Budget Insights of Chamber Publications

by | Aug 16, 2023

How exciting can a budget be?  Well, it’s a tool that can help make, or break a successful publishing project.  Whether you’re a budget nerd, or just want some info, understanding the project budget will help you make better informed decisions.

What you’ll learn:

  1. Understand how a publication’s financials work
  2. Learn what key metrics are important to track
  3. Discover key insights from the metrics
  4. Read about new strategies to drive profitability


  1. Determine how much non-dues revenue a publishing project could generate
  2. Plan for a financially successful publication (or other project)
  3. What changes can drive profitability
  4. How to determine if your publishing project is profitable


Don’t be afraid of the numbers!  Budgeting may feel overwhelming but once you understand the type of tool that it is, a budget becomes an indispensable part of a publication project.  This webinar looks into the budgets of high-performing Directories, Community Guides, Visitor Guides, etc., and explores how to maximize non-dues revenue from a chamber publication.  We’ll discuss what numbers to track, how the numbers relate, and how to use those numbers to figure out what changes can be made to improve profitability.

You’ll leave this webinar equipped with knowledge of how to gauge whether a publication makes sense from a financial perspective.  Knowing how to drive profitability, run the numbers for your own publication to see how well it’s performing, and could it perform better.


Ed provides several rule-of-thumb guidelines for understanding chamber publication finances, such as estimating ad sales based on membership count or the number of pages based on ad sales.

He highlights the importance of evaluating ad rates, editorial content, and the value proposition of a publication to ensure its relevance to the audience.

Ed compares two scenarios, one with a traditional outside publisher and another with an in-house approach, demonstrating how managing publications in-house can significantly increase revenue for chambers.

He emphasizes the need to balance quality with price when it comes to printing costs and recommends seeking competitive bids from multiple printers.

Ed discusses overhead costs, such as project management, and mentions that accounting strategies, like accounting for staff time, can impact unrelated business income tax (UBIT).

Various relationships, such as ad sales vs. membership count, page count vs. ad sales, and printing cost vs. ad sales, can provide insights into the performance and efficiency of a chamber publication.

Connect with the Guest:

LinkedIn: Ed Burzminski

Chamber Marketing Partners, Inc.

Ed Burzminski is President/CEO of Chamber Marketing Partners, Inc., a publishing project management and consulting firm helping chambers of commerce generate substantial non-dues revenue from publications without using a turnkey publisher.  CMP’s unique model gives chambers total control, full financial transparency, utilizes local vendors and lets the chamber decide how much money to make.  Learn more….


Full Transcript

Tammy Bracewell 

I wanted to just take a minute to thank Ed for being with us today I had the pleasure of meeting Ed several years ago when he became a part of F ACP. And we were, you know, had the privilege of discussing chamber publications. And I quickly learned that Ed knows what he’s doing. And he’s not like some of the others that you may come have come across through the years. So when he offered to do a webinar, as you might recall, we did a survey to ask you all what did you want to hear about what did you want to learn, and this one was the top rated webinar, although there were others that were just very closed, and we actually even offered the option of hearing about all of them. So we still may do that. But without further ado, I wanted to thank Ed, and I’ll turn it over to him to share with us today about popular Chamber of or successful chamber publication budgets. So thank you again, and


