking, Visibility, Growth, Advocacy, Savings, Education, Credibility, and Community.
Expand your business network exponentially through the Chamber. Through our Member Directory, Networking Events, Development Groups, Committees, Sponsorships and more, there are so many opportunities to meet and form relationships with your fellow local business owners. Chamber membership also allows you and your business access to participating in local events, volunteer opportunities, and local leads and networking groups.
Leads & Networking Groups
The Chamber has several affiliate business groups under our fold, including the Ottawa Business Builders (OBB), a networking and leads group, the Greater Ottawa Area Networking Group (GONG), a networking meet-up, and the Personal and Professional Women's Development Network, a networking and business issues group for professional working women in the Ottawa area. These groups provide a chance to get acquainted with your fellow businesses in the area and to offer and receive support when needed. OBB and GONG require Chamber membership to join, and the Women's Development Network strongly encourages it.
Business Before & After Hours Events
Business Before/After Hours are a monthly event for Chamber members hosted by a different Chamber member each month. These events are casual, fun opportunities for networking and socializing, including food, drink, and entertainment provided by the host. They also serve as excellent promotional events for Chamber businesses to make themselves known in the area. Becoming a host for a Business After/Before Hours is absolutely free; all that we ask is that your business provides food and refreshments.
Pictured: Our Business After Hours event hosted and sponsored by Tangled Roots Brewing Company on 3/15/22.
Being a member of the Chamber increases your visibility in the community in multiple ways. We promote your online presence, provide special Member Spotlight opportunities like Member Mondays and Ribbon Cuttings, celebrate your business milestones with you, provide sponsorship opportunities, and refer your business to inquiring consumers.
Do you want to get the story of your business out there? Contact us and schedule a Member Monday! Member Mondays are short, 60-second videos that consist of you telling the viewer what your business is all about. We'll come record and edit the video for you; All you need to do is talk! Check out some of our past Member Monday videos here.
Ottawa Area Chamber Ambassadors Group & Ribbon Cuttings
Our Chamber Ambassadors are a talented, dedicated group of individuals that serve as advocates of the Chamber to the wider community, educating, sharing, and promoting the benefits that come with being a Chamber member. Ambassadors are also in charge of helping welcome new businesses to the area and helping commemorate milestones for local businesses. They play an essential role in member recruitment, communication, and retention, assisting with meetings and annual events as well as attending ribbon cutting ceremonies.
No matter what kind of change your business is celebrating, the Chamber wants to help celebrate it with you! As a Chamber member, you have access to request a free ribbon cutting for events such as opening a new business, moving to a new building, or just rebranding your existing business. Our Chamber Ambassadors will help celebrate your change with a ribbon cutting, and your success will be posted all over our social media. We also invite local press to these events.
Pictured: 1st Anniversary Ribbon Cutting at Heartland by Hand with the Ottawa Area Chamber Ambassadors. 5/20/22
The Ottawa Area Chamber receives phone calls and requests on a daily basis for information on local restaurants, businesses, and events. We respond to these inquiries with referrals to our members only, and encourage our members to also refer their fellow chamber members when asked similar questions. We are proud to refer our members to first-time visitors or even long-time residents of the area.
As a Chamber member, you will not only receive your own directory page linked on our website, but you will also be able to have your business promoted on our social media pages and shared into various community groups. We also offer advice and assistance in regards to streamlining your social media presence and making the most of your online visibility.
Part of the Ottawa Area Chamber's mission is to support and encourage growth for our member businesses, both individually and collectively. We do this through local shopping campaigns, promoting member events, supporting city economic development ventures, and referring our members opportunities and programs for growth. We also work together with our members to encourage new business talent, new employees, and new residents to the area. We also provide a landing page for volunteer opportunities in the local area; if you are part of an organization or know an organization in need of volunteers, please contact us to be added to the list.
Pictured: The Ottawa Area Chamber's inaugural Commercial Property Open House Tour, held in conjunction with the City of Ottawa and the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS®. At least two local businesses were able to lease new office locations from this event. 4/20/22
The Ottawa Area Chamber fights for our members and the business community. We pay attention to changes in local policy and share relevant information, advice, and opportunities with our members. The Ottawa Area Chamber Staff are always available to answer questions about Chamber membership and discuss general business issues. We also represent our member's interests in meetings with the city and other local government.
Chamber Committee Groups
Chamber members have the opportunity to serve on various committees throughout the year and make their voices and opinions heard on things like planning events, membership services, and changing local and state policy. We want to do the best we can for our members, and we want your input on how we can best provide that care. All Chamber members, regardless of level, also have the opportunity to serve on our Board of Directors if elected.
The Ottawa Area Chamber saves you money by actively referring and advertising on your behalf! We also create advertising materials (in moderation) for our members such as e-blasts, social media content, and physical advertising. As a member, you also have the ability to offer and receive discounts from your fellow members. Not to mention your annual membership dues can also be deducted from your taxes as a business expense!
Our email blasts go out to over 1,000+ contacts from all over the local area! Every business gets one free e-blast upon joining, with every e-blast after that costing $50.00. Nonprofit businesses get one free e-blast per month!
We know the business world is always growing and changing, and that you're growing with it. That's why the Ottawa Area Chamber offers access to development workshops, educational seminars, and resources to our members. We also are always willing to seek out resources and training upon request, so don't be afraid to reach out for help.
We are always striving to provide the best resources and opportunities to our members. Events like our Annual Dinner in May, our Golf Tournament in the Fall, and our various Lunch & Learn Workshops are all available for our members to take advantage of and make new connections, learn a new skill, or just enjoy. We are also always taking suggestions for new events and workshops that could benefit our members.
Becoming a member of the Ottawa Area Chamber shows that you are a staying presence in the Ottawa community and that you care. We're not just saying that, though; According to a study done by The Schapiro Group, 44% of consumers are more likely to think positively of a business that is involved in their local chamber, and 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods and services from that company in the future.
Pictured: Executive Director Jeff Hettrick visits the Reddick Public Library to help celebrate the beginning of National Library Week on 4/4/22.
As a member-oriented, community focused organization, the Chamber aims to uplift our members in such a way that it benefits the Ottawa area overall. This includes involvement in local events such as the Walk to End Alzheimer's, the Ottawa Family Pride Fest, Scarecrow Days, the Farmers Market, the Wine & Art Walk, Third Fridays and more. As a Chamber member, you will receive opportunities to participate in and support these events as well, leading to increased visibility and positive association in the community.
Pictured: A crowd watches the performances at the Ottawa Family Pride Festival, 6/11/22. The Ottawa Area Chamber helped sponsor the event, solicit volunteers, created a downtown merchants map and assisted with event organization.
...And much, much more!
These are only a few of the many benefits that come with being a Chamber member, and we are always searching for new ways to better support our members. Have an idea? Give us a call or shoot us an email! We'd love to hear from you and find out how we can grow more together.
Questions? Give us a call at 815-433-0084 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.