Sample Outline for Workshops on Launching or Growing a Local Business Coalition

“The workshop was exactly what I was hoping for. I can’t wait to carry this momentum forward and really get us going.” — Cisa Barry

Note: if you are interested solely in a training to help instigate or improve a “buy local” campaign, this page may have all you need.

These presentations and workshops are designed to help launch or enhance the impact of local businesses coalitions that focus on helping local entrepreneurs, including chambers of commerce, Main Street programs and Independent Business Alliances. We suggest allowing 1 – 2 hrs for an opening presentation, introductions, and direct Q&A which can be followed (after a short break) by a more in-depth workshop for board members, staff, volunteers and prospective volunteers. The outline below simply offers a menu of options.

Here’s a sample outline (the time of day is up to you, but mornings starts are recommended when workshops are included). Starting by 8 AM may enable many people to attend the opening presentation and discussion even if they don’t attend the full workshop. If you plan an extended workshop, make sure people know they are not committed to staying for the entire event in order to attend the opening presentation!

0:00  Introductions, recognize sponsors, etc. 

0:10  Opening presentation and discussion. We’ll highlight the economic, civic, environmental and other benefits of independent, community based business and some of the hidden costs accompanying reliance on absentee businesses or chain proliferation. While participants may be familiar with many of these points, they’ll learn the most effective framing, language and tools to present the concepts to others. Our slideshow provides dozens of visual examples from successful campaigns in communities like yours and highlights programs to nurture local entrepreneurs, enact pro-local policy initiatives and more.

1:40  Break

1:50 – ?  Workshop. This portion of the training digs into planning and implementation to help participants develop a clear idea of priority actions, necessary resources, realistic timelines and prepare them to turn their energy into immediate action. Depending on the interests and situation of the host and participants, we may cover: 

  • How to organize for success. Includes pointers on identifying prospective board members and building a cohesive board, division of board responsibilities via work groups, maximizing impact with fewer and shorter meetings, ensuring the mission of your organization is upheld as you expand your circle. Legal issues around incorporation can be covered if desired.
  • Building a culture of support for local entrepreneurship. (This is the major focus for many groups — especially those with existing campaigns). May include: effective messaging to reach beyond the choir, the power of storytelling, examples of the psychology of persuasion and identifying your stakeholders and target audiences;
  • Developing a presence in your local media. May include: building relationships with reporters and editors, writing your own commentaries and letters, making the news and editorial board meetings.
  • Building a powerful collective brand. Includes: principles and components of branding, how to create universal recognition on a grassroots budget, logo design, protecting the integrity of your “brand.”
  • Developing member benefit. Includes: how to assess members needs and interests, identifying first initiatives, marketing potential benefit to prospective members, developing in-kind memberships to fulfill organizational needs.
  • Social Media Explore which outlets best serve your goals and what portion of your time they deserve.
  • Website, database and email essentials for IBAs or Buy Local campaigns.
  • Member recruitment and retention. Includes: keys to effective listening, representing a diverse constituency, clearly defining benefits, effective copyrighting, interviews (may include role-plays) and automating renewals.
  • Make your local government an ally. How to build positive relationships, recognizing what matters to local officials, and leveraging the power of government procurement and contracting to benefit your constituency.
  • Funding your work. Looking at pros and cons of dues, fee-for-service, grants, cause-related merchandise, sponsorships, and other means of fundraising.
  • Identifying and engaging in local issues to build your organization.

In the course of these trainings, we’ll help you develop your organizational priorities, timelines, working groups and plan to fill your organizational needs, as well as securing commitments from participants. Participants will emerge with a solid understanding of keys to successful local business alliances and best practices for a range of activities and campaigns. AMIBA provides handout materials for all participants and offers templates for press releases, fliers and a publicity guide to help you maximize local media coverage and attendance.

Please contact us for current scheduling opportunities and costs via email or call 406-582-1255. Click here for a list of previous hosts.

See Scheduling and Logistics, All Speaking Topics or return to Presentations & Trainings index

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