American Independent Business Alliance

Member Support & Promotion


Local Bingo-Scavenger Hunt

Raleigh, North Carolina was beset with a series of winter weather events during the 2015 season.  Snow and ice can cause everything to shut down in Raleigh like a cascade of dominoes because they lack infrastructure to manage much in the way of “winter.”

To help Raleigh’s independent businesses who lost business due to reduced foot traffic and even needing to close during this time, Shop Local Raleigh conducted a scavenger hunt to encourage residents to visit its member businesses.  SLR’s scavenger hunt included a strong social media element, which gave the game a more playful component.

Shop Local Raleigh director Jennifer Martin said they received one “blackout” game card, and the submitter will get to have coffee with the mayor and select from among the additional available prizes.  Martin also said the media have enjoyed this game and will be doing a follow-up story once the winners have been announced.

Click to see the scavenger hunt description and game rules

B2B Shift Your Spending Campaign

Local First Milwaukee issued a challenge to all area businesses to shift more of their B2B spending to independent businesses (specifically to LFM member businesses) with a 45-day Shift Your Spending campaign. They secured some highly desirable prizes for the businesses making the biggest shifts, including an advertising package, a Wisconsin Public Radio on-air sponsorship package, a headshot photo shoot with a renowned area photographer and more. Click for more information on this campaign and useful resources to help you craft your own.

Indie Awards Program

Awards programs that highlight exceptional member businesses can generate great publicity and build loyalty from businesses nominated. In addition to examples and resources noted below, we learned about the successes and best practices from groups who have done this during an AMIBA  conference call. Listen to the MP3 Recording (50 min).

The Austin IBA based their Armadillo Awards on the groundwork laid by Portland Buy Local, Oakland Grown, Fresno IBA and others. Director Rebecca Melancon had this to say about the impact of their awards: “While we’ve had a team of five local business owners working to create and stage the Armadillo Awards, something happened that night [of the ceremony] that I had not even considered. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring and expression of the sense of community. I received many comments about how great it was to bring everyone together for the evening or how fantastic it was for younger businesses to mingle with Austin’s icons. I was also humbled by comments about how much it means to be recognized. In the hustle and bustle of event details, schedules and materials, I didn’t even contemplate the greater sense of community.”

Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance (aka, Portland Buy Local)  has run their annual  Indie Biz Awards since 2007.  PBL seeks nominees in 10 different categories. Five finalists are determined by a committee, then locals vote during a two week window in September through the PBL website. “Ballot-stuffing” is made difficult and detectable by limiting ballots to one per IP address.

Each of the 5 nominees in each category also gets access to graphics including a “vote for us” message to help get the word to their own audience and PBL spreads word through their newsletter, social media, radio, and TV (more than 2000 people voted in 2015).

For each of the 5 nominees of the 10 categories, the Knack Factory produces a short video for the business, to be shown at the event before the winner is announced. These videos also provide excellent exposure for some of the smaller businesses as they are later released on the PBL website and social media. The event is a celebration of all of Portland’s local businesses, free to all attendees, and features silent and live auctions, a raffle, live music and food vendors.

Other Documentation for Download

Scrip Program for School & Youth Group Fundraising

The Corvallis IBA developed this program to compete with other scrip programs that funnel money to chains and out of the community, bring more business to members, and work more closely with area schools.  Schools purchase scrip, good for redemption at participating CIBA member business, from CIBA at 90% of face value, then resell to school supporters at face value, retaining the 10% difference for the school or youth group.  Whom to approach with this idea?  Try the school district office first.  You may need to approach each school or PTA/PTO individually.  Youth groups may be approached individually, but consider groups like Little League and Scout troops and others that engage large numbers of kids!

“During our last fiscal year (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011), CIBA participating businesses have contributed over $1700 to our community’s young people — an increase of $900 from the previous year!”  — Colleen Dyrud, CIBA Administrator

IBA Grant Program

The Louisville IBA offers up to $700 to members to encourage them to engage in collaborative promotion of their businesses and to support the mission of LIBA.  It’s a way to further drive member interdependence.

Road Construction Survival Toolkitstay-local-road-construction-toolkit

When the City of New Orleans was readying to undertake an extensive infrastructure project that included many road closures and detours, Stay Local!, in conjunction with the City, developed this toolkit for small businesses, containing resources to get answers and updates about the project and ideas for helping them stay connected with current and potential patrons to survive and thrive through the project’s impacts to their business.

We worked with the Mayor’s Office [on this] and were inspired by Dane Buy Local’s [road construction] guide and wanted to make one for our city!  — Meredith Cherney, Stay Local! Program Manager

Long-term Programs & Fundraising


Community Benefit Card Program 

Local Card Programs has been the topic of two AMIBA-wide conference calls available as MP3 recordings with accompanying resources:

Many local groups offer a benefit card program to generate a funding source and encourage citizen membership. Points of sale may include the IBA office and/or website and member businesses. As people purchase or register these cards, your organization can collect information for further marketing and outreach, such as name and email. Here are a few examples from local groups.

Google spreadsheet on assessing existing loyalty programs. Please add your knowledge and feel free to add new entities or columns for considerations you find relevant.

The Go Local Rewards card (Sonoma County) is a sophisticated program in which card holders earn GoLocal Bucks everytime they use the card. Each local business determines the amount they reward customers, and some businesses also offer incentives, such as a free cup of coffee for every ten purchases. This debit card is powered by a local credit union,and Go Local Sonoma earns 2% of the rewards cards sales each month. Read more here (pdf).

