Chamber of Commerce

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Ever wondered about the Chamber? This brief presentation can help get questions answered for you

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  • Chamber Profile
    The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce is a tax-exempt corporation in the State of Maryland. Established in 1919, the Chamber is a private membership organization, and is recognized under Section 501(c)6 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization is led by an elected volunteer Board of Directors and a paid staff. Our work is supported by a network of committees made up from the membership. The Board sets broad policy, the Committees plan events and programs, the staff executes the overall operation. The Chamber derives its revenue from two principal sources: 1) membership dues account for 50%, and 2) program revenue accounts for about 50%. The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce is a completely autonomous member of both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in Annapolis.
    Our Mission
    We strive to be the voice of business by taking action to support business and provide opportunities for members to strengthen their business and the community. Independent of local government and subsidies, the Chamber’s Board of Directors, staff, and a network of committees work together to create policy and plan events and programs to benefits its membership. All of the arms of the Chamber can carry out their duties in an attempt to fulfill the organization’s vision and the needs of the membership.

  • With each team member having a specialized skill set we are able to provide our members the best answers to what may seem like the most impossible questions.
  • A healthy mix of Industries are represented in our membership. The Chamber prides itself on being well versed and a valuable resource to each of them.
  • The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce proves it is a voice at the local, state, and national levels for our 570+ members that represent over 39,483 employees. While our majority of our membership are based in Washington County (93.9% are Washington County based) we also welcome businesses from our neighboring areas looking to do business here. In comparison more than 3,500 businesses employ 65,704 workers in Washington County.*


    *Data cited from 2014 Economic Data Summary at the Washington County Department of Business Development
  • In 2013 the Chamber had over 4,300 professionals attend our 70+ events.

    Some commonly asked questions about our events:

    I cannot attend all the events, can someone else from my company attend for me? Yes, you can have several people listed as contacts for your company. The membership is held by the company so it covers the entire staff. Non-profits, you can include your Board members in your staff listings to have them attend for you.

    Is there an attendance policy for events? There is no attendance policy, the more you can attend the more opportunities you create to promote your company in person. For those who cannot attend events as often we still offer plenty of chances for you to promote your business too.

    Do I have to be a member to attend events? We invite anyone to attend our events, you will have a slightly higher cost to attend if you are not a member and cannot participate in giveaways at the event. We only allow non-members to attend a maximum of 2 networking events per our fiscal year (September-August), and some events may be closed to members only.



  • Washington County Business Awards (WCBA) is an event to highlight the entire Washington County Business Community. We partner with the EDC to put this event together. Think of it as the Oscars for Washington County.
    State of the City and State of the County are breakfast meetings to give you a chance to find out what local officials have planned for the upcoming year.
    Teacher of the Year- We partner with the Board of Ed to highlight teachers in Washington County going above and beyond to mold the young minds of our area.
    Just us Girls Diamond Soiree is a fundraising event for our nonprofit members to participate in. A fun night out for the girls offers chances to win several dazzling pieces of jewelry while having fun with just the girls.
    Commerce Cup is the Chamber’s Golf Tournament.
    Chamber Annual Meeting held at the end of September this is where we recap our successes for the year to the membership and reveal plans for the upcoming year. This event is only open to our members to attend.
    Economic Summit a dinner event both informative and entertaining discussing the current economic state of Washington County, Maryland, and the country as a whole.
    Minority Business Luncheon is an event to help businesses that are owned by one of the following groups: minorities, woman owned, or veteran owned.
  • Think of us as your go-to resource for whatever your business needs are. We can help connect you with new contacts, educate your staff, or inform you on the latest political news affecting the business community. While all these are valuable things any business needs, an important question we are always asked is, “Can I commit another thing to my calendar?” With over 70 events annually and countless other opportunities it can seem overwhelming that a Chamber membership might consume too much time for you to be effective in it. While some can dedicate more time to being involved in the Chamber than others we do still have ways you can be involved without adding more than minutes to your workday.
  • Attending a Learning Lunch Hour gives you a chance to learn a new skill from another Chamber member who is a local industry expert for the topic they are presenting. Sign up to be a presenter yourself and showcase your knowledge on your area of expertise. 1.5 hours per month

    Eggs & Issues is a great way to start your workday learning about issues Washington County is facing. 1.5 hours per month

    Committees give you a chance to network with like-minded professionals all working towards a common goal. We offer committees for planning Special Chamber events, Business & Education Partnership, Government Affairs, or being a Chamber Ambassador. 1.5- 4 hours per month (time depends on Committee)

