These efforts are referred to as “Affinity Groups” which pull together members with a common interest. In them, the onus is on the volunteer leaders to develop, manage, run and monitor the meetings and events.
We currently have four affinity groups: Health & Wellness, Retail Roundtable, Women in Business, and Young Professionals. It's worth noting that most have hundreds of potential constituents within our membership. People tend to look for at least a dozen or so people at gatherings to feel like there's critical mass, and enough people to do the work. So think about how many people might be interested in the affinity group you have in mind – though with more than 1000 member representatives in the Chamber, you might be surprised at how many potential affinity group members there are!
Not only does the Chamber offer you networking opportunities to meet other members and enlist their support in organizing your event, but the Chamber offers marketing and logistical support:
- The Chamber can promote your program through its website, email list and social media.
- The Chamber can maintain an email list specifically for your group.
- The Chamber can help you find a venue
If you have an idea for a group which you believe will appeal to a significant subset of the Chamber membership, and for which you would like assistance from the Chamber in organizing and promoting, please let Chamber staff know and we'll give your the application form to fill out. All Chamber programming is subject to Board approval.
Keep in mind that while it is not essential that all the participants in your project be Chamber members, it is important that you, the organizer of the program, be a member. Non-member participants attending more than two Chamber events, programs or group sessions will be encouraged to join the Chamber or begin to pay a nonmember fee. Note that all of the new group’s events must be open to all Chamber members and listed on the Chamber’s public calendar of events. Groups may be focused on a discreet and even narrow subject matter or topic, but may not be exclusionary.
Groups are required to keep staff informed of projects, list all events on the public calendar, meet in business / government / nonprofit places,submit attendance sheets to staff, and follow all Chamber policies and procedures.
OPRF Chamber affinity groups are great to be part of – they provide kinship, professional development, fun, and connections. They do take work to maintain, but staff are glad to provide counsel and support to help make them succeed!