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 contacted us! We record every serious inquiry to help play “matchmaker” and facilitate local organizing.
2. Get hard copies of our guide to effective buy local campaigns and organizing to give prospective supporters — particularly those who are good candidates for an initial steering committee. (If you’ve not yet read it, get a free pdf here). 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.
Team Up with Your AMIBA
Once you decide to start an IBA in your community, affiliate with AMIBA to gain access to a huge array of resources to guide you through most activities you’ll undertake, support from AMIBA’s expert staff and stay connected to groups like yours across the continent. AMIBA is an organization of, by and for local groups supporting their independent businesses and communities.
Independent Business Alliance is a registered mark of the American Independent Business Alliance and signifies a group is part of the AMIBA (it is not required, but offers the advantage of brand recognition, as well as a strong, inclusive name that does not limit people’s perception of your group).
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!
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