The arrival of Spring is always filled with budding energy, limitless possibilities, and the beginnings of new growth. We positioned ourselves for capacity building last fall in order to make good on the promises from our strategic plan, and we are beginning to see those seedlings sprout.

Initially, we reorganized the Chamber office and staff in order to bring on an administrative assistant for operational processes, which allowed our existing staff the ability to sharpen our focus on member impact, advocacy, and economic ecosystem initiatives. This was done intentionally in order to create space for room to grow into those plans.

Additionally, we started identifying ways to ensure we could strengthen our member retention efforts to keep our Chamber strong, responsive, nimble, and adaptive to our membership. At the heart of any association group are relationships, and the Chamber is no different. Those relationships and historical details can be difficult to share with committee members, staff, and our board of directors if there is not a comprehensive place for that information to reside, live, and grow. Therefore, after extensive research, we are implementing an internal CRM (customer relationship management) tool.

This comprehensive tool will allow the Chamber to better understand a business or organization and the interactions they have with us and will help us to better serve them for years to come. With an integrated place for everything to live, staff will have a clear overview of a member in one place and will be able to see how it has grown or changed. What this means for you is through data, we can get to you information that is important for your business at the right time, in the right way. We can also take that aggregate data and use it to advocate on behalf of a particular industry.

The new CRM will make sponsorships and billing more efficient and streamlined for both members and Chamber. It will also give members more power, access, and control of their profile with us. No more calling or emailing and waiting on a response and update – folks will be able to access an event and register for it in real-time, or update their contact information or business summary with the Chamber more easily than ever.

Finally, this tool will allow the Chamber to continue to work collaboratively in the most adaptable way possible. Uniting all of our current systems and processes that are siloed and spread out, this CRM will bring them all together, making it efficient, effective, and responsive to our members’ needs. This allows our staff to be out visiting your business, or talking about your business, or advocating for your business, and ultimately growing a stronger more empowered business community.

Much like the new sprouts that Spring brings, we are excited to be part of the growth of the Chamber and the Athens Area business community.


Dani Underhill, President