    Join a Chamber Connects Group. These professional referral groups are geared towards forging stronger relationships with other Chamber members to help create more advocates for your business. 3 hours per month
  • Attending a Business After Hours gives you a chance to network with other members at the end of your workday. Relax and make some new business contacts. 1.5 hours per month

    Start your workday once a month with networking at a Morning Mixer. Meet other early risers looking to get some connections in before hitting the office. 1.5 hours per month

    The Chamber loves to recognize our members accomplishments. One way we do this is by helping them celebrate milestones with Ribbon Cuttings. Whether it’s a Grand Opening, Open House, or Anniversary we invite other members to join us in celebrating at these events. 1-2 hours per month (depends on the amount of Ribbon Cuttings that are scheduled)

    Chamber 101 is our way of making sure you are up to date on how to get the most from your membership. Take time to learn the latest the Chamber has to offer our members. 1 hour per month

    New Member Receptions are a chance for newer to the Chamber members and representatives to mingle. If you have joined the Chamber in the past year, or recently became employed by a Chamber member this is your chance to talk with others who are new to the Chamber too. 1 hour per quarter
  • All of these take little to no time for you to utilize your Chamber membership:

    Member to Member Benefits (M2M) and Affinity programs are money saving offers made by Chamber members for other Chamber members only. Save on items such as printing, web hosting, college tuition, and electricity with these offers.

    Post events and seminars your company might be hosting on our Member Events calendar. These events are advertised on our website as well as shared on all of our social media feeds.

    As a member you can place promotional materials in our Welcome Bags to new Chamber members and our Relocation Packets for those moving into the area.

    Our members have access to see how much their company is referred through our online directory. Log in and see how much exposure your listing is getting you.

    Twice a month we email out a newsletter containing articles submitted by our members. These can be articles you have personally written, or shared with you by corporate/vendors to promote your industry.

    Also included in our newsletter are Member News. This is a chance to share exciting changes in your company such as new certifications, promotions, large accounts you’ve gained, conferences you’ve attended. If you want to promote it, we want to include it.

    With over 70 events a year why not sponsor one of them and get your name out to the membership? We can work with any size company and budget to create affordable options for sponsorships.
  • In 2013 (January 1st – December 31st) the Chamber’s online directory gave out over 5 million referrals. This translates into over 13,000 referrals given out daily during this period, or on average our members gained 3,917 referrals. A Chamber membership shows you your ROI by allowing you to see the referrals generated, track performance of your profile, and access which keywords get you the most hits.
  • People love doing business with people they know, and a great way to encourage businesses to get to know you is by offering fellow Chamber members incentives to use your products and services. It’s another great way to advertise your business too. Each time you create a new offer it’s published in that month’s newsletter and is listed on the website for as long as you like. You can create several offers to cover the variety of services your business may offer too.

    Much like the Member to Member Benefits program the Chamber has partnered with its members to bring you even greater savings with the Affinity Programs. These partnerships are Chamber approved programs designed to benefit you. By leveraging the size of our membership we are able to negotiate programs that get you some of the best deals possible. For more information on these products and services please go to our website www.hagerstown.org
  • The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce while not a government agency, we are recognized statewide as an advocate for business in the public policy arena.

    The Chamber is part of a driving force for the local Lobbying Coalition which is comprised of other key influential groups in Washington County (Wash. Co. School Board, CHIEF, Greater Hagerstown Committee, The City, The County, The Library, and The Convention & Visitor Bureau)

    Our Chamber leadership meets regularly with public officials to discuss key business related policy issues. The Government Affairs Committee is comprised of members of the business community who are interested in staying abreast of legislative issues. These business leaders volunteer to work with the Chamber staff to track, analyze, and report on legislative matters deemed important to the membership, strategic partners, and the Washington County business community as a whole.
  • We connect our member businesses to each other and to the community, organizing events and providing tools that they can use to grow their business. We strive to be a go-to resource for the business community for questions, concerns, education, and advice. We are the voice for business- on a local and state level- and an influential advocate for many important issues concerning the fate of our local business community. It is our goal to use this presence to advocate for our members’ common values and needs, as well as keep our business community educated about the issues that affect them. And to that we ask that you consider becoming a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce to help build your business.
  • Chamber of Commerce