Ed Burzminski 

glad to be here. Thanks, everybody, and thanks for joining. Okay, so this is a peek inside the budgets of financially successful chamber publications, right, and what you’ll learn Oh, actually, me that’s, I’m Ed Burzminski. I’m president of Chamber Marketing Partners. And this is high performing Chamber of Commerce publications. What you’ll learn today is you’ll understand how publications financials work, you learn about what numbers to track, you learn about the insights that those numbers can provide in your decision making process, and how to use those numbers to drive profitability. Your takeaways from this webinar are going to be you’ll be able to determine the potential non dues revenue of a publication project, you’ll be able to do a quick analysis of a potential project, you’ll be able to plan your publication for success, and you’ll be able to analyze your current publications performance in a quick way. Dorie grinder is our producer today, and she’s helping with questions as they come in. Dori is a former chamber CEO, and she’s also a television producer. So I read the pre webinar responses. And they were overwhelmingly showing that the attendees today want to maximize the revenue out of their publication. So I’m really hit glad to hear that. Okay, so I was never much of a numbers guy preferring to leave that to other people. But I learned the hard way that if you don’t know your numbers, you can quickly lose control of a project. And knowing your numbers and understanding what the numbers are telling you makes it more likely that you’ll get to the desired outcome or know when and more importantly, what kind of changes you need to make to keep a project on track, you get control. Okay, so first, we’re going to go through the sections of a publication budget and how it’s organized. Then we’ll go over a couple of different publication budgets discuss the specific line items, and we’ll look at the relationships between a few of those line items and what insight that they provide. For this webinar, we’re looking at guide type publications, like a directory, a Community Guide, Destination Guide, things like that. But the principles will still apply to say a map or a website, or any other project where there are income and expenses. Okay, let me share screen. First one we’re going to look at is the WoW town Chamber of Commerce, the wild town chamber, we’re using a traditional outside publisher, sometimes called the turnkey publisher, and the wild tower chamber has 725 members and several staff. So they’re fairly large, the publishers goal was $60,000 in sales. Now, as you can see, it’s not much of a budget, because all that’s shared is how much the ad sales are, and how much the chamber is getting and royalty or revenue share. And that makes sense because the publisher takes on all the risk to produce the product. And they want to generate as much profit as possible for themselves. So there’s really no reason for them to share their internal budget with a client. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. Unless you want to add more pages, write another article or print more copies, then you’re totally dependent on what the publisher tells you. And again, that’s fine. And it’s worked for a lot of chambers for an awfully long time. The only thing is it doesn’t give you much insight or control. And the one thing to consider with a traditional publisher is budgeting for distribution. Does the publisher pay to mail the books and get them out and distributed? Or will the books arrive on a truck and then you have to get them out? So if it’s the latter, then the royalty revenue share just got reduced by the cost of the distribution. Now in all fairness to that traditional publisher on this project sales were going on in early 2022. So the lingering effects of COVID 19 may have played a role in that process or reducing the sales. Okay. Let me share another budget with you. Here we go. Okay, so Oh, the next budget is also from Wow town, but for the next subsequent edition, and this time, management chose to take their book in house. So staff needed a budget with a little bit more detail. Now for full disclosure, wild town is one of our clients, and the project is very recent, and these numbers are very real. Okay, so as with the turnkey publisher, the sales goal was $60,000. Now the salesperson reached that goal, and then surprised everyone by closing just shy of $81,000. So rather than having an outside salesperson sell the ads, the WoW town chamber chose to have their membership development person do the ad sales. And there are pros and cons. Either way, whether staff sells ads, or an outside sales professional sells the ads. But that’s kind of beyond the scope of the webinar. So if you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of those kinds of different sales strategies, type the word sales in the chat box, and I’ll look into developing that topic on that. So let’s take a look at this. revenues. This is where we capture all the revenue streams for project, okay, the display ad sales, ad sales that were all cash, those are booked up their membership packages, whether you are on formula, or you’re doing a doing packages, say of a president circle or Chairman circle or something along those lines, are you on a tiered do structure, if you’re packaging ads into a membership, you can you capture that over here. And he trades that might be done. I’m not a big fan of trades, anything that’s non dues revenue, non cash, or in kind trades, you’d get a capture in here, you want to be able to capture that even though there’s no cash, you want to see how it’s contributing what that revenue is that’s contributing to the publication and the listing enhancements, say you do additional categories in the directory section, maybe do a bold listing or something like that, and you monetize it, you want to capture that there. So in this case, it was at just shy of $81,000. Okay, the next section goes into the costs for producing a publication, Commission’s sales commissions can vary quite a bit. And in this case, the commission structure was 10%, on sales up to $60,000, then 20% on sales over $60,000. Now, again, sales commissions can vary widely, and they’re beyond the scope of this