Day 74: How Should We Organize?

Day 74: How should we organize?  When at a meeting with a client the other day we were asked what is the best way to organize for economic development.  With almost thirty years in the business and helping over 400 economic development organizations we probably have an opinion.  The opinion is, it depends…   But the overriding issue is to do economic development as a team.  The models out there are varied but the most common are:  Stand alone non-profit; part of a Chamber of Commerce; within government.  I do have a strong opinion that economic development should not be controlled by government.  I am fine with government being active in economic development but they should not be leading it.  The main reasons for this opinion is that most business does not prefer to work with government; it is much harder to keep things confidential; and lastly it is never good that the salesman is also the enforcer.  I know of several communities that have city government running economic development but I don’t feel that many of them are overly successful. But there are always exceptions.  In most cases I would encourage economic development to be a part of a chamber.  But, I know of lots of communities that have successful chambers and successful EDO’s in the same community.  If there are two or three organizations doing economic development the truly important thing is to talk to one another.  Set up regular meetings to talk about projects and activities.  If you can economic development under one roof, that is probably the best way to organize.  But as I said at the beginning, it all depends on the political influences in the community and personalities.  But it really should matter on what is best for the community.  Next:  How do we get everyone to work together?

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