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To Merge or Not? What Chamber and Economic Development Pros Have to Say About This Recurring Question

September 11, 2019

Category: White Papers

To Merge or Not? What Chamber and Economic Development Pros Have to Say About This Recurring Question



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This trend is often driven by another important trend – regionalism and the desire to maximize the economic impact. For example, the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance merged in 2019 to form the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce – an organization that will execute an economic development strategic plan in a region that spans two states. Independently, they advocated for their own economic development interests but realized they could be more effective as a regional organization, especially when it comes to business attraction. “Whenever we’re working with site selection consultants or working with companies about locating to new sites or buildings, they don’t care about arbitrary municipal boundaries or even state lines. They care about what the work force is going to look like within a 30-mile drive of this dot on the map,” said Barkley Garrett, Director of Economic Development for the Greater Niles Chamber. By merging the two organizations, Garrett and his colleagues will be better able to address the needs of executives and site selectors. The notion that smaller communities can compete more effectively through closer collaboration will continue to drive discussions of organizational consolidations and mergers. 

This strategy has also been effective for economic development fundraising, chamber of commerce fundraising, and public-private partnerships because it brings more people to the table. NCDS has experience working with organizations before and after a merger, helping them to launch multi-year campaigns that are based on ROI fundraising methods for the maximum economic impact.