11/10/11 — Chamber hits goal

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Chamber hits goal

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 10, 2011 1:46 PM

Although the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce celebrated reaching its campaign goal at a victory party Wednesday night, Chamber President Marian Mason noted that contributions were still rolling in.

That became particularly evident when chamber officials auctioned off a cruise to the Bahamas at the event to allow those gathered another shot at raising the total -- and going to the Bahamas.

The ticket was auctioned off for $350, boosting the Chamber's Total Resource Campaign total to $152,744 -- eclipsing the $150,000 goal set back in September.

Mrs. Mason said the purpose of the campaign was two-fold in that it was intended to educate members about the value of the chamber while also raising money for all of the programs the chamber will hold in the next year.

She said the campaign, which allowed businesses the opportunity to pick and choose what events they want to sponsor and to what level, gave her staff insight into what the community wants and what it does not.

"It showed us what they wanted to support," she said, noting that the purpose of the chamber in Wayne County is shifting. "Our mission will be to support small and local businesses. We'll be a lifeline to small businesses."

But while the chamber will come away with an enhanced financial ability to give the community what they want, chamber Board of Directors Chairman Ben Seegars said what he will take from the campaign is the knowledge that the business community of Wayne County truly supports its chamber when they're aware of the benefits the chamber can bring business owners.

"The chamber has just been struggling because of a lack of communication," he said. "We're trying to be a more relevant organization and have more relevant programs."

Mrs. Mason noted that the credit for reaching the chamber's goal -- especially during these economic times -- was all due to the community.

"This community really made this happen," she said. "Businesses, volunteers and others all came out of the woodwork to help this and I feel like it brought us together as a community."

Mrs. Mason said that all the staff had done was to bring in the right consultant at the right time, which presented the community with the opportunity to rally.

That consultant, YGM, will receive 20 percent of the chamber's total amount raised, but Mrs. Mason said that next year, when the seven-week campaign begins again, the chamber will be able to run the fundraiser on its own, keeping all of the profits.