2019 Dues Restructuring

The Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce our upgraded dues structure for 2019. The result reflects hundreds of hours of work, research, discussion and collaboration over a three-year period. As your outgoing Chamber President, I wanted to outline the changes and provide insight to those who were not part of the decision making process.

Why do we need to change the dues structure?

  • We need to attract more members – Our current membership level is about half the size of chambers in areas with similar population and manufacturing bases. Our area should support a chamber roster of nearly 500 members. In contrast, Silverton Chamber has over 100 more members than we do with 1/3 of the population and a much smaller manufacturing and business base.
  • Previous structure unfairly penalized large employers – The previous structure was based on the number of employees in your company, requiring companies with more employees to pay a higher rate to be a Chamber member and served as a deterrent to many of our area businesses. Good examples of businesses with 25 or more employees include restaurants, manufacturers, grocery stores and distribution companies.
  • Dues not in line with the market – Our dues have not been changed for as long as anyone on the board can remember. That alone is not a good reason to change them, but when you compare dues for other chambers we are way out of line and well below market value. We will still be one of the lowest cost memberships in the region.
  • Sustainability plan – At some point in the future we want to establish a permanent home for the Chamber. Part of our cost savings has been housing the Executive Director at the City of Woodburn. By attracting more membership we can get closer to that goal.
  • Sponsorships by the same people and inconsistent with business needs – The Chamber currently canvasses for sponsorships throughout the year, but many businesses make their marketing and advertising decisions once a year. By providing a clear way for our members to see sponsorship opportunities in advance and make a single commitment at the beginning of the year saves time for the business, volunteer effort from the Chamber, and facilitates better planning for everyone.

How is the Chamber funded currently?

  • Dues from members account for roughly 40% of the Chamber Budget
  • Transient Occupancy Tax money awarded by the City accounts for about 40%
  • Sponsorships of Chamber events account for the remaining 20%

How is the new dues structure set up?

  • Standard member- at $250 includes all the basic member benefits and opportunities to sponsor
  • Enhanced Member- at $399 includes the above, adds an enhanced member listing to the online directory and gives preferred pricing for sponsorship opportunities

Why is the new structure better?

  • Standardized Pricing – We seek to attract more businesses who currently opt out of membership due to the extreme difference in price.
  • Easier Planning – Having all sponsorship opportunities presented allows businesses to design a membership that fits their business plan and budget.
  • A La Carte Sponsorship Opportunities – By having sponsorships available, Chamber members will now be able to choose. In the past we canvassed our membership and other local businesses to gain support for events. We didn’t do well at communicating available opportunities, and volunteer limitations did not allow us to ask everyone.
  • Enhanced Placement Online – The Enhanced listing gives businesses more ways to showcase information and include pictures, videos, social media links, and preferred placement. Our Chamber has never invested in these business directory features, so they haven’t been available until now. Also, there are tens of thousands of searches each year on our Woodburn Chamber business directory. By appearing more prominently and with enhanced content, businesses will have a better chance to capture new customers.
  • Better SEO Exposure with Enhanced Listing – Online search is an important part of the success of any business today. Search engines see chamber directories as extremely reliable sources of “local” business information. Each of the direct links to your company website, your social media platforms, and other content from the Chamber directory provide valuable information for search engines as to who is the best local search result.

I hope this question and answer letter helps everyone achieve a better understanding. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.


John Zobrist
WACC 2018 Board President