The Hope Area Chamber of Commerce’s third annual membership drive is underway.

For the first time, the Chamber is reaching out to Hope’s businesses and organizations through a direct mailing, says Jake Miller, president of the Hope Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s nothing that is new or abnormal,” Miller says. “We try to at least make a push every year. I think this year we are being more proactive by sending information to businesses directly rather than just offering a Facebook ad or having an article announcing it.”

Not only is the Chamber seeking to grow its membership, but to also build community participation and associations.

“Honestly, what we would like to see is more connections made through involvement,” Miller says. “We would like to see membership grow, that is always something you want.”

With a current membership of nearly two dozen, Miller says the Chamber is looking to expand its listing to include more than just traditional brick and mortar storefronts.

“Something we have had asked in the past is can churches or the stay at home mom or dad who runs a direct sales company join,” he says. “We would definitely encourage those people get involved. Those who we may not know are out there, we encourage them to come talk to us and see what kind of things we can help them do.”

The direct mailings include a letter stating the Chamber’s intentions with the drive, including the benefits of joining the Chamber and its overall goals, says Chelsea Warriner, treasurer of the Hope Area Chamber of Commerce.

Deadline to return the completed application is Dec. 1st, Miller says.

The $100 annual membership fee not only covers the member’s invitation to Chamber networking events, but will also help fund the launch of a much-needed online Hope business directory in 2019. Also, a print copy of the directory will be given to all Chamber members free of charge, Miller says. The directory will highlight what the business or organization offers, so that local residents and any out of town visitors will have access to that information.

“For us, our whole vision is to get people connected, which is why we are doing the online directory,” Miller says. “We want people to know where to go to find info about local businesses. As more people get connected, it will help spur the growth and, hopefully, the long-term of it is more businesses would like to come to the area because they see the vibrant community.”

In addition to general information, the membership application will also ask members to share a bit about their business or organization.

“We are also asking they share a historical or fun fact about the business,” Miller says. “We want to highlight whatever the business owner would like others to know about them, so we are giving them a voice in the bios.”

Undertaking the new approach to boost membership has presented its challenges, Warriner says.

“I think the biggest challenge was figuring out how we could highlight what we are doing already and getting it out to members,” she says. “For 2019, figuring out what members would like, what would interest them and those who are not members what we can do to benefit them.”

Individuals who have questions about membership or the Chamber may email their inquiries to HopeAreaChamberOfCommerce@gmail.com or call 812-546-2282.