What is the Chamber and what does it do for me?

What is the role of the Chamber?
The Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization organized for the purpose of advancing the civic, commercial, industrial, economic, social, and general interest of the people of Cleveland and Bolivar County. It encourages the growth of existing industries and businesses, while giving proper assistance to any new firms or businesses seeking to locate in the City or County. It supports all activities believed to be beneficial to the community and opposes those which might be detrimental. It is designed to determine the needs and accomplish the goals of the business community. It serves as a legislative representative, an information bureau, and a business resource tool.

How does the Chamber operate?

The Chamber is run by an Executive Director, who is hired by the Board and is responsible for the administration and operation of the Chamber. The Executive Director directs the actions of the Chamber according to the wishes of the Board of Directors, who are elected by Chamber members and serve without pay. The Board determines policy and sets yearly goals, as established in its Program of Work. The Board consists of 19 elected members, 6 ex-officio members, and 3 appointed members who meet the first Tuesday of each month at noon. The Executive Committee meets the last Tuesday of each month at noon to prepare for the full Board meeting by obtaining reports from the Chamber staff.

How do the Chamber committees function?

The Chamber’s fiscal year begins in October of each year and runs through the end of September of the following year. Therefore, preparations are begun during the summer months for the new fiscal year. The new year’s Program of Work is established for the upcoming year. Members are given a Preference Sheet in which they can list the committee or committees they would like to serve on in the upcoming year, according to preference. It is then up to the Committee Chairs to determine how many of these members he/she would like to have serve on that committee to maintain its effectiveness. It is the desire of the Chamber to utilize its members in the best possible way to achieve its designated goals. The variety of Chamber activities is virtually unlimited and is determined on an as-needed basis. Committees are the driving force of the Chamber and accomplish the organizations goals and objectives.

How is the Chamber financed?

The Chamber operates through a budget that is financed by dues from community-minded citizens and businesses that wish to volunteer their time, money, and energy toward improving the quality of life in Cleveland and Bolivar County. The dues are assessed according to a schedule of investment based on the average employment and classification of a business. The Chamber makes payment of your dues easy, as follows:  On an annual basis due October 1 each year, or on a monthly basis by bank draft. The Chamber is also given a yearly budgeted amount from the City of Cleveland and Bolivar County.

Use the Chamber as your business partner.  Let us help you meet your needs….whether you need help with transportation, labor, sales, marketing, name recognition, suppliers, etc.  A membership in the Chamber is an investment in your future.  We can help your business grow; and, at the same time, help the community grow and prosper.  Whenever you make a business investment, you expect value for your money and you get that value in the Chamber with the many opportunities it offers.

What are some of the benefits?

Newsletters
The Chamber E-newsletter, The Scoop, is distributed weekly.  The Scoop includes information about upcoming events and an opportunity for members to advertise sales or specials.

Mailing Information
Chamber members may obtain complete mailing information of our membership, allowing you to develop a database of business prospects.  A spreadsheet can be emailed.

Business Referral Services
Each month an average of 75 – 100 referrals of Chamber businesses are given to potential customers in response to inquiries from tourists, students, the business community and the general population.  In addition, Chamber member information is included in an average of 20 – 25 relocation packets each month.  Note:  When the Chamber receives a call asking for recommendation of a product or service, our Chamber members are referred, unless no Chamber member offers that product or service.

Resource Center
Information resources are available through the Chamber:  community demographics, local/state maps and visitor information, local clubs/organization lists, major employers/industrial directory, and phone directories.

Networking
Becoming involved in chamber activities offers members opportunities throughout the year to meet other Chamber members and community leaders. 

What advertising opportunities are there?

Directory
The Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce Membership Directory is included in the “Welcome Guide” for Cleveland and Bolivar County that contains a wealth of information about our area.  The guide is distributed to hotels, restaurants, and other businesses throughout the community and is available to locals as well as visitors.

Internet Exposure
The Chamber’s website includes a business directory of our members, giving free global exposure.  Any member who already has their own website or e-mail can have it hyperlinked to their Chamber listing for free. Our website can be found at www.clevelandmschamber.com.

Member Sponsorships
High visibility and advertising value is offered to members who sponsor a Chamber event, such as Chamber Scholars (high school seniors), DSU Welcome Back Party, Leadership Bolivar County (young adult training program), Octoberfest, and other Chamber events and activities.  As event sponsors, their name is prominently displayed and promoted.  Pre-event publicity and mailings afford them broad advertising exposure at no additional cost above their sponsorship fee.

Shopping Guides, Restaurants & Accommodations Guide and Real Estate Info
These publications include information on dining, lodging, entertainment, and other services for the area.  These publications are handed out and/or mailed to thousands each year.  Members are highlighted in these free advertising vehicles.

Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings
These ceremonies, which increase the visibility of new or expanding businesses, are provided to Chamber members only.  Pre-event and post-event publicity is provided in the newsletter and listed on the community calendar.  The Chamber also sends notices (via e-mail, fax) to key city and county officials as well as Chamber members via the newsletter.

What are the different Chamber Councils?

Member Services Council
Develop and promote benefits for members; produce print and electronic materials to promote members; identify and recruit potential members; develop and produce the Membership Directory; hold ribbon cutting recognition events; improve the overall member experience.

Communications and Marketing Council
Provide members with information about the Chamber; publish monthly newsletters; increase awareness of Chamber activities to key audiences; promote the Chamber’s role in the community; market the community through events; provide press releases to the media; send email announcements with opportunities for members; maintain the Chamber website (www.clevelandmschamber.com).

Community Development Council
Take appropriate stands on issues impacting Chamber members; advocate public policy issues of importance to the business community; maintain contacts with elected officials; co-host Delta Legislative Day in Jackson each year; develop leaders through the Leadership Bolivar County Program; coordinate efforts of the Young Professionals Network; coordinate Community Calendar of Events; recruit and promote volunteers.

Economic Development Foundation Council
Recruit new businesses and work with existing industries; follow transportation issues and lobby for improvements; sponsor the annual Salute to Industry to show appreciation to our existing industries as well as our local, state and federal economic development partners; work with Human Resource Managers to focus on workforce development and exchange ideas on operations, policies, and issues; pursue training opportunities for the local workforce using Delta State University, Mississippi Delta Community College, and Coahoma Community College.

Team Cleveland/Main Street Council
Work to maintain and revitalized the downtown area; work with retailers to cooperatively promote their businesses; organize and manage Octoberfest, which draws an average crowd of 15,000 people; work with the City of Cleveland and Bolivar County to facilitate Bolivar Earth Day, a community cleanup day; work with the Tourism Council to promote Cleveland to visitors.

Tourism Council
Establish, promote, and develop tourism in Cleveland and Bolivar County; provide information to visitors and potential visitors; provide information about our area to attendees of local events; advertise and promote Cleveland and Bolivar County outside this area; host writers and visitors from around the world on familiarization tours; work closely with the Mississippi Delta Tourism Association and the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division to promote the Delta.