Chamber Creating Database

Chamber Creating Database

McLean Chamber of Commerce compiles database to improve community relations.

Scott Monet’s vision is to shape McLean into a more tight-knit community.

"We're just trying to bring the community together a little more," said Monet, President of the McLean Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber recently created a new Community Relations committee in order to tackle this goal. The chamber is also seeking to bring the local non-profit organizations together with local business organizations in order to create more cohesive community relations. Vance Zavela, chair of the Community Relations committee, said that the first step is to simply identify all of the non-profit groups in McLean.

"We are trying to develop a database," said Zavela. "I've been working with the supervisor's office and through my contacts, and we're developing a list. Right now it's about 50, but it's going to grow quite a bit."

Zavela plans to have this list finalized sometime in June. Once every group has been identified, the chamber will invite their leaders to a community meeting.

"We're trying to build a bridge between the non-profit world and the business world," said Zavela.

THE DRIVING PRINCIPLE behind this plan is that non-profit organizations and local businesses can form beneficial partnerships.

"A lot of business organizations are looking for opportunities locally," said Zavela.

Monet said that getting mutually beneficial groups together is a win-win situation.

"We're trying to get those that give out money together with those who need it," said Monet.

Another goal of the community relations committee is to eventually create a shared community calendar on the chamber's Web site.

"This would help the non-profits because they can look at it and see what's going on and say 'well we don't want to compete with this other McLean group, so we'll do our thing on a different night,'" said Zavela. "I think it would assist with coordinating group events in McLean."

Zavela said that such community coordination also offers opportunities for "market bundling" and "resource bundling."

"There might be an event like what we are doing now with our golf tournament," said Zavela. "The McLean Orchestra is actually doing it with us, so it's a joint marketing effort, so we could do that with other groups."

THE CHAMBER is also determined to include any and all groups, including civic groups and all local places of worship.

"The first thing is to make sure that we don't exclude anybody," said Monet.

At its last meeting, the chamber voted in favor of offering a special non-profit membership rate to any new non-profits that sign up to be chamber members. Membership dues are normally $100 per year, but any new non-profit will only be charged $150 for two years.

"We're trying to provide an incentive for more groups to come in," said Zavela.