    1. 1. Background  Founded in 1919  Private business membership organization, 501(c)6 organization  Volunteer Board of Directors, Committees, and paid staff  Revenue generated from membership & programs  Member of both U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Chamber of Commerce
    2. 2. Kathyrn Gratton Director of Membership Sales Your Contact for: New Membership ~ Presentations~ Membership Committee~ Chamber Connects Donna Long Director of Operations Your Contact for: Volunteering for Events ~ Billing ~ Dues Renewal~ Planning Events~ Business & Education Partnership Committee Jill Reddecliff Director of Member Services Your Contact for: Marketing ~ Retention~ Ribbon Cuttings ~ Ambassador Committee Kendra Fritsch Office Coordinator Your Contact for: General Questions~ Registrations~ Profile Updates~ Scheduling Meetings
    3. 3.  Accounting  Advertising  Real Estate  Professional Services  Legal Services  Construction Firms  Computer/ Technology Services  Cleaning Services  Marketing Firms  Media Outlets  Restaurants  Caterers  Civic Groups  Non-Profits  Government Agencies  Schools  Secondary Education  Medical Industry  Banks  Financial Planners  Insurance Companies  Car Dealerships  Automotive Repairs  Staffing Companies  Engineering Firms  Beauty Salons and Spas  Electrical Contractors  Plumbers  HVAC Contractors  Doctors  Dentists  Orthodontists  Funeral Services  Hearing Specialists  Hotels/ B&Bs  Retail Shops  Agriculture  Employee Benefits  Travel  Pet Services  Jewelers  Manufacturers  Bio-Technology Firms  Museums  Sports Teams  Wineries  Pharmacies  Photographers  Trash Removal  Networking Groups  Emergency Services  Associations  Consultants And many many more businesses!
    4. 4. 398 66 46 27 16 Members By Size of Staff 20 or Less Employees 21-50 Employees 51-100 Employees 101-300 Employees 300+ Employees
    5. 5.  Learning Lunch Hour: Business Educational Series ~ held the 1st Tue from 11:30am- 1pm ~ located at Bulls and Bears  Eggs & Issues: Informational Series~ held the 1st Wed from 7:30am-9am ~ located at Academy Theatre  Savvy Managers Book Club: Business Book Club ~ held the 3rd Wed from 8am-9am ~ located at Kaplan University  Business After Hours: Networking Event ~ held the 3rd Thurs from 5pm-7pm ~ Location varies  Computer Tips & Tricks: Brush up on Microsoft programs ~ held the 3rd Fri from 8:30am-10am ~ located at Kaplan University  Morning Mixer: Networking Event ~ held the 4th Wed from 7:30am-9am ~ Location varies  Chamber Connects Groups: Networking Groups ~ held 2nd & 4th weeks
    6. 6.  Washington County Business Awards  State of the County  State of the City  Teacher of the Year Awards  Commerce Cup Golf Tournament  Just Us Girls Diamond Soiree  Chamber Annual Meeting  Economic Summit  Minority Business Luncheon
    7. 7. And how can I fit it into my schedule?
    8. 8.  Attend/ Present at Learning Lunch Hour  Attend an Eggs & Issues  Join a Committee  Join a Chamber Connects Group
    9. 9.  Network at a Business After Hours  Network at a Morning Mixer  Attend a Ribbon Cutting event  Attend Chamber 101  Attend New Member Reception
    10. 10.  Check out the M2M & Affinity programs  Submit & promote one of your own events  Add your materials to our Welcome Bags & Relocation Packets  Manage online referrals you receive  Add an article to the newsletter  Promote your Member News  Sponsor an Event
    11. 11. 5,056,682 Referrals 3,917 per Member 13,854 each day
    12. 12. Newsletter • Articles • Member Offers • News Website • Member Events • Advertising • Directory Listings • Connect with Social Media • Hyperlinks to your website • Post Job Listings Marketing • Sponsor Events • Ribbon Cuttings • Email Advertising • Money Section of Herald Mail • Mailing Lists
    13. 13. Affinity Programs are designed to help protect your bottom line and offer competitive costs that we, the Chamber, have negotiated for our members.  Merchant Services  Energy Savings  Email Services M2M Benefits These offers are created by our members to generate business with other members. We average about 70 offers monthly ranging from: • College Tuition • Salon Services • Web Hosting • Entertainment • Restaurants • Catering Services • Photography Specials • Energy Services • Automotive Services • Internet Providers Deals can change at anytime refer to the Chamber website for a complete list
    14. 14. • Work with Lobbyist to stay informed of legislative agenda Lobby Annapolis for Washington County Business • Protected $18 million in funding for Washington County Member Lobbying Coalition • Attend Events with Local and State Representatives Events involving Local Government • Help lead the political direction of the Chamber Government Affairs Committee Promote Business Interests in Local Media Outlets
    15. 15. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

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