webinar. So if you’re interested in learning more about sales commission structures type commission in the chatbox, we’ll see about a webinar on that topic. So 10,001 85 was a salespersons. Commission. If it’s a staff person, you’re probably paying employer portion of payroll taxes. So you’re going to want to capture that number in here. You don’t have to, I like to capture it, because it isn’t a it’s an indirect expense, but it is related to the project. So we’ll capture that amount in there. Anything that’s miscellaneous, that sales related, like maybe mileage expenses, or something along those lines, those would be captured in here. So sales commission, in this project were 15% of total sales, which is actually pretty good. If you’re using an outside salesperson, they’re typically charging about 20% 20 to 25%. The next big section is the production costs, or are the production costs. You’ve got editorial, you’ve got photography, you’ve got design and layout, and your other costs like cartography, I’ll come to that in just a moment. In this chamber, the editorial was handled by the staff. They have several staff people and they had somebody who could write, and the Chamber provided all the editorial content for the previous publication to the publisher. So the chamber owned all of that content the publisher didn’t. So they were able to reuse a lot of that content that they had previously, and update and bring it up to date and also write new articles. So if you’re going to have to hire somebody to right figure about between $503,000 for editorial for an outside writer, depending on if you need just one article, or everything written from scratch. Photography, in this case, photographer was paid $750 to go out and shoot a few new photos. And a lot of photos were provided by staff as well, as well as donations from other people. And all kinds of ways to find photos and get photos if you have a CVB or the city or even a photo contest could be done to bring high quality photos into the process. Design and Layout is the next is actually a large expense. In this case, the Chamber hired a professional magazine designer through the recommendation of their project manager which we’ll talk about later. So depending on the skill of the designer and how many designers are involved, this might range between 25 to $85 a page. Typically that’s how designers charge they’ll charge by the page $85 is for a higher end could go even higher than that of you get some really super goober designer, but that’s about the range $25 for a production artist, moving up through the ranks to somebody who’s actually a designer, the other line item, cartography, that’s a map, some chambers want to include a map inside their destination guide, a visitor guide, or even their community guide publication. So if that has to be done from scratch, or it has to be licensed, you want to include that in here. So I like to see about 10% of 10% of sales for production costs. In this case, it was 7%. So that was pretty good. Our next major expense is manufacturing. And manufacturing just means printing, getting the thing printed, and on paper. So printing was competitively quoted with several printers on this project. And the pricing was even more competitive, because it came through the chambers project management company that gets volume discounts, because they print publication for many chambers. Now, 20% of sales for printing is a good number. Less is always better, because more money than drops to the Chamber’s bottom line, do you want to balance quality with price and always get competitive bids and quotes even go out of state, if possible, to get some quotes for printing. So this one was 20%, of sales for printing. The next major category is the mailing and distribution, you got to get the book out, it’s got to be out in the community, it’s got to be working for the advertisers, it’s got to be promoting the chamber, it’s got to be hitting the eyeballs that people are paying to connect with having these books sit in the chambers conference room or in the storage room. That’s just, that’s painful, it’s they’ve got to be out working. So part of the mailing and distribution that this chamber chose to do is to verify all the information that goes into the listings that are in the listing section to the book. So that’s the member verification letter, because you tell me if I’m, if I’m speaking the truth, or if I’m barking up the wrong tree, whenever a member moves or changes their phone number, the first thing that they do is contact the chamber to let them know that their contact information has changed. Right? Right. Okay, so how do you make sure that that listing information is correct, sending out a snail mail member verification letter, it’s all great to do it by email. But what’s the open rate is it 30% If you got 1000 members, and you get 300, people opening it, and how many actually clicking through. So you’re not getting to everybody, if you send it out, first class mail. It’s old school, but it works. And you get the returns and all that kind of stuff. So that was part of the verification, mailing a book to each member, I’m a big proponent of getting a book in the hands of each member. So they can see that the chamber is actually helping them is being visible and helping them be visible. In this case, wow, town decided to do an operation thank you to get their ambassadors and volunteers to take books and distribute them and get them over to their members, which actually is not a bad thing. Because then it gives a connection. It’s a personal connection with the member if they can actually talk to a senior person at that company. No, but there may be costs involved with that. It’s volunteer base, but maybe the Chamber’s buying pizzas or feeding the the volunteers, so you’d want to capture that in here as well. In this case, I won’t say they were cheap. There were no cost involved with that single copy and bulk distribution that’s getting having a company or somebody take boxes of books and say get them to real estate offices for newcomers, get them to the HR departments of major employers, so they can use them for, you know, employee attraction purposes, getting them into clinics and doctor’s offices in places where they’d be highly