Civic groups, like The Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, make communities stronger and vibrant. They do this while creating a sense of pride that binds people together into something greater than themselves.
Membership in civic organizations, service clubs, and other community groups has declined by over 52% in the last two decades. In 2019, there is Good News! According to the 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, conducted by Marketing General. The decline in membership for civic organizations has slowed to 26%. At the same time, 29% have held membership levels! The most important statistic is that 45% of membership associations have stated their groups are growing.
The trend in membership growth is terrific news. Why? Because community associations are the fabric underlying thriving communities. I want all you to have a sense of pride in your organization! The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce is Thriving! Our chamber has been evolving over the last decade, and we are growing. We are growing not only in membership but also in our ability to impact our community.
The executive board and staff have been reinventing your Chamber of Commerce for the future. Now and for the future, we are positioning your chamber for growth. We are doing this while innovating and acting on issues that meet the needs of our business members and the community in which we live. The future for our community and business is bright.
Why? It is simple: Because we are creating the future!
Abraham Lincoln, Peter Drucker, Dennis Gabor, and Alan Kay have all stated in one way or another: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
The context of two variations of this quote comes from Alan Kay and Peter Drucker:
“Today’s businesses are learning from the science of change that they must recreate themselves even when they would like to believe that the old business will go on forever. The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
“Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn’t violate too many of Newton’s Laws!” — Alan Kay in 1971
Drucker is talking about business, and Kay is talking about technology. Two of my favorite subjects. But in a broader sense, Kay is talking about our society. You have heard me speak about our two priorities for the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce is creating the future for The Chamber, Our Businesses, and Our Community. We do this while making business fun. Your chamber is providing leadership that drives investment and innovation in our community. Investment and innovation, done with deliberate intent, create a climate for business success in our community. It creates a quality of life for everyone.
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, and speaker who is a thought leader on marketing in the digital age. Seth wrote a book called Tribes. In Tribes, Seth asserts that human beings are in a constant state of trying to make “big, permanent, important change.” Until the advent of the Internet and Social Media, we have tackled this change differently.
At the turn of the century in the industrial revolution, we did that with technology and human resources. In the middle part of the century, we adopted mass media and tried to change things by taking good ideas and push, push, push that idea on the world.
The Internet democratized data and information. Social media created the ability to connect with people anywhere at any time. The Internet and Social Media were supposed to homogenize and connect everyone. People ended up with information overload where they, with information and messages. Seth asserts that, resultingly, human beings we have de-evolved into a natural and ancient grouping of people called “Tribes.” Tribes allow us to focus on silos of interest. This paradigm has established a new conduit for facilitating, leading, and connecting people and ideas.
A silo sounds terrible; after all, we try to break down silos in our businesses and organizations. But, silos harnessed for the greater good can be great proliferators of lasting and positive change. Nurturing a silo while adding more and more people in an iterative process provides a drumbeat of change in which the ripples grow. These ripples grow in intensity, stretching far and wide while moving outward in concentric circles. This approach mimics the social structures in society and, in turn, social media.
We may be The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, but we are not a silo. Our “tribe” is making ripples in our community beyond our city or commerce identity. We are “for” the collective good that makes Okaloosa County, Northwest Florida, Florida, and the United States of America better — starting in our back yard with the bigger picture in mind. We are creating a positive outward motion with each issue we lead. With each success, we create a drumbeat of progress and accomplishment that makes our future. It is a responsible and sustainable foundation for keeping our community the most fabulous place in the country to live, work, and play.
In 2013 the New York Times reported that “Good News Outperforms Bad News on Social Media.” The chamber wants to spread the good news about our community. The message of our chamber is a positive one. We are about moving forward and effecting change. Be positive! Be an Evangelist! Leverage your tribe and spread the good news and success. Our business and community depend on you!
Read this article in the March Coastlines.