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Our Most Frequently Asked Questions About Membership

Chambers of Commerce are industry associations; groups of businesses and individuals who leverage their combined strength to address common challenges while maintaining an open, fair and equitable marketplace.  ONChamber focuses in two key areas - helping businesses build their capacity, and helping consumers identify businesses that can satisfy their needs and interests.

How is a Chamber different from a Downtown Merchants Association, Business Improvement District or a Tourism Promotion Agency?

Chambers of Commerce are leagues of businesses who come together around a common goal (networking, lead generation, brand positioning, etc.) and/or a common characteristic (industry, demographic, location, etc). Firms and individuals pay to be members, and in exchange, receive various benefits, opportunities and discounts not available to non-members.  Many Chambers, like ours, serve members (and consumers) in a broad geographic area.

Downtown Merchants Associations are membership-based and dues funded; as the name implies, they often limit membership and benefits to a hyper-local area.

Business Improvement Districts are areas, defined by local law, within which property owners are required to pay an additional tax in order to fund projects within the district's boundaries. One does not join (or opt out of) a BID, and it cannot, by charter, provide services outside its boundaries.

Tourism Promotion Agencies, Destination Marketing Organizations and Convention and Visitors Bureaus exist primarily to provide information to a defined area's current and prospective leisure travelers and group or corporate travelers. In many cases, as in Ontario County, one does not join the TPA. Rather, TPAs receive support from hotel room tax and other non-dues revenue to "...create visitorship and economic vitality for Ontario County by marketing its tourism assets and positioning the area..."

Can I be a member of more than one organization (Chamber, Downtown Merchants Association, etc.)?

Yes!  In fact, we encourage it.  Chambers are non-governmental, not-for-profit entities, chartered to serve identified geographic, industry or cultural communities.  In addition to directly benefiting our members, our services actively compliment, extend and magnify the impact of those provided by others in our primary and secondary markets.

Can my business be a member of Ontario County Chamber of Commerce if it's located outside the county?

Yes!  In fact, our membership spans six counties across the Finger Lakes. Businesses and entrepreneurs choose our Chamber for high-quality professional development opportunities, access to decision-makers within Ontario and contiguous counties and the ability to participate in affordable, high-quality marketing programs targeted to consumers who live in or visit our area.

Still have questions?  Send us an email or call 585.394.4400.  We'd love the chance to connect!

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