Small towns have limited budgets. I get it. That’s why I’m keeping track of funds that other rural places have used to help bring me to town.
Local sponsors and regional partners
The place to start is with local sponsors. As you already know, your banks, utility companies and local development organizations are a good place to start looking for sponsors. They know you and are most likely to say yes to a community-developing request like this.
You might also cooperate with neighboring towns or county-wide groups to share costs. You might do a single event and invite everyone, or we can arrange a bit of a tour stopping at multiple towns.
If you see I happen to be speaking somewhere close to you, it’s perfectly OK to ask if I can extend my stay to include you. Sometimes I can, and I’ll be glad to talk about a reduced fee. But ask early! Give me time to consider and possibly adjust travel plans. At SaveYour.Town, we publish a monthly speaking schedule for Deb Brown and me as part of our free newsletter. That way you can get advance notice if I’m traveling near you.
Get materials to share
To show others more about me, you can share any of the info from my media kit with potential sponsors and partners.
Share these newsletters
Encourage everyone to sign up for the newsletters so they can read more and get more excited each week. (There’s a form at the bottom of this page, or they can sign up at SaveYour.Town)
Grants and other resources
When local sponsors aren’t enough, there are some grants that you can apply for. They can be more complicated, take more time and come with additional restrictions. Several towns have done this successfully, though, so I want to share these leads with you.
On your application, you can fit me in using keywords like these:
- community vitality, resilience
- economic, business or community development
- entrepreneurship, small business
- jobs creation
- network or capacity building
You can also fit me into these UN Sustainable Development Goals:
- Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Goal 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities
I’ll be glad to help with my list of qualifications, work descriptions or other info.
I’ve listed grant resources that apply at least to a multi-state area. Anything more local, and you’ll know more about it than I will!
- Make sure you get the USDA Rural Development “Innovation Matters” emails. They list dozens of funding opportunities each month.
- Rural LISC’s Rural eNews covers lots of US funding opportunities and publications.
- USDA Rural Development Rural Business Development Grants
- Any community served by NTCA (rural broadband) members: Foundation for Rural Service Community Grants
- Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho: Innovia (formerly Inland Nortwest Partners Foundation)
- Appalachian region (13 states): Appalachian Regional Commission
- Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native Nations: Bush Foundation (especially Community Innovation Grants)
- Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming: Black Hills Energy
- Delta region (8 states): Delta Regional Authority (especially SEDAP)
For my Oklahoma neighbors:
- Oklahoma Arts Council Rural Arts Opportunity Grants for qualifying counties
If you know of corrections or other resources I should list, let me know.