RETHINKING THE NONPROFIT, CHAMBERS, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
On Thursday, March 4th Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) hosted our Rethinking the Nonprofit - Economic + Community Development Organizations call where we had our own Executive Director Katherine Correll lead the conversation with a panel consisting of:
Kris Mattera, Basalt Chamber of Commerce
T.J. Sullivan, Superior Chamber of Commerce
Kristin Clifford-Basil, Morgan County Economic Development
Kim Keith, Steamboat Creates
Trends to Follow
Growth + awareness
Economic development organizations do well during a recession
Work from home trends during the pandemic
Populations in communities are aging, so how do we integrate younger generations into our community mission?
Staffing and succession planning are important for the long term success of an organization
Inclusion topics have been at the forefront in the last year
What is your purpose in your organization?
Strategic planning to identify mission statements
“I want the community to become a place where children want to come back to as they age”
Mission statement: Respecting our past while promoting our future
Steamboat Creates has been around since 1972
Mission statement: Steamboat Creates enhances the quality of life and economic vitality for our creative sector through advocacy, promotion, education, infrastructure, and connections, and for our community and visitors by growing engagement in arts and cultural experiences
We want to build a strong community so that families can raise kids here who want to come back and make a living wage
Basalt is a resort community, so the cost of living is high due to property costs
Superior is a residential enclave outside of Boulder that is surrounded by other chambers of commerce
Our goal is to meet the advocacy needs of small businesses since most of the businesses in the community are small and/or home-based businesses
How to Share your Mission
Plan for your people
Consider the personnel structure and compensation practices to support your values
Continue to have one on one time and make connections while everyone works from home
Words can carry baggage
There are sometimes challenging messages around our work
How do the words chamber or economic development impact your mission and what you’re able to accomplish?
Chamber is a loaded word locally because of the political climate
I try to explain what our chamber specifically does and highlight how we are different from other organizations
I want to do things that add excitement to the community
We did a huge food drive that the community loved
Businesses want to see that we are doing stuff that matters to the community
I think about how I can work for the investors to help expand business or identify values
How can we partner with other local organizations to create a stronger network and community
Since we are an arts association some people think of creatives as crazy and unpredictable and that they stir up trouble or change
Status quo people like consistency, so we are constantly having to invite ourselves to the table in order to be involved in the community
Communicate your Value
Consider your spheres of influence
Understand local ecosystems
Focus on partnerships
What is your relationship like with local government and how do you support them?
The relationship we have with local government got stronger after wildfires two years ago
We do advocacy work
Some people have businesses in the community but dont live here, so they are unable to vote about stuff that affects them
We receive financial support from the county
Have a small business center
North West Chamber Alliance
We all come together and learn once a month
We sometimes put all our names on a joint statement to increase the impact
Partnering with the town allows us to cover more ground together
There is competitiveness that arises when you have a small donor pool in a rural area
We advocate for individual arts organizations and partner to do outreach with them
We have lots of competition among organizations
Sometimes there are different groups trying to accomplish the same thing and get nothing done
I aim to be the source for everyone to create collaboration among organizations
About the panelists
Kristin joined MCEDC in January of 2020. As the new Executive Director of Morgan County Economic Development Corporation. Kristin brings over 15 years of experience in real estate appraisals, management, business development, and design & merchandising.
As a native of Northeastern Colorado Kristin has a respect and appreciation for rural communities and what they provide not only to the economy but the quality of life they provide to their residents.
Kim Keith is a catalyst for creative-oriented endeavors in Northwest Colorado with an eye for innovation and creative problem-solving. She is the Executive Director of Steamboat Creates and also serves on the CO Humanities Board of Directors, Colorado Mountain College Advisory Committee, the Routt County Economic Development Council, many task force and community collaborations. Her prodigious creative skill set and experience revolving around design, marketing and event coordination, advocacy and community development ensure a multi-faceted approach to Steamboat Creates (formerly: Steamboat Springs Arts Council) a 501(c)3 non-profit, benefiting the entire region of Routt County and Northwest Colorado.
Kris moved to the Roaring Fork Valley from Boston, Massachusetts in 2016, following years of visiting Colorado and a summer working at a dude ranch in Buena Vista.
Kris is fascinated by the intersection of community, technology, society and the digital space, and how it can be leveraged to build personal connections and tell great stories. She moved to the Valley due to its great mix of job opportunities, recreation, culture, mountain town charm and natural beauty. Kris has found Chambers of Commerce to be the lifeblood of mountain communities. Chambers, especially those in smaller towns, have a huge opportunity to build community, not just through commerce, but through the relationships that they develop with the public, private and non-profit sectors.
T.J. Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Superior Chamber of Commerce in Boulder County. In 2020, he was named “CEO of the Year” by the Association of Colorado Chambers of Commerce for his innovative leadership during the pandemic. He has owned numerous companies throughout his career and earned a national reputation as one of the most impactful speakers at U.S. colleges and universities, speaking to nearly 3-million students in all 50 states. His book, “Motivating the Middle: Fighting Apathy in College Student Organizations” is used in more than 100 college leadership courses.