visible, or even getting them out to the advertisers themselves. That was that came out to be about $1,500. This chamber also chose to do a launch party, which is actually a pretty good idea. When the book comes out. They invite all the advertisers to come in, they invite the members to come in hand out the books, do a kind of big hoopla around it. And ideally, they’ll have contracts in their hands to get those advertisers to sign up for the next year. So we put $5,750 into that budget. The flip book, having a book online, it’s de rigueur, you gotta have it these days, a lot of chambers choose to push the PDF of their publication online, which is good, it puts it online. But the hidden thing about that is a PDF is completely invisible to Google and all the bots that can’t see what’s inside it. So you might have all the best information in there, but it’s completely invisible online, invest in an online flip book company or There’s plenty of them out there. It’s not very expensive. There are different tiers. This one was through their project management company that has a higher level thing where anything that’s a URL is clickable, get your publication no matter who does it, whether you do it your publisher, does it anybody else does it as a diner does it, make sure it’s not a PDF, that it is, in fact, a true flipbook type project? Okay, mailing and distribution of this project was about 5%. So going a little bit further total expenses, were just under $38,000, it sounds like a lot, then there’s gross profit, what it costs to manufacture this whole thing to produce the thing, not including any overhead like management. So that’s total sales, minus the operating expenses, gives you that gross profit number 53% is pretty good. Anything over 50% is pretty good as far as the gross profit, then you get into overhead. He gotta have project management, somebody’s got to manage the thing. Whether it’s a staff person, whether it’s an outside company, management is overhead, the Chamber couldn’t utilize staff to manage the project. But publishing is not typically a Chamber’s core competency. So this is a wild town chose to hire professional publishing project management firm instead, a firm that specializes in Chamber of Commerce publications, Chamber Marketing Partners. So this number will vary depending on who’s hired and whether it’s an individual or a company. Now, some chambers don’t choose to go to this length. But to be even more accurate, some chambers want to account for the cost of staff time, there is an opportunity cost of diverting staff to this project away from actually running the chamber. And it’s also an accounting strategy to reduce ubit exposure ubit unrelated business income tax, let me get to that in just a moment. Chamber profit, I’ll come back to you. But chamber profit is what the non dues revenue contribution of the project is to the chamber after all expenses. So look, in this case, 28%, return on on sales, that’s three times more than the 10% or so that the traditional publisher generated. Now, wait, let me let me do another share. I’m going to show you a comparison. Here we go. Okay, traditional, versus what they did in house, side by side, you’ve got the expenses, you’ve got all that kind of stuff. Going down to the bottom $4,800. From the publisher, there’s some some provide more than 10%. But that’s typical, to $22,000 or 28% return, that’s almost $18,000 More of cash to the chamber, and almost five times more return on sales to this chamber. So now, unrelated business income tax, because publishing is not a core business of a Chamber of Commerce. Anything that comes in any profit that comes in on unrelated, is taxed at a different rate. Now, I’m not a CPA, we’re not CPA, so talk to a CPA about ways to reduce your profit. But applying staff, staff time to the project is one way of doing it. Now again, talk to talk to a CPA to see how he can do that. So if you are tracking staff time, you’d simply add it below management, and you’d subtract it from sales giving you a reduced chamber profit number. Okay, let’s talk about some of the relationships that these things these numbers are showing you and can provide. Let’s see, I’m going to share PowerPoint again. Okay, so here, pro tip, ad sales versus membership count. This is a way to estimate ad sales the way I’ve been using for years, I’m estimating about. If I’m looking at a project from scratch, I’ll estimate about $100 of ad sales per member. Okay. And again, it’s just a rule of thumb. So in wild town’s case, there were 725 members. And if you multiply that by $100, I was expecting there to be about $72,000 in sales out of this project, you know, and of course, it’s just a rule of thumb. And if you’ve seen one chamber, right, you see one chamber. So there are variations, but this is just a simple starting point. Now, the other thing that I like to look at is, well, the revenue per member so in this case, $81,000 in sales and wow town, divided by their 725 members was $112 per member. So what that means to me from a sales perspective, is this project generated was better than the rule of thumb that I have Yeah, okay, what if membership is low, and ad sales are high? Well, that’s interesting. So we have one client, where there, there are only 325 members, sales are about $80,000, which is about $240, more or so per member. Now, that’s a lot of money to pull out of small base of prospective cash. So what does that indicate? To me from the publications perspective, this publication is irrelevant, this chamber is hitting the nail on the head, because people are buying ads, and they’re paying the price, the distribution might really be really meeting the advertisers goals, they might be hitting the audience that that those people want to want to get in front of, maybe there’s no viable competition, maybe the chamber is providing that publication that nobody else is providing. And maybe the ad rates are high to generate that revenue. But the markets accepting it, so it works. So this is rare. This doesn’t happen very often. I just wanted to point it out. Because some cases, a small number of members can generate a lot of net revenue. Okay, so what about when you’ve got a large membership or a high note number of members, and the ad sales