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September 1, 2017    
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Dear Jeff (Bezos) - Part 3 of 3

In 2016, U.S. households spent approximately $3,100 per household online. If you multiply that amount by the number of households in your community, you will come up with a very big number.

As you have probably gathered I feel strongly that ...
    1. Chambers can be a strong and effective voice encouraging people to buy locally whenever they can, and
    2. Chambers, on behalf of their community, should actively pursue repatriation of some of the huge amount of money that is being sucked out of their local economies into far distant bank accounts.

Focusing on #2 . . . Remembering that online purchases total over $1 Billion every day, and that Amazon gets over one third of that huge number, it is appropriate to question how much Amazon is giving back to your community.   Do you know?   Of course not.   Unless you know differently you might as well assume that it's zero.

To be fair, Amazon introduced AmazonSmile.   Quoting their website:
      "The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile
       Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products
       to the charitable organization of your choice."


Well that's absolutely lovely except ...
      [a] you have to go to a different website,
      [b] the products have to be "eligible," and then
      [c] you have to go through an arduous submission process to try to get any local nonprofit approved.
It is a process designed to favor a few national charitable organizations, and definitely not your local community.

I think there is an opportunity for your Chamber's Board -- acting on behalf of your members and your community -- to start writing letters to Geoff Bezos asking him to do the right thing and commit to directly support your community!   After all, isn't your community supporting Amazon?   And remember ... 0.5% of billions means we are talking about MILLIONS!

To help get you started, here's a simple letter for your board to write:

      Dear Mr. Bezos
      We appreciate the fact that you are willing to contribute 0.5% of our purchases to
      the charitable organizations of our choice.   However, the process is incredibly
      arduous.   May we respectfully suggest and request the following changes to
      the AmazonSmile program.
          1. We will tell you the zip codes that come under our jurisdiction.
          2. Since you already know the zip codes of all your purchasers it will be a
              simple matter to total purchases in each zip code and calculate the 0.5%.
          3. We will designate a local foundation to administer the granting and
              distribution of your funds to local charities.
          4. We will ask the Foundation to report to us regularly on the distribution
              of your funds.
      Thank you for your consideration.


In the beginning, the reality is that your letter will not make it anywhere near Jeff's desk.   However, when you follow up and are bumped off to some foundation-level employee, you will have the letter content with which to start a simple conversation.  

The other (positive) reality is that if a growing number of Chambers of Commerce are professionally lobbying Amazon to commit to the communities that have been supporting it, then momentum will build and critical mass can be reached ... which will benefit all concerned.

And, remember, if you are seen as visibly trying to help your community, this is always a good thing for your Chamber of Commerce.

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2017 Archives
  - Frustrated?   Lonely at the top?   No support?   (10/15)
  - Mission, Schmission! ... Just Tell Your Story   (9/30)
  - What's the (Growth) Plan, Stan?   (9/15)
  - Dear Jeff (Bezos) - Part 3 of 3   (9/1)
  - Speak Up ... It's Strategically Beneficial To Do So   (8/13)
  - "I Beg Your Pardon ... Did You Say $1 Billion Per Day?"   (8/5)
  - The Pies Have It!   (7/23)
  - Possibly ... the Most Difficult Sentence to Complete   (7/10)
  - Ribbon Cuttings -- A Great Membership Opportunity   (6/25)
  - It's Time For Spring Cleaning   (6/12)
  - Five Key Reasons Chamber Members Join & Renew   (5/29)
  - Membership Benefits are NOT as Important as You Think - #1   (5/14)
  - You Must Tell Your Members What You're Doing For Them   (4/30)
  - Workforce Development ... Are You Involved?   (4/16)
  - An Idea for Learning What Your Members Want.   (4/2)
  - Make Sure You Gather the "Little Data".   (3/21)
  - Make Sure Your "Voice of Business" is Heard   (3/5)
  - Associations of Chamber Executives   (2/21)
  - Do People "Out There" Know What You Do?   (2/6)
  - Just published ... "The 21st Century Chamber of Commerce" White Paper   (1/23)
  - 2020 could be your Magic Year   (1/10)
2016 Archives
  - Ditch the Contact Form, Baby!   (12/11)
  - "About Lipstick and Pigs" (Part 2)   (11/27)
  - About Lipstick and Pigs - Part 1   (11/6)
  - "Mixers ... they're so 20th-century!"   (10/23)
  - Out-of-the-Box Branding   (10/10)
  - "Hot Deals" ... Really?   (9/25)
  - Sharing Membership Referrals   (9/10)
  - An Excellent Source of Membership Leads   (8/30)
  - A Simple Value-added Benefit for your Membership   (8/17)
  - It worked . . . Immediate Results!   (7/31)
  - A Simple Media Strategy for Your Chamber ... FREE!   (7/19)
  - "Brexit" ... Positive Chamber Outcomes   (7/3)
  - Problem-solver... "Yes!"     Savior... "No!"   (6/20)
  - I like Nathan Blecharczyk's attitude.   (6/6)
  - Are you Veteran-friendly?   (5/22)
  - Are you Relational or Transactional?   (5/9)
  - Can you say "Employee Benefit"?   (4/25)
  - Re-vitalize Your Board of Directors ... and Your Chamber   (4/9)
  - From Scotland ... a few thoughts   (3/27)
  - Young Professionals are Important + Framework2020   (3/13)
  - Just Announced ... the "Framework2020 Tour"   (3/1)
  - Money Talks so ... Make Sure it's "Happy"   (2/14)
  - Conflict of Interest & Local Government   (2/1)
  - It may be time to huddle!   (1/19)
  - And Your Mission Is ...?   (1/4)
2015 Archives
  - Introducing ... Focused Growth - "A-Team" Initiative   (12/7)
  - So ... Once You've Got 'Em, What's Your Plan?   (11/23)
  - Just a reminder!   (11/9)
  - Branding Your Chamber is a Serious Process but it Does Not Have To Be Difficult   (10/25)
  - It's Time for Someone to Step Up!   (10/12)
  - Give Them Something To Do!   (9/28)
  - Do You Want/Need a Membership Analysis?   (9/14)
  - Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.   (8/30)
  - And the Fat Lady Began to Sing!   (8/16)
  - Do You Walk and Talk at the Same Time?   (8/3)
  - Helping people WANT to join your Chamber   (7/19)
  - 50% Membership Loss ... that's a Serious Loss of Revenue!   (7/5)
  - Don't Keep It A Secret!   (6/21)
  - Survey the Members that Matter   (6/7)
  - Helping Nonprofit Organizations   (5/20)
  - Helping Startup Entrepreneurs   (5/5)
  - The New Normal: Energizing your members to participate   (4/19)
  - Do you have a RAP Sheet?   (4/8)
  - What is your Real Retention Rate?   (3/24)
  - Challenging times require fresh thinking   (3/10)
  - Simplifying the Economic Development Discussion   (2/28)
  - Chamber Members want Education Programs   (2/11)
  - One of the great disconnects we choose to ignore!   (1/23)
  - The "New" Chamber of Commerce   (1/9)
2014 Archives
  - Do you have a Community Leadership Strategy?   (12/4)
  - Message for New Chairpersons of Chamber Boards of Directors   (10/22)
  - Tell your members about your business advocacy efforts   (9/2)
  - Stop the Exodus! Retain your Newer Members!   (8/4)
  - Are your Sales Staff asking the Right Questions?   (7/7)
  - Understand and use your volunteers better.   (6/22)
  - Invest in your Members. Remember who's paying the bills.   (5/5)
  - Understanding your local economy and how your members are doing   (3/20)
  - Tell your members about the 'SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative'   (3/7)
  - Why People Join the Chamber.   (2/22)
  - Please participate in the Survey.   (2/10)
  - Newsletters ... the Unfortunate Reality   (1/24)
2013 Archives
  - Are your Membership Goals Realistic?   (12/14)
  - Is your new Board focusing on membership Retention?   (11/11)
  - Happier Members means Happier Chambers of Commerce.   (10/15)
  - What about the "Younger Generation"?   (10/2)
  - What are you really developing?   (9/20)
  - What happens when the excitement dies down?   (8/26)
  - Using Technology for Education   (8/4)
  - Are you a "Member-centric" Chamber?   (7/23)
  - It probably won't be pretty but .....   (7/14)
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