All businesses should join their local chambers of commerce and like anything you only get out what you put in. Simply joining a chamber of commerce is not enough, you should attend meetings, join committees if time permits and show up at evening mixers to mix and mingle. Finding camaraderie amongst fellow business owners makes sense and during tough business cycles, it might be just what your business or non-profit needs.
Not too long ago our not for profit Think Tank went to a number of networking mixers of many of the local chambers of commerce to see, which ones were the best suited. In the Valley each city has it is own chamber of commerce and each one competes with all the others. There are 9 or Ten here. After attending several functions we decided to join 4 of them.
Perhaps, we should have listened to such warnings better, although what do they say "hindsight is 20/20." Of course, that does not mean the investment in such a chamber of commerce is necessarily so awful, after all, the Presidents of such organizations do change and that usually ushers in a completely new and refreshing attitude. So, in this case study it appears that more due diligence is needed before choosing which chambers of commerce to join and the perseverance to look long-term and beyond any pettiness that is later discovered.