are low? One case 500, members, $30,000. And ad sales is only about $60 per member. So what could be going on? What might those numbers indicate? To me, it might indicate that there’s a ad rate problems, there might be a structural problem and the rates, maybe the rates are too high, people are just not buying, maybe there’s a salesperson problem. I don’t like to go to the salesperson right off the bat. But as if IT staff? Are they distracted? Do they have multiple things going on? Are they selling multiple things? Is it time management? Or is salesperson that dud? I tend not to go to that. But there are duds out there? If it’s an outside salesperson, are they a dud? Or do they have other things going on? Or what’s their history? That kind of stuff? Is the publication relevant? That could be another big thing? Because if you’re not getting the sales? Well, is it just a directory that’s being done? Because that’s the way we’ve always done it? You know, well, that’s not working anymore. These days. It’s got to be relevant, there’s got to be content that is relevant to people and a publication has to be relevant. So I would investigate the value proposition. Who is the audience? What’s the messaging to that audience? And how are we going to reach that audience? So basically, who do we want to talk to? What do we want to say to them? And how are we going to get it to them? Those are the kinds of some of the things that I would look at with this publication, that kind of a situation. Okay, another relationship that I like to look at is the number of pages in a publication versus the ad sales. So printing costs, more specifically, the number of pages can give us insight into the rates. And so the ad rates, I say May because there are a few other variables involved that I’ll mention in a minute. But my rule of thumb for this is estimating the number of pages, you take the ad sales, and you divided by $750 per page to get an estimated number of pages and wow, towns case, $81,000 divided by 750 per page equals 108 pages. And that’s exactly what’s being printed in wild town. 104 pages plus cover four pages for cover 108. Now, I know you guys didn’t want to sign up for this to do all this math stuff. These are all rule of thumb. These are just kind of estimates and ideas to give you guidelines on what to look for. Okay, what are the page count is high, and the ad sales are low. Okay, so what might that indicate? The ad rates might be too low? What does that mean? How do I, how do I figure ad rates might be too low? If you’re selling ads at a low price, people are buying a lot of ads. So that means you need a lot of space to fill those ads. So you need pages to fill those ads. So that’s something to look at. Maybe there’s too much editorial, maybe you’re just writing or somebody’s writing a whole bunch of stuff that nobody’s really interested in reading. Or maybe you can cut it down on maybe it’s irrelevant stuff. Who knows? Okay, I’ll say this. Is it a picture book of board members? Which board members really like? But does the audience really care to see that? Stuff like that? Is it fluff? Is it necessary? Is it too much? Is it stuff that can be cut out? Too much information in the directory listing sections? You know, in? I’ve seen chambers that they put out contact information in the member listing section, the contact name and the email address. Well, we get plenty of spam emails, we don’t want to be the source to give people all that information. That’s some kind of stuff that might be too much information in the listing sections. I’ve seen some chambers do a category section and alpha section. And who’s who? Section? Well, that was great. 20 years ago, these days, people like to be remained hidden, unless there’s a reason for it. So maybe the number of members is high. When you have a lot of pages, which, you know, that’s great. Maybe you have 1000 or 1200. Members. But if you only have like, 50, pages yankin to be fitting, I’m sorry, if you have. If you have 1200 members, you have a lot of pages. So you’re filling a lot of space with all all those members. In that case, I go back to the value proposition, revisit the ad sales versus the member count relationship, because the sales are underperforming, and you should have more sales to accommodate all of those pages. Okay, let’s look at one more relationship that the budget is able to show printing cost versus ad sale. Last one is the number of pages. This one is the actual cost of printing versus the ad sales. And again, it’s a pro tip, it’s a rule of thumb 20 to 25% of sales, or less is good. Okay. So if it’s not, are there too many pages? Are the pages being efficiently set up for the printing equipment? You can ask the printer? How many pages? Should I have to be most efficient on your printing press? Are we doing too many copies? Is the quality too high? A lot of chambers think that they want to have a really thick cover. And that gives the impression that it’s a higher quality? Well, it really then it goes back to who’s your audience? If it’s a visitor’s guide, and it’s a one or two time use a thick cover isn’t going to be effective, it’s not going to make a difference to that particular audience. So maybe that’s an extra ordinary expense that might be reduced. Do you have buying power? Or are you paying retail? Are you a one shot customer? Are you doing volume? Are you going through somebody that does a lot of volume? Or are you just kind of going with somebody local that can do it, but their equipment doesn’t match what you need and their prices higher? So there’s a lot to consider with printing again, and way beyond the scope of this webinar. So type printing in the message box, if you want to learn more about that topic. Okay. I’m going really quickly. But I’m going to ask you guys to take a quiz. With all the stuff that I have gone through. I know your chamber pros, you’ve absorbed everything, and you’re ready to do this. So here’s a scenario. This chamber has 640 members, their sales on their book was for was $46,000. They have 80 pages plus the covers 84 pages in a book. They’re printing 17,000 copies, and their printing cost is $24,000. What can you tell me about the situation? Throw some things out there? Put them in the chat. Anybody?


