American Independent Business Alliance

Start an IBA

How to Start a “Buy Independent, Buy Local” Campaign or Local Business Alliance


Northboro Local First prepares for their first public event

Whether you’re looking to launch a coalition of independent businesses and community advocates or start with just a “buy local” campaign, we suggest the same basic steps:

1.  Contact AMIBA to see if others from your community already have stepped up to learn more. Some IBAs have launched from the interest of citizens in a given community who didn’t know each other previously — we just shared their contact information with each other.  

2.  Get hard copies of our guide to effective buy local campaigns and distribute them to prospective supporters — particularly those who are good candidates for an initial steering committee. (If you’ve not yet read it, order a free pdf here — you’ll then see the value of ordering full-color magazines to share.) Visit folks individually or convene prospects at an informal gathering or in a more formal meeting. We suggest including local business owners, citizens and community organizations in your initial recruitment efforts!

3.  Submit an op-ed or a letter to the editor of your local paper indicating your plans. Such a column or letter can draw out numerous potential allies. You can use one of AMIBA’s templates (for example) to localize and submit as a co-written article. Contact us for help (no charge) in crafting your letter to generate maximum response or for samples.

4.  Bring in an expert from AMIBA for a presentation and community training. Your effort gains instant credibility when your audience recognizes a national movement is afoot and the compelling success stories from IBAs around the country will inspire folks to action. We also can help inspire people to make contributions to get your effort started.

5.  Should you decide to organize, bear in mind we designed the IBA model to operate as a non-profit organization. Operating as a non-profit will place your group’s focus on helping the community and its independent business core.  And people perceive a for-profit business very differently than a non-profit organization. A for-profit business’ profit goes into the owner’s pocket, while a non-profit organization’s is reinvested into the organization. The public is the “owner,” and the board of directors govern the organization.

And don’t think a non-profit organization is built just of dutiful volunteers – they also can have paid staff, provide employee benefits, and other employee elements found in a for-profit business scenario.  That’s what we try to help set up each group we work with to achieve.

portland indie week booth 2010

(Portland Buy Local, Maine, building local interest for Independents Week)

Affiliate with AMIBA

Once you decide to start an IBA in your community, affiliate with AMIBA to get a package of starter materials including our posters and window decals, access to a huge array of resources, and the ongoing advisory support of AMIBA’s expert staff and dozens of other groups like yours. AMIBA is an organization of, by and for local groups supporting their independent businesses and communities.

Contact us for application and affiliation or see our benefits for details.

Independent Business Alliance is a registered mark of the American Independent Business Alliance.  Affiliation includes license to use the name.

Once we receive your application, we immediately send you your start-up materials, access to member resources online and we’ll be available for consultation anytime!

Back to Why Join AMIBA?


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