The Keys to Effective Buy Local Campaigns


Well-defined, organized and sustained public education campaigns have proven their ability to shift local culture and spending. In the most recent survey of more than 3000 business owners, independent business in communities with a long-term “buy local and independent campaign” reported average revenue growth of 7.4%, nearly double the 4.2% increase for independent businesses not served by such efforts. (See graph below).

AMIBA’s publication, Buy Local Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending, is the go-to source for keys to establishing a successful campaign and avoiding the common mistakes that weaken them. The guide is FREE upon request in your choice of English or Spanish (pdf). If you’d like bound full-color magazines to hand others, we’ll send them at our cost of shipping — just ask!

Why Invest in a Local First Campaign?

A “buy independent / buy local” campaign that engages your local businesses and citizens can be a powerful tool to help sustain independent businesses and neighborhood-serving business districts. Compelling data in annual surveys by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance suggest how great that benefit can be.


Get a print quality pdf or Spanish version of the graph. We also offer a simpler version with solid bars instead of bill image. Data source: ILSR 2016 survey (no survey is planned for 2017). We suggest providing a link to this page and the report.

Important clarification: Some reports on the success of these initiatives neglect to mention the surveys measure the impact of campaigns sustained by grassroots organizations that promote locally-owned independent businesses, not merely those with a physical location in the community. In recent years, hundreds of buy local campaigns have come and gone without making a measurable impact. But groups affiliating with AMIBA have a strong record of durability and impact over 18 years. Our staff provide comprehensive support and unrivaled experience in helping people like you design and execute effective campaigns.


Click to view decals and other materials to help you spread the pro-local message!

City governments, independent trade associations, Main Street programs, rural development agencies and many others tap AMIBA’s expertise to provide presentations, trainings and help design initiatives to support their local entrepreneurs.

AMIBA also provides a range of outreach materials to help spread pro-local messages, including pre-printed posters, decals, pins and more, as well as many free graphics templates you can employ online right away or print in your own community. Most materials may be customized for your city, town, business or organization.

AMIBA will share examples and best practices for everything from choosing a buy local campaign slogan and logo to strategic planning and board development. Do yourself and your colleagues a favor — don’t waste time and money re-creating what’s been developed and refined by dozens of groups over 15+ years!

While every community should develop its own identity and customize its messaging, the basic principles of effective buy local campaigns are universal. Too many groups have lost momentum and volunteers by spending months researching and discussing issues we can guide you through in a single workshop!

The Guide to Effective Buy Local Campaigns

Free upon request and updated regularly

Seasonal Pro-Local Campaigns

While public education is a year-round process, annual events provide a great opportunity to build awareness at key times. Below are the two most prominent campaigns in the U.S. and Canada. See also our separate library of holiday campaign resources and graphics.

IndependentsWeek_WEBIndependents Week, the first week of July each year, connects “going local” with the American ideals of independence and the freedom to control one’s own livelihood. It celebrates entrepreneurial spirit, individuality, and recognizes the critical contributions of independent business to community life. This AMIBA-facilitated event offers a wide range of activities and free templates.

Small Business Saturday (Saturday following Thanksgiving) is a national initiative to help local merchants compete during the critical holiday shopping season. It aims to drive shoppers to local merchants at the launch of the holiday season and beyond. 


See also: Top Reasons to Buy Local (with source data and free graphics to spread the word on your website or social media).

Follow AMIBA on Twitter or Facebook to learn about new campaign tools and the most useful independent business news.   Contact us to help you get started on the right track and tap into the unrivaled experience AMIBA offers. AMIBA is a non-profit (501c3) organization and relies largely on the small gifts of people like you to keep helping local businesses prosper and provide valuable tools at no charge. Please consider a modest tax-deductible gift to help advance this work.

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