Dori Grinder 

You can utilize the q&a for this everyone.


Ed Burzminski 

Oh, q&a. Oh, oh, people are saying chat is disabled. Okay, well, here’s what I’ll tell you. Now I’m looking at this. And I’m seeing that there is $46,000 in sales, and there are 640 members. Okay, so that’s $72 a member give or take. Now I know you did that calculation in your head $72. Remember, that’s lower than my rule of thumb expectation. So something is amiss. There the sales aren’t where they should be. So I’d look into that. The number of pages versus the ad sales, if you take the sales divided by 750. This should be about 60 pages. So why is it 80? Pages a take a look at that 17,000 copies? That seems like a lot, but I don’t know what their reasoning is? Maybe they have a specific reason for that. The printing costs $24,000, their sales are only 46. So that’s more than 50% of ad sales. So there’s an issue there, too, to be looked at. How would I drive profitability? Or things to examine? How would I drive profitability? who’s selling this? Are they competent? Are they focused? Are they distracted or worse a dud. I’d reduce the number of copies, I think it’s too high for such a low revenue. Then it also reduced the page count out adjust the book so that it fits with the revenue and then work on rebuilding the revenue, but get the cost into a place where they make sense. I’d look at the ad rates. Is there a structural problem with the rate card? In this case? Yes, the ad rates were very low, and they were literally giving away space for free. They’re giving away profiles to member businesses, full page profiles and not charging anything for it, so that to recognize some members. Now that’s great. If there are other things or other reasons to do that, and there’s in kind or something, then they really need to be capturing the revenue or the the value of that in kind, which they weren’t. But they were giving away a lot of space for free. And that was a contributor, look at the distribution isn’t reaching the target audience, maybe people aren’t participating, because it’s not getting to the target audience. Look at the value proposition, look at the content. What do we want to say? What do we want to say to? And how’s it getting to them in this case content was, there wasn’t an overall point to the book. And finally, is it relevant, ask the members, I would do a survey, maybe even a focus group to make it relevant. Now I’m going to share with you their budget. So you can see because even though it doesn’t really look all that great, hold the way I’m talking about it doesn’t look that great. This is the out of town, out of whack town book. You’ve got their cost structure and all that kind of stuff in there. This is an actual real chamber. Their profit was almost $8,000, or 17%. So this project is still really performing well. I’m just looking at it and saying it can do better, it can do a lot better, and it can be a lot more relevant. So you know, again, all these things. They’re all different, the relationships, they’re all different ways of looking at a project that can be improved to help them perform better and do better. But even this out of whack project was still performing way better than what a traditional publisher project could generate. Okay. Last thing, back to here. So high performing publications start with a comprehensive budget, they generate healthy financial returns, they have a clearly defined audience message and a distribution plan. And they make adjustments based on those budgets, they’re able to make those changes. So using a budget captures all the revenue streams and the expenses, you get full information to make good decision decisions, which helps you determine how much revenue or publish a vacation could generate, and plan for financially successful publications, you can make changes and adjustments to drive profitability, and you can determine if publishing a project is worth doing or not. Or even if it makes financial sense to bring a publication in house. It’s not as scary as it sounds. I’m Ed Burzminski, president of Chamber Marketing Partners, we help chambers take control of the non dues revenue, promote their members tell compelling stories that I mentioned, generate non dues revenue. We help chambers do it using local vendors and resources. Okay. Any questions about time for q&a?


