When it comes to effective government relations and working with lawmakers, the Chamber of Digital Commerce is a great example of a trade association that has become an influential voice in its industry through member-driven advocacy. The chamber was founded in 2014 and received its 501(c)6 designation from the IRS shortly thereafter. In the five years since its establishment, the association has become the leading voice of business advocacy for digital currencies and blockchain technology1.
What can similar trade associations with a policy agenda learn from the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s effective advocacy strategy?
We took a look at the association’s digital presence to see what we could learn. Based off the Chamber’s website, here are four ideas to experiment with and possibly implement in your chamber of commerce in order to transform your association into an advocacy powerhouse. Read below!
1. Make Your Chamber's Website Advocacy-Friendly
The Chamber of Digital Commerce originally caught my eye because of the association’s engaging presence on social media and distribution of compelling advocacy content (follow them on Twitter here). If you head to the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s website, you will notice that “Policy” is one of the labels you can click on in the top navigation bar. Presenting “Policy” as one of the website’s main topics suggests that policy is also one of the chamber’s key areas of focus. Similarly, at the bottom of the website’s homepage, you’ll see that the footer includes various links to its internal web pages that are related to the association’s policy work.
The takeaway: Design your chamber of commerce's website in a way that integrates your advocacy strategy in an intuitive way. Include "policy" or "advocacy" in your top navigation bar and make sure that all your association's advocacy content is highly visible throughout your website.
2. Host Advocacy-Focused Events
Within the first three seconds of landing on the chamber’s homepage, you’ll notice that the organization advertises a Save the Date for an upcoming event about advocacy (see image below). The information is shared front and center on the main banner across the page. The presentation of this event tells us two things: 1) the chamber hosts its own events that are open to both members and non-members and 2) the chamber is focused on advocacy.
The takeaway: Transform your chamber of commerce's advocacy strategy from a passive business responsibility into a proactive and involved program. Bringing people together around your advocacy issue areas strengthens engagement around this important duty and provides a platform for educating members and non-members about the work that your chamber of commerce is doing.
(Source: Chamber of Digital Commerce homepage)
3. Create Member-Driven Advocacy Working Groups
The Chamber of Digital Commerce has an entire webpage dedicated to sharing its various member-driven working groups and initiatives. Working groups are a fantastic way to provide members with an opportunity to engage more deeply with the chamber and achieve professional growth, while also furthering the association’s goals through innovation. One of the working groups listed on the Chamber's website is the State Working Group which provides members an opportunity to productively engage in state-level policy activities and political advocacy.
The takeaway: If your chamber of commerce hasn't yet developed internal member-based committees, initiatives, or working groups, consider restructuring to give your members a greater voice in the strategic direction of the chamber. A working group based around advocacy provides a space for your members to interact with each other and engage in the matters that are important to your chamber of commerce.
4. Develop Educational Policy-Related Content for Legislators
Publish informative guides for legislators about the policy areas that affect your members. The Chamber of Digital Commerce promotes an educational piece of content called the "Legislator's Toolkit for Blockchain Technology". This resource is a brilliant way to further promote the chamber of commerce's policy agenda by providing purely educational support to lawmakers who may be unfamiliar with business areas that are a priority for the organization.
The takeaway: Develop useful and actionable content that is created with legislators in mind in order to grow your chamber of commerce's brand as a trustworthy source of information.
Learn more about the great work of the Chamber of Digital Commerce: