In September 2010, the Melbourne Regional Chamber was originally accredited as a Certified Plus Chamber, the highest accreditation level in the state of Florida awarded by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP). The Melbourne Regional Chamber was re-accredited as a Certified Plus Chamber in September 2016.
The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) provides two levels of accreditation. Chambers that pass the accreditation process review, re-completed every five years, that are determined to meet basic standards are accredited at the “Certified Chamber” level. Chambers determined to exceed and set industry standards that operate at the highest level of proficiency are accredited at the “Certified Plus Chamber” level.
Most Chambers in the State of Florida are not accredited at all. This does not diminish their value to their members or geographical business community, it simply means that a third party has not reviewed their Chamber operations to determine if they are operating at the highest level of professionalism, following all state and federal laws, and have adopted best practices in the industry.
Similar to the national accreditation process to become a 5 Star Chamber, the FACP accreditation process reviews a Chamber’s operation in the following eight areas for proficiency and adherence to industry best practices:
- Governance (Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Mission, Organizational Charts, Board Meeting Minutes, functional Board processes & policies, Chamber Committee descriptions, Staff job descriptions)
- Finance (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) followed, produces Financial Statements, approves & follows Annual Budget, has & adheres to Financial Policies, maintains Insurance, Annual Audit conducted, meets IRS filing requirements, withholds & reports Employee Taxes)
- Human Resources and Staff (distinct roles & Job Descriptions for all Staff, Personnel Policies, have & follow Employee Handbook, conduct Employee Orientation / On-boarding program, Employee Performance Reviews)
- Government Affairs (has & updates Annual Legislative Agenda, maintains or affiliates with a Political Action Committee (PAC), communicates & has solid relations with elected officials at various levels of government, Grassroots Network)
- Program Development (maintains a Strategic Plan, understands issues related to segments of Membership, has contingency plans for impending factors that may affect Chamber)
- Technology (functioning Telephones & Computers & Mailing Systems, updates & secures Computers, Backs-up Data regularly, implements & maintains Technology Plan, Data Protection & Privacy Policies, has & updates Website, owns Domain Names, has & updates Membership Database)
- Communications (maintains & uses Marketing Plan with clear annual goals, uses diverse forms of media to promote Chamber & its Events, writes & distributes Press Releases, communicates with Members via Mass Email)
- Facilities (projects appropriate Business Image, adequate Safety Procedures, Annual Safety Professional Inspections, meets OSHA, maintains Office Equipment, has Crisis Plan in place, trains & educates Staff on Crisis Plan)