Dori Grinder 

All start with oh, one just popped in? Oh, you got to thank you from Alison Schneider. So I’ll I’ll pop in with a question. As a former chamber director, we were using as you refer to a traditional publisher, so we were just going to a person, they did the sales, they handled all of it. And then we got the royalty. At the time, we had asked that printer to be a member. Because that felt fair, you know, sort of in chamber world. So how does that work? When working with someone like you? Because it seems more like the Chamber’s in sort of that lead position? So how would you handle that?


Ed Burzminski 

So that’s a good question. So there are the we, we as a company, Chamber Marketing Partners, as a company, we do a very small number of turnkey projects that traditional publisher projects with the royalty, our core business is helping chambers do it themselves, were the project manager to help them do it themselves, which means using local vendors, local writers, photographers, salespeople, printers, distribution companies, all that kind of stuff. We manage that for them. And we’re behind the scenes, we can be a member of the chamber the chamber once. It’s kind of typically it’s up to the chamber. It’s not that big of a deal for us. We can be a member of the chamber, the chamber, but we’re behind the scenes when you have a traditional publisher. The traditional publisher is the one that’s out front and visible. In this case, the chamber is out front and visible, and we’re behind the scenes. So the chamber that’s making the connection with the members, it’s the chamber that’s having another communication with their members to have an operator a touch point to have an opportunity to talk with them. In most cases, members are paying the chamber. So they’re not paying an outside entity which keeps the project local. It gives the chamber more of an opportunity to monitor total member investment in the chamber. Because the chamber is billing, and the money comes to the chamber. So you can look at a member and say, Oh, what are they invested in the last 18 months? Maybe we can create a package for them, the More Non-Dues Revenue, we can create a package for them. So that’s the long answer to your question. Yes, we work. We become a member of the chamber, the Chamber wants to work behind the scenes, and we we help the chamber look good.


Dori Grinder 

Yeah. And it looks like that was actually Debbie continence questions. She said, You manage in house publications, question mark? And apparently your answer just answered that. So yeah, I would say that that’s sort of the difference in working with a chamber, you know, a management company like yours versus that traditional publisher.


Ed Burzminski 

Very much so. And I’ve been, personally, I’ve been serving Chambers of Commerce for 30 years. So it’s really not about the business and selling anymore. It’s about sharing this information. I personally have gone through the WAC ease Academy program. I’m the only vendor to my knowledge that they’ve allowed to go through that, because I wanted to understand what what makes a chamber work, what issues and needs a chamber has, and how the non dues revenue component how we can fit in and help. And it’s more about sharing information now in helping in House Publishing sounds like a lot. But when you have a project manager that’s helping with that project, there’s so many different ways that it can be nuanced and done, from a small staff to a large staff in and you could see what the numbers look like. They’re very compelling. I don’t mean to pitch about us. But you asked


Dori Grinder 

Debbie ask Yes. One of the other things I’ve noticed with working with you, and you just mentioned it in that answer was an advertiser, since the chamber is doing it in house, an advertiser actually writes their check to the chamber. So that’s good for your touch points. And a member is always going to trust it more. When it’s going to back to the chamber, they’re they’re going to feel better about it. The chamber handling the project and handling the way it is, because if it’s going to XYZ printer somewhere else, they’re like, wait, what, that that seems confusing. So I think it’s great when the check can go straight to the chamber.


