Chamber & Community Impact
ACCE surveyed our chamber of commerce members in October to gauge the impact of the COVID crisis on them and their communities. We received more than 300 responses. Here are a few highlights:
- COVID industry impacts survey revealed that 69% of chamber executives are moderately, very or extremely concerned about the current state of their local economy. Forty-three percent anticipate their economy returning to pre-COVID levels in 1-2 years, while 38% believe local recovery will happen in two or more years.
- While nearly 17% of respondents have resumed large-scale in-person events, 72 percent of respondents don’t anticipate holding events until 2021, with 19% anticipating that they won’t hold large events until at least May of 2021.
- COVID-related in-person event cancellations or modifications led to a revenue loss that, on average, represents 23% of the responding chambers’ total budgets.
- 77% of respondents were forced to take action to reduce staff capacity during the crisis, either through permanent layoffs, temporary furloughs, not filling vacant positions or reducing employee hours.
- Respondents expect a mean reduction in revenue of 24% next fiscal year versus revenue performance this fiscal year.
- 10% of respondents said they were extremely worried or very worried about their chamber being able to survive the economic impacts. More than 80% of respondents said that their chambers could survive a year or more without major shifts in the economy.
- The top three most frequently cited proactive cost-cutting measures by chambers include:
- 83% Eliminate or reduce staff travel
- 71% Eliminate or reduce professional development budget
- 65% Review memberships and subscriptions
- Revenue ideas that were cited most frequently in an open-ended question:
- Maintaining sponsorships for virtual programming has been key for many chambers. This has allowed them to hold low and no-cost events for member businesses while boosting profits for the chamber because of a lack of expenses.
- Working with major investors to identify community impact projects that they are excited to support as part of the economic recovery: community vibrancy; minority business development; small business support services, addressing child care shortages and more.
- Leveraging the increased relevance and attention to chamber communications during the crisis to boost digital ad sales and offer more advertising opportunities.
Here are a few more highlights