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Engaging Your Chamber of Commerce

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This training walks through the process of engaging your local Chamber of Commerce. Given their prominent voice within many communities, building relationships with your local Chamber can help grow your members’ support for the Energy Innovation Act.

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/topics/engaging-influencers
TOC and Guide Section
 
What is a Chamber of Commerce?

Chambers of Commerce are local, nonprofit membership organizations whose members are local employers. They are governed by a president and a board, often lean conservative, and advocate for the voice of local business priorities. They are influential in communities because of  their economic power.

Beyond local Chambers, many larger cities and regions also feature affinity chambers, who specifically organize around businesses operated by women, people of color, or the LGBT community. To find out more about your own local Chamber, search for "local chamber" along with your community's name to see what results come up. You can also reference the U.S. Chamber's page here, which accredits local Chambers across the country.

How Do I Engage My Chamber?

Start by developing a relationship with your Chamber. Treat them with respect, admiration and appreciation, just as you would your member of Congress. Meet with them often to build a long-term, trusting relationship, finding ways in which you can be useful. Here’s how to get started:

  • Identify someone you know at the Chamber. You can look up members on your Chamber’s website and ask your network who they know.
  • If you are part of a local business, consider joining your local Chamber.
  • Invite a member or board member to coffee.
  • Attend Chamber mixers to form relationships.
  • Propose a presentation on market-based solutions to managing climate change.
What Should I Ask my Chamber?

Remember that Chambers can take many different actions to indicate their support for the Energy Innovation Act to your member of Congress. Here are a few possibilities:

In your outreach, consider highlighting this recent statement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the importance of addressing climate change: 

"The Chamber supports a market-based approach to accelerate GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions across the U.S. economy. We believe that durable climate policy must be made by Congress, and that it should encourage innovation and investment to ensure significant emissions reductions, while avoiding economic harm for businesses, consumers and disadvantaged communities. This policy should include well designed market mechanisms that are transparent and not distorted by overlapping regulations. U.S. climate policy should recognize the urgent need for action, while maintaining the national and international competitiveness of U.S. industry and ensuring consistency with free enterprise and free trade principles."

“Inaction on climate is not an option.”

Additional ways to work together include:

  • Meeting with a trade association or union
  • Hosting a Congress member at a site visit
  • Writing a joint op-ed
  • Issuing a statement of support for climate solutions
  • Endorsing the Energy Innovation Act

Remember: Our goal is to continually demonstrate to Congress that there is strong support in-district for the Energy Innovation Act. We want our members of Congress to feel certain that voting in favor of climate solutions is what their constituents want. Gaining the support of local Chambers is a key way to demonstrate this support from some of the most important employers in your district.

Remember: Our goal as a volunteer network is to continually demonstrate to Congress that there is strong support in our districts for the Energy Innovation Act. We want our members of Congress to feel 100% certain that voting in favor of climate solutions is what their constituents want. Gaining the support of local chambers is a critical way to demonstrate this support from some of the most important employers in your district.

Additional Messaging Suggestions

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act: Good for Business
This policy partners with America’s businesses towards net zero energy. Businesses prefer this predictable and gradually rising price on carbon to other solutions, because it allows them to remain financially stable while they adjust their operations. 

  • This policy is easy for businesses to understand and to use right away in their business models. They will not lose time or spend extra money trying to understand complicated new regulations and rules and incorporate them into their plans. 
  • Covid-19 has shown us that many businesses, particularly small businesses, are vulnerable to economic shocks. This policy is implemented gradually and steadily, which gives businesses the time they need to adjust their plans and operations to a net zero carbon economy. 
  • American businesses support this policy and similar policies. The Silicon Valley Leadership group, which represents more than 350 U.S. companies, has endorsed this policy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recently endorsed a market-based solution to climate change to be passed into law by Congress.
The Jay Butera Story: South Florida Case Study

“When I walked into Congressman Curbelo’s office with three Chamber of Commerce presidents and three mayors, it totally changed the conversation” 
- Jay Butera

CCL Advisory Board Member, Jay Butera worked extensively with influential members of the South Florida Community to get support from Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for federal climate policies. Both went on to join and help lead the Climate Solutions Caucus. 

First, Jay started by collecting endorsement letters from influential members of the community, such as local mayors, professors, university presidents, and the local Chambers of Commerce. Jay and CCL Florida volunteers asked these leaders to complete letters of support for their members of Congress.

Jay's team then scheduled meetings with Congress and delivered these signed endorsement letters to the district offices. While this was impactful, by far the greatest impact came when they brought local community leaders and business owners to lobby meetings in the members of Congress's district offices. 

 Getting the involvement of local community influencers in CCL lobby meeting shows strong support in district for climate action. Think about helping your local chapter with this sort of community outreach and be amazed at how far it gets you!

Length
Press play to start the video (25m 17s)
https://vimeo.com/showcase/6089518
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Agenda & Overview
(from beginning)

Background & What Are Chambers?
(2:38)

The Chamber's Updated Position on Climate Change
(4:06)

How Do I Engage My Chapter?
(9:04)

What Should I Ask My Chamber?
(13:18)

Press Release & Messaging Recommendations
(16:48)

Additional Support Resources
(20:00)
Instructor(s)
  • Kyle Kammien
  • Greg Hamra
Downloads

View or Download the Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (25m 17s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline

To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Agenda & Overview
(from beginning)

Background & What Are Chambers?
(2:38)

The Chamber's Updated Position on Climate Change
(4:06)

How Do I Engage My Chapter?
(9:04)

What Should I Ask My Chamber?
(13:18)

Press Release & Messaging Recommendations
(16:48)

Additional Support Resources
(20:00)
Instructor(s)
  • Kyle Kammien
  • Greg Hamra
Downloads
Go Deeper
Discussion Topic
To Print
Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Grasstops Outreach
Format
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides, PowerPoint (.pptx)