New AMIBA Website Launches
We hope you'll find our new website a better-organized, more attractive and faster tool to help you find the information or tools you seek. Among new features is an RSS feed option if you'd like to receive timely news between monthly newsletters. A few additional tools, like an interactive map of AMIBA affiliates, will be added shortly.
Note to AMIBA affiliates: We e-mailed all designated contacts recently with new passwords to access online member resources. If you are an IBA staff or board member, ask your contact person for the new login.
Business Owners and Executive Directors: Don't Overlook New Health Care Tax Credit
With tax day approaching, we want to make sure you're aware of the new federal tax credits available to many small (no more than 25 full-time employees or equivalent) businesses and non-profits as part of last year's health care legislation. Credits for up to 35% of total premiums are available for businesses that paid at least half their employees' insurance.
Sharon Whalen, publisher of the Illinois Times and Capital Area IBA founder, prompted this reminder when she told us "We spent around $27,000 on health insurance this year and will get a tax credit for $2,700, which is a very big deal for us. It seems that many few accountants are unaware of this credit and even fewer business owners."
Make sure members of your organizations don't miss out. See all the guidelines here.
News You Can Use -- Updates from AMIBA Affiliates
The Austin IBA is acting on a member's suggestion by launching a new component of their email newsletter: AIBA Marketplace. The Marketplace is a means for members to communicate opportunities to each other – like member-to-member classifieds. Members submit their listing, such as items for sale, items sought, surplus, barter, and more to AIBA for publication in the section.
Heights IBA, (Ohio) negotiated a deal with the Observer newspaper to entice more member businesses to use the HIBA logo in their advertising. HIBA Members get a discount off all new or existing advertising contracts for each ad that includes the HIBA logo. Getting members using your IBA's logo in their own ads, storefronts, websites and more, is key to building broad public recognition, member unity and organizational strength with a limited budget.
Portland Buy Local (Maine) hosts their annual Downtown Worker Appreciation Day on May 5 to recognize workers and generate visibility for their message. PBL sets up a table at which they both celebrate the downtown work force and offer them promotions from member businesses, including free food, beverages and coupon-stuffed PBL tote bags. Last year PBL gave away over 500 bags, received great press, positive feedback from local workers, and generated traffic for member businesses.
Sustaining memberships can be key to funding your local IBA's work (ask us if you'd like guidance). Here's a recent example from Go Local Tacoma of a web page set up to provide value to major supporters.
Is your group creating something innovative, eye-catching or just especially effective? Tell us about it for inclusion in a future update. We'll gladly read and consider share news from non-affiliates, too.
Coming Right Up
National Record Store Day is coming April 16. Get all the info from our indie music allies here.
The National Main Streets Conference
occurs May 22-25 in Des Moines, Iowa, offering a wide range of
presentations and workshops on building vital downtowns and urban
neighborhoods, and protecting the character that makes these places
Independents Week. Plan now to seize this annual July opportunity to get your community thinking about the importance of independents! All resources in our online toolbox are free to anyone wishing to use them. We only ask that you mention AMIBA in your outreach and link to our website where appropriate. Please share any new innovations you devise with us so we can keep the toolbox growing!
New Resources for AMIBA Affiliates
We recently added many new resources for affiliates (log in here first to enable direct access):
News Weeklies Team Up to Advance Disaster Relief
The East Bay Express, the independent Oakland area news weekly and a leading localization advocate in the East Bay, is spearheading a major fundraising initiative for humanitarian relief in Japan. Newsweeklies across North America are donating ad space to reach nearly 17 million readers, encouraging them to donate via the International Rescue Committee. You can donate here and contact East Bay Express if you'd like a customizable ad template to run in your publication or website.
Online Communities for Independent Business Advocates
If you're not yet a subscriber, you can use the form on our home page to get future editions delivered to by email. We suggest all board and steering committee members of your local group be encouraged to subscribe so they continually see news and ideas to engage them.