The County Historical Commission (CHC) Outreach Program promotes the benefits of diversifying CHC partnership networks beyond traditional history-related institutions. CHC reporting summaries indicate that CHC are missing out on opportunities to partner with community revitalization organizations, like chambers of commerce and convention/visitors bureaus (CVB).
Expanding CHC Network Expands CHC Audience
By partnering with tourism and business-minded organizations, a CHC connects to potential partners throughout the region, expanding its audience and the impact of its work. Here are simple ways to make the most of these partnerships.
As with any partnership, benefits should extend to both parties. The sections below discuss how CHCs can serve chambers and CVBs, and what these organizations can do to promote CHCs.
Distribute material through chambers and CVBs
Many CHCs have created brochures that direct residents and visitors to interesting sites around the county. To be effective as educational and heritage tourism tools, these brochures need to be in people’s hands. Ask chambers, CVBs, and community gathering places to keep CHC brochures available for general distribution. Brochures can also be included in the various packets that these organizations assemble to pass out at community events. CHC material provides a diverse addition to any chamber related swag.
Promote local businesses and events
If chambers and CVBs distribute CHC brochures, then CHCs should hand out chamber and CVB material, too. Passing out this material at CHC events and gatherings directs citizens and visitors to these local establishments and celebrations. Supporting local businesses and organizations in this simple way makes a positive impression on the community, as well as chambers, CVBs, and elected officials.
Ask partners to promote CHC activities
Chamber and CVB websites are often high traffic areas for those seeking information regarding community events and local businesses. Postings hosted by these organizations are specifically used to promote events to residents and visitors. When preparing a posting for CHC events, be sure to include the CHC’s web address in the description to direct individuals to more information about CHC programs. Also, ask appointees to frequent chamber and CVB websites and social media platforms to find area events of interest. When appointees attend partner events, they demonstrate CHC support for community events.
Direct CHC web traffic to chambers and CVBs
People may search CHC websites for specific information about a site or cemetery, but they are more likely to visit a place when provided information specific to local amenities, like food and lodging. Chambers and CVBs websites feature these amenities and you can easily connect CHC website traffic to this information. Additionally, chambers and CVB websites promote tourism events that attract visitors to your county. Promote their tourism events and web material across the CHC website and social media platforms.
Provide CHC services to partner audiences
CHC educational programs can complement partner efforts to connect with citizens and tourists. Tours of historic buildings and sites are a popular CHC partnering opportunities and relatively easy to offer, given that many CHCs already have tour scripts and routes developed. Tours can focus on one property or provide a day-long trip around the county.
Additionally, CHC representatives can speak at a chamber luncheon or visiting conference. CHC speakers may also be of help when developing programming for chamber membership. New business owners benefit from learning about county history and what makes the community unique, while the chamber gets to offer an interesting service to its members.
Seek sponsors/support for CHC events
Maintaining a solid relationship with your chamber and CVB leads to additional support for CHC activities. When a partnership is strong, requesting sponsorship or financial backing from a partner is a reasonable expectation. Even if a chamber or CVB cannot contribute, they can support the CHC in other ways. Chambers and CVBs can connect the CHC to other potential partners with similar missions that might be able to fund CHC events.
On a related note, consider CHC efforts that acknowledge community accomplishments, like the Texas Treasure Business Award (TTBA), which recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years. Pursuing this type of acknowledgement requires community collaboration with chambers because the award connects preservation to local businesses and property owners. Chambers are perfect partners with which to sponsor the award nomination and for planning the celebration that honors award recipients.
Utilize hotel/motel tax when able
Many chambers are responsible for distributing hotel/motel tax (HOT) money. CHCs can work with chambers to increase the visibility and understanding of county preservation needs and potential uses for HOT funds. Explain CHC goals and ongoing efforts to your partners regularly so that their understanding goes beyond an initial introduction to CHC projects. These partners are more likely to support CHC work and allocate HOT monies to preservation projects, if they know how CHC efforts positively impact the community.
Advise chambers on area funding needs
CHCs are stewards of cultural and historic resources throughout the county. As such, appointees should have a healthy understanding of the existing preservation needs and funding required to address those needs. Because these rehabilitation projects contribute to heritage tourism, chambers may be interested in contributing to these efforts. CHCs can prioritize preservation needs and provide feedback to chambers to determine specific properties, sites, or organizations that could use financial support.
Click here to read about a well-rounded CHC partnership that makes the most out of the goals above.
Click here to read about CHCs that take advantage of local chamber resources.
Becoming actively involved with chambers of commerce and CVBs connects CHCs to the public, community events, and local leaders. Developing these relationships creates funding opportunities and furthers CHC outreach efforts.
To explore past partnership pages, click here.