A Full-Service Program to Boost Chamber Membership, Encourage Shopping Local and Honor Your Local Businesses

Best of City Contests empower your chamber of commerce, business organization or city to provide benefits to all local businesses while leveraging sponsorships to pay for the program costs and generate revenue for your organization.

What is a Best of City Contest?

Chambers of commerce, business organizations and city economic development departments are eager to help local businesses thrive, encourage local shopping, and increase membership.

Best of City Contests provides a turnkey solution for chambers to benefit existing members and to connect with new potential members with little effort and little or no cost while simultaneously raising awareness of the chamber.

For many chambers, a best of contest can also produce significant revenue through sponsorships, advertising, award party ticket sales and award plaque sales.

Through fundraising consulting, a full-featured voting software platform, technical assistance, graphic design services, web development, social media services, magazine publishing, event planning and marketing expertise, the Best of City Contests team will partner with you to manage and run a profitable contest for your community.

Winners getting their photos taken with their certificates at an award celebration.

Why run a Best of City Contest?

Let’s encourage shopping local in your community.

Here are examples of badges used in previous contests and a sample ballot embedded in a chamber of commerce website. Your contest will include original artwork designed to compliment your chamber’s logo colors and a ballot designed to include categories that represent your community.

Our easy to use software creates a ballot structure within your Chamber website. It’s fully customizable to fit your needs.

“The Best of El Cerrito has been our most effective marketing and fund raising promotion in years.”

John Stashik

Board Member, El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce

Get Started With a Turnkey Best of City Program, without the hassle!

Best of City Contests has been running contests for chambers, business associations and communities for over a decade in locations around the country. We make it easy for your organization or municipality to get started with a turnkey Best of City program. We handle everything including sponsorship drive consulting, project management with check-in meetings, ballot design, press release outreach, technical support to voters, distribution of customized badges to nominees, graphic design of all collateral materials, custom social media outreach, eblasts to businesses, celebration party consulting, award website design, award magazine creation and more.

Example of a Best Of Award Party Recognizing Winners

Plan Chamber Monitization Strategies

Best of programs are typically funded by sponsorships and advertising. An engagement with Best of City Contests provides your Chamber with best practices for retaining program sponsors through tiered benefit levels. Sponsors are provided with an array of online and offline benefits including logo placement on signs posted around your city, social media placement, special advertising placements and even speaking opportunities at the award celebration.

Other monetization strategies include ballot advertising, gala celebration ticket sales, and award plaque sales.

Outreach to the Community

Getting out the word to vote is handled through press releases, email blasts, social media advertising, physical window signs, postcards and banners with QR codes.  With these strategies, first-year contests typically result in 10,000 to 20,000 votes, depending upon the size of the community. Engagement typically increases each year as businesses look forward to competing.

Nomination Round followed by Voting Round

We’ll work with your chamber to choose the best categories for your community and members. Then, following your approval, we’ll help or your webmaster add the ballot to the chamber’s website. This will increase visitors to the chamber’s site and benefit chamber visibility and search engine optimization.

Round one is a write-in nomination phase.  Round two is the finalist voting round where the public chooses their favorites.

Award Celebration

An award celebration offers the chamber an opportunity to recognize businesses throughout the community. Typically local dignitaries such as Mayors will participate. Certificates and window clings will be distributed. It’s heartwarming to hear speeches from small business owners at these events who are grateful to be recognized. These events can pay for themselves through ticket sales and sponsorships.

Best of City Contests Questions and Answers

My chamber has limited bandwidth and staff for new projects. Is running a best-of contest still possible?

Yes! When you work with Best of City Contests, you’ll have an experienced team handling all of the setup and administration.  Best of City Contests will work with you to create the ballot, manage all technical support and provide ongoing best practices consulting.

How does a Chamber pay for a best of contest?

Typically, a Best of Contest is a revenue generator for a Chamber.  This is because program costs can be passed on to program sponsors.  Typical revenue from a best of contest can be anywhere from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

How are winners chosen?

All winners and runners-up are chosen through voting by the public. Our ballot software placed on your chamber site, facilitates voting and tabulating winners.

How does a Best of Contest lead to increased Chamber members?

Chambers often have a difficult time reaching out to small businesses. Best of programs give your chamber an easy way to provide a free service to all of the small businesses in the area to introduce them to the chamber.

During the voting phase, banners and signs placed around town will show everybody that the chamber is the central player to business in the area.

At the conclusion of the program, winner window clings will include the chamber logo, further advertising the chamber’s role as a business leader.

Why do we need to do another contest?

Typically newspaper-run contests cover a wider area than a chamber,  are online only and are limited to retail businesses and restaurants. Chamber-run programs work for your membership and are more inclusive by adding categories for professional services, health and wellness businesses, home services, schools and more. Programs run by the Best of City Contests include offline features such as large vinyl banners in shopping districts and “vote for us” window signs – all branded to the chamber. After the contest, chambers usually host a gala award celebration that includes speeches by city dignitaries and the distribution of award certificates and window clings.

Why would businesses want to participate?

There is no cost to a business to participate. However, businesses receive an array of online and offline marketing benefits. You might be surprised about how popular best of promotions can be.  Once these contests start, we’ve seen a viral effect when businesses spread the word through social media, email and signs. Most businesses are happy to put up the program window signs that include a QR code that directs consumers to the ballot. One grocery store even added their own “vote for us” flyers to each cashier station. 

Why choose Best of City Contests?

The management of Best of City Contests have managed these contests for many communities and have also served as chamber board members. Therefore, they understand the challenges chambers of commerce face in demonstrating value to members. They found that Best of City contests are an excellent solution to provide a benefit to all existing members and to reach out to the wider business community to grow membership. 

Although all businesses are eligible to be nominated, chamber members will receive a special member designation placing them at the top of the ballot in each category. We’ve found that providing this member-only benefit encourages nominees to join the chamber.