Monday, February 17, 2014

Strategizing NonProfits: The Future Is Now

Only a portion of the members of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce take advantage of the many benefits of being a member, and this is certainly true for the Chamber’s 100 or so nonprofit members. The January NonProfit Roundtable meeting featured the opportunities of being a member of the Chamber and how to take advantage.

First, Dan Quigley, Interim President of the Chamber, introduced himself, sharing his excitement at being part of the Chamber transition between long-time president Joe Haraburda and the next executive. “This is a great time for Oakland right now,” he noted, and then added, “I’m struck by the number of nonprofits located in downtown Oakland, and how many national organizations are headquartered in Oakland.” As the Board of Directors moves the Chamber forward, it is reviewing and examining its opportunities in and relationship with the greater Oakland community, including nonprofits and how the organization can serve its nonprofit members better. Not only has Quigley spent much of his career in nonprofits and fundraising, but the Oakland Chamber of Commerce is also a nonprofit.

A more comprehensive conversation with Dan about nonprofits membership in the Oakland Chamber is a focus of the February 18, 2014 meeting (2:30-4:30 in the Oakland Chamber board room).

Following Dan’s introduction, Charlie Stimson, Executive Director of Bridge the Chasm (, an Oakland-based children’s education organization, gave a rallying presentation on setting the goal of “winning.” He further noted that it is a stronger focus to know and pursue what you are trying to achieve over who you are trying to help. “How do you define your big win?” he asked.

One way, according to Chamber Membership Director Nikki Mendez (the Chamber liaison to the NonProfit Roundtable) is to maximize your chamber membership. After all, via membership, you are already at the table. In her presentation, Nikki shared several frequently missed opportunities the Chamber offers for any company to make a difference for itself, such as the website job board and events calendar. Any Chamber member can use these tools, and with regard to the Event Calendar, add their own events themselves. Fantastic ways to connect with Oakland Chamber colleagues are the recurring events the Chamber hosts, such as the monthly After Five receptions (fourth Thursday evening), Chamber 101 breakfast (third Thursday morning), Inside Oakland Breakfast (fourth Friday morning) and Economic Development Forum (second Wednesday afternoon). There are specialty organizations and committees, including the NonProfit Roundtable and the Ambassador Committee, a group of individuals that serve at every event and get to know practically everyone.

The Chamber has three groups on Linked In – the Chamber, East Bay Women in Business (EBWIB) and Young Professionals, as well as a variety of social media for interaction—and therefore, promotion—such as Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the Oakland Chamber blog. Events submitted on the website can often be listed in Linked In, the blog and in the Chamber’s weekly E-newsletter, which is sent to approximately 3,000 people. Non-Profits and groups of nonprofits can also pool their resources to sponsor events.

Nikki encouraged everyone to devote two hours per month (after all, you’ve already paid for it), determine how best to use this time, and then get to it.

Hank Masler, the Chamber’s Director of Communications and editor of the monthly Oakland Business Review (OBR), shared the many communications opportunities that Chamber members have, beginning with the circulation of the OBR. The newspaper has 12,000 readers, and is a great opportunity for all Chamber members. To have an article, a member must also purchase an ad (beginning at only $125), but every month the paper also features a “Names in the News” -- tidbits about movers and shakers in the community. New hires, awards, major grants, recognition—all of these are opportunities for publication. For those who want to reach a broader market, the Chamber has ad slots available on the web site. Such ads benefit an organization in several ways, including a larger internet presence.

Inspired by the Chamber’s offer to include a feature in “Names in the News” or have an event posting, co-chair Âna-Marie Jones facilitated an exercise in which Roundtable attendees sat down and wrote short blurbs, following a few simple steps:

·         Title

·         What is it

·         Why is it special

·         Who made it possible

·         Call to Action

·         Contact info

First list the parts, and then turn them into a brief paragraph. Once complete, email to, and you are on your way!

As co-chair Jerry Metzker says, “no one knows who you are until they know who you are. There are two primary ways for others to know about your organization – someone tells them, or you do.”

Special thanks to Iryna Oreshkova of Iryna CPA ( for bringing the treats, and the Oakland Chamber for bringing a door prize.

We were honored to have representatives from California State Controller John Chiang’s Office ( attend to connect with the Bay Area’s nonprofit community.


* * * * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. We will be holding an in-depth conversation on strengthening the nonprofit sector, both within the Chamber and in the community.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home