Bernal Bucks is the exclusive rewards card for Bernal Heights, CA, which can be used anywhere debit cards are accepted and rewards consumers with 5% back for future purchases at local merchants or donation towards a cause. The initiative is administered by Clearbon, Inc and a member of Bernal Business Alliance.

Supportland, Portland Metro Region of Oregon, works like an airline miles program. Patrons earn points by shopping at local businesses which can be redeemed within any Supportland-powered community. There are currently over 60,000 active users in the area.

The Oakland Grown Card holds cash and earns reward points, called OakShares, that can be spent and redeemed at participating local businesses. Card holders can buy, reload and check their balance online.

“Convention Dollars” Program

Conventions and large events bring not only hundreds of people every year to the host city, but also an opportunity to boost sales for local businesses.  The Southeastern Association of State Highway & Trasportations Officials (SASHTO) has partnered with the CVBs in Asheville, NC and Charleston, SC several times to offer this type of program. In Asheville during August 2013, SASHTO offers each of the 1000+ attendees $25 SASHTO Dollars – dollar-for-dollar face value, no discount involved, and will be redeemable at participating businesses (view participant information pdf). Businesses will then redeem the SASHTO Dollars for their full cash value. In addition, SASHTO purchased 800 of Go Local Cards, developed by the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, for their participants to use during their stay. For the August 2012 conference in Charleston, they offered the SASHTO Bucks program to be applied during the last night of the conference. Participating businesses included spas, restaurants and retail shops.  During the 2001 convention in Asheville, SASHTO offered a similar program, which generated a total of $28,400 for participating businesses.

Contact your local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) for a schedule of conventions and large events.

Member Resources
AMIBA Overview
Renew Your AMIBA Affiliation
Share Your Story
AMIBA Programs for Affiliates
New Tools: Database/Communications Package and Website Template
501c6 Group Exemption Program
AMIBA 501(c)(6) Group Exemption Program FAQs
501c3 or 501c6 Status: Which Should We Choose?
How to Complete Your 990N Postcard
Instructions for completing the IRS Schedule C
Maintaining Your Status in AMIBA's 501c6 Exempt Group
Resources for Tax-exempt Groups
Fiscal Sponsorship Program Info and Resources
Fiscal Sponsorship Program Guidelines
How to Handle Funds You Receive
The Flow of Funds -- What to Expect and Do with Funds Raised in AMIBA's Fiscal Sponsorship Program
Membership Recruitment and Retention
Sample Member Recruitment Page for Indie Business Coalitions
The Value of Surveying Your Business Members
Automated Dues Payments
Setting up an Electronic Funds Transfer for Member Dues Collection
Business Membership Dues
Citizen Membership Dues
Community Organization Membership
Ideas for Engaging Community Organizations
Dues Collection Information & Suggestions
Member Recruitment
Engaging Member Businesses in Member Recruitment
Member Welcome Kit
Membership Brochures
Recommendations for Dealing with Franchises, Co-ops & Recruitment Grey Areas
Should Franchises Be Part of "Buy Local" Initiatives?
Sample Statement on Dealing with Local Franchises
Automotive Dealerships
Co-ops
Gas Stations
Who Sells Motor Fuels in the United States?
IBA Program & Project Ideas
B2B Shift Your Spending Challenge
B2B Shift Challenge – Milwaukee Form
B2B Shift Challenge – Milwaukee Announcement to Businesses
Buy Independent, Buy Local Campaign
Sponsorship Outline — Shift Happens Campaign
Community Benefit Card Press Release Example
Farm to Restaurant Program
Farm to Restaurant Program Overview
Farm to Restaurant Program Graphics
Farm to Restaurant Program Funding Proposal
Local Business Bingo – Raleigh, NC
Portland "Eat Local" Map / Directory
Rapid Response Team — a Tangible Member Benefit
Time Capsule Book
Public Education & Media
AMIBA's Tips for Effective Presentations
Tips for Successful Facebook Posts and Facebook Closed Group Contributions
Corvallis IBA "Welcome Dollars" Program
Engaging Young People
Enticing Community Newcomers to Buy Local
Hashtags Come to Facebook! #SoWhat?
Media Resources
Press Release Example – Holiday, Including Shift Your Shopping and Small Business Saturday
Press Release Example: Decrying Amazon-UW Partnership
Letter and Op-Ed Examples
Don't Forget Portland's Locally-Owned Businesses
Letter Example — Big Box Not in Community Character
Letter example: Community not hostile to business, just subsidies given to national retailers
Letter to Editor Example – Humboldt
Letter to Editor Example – Raleigh
Op-Ed: Portland Buy Local
Making the Most of an Editorial Board Meeting
Op-Ed Outline and Lead Tips
Op-Ed and Persuasive Writing Tips
Press Release Example: Positive Outlook
Press Release Example Spun for Holiday/Year End Launch
Press Release: General Example
Press Release Template
Public Service Announcement Examples
Tips on Effective Letters to the Editor
TV Ad Examples
Tips and Resources for Outreach with Video
Videos from Independent Businesses
Why Support Locally Owned Businesses
Why Support Locally Owned Businesses – Portland Buy Local
Trade Associations
AMIBA Member Web Stickers
AMIBA Affiliates Web Decals and Logos

Member Resources Account

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