Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Short Course in Chamber Funding

A Short Course in Chamber Funding
By Lisa Krueger
I am reminded fairly often during election years of the confusion many have regarding the Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce’s revenue stream. First and foremost – the Chamber does not seek, nor receive, funding of any kind from Lake Havasu City or any other governmental entity. I like to tell folks we are “blissfully independent”.

The last time the Chamber did accept funds from Lake Havasu City was over 12 years ago when our organization managed the Visitor Information Center under the London Bridge. The Chamber began negotiations with the Convention and Visitors Bureau in early 2002 to transfer this duty and by the beginning of our FY 02-03 the Center was fully and firmly in the CVB’s hands, at our request.
The Chamber’s only relationship with the city government is that of tenant. The City owns the building we share with the CVB and the Partnership for Economic Development – our three organizations pay rent to the city based on the percentage of square footage we each occupy. The Chamber’s share of the rent amounts to just over $1,300 each month.

So, how are we funded and what is our budget? We project revenue and expense at just under $500,000 in the coming 12 months. The Chamber works on a cash accounting system. Another myth we hear regularly - that we can’t make money because we are classified by the IRS as a non-profit. The Chamber, as a 501c6 organization, is fully allowed to make a profit under the laws of the State of Arizona and the USA. We are fortunate to have some funds in reserve and we have an ongoing goal to always have cash on hand for emergencies.
Just under half the Chamber’s revenue is received through membership investment dues. Another 25 percent or so we raise with our own sweat and muscle power at special events like Winterfest and Desert Bash. The remaining 25 percent is earned through retail advertising sales in our newsletter , directory and website; from education training programs; and various other small sources – but absolutely zero percent comes from the government. As a c6, we also pay income taxes on unrelated business income and sales tax as required; also property tax on a fully-owned storage condo.

The Chamber complies with all local, state and federal regulations. I always welcome the opportunity to talk to individuals, groups and organizations regarding our structure, events, programs, etc. Call me at 855-4115 if you have questions.