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
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.