Ed Burzminski 

You’re You’re right about that, too. And you didn’t you know, the pros and cons to that having the chamber staff sell ads, when staff is able to sell ads, and in wild towns case they staffed and sell the ads. You know, it creates that opportunity to sell year round, where you don’t have to wait for ad sales period to open. You could with each member that you talk to you can be having a dialogue about how do they promote themselves? Who is their target audience? Where, where are they visible? And what media are they visible, and then talk to them about the publication and the other things that the Chamber has going on the email blasts, and all that other stuff, and create that package, say ads, they’ll start in October, but this is now June, and you’re talking with somebody, you can sign them up and start building your book of business. So when sales formally do open, you may already have $30,000 in sales already built. And then you’re starting from a higher platform than you would have if you’d waited until add sale start nothing wrong with waiting until that sale start. This is just one of the pros of having chamber staff being able to sell


Dori Grinder 

Camello long, doesn’t necessarily have a question, but she said thank you. And she was just considering bringing their directory in house. So it sounds like really good timing on the topic of of this webinar. So thanks, Tammy for being of good service to Kamla. I said Camela. So Kamla I hope that was helpful.


Tammy Bracewell 

I want to bring up something along that same line, having been a chamber exec myself and in an unusual situation that we republishes our chamber was we did a yellow pages that we also did our membership guide. And you mentioned having your sales staff or your chamber staff sell ads. And if you have the right people as you said no does. It also gives your staff an incentive to make more money, which is always a great thing for staff retention. So you You know, if you can get the right people, what we would do is what you said, and we would have our sales staff go out. And when they were talking to potential or current members, they automatically talked about our directories. And that was just part of our package that we talked about. And it became if they couldn’t sell one, they’d sell the other, and oftentimes, they sold both. So I think it’s a, it’s a good way to incentivize your staff.


Ed Burzminski 

It is it is a good way for staff to make a little extra income and who doesn’t want to make a few extra bucks these days? Right? And part of our model, okay, I’ll, I’ll share what we do. We provide sales coaching, as well. So when chamber staff is selling, we do our ad sales huddle, once a week or every once every other week to talk about how sales are going help overcome objections, work through those issues, and time management issues because especially chamber staff, you know, I mean, it’s this, you got to deal with this member, you got this coming through the door, you got the CEO coming into your office all the time, how are we doing on this and sitting in wanting to talk? Right? So time management is a very critical component, haven’t had one, one membership person, I told her, Okay, make a sign, put a piece of tape on it in sales, put it on your door and shut the door. I’m selling, leave me alone. I mean, it’s just all the things that we have to deal with. And you know, as cheap, I’ve been around chamber people long enough, 30 years, I know it’s squirrel. There’s a lot of that that goes on. So it’s challenging. It can be challenging, but it can be done in a successful way. And again, the nice pro about having chambers staff sell the ads themselves, is you’re not, you’re talking about value. It’s a value proposition. Because you’re having you’re engaging in a dialogue about what that member needs. You don’t pitch. If you go in and pitch, you’re guaranteed to lose, you have to ask and ask questions and become know what their needs are, you can’t solve a problem. If you don’t understand what the problem is. And that’s 90% of sales, you’re solving a problem. You’re not out there selling and pitching. That’s a formula for failure. So by having staff do that, staff has another reason to contact and dialogue, the revenue that comes in goes to the Chamber’s top line, which helps the Chamber’s budget. Right. So the board is happy, the finance committee is happy. Of course, you got the expenses that go along with it, but at least initially, it’s a big. So anyway, there’s all kinds of, I’ll get off my soapbox, because I’m really passionate about this stuff.


Dori Grinder 

Add a couple more questions or comments looks like Jean from Tarpon Springs chamber. Sounds like they just signed on. And she literally said exactly what you said. Actually, before you said it. She said I’m feeling great about how organized you are with the project management component keeps those of us with squirrel tendencies on target. I’m looking forward to it. So again, great match. That’s awesome. Here’s a couple more things, Alison, when we have done it in the past the chamber staff received 10% commission. So that seems like that was on target. And then a question from Debbie Cotton. Will Ed be at the F A C P annual conference?


Ed Burzminski 

I am so looking forward to Atlantic Beach. It is going to be fun. That’s awesome.


Dori Grinder 

So if there’s more questions, pop them in that q&a box. But at this point, we have tackled all of them. Okay.


Ed Burzminski 

Sounds good. ChamberMarketingPartners.com. If you want to get in touch you want to peruse, see what we do. And that’s a way to contact me through Tammy, we’ll see you at the conference. Check out our other videos on the types of publications you might consider for your non dues revenue project.


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