The 2011 online auction, dubbed “Bid Your Troubles Goodbye,” features products and services from the chamber’s members, as well as from members of the community at large, the only time the chamber invites non-members to market their products.
The money collected through the auction makes it possible for the chamber to provide its many services, said Chamber President Jennie English.
“We’re a non-profit, so it helps us provide products and services to our members that builds a business-friendly environment,” she said.
Among these services, she said the chamber’s lunch n’ learn seminars, networking and mentoring programs, and others such as the legislative listening session and membership breakfast are funded by the auction’s proceeds.
According to Laura Sultan of Paramaya Web Consulting, the presenting sponsor of the auction and designer of the Chamber of Commerce’s Web site, the Internet has provided the chamber and its members with more opportunities than ever before.
“These days, there is such a push, especially with all this mobile access to the Internet, for more local marketing via the Internet,” Sultan said. “You need to connect to your neighbors on a local level and this auction is a way to do that.”
Sultan said that even though the Haralson County area is behind major cities in tapping into the Internet’s power to market to consumers, she said that rural areas like Haralson have more to benefit from Internet marketing than larger areas.
“Internet marketing really lends itself to the community feel that we traditionally associate with small towns, except that it’s online,” she said. “When I see [a business’s] posts on Facebook, I feel more connected to them because of it. The chamber is helping to guide local businesses into this new marketing opportunity.”
This is the chamber’s seventh year of sponsoring the online auction, which officially begins May 1. Most items will be up for bid for the entire month, though chamber officials recommend checking regularly, as some items will have to come off early. The chamber will also offer weekly prizes to the donor with the most bids on an item.
English said the auction has already seen tremendous community support as demonstrated by wide array and number of sponsors for this year’s event.
Along with the auction, the Chamber also holds a yearly turkey shoot in November and sells Team Haralson T-shirts for its annual fundraising efforts.
To access the auction site, go to www.haralson.org and follow the link to the auction.