Teacher Appreciation Week Sparks Imagination


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

Teacher Appreciation Week offers chambers a unique opportunity to support teachers in their community and provide sponsorship opportunities to their member businesses.

One of my greatest joys in working with YGM clients is the sheer joy and “aha” moments from chamber executives when I’m able to share new, innovative programs and events with them.  The brainstorming sessions of sponsorship inventory are some of my most enjoyable moments with Chambers.

Some new sponsorship opportunities are discovered in the Chamber’s current program of work.  Looking at the same inventory in a different way allows Chambers to increase sponsorships on events they’ve been conducting for years.  But, some chambers want more.  They desire to know what’s working for other communities and how they can see a similar program or initiative enacted in their community.

A couple of years ago, Senior Vice President of ACCE Chris Mead asked me to share national sponsorship trends at the annual conference.  One of the trends was that education programs, initiatives, and events was on the rise.  The same is true today.

As we prepare for Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) next week, I am sharing three innovative programs YGM has found across the nation.  We’ll review them in order of the least amount of planning and preparation to the most.

Teacher Appreciation Cookies

Who doesn’t love a little something sweet in the middle of the day?  Grimes (IA) Chamber of Commerce has been delivering cookies and coffee to each of their local schools for a number of years.

But, these are not just ordinary cookies; they are decorated with the logo of sponsoring businesses.  Due to sponsorship levels created in their 2017 inaugural TRC, Grimes Chamber was able to increase revenue by several thousand dollars.

Educator Appreciation Expo

While attending a breakout session during the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives conference in 2017, I learned of this spectacular option to reinvigorate a Chamber’s Business Expo.

A Chamber had restructured their annual business-to-business expo into an expo specifically designed to market to educators.  Held during the educators’ orientation week prior to the first day of school, local chamber members who provide an educator discount and/or services which would appeal to educators gather to market to educators.

The Chamber has partnered with the school district and superintendent to make sure this event is part of the orientation agenda, thus solidifying the attendance of most district educators.  Chamber members are providing extremely positive feedback regarding the target market they are able to reach now as compared to the generic business expo.

After initial research, we found that a number of other chambers across the nation have created the same model.

 Educator Externship Program

Springfield (MO) Chamber of Commerce shared this program with me as we were developing their inaugural TRC a couple of years ago.  Each summer, teachers are offered a PAID externship program.  The Teacher Externship Program aims to connect business and education allowing teachers to better prepares their students for ever-changing workforce needs.

Teachers spend a week learning about the business world and workplace outside of the classroom by attending an orientation day and industry field trip, spending three days in a local business, and then coming back together for a day of strategic planning.

 Teacher participants report an enhanced learning of skill sets and common business practices while being able to impart first-hand knowledge of the corporate world to their students.   These newly acquired lessons are received favorably as most educators are typically in the education field all their life.

Hopefully, any or all of these programs have gotten your creative juices following.  As with any sponsorship question, feel free to reach out to us if you would like more information on any of these programs or contact information of the Chambers implementing them.

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