Chamber drives membership to new high Group numbers more than 750

December 23, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Carroll County's Chamber of Commerce gained 145 new members last month in its 4 1/2 -day membership drive, the chamber newsletter reported this week.

"We now have a little over 750 members, which is excellent," said Wayne Barnes, the chamber's past president.

"We have more members now than we've ever had," Mr. Barnes said.

During the drive, which garnered about the same number of new members as last year's event, volunteers called prospective members from a list of county businesses and other contacts.

Each name on the list had received a postcard listing some membership benefits about a week before, Mr. Barnes said.

"It's amazing that a lot of people don't know what the chamber does," he said, citing chamber scholarships for college students, legislative work and support of small businesses.

If the contact agreed to join during the call, another volunteer immediately went to the business with a packet of information to discuss the organization in-depth and collect the first year's dues.

Dues, which begin at about $120 per year, are based on the number of employees in the organization, Mr. Barnes said.

Although volunteers could win gifts for signing up the most members, the enthusiasm of the volunteers probably did more to sell the memberships, he said.

"I could hear the volunteers on the phone when someone would challenge them about what the chamber does, and they were very enthusiastic," Mr. Barnes said.

"The whole key is that if you aren't enthusiastic over the phone, you're not going to have people interested in buying your product, even if it is a good product."

Mr. Barnes, the owner of Barnes-Bollinger Insurance in Westminster, also said the chamber usually loses about 3 percent to 4 percent of its members each year.

However, the group gains more members than it loses annually, he said.

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