Melody Warnick and SaveYour.Town are Keeping and Attracting Talented People in Rural Places

Melody Warnick and SaveYour.Town are Keeping and Attracting Talented People in Rural Places

Melody Warnick’s books have been refreshing reads for me in thinking about how people and place interact to create the culture in rural communities. In This Is Where You Belong, Melody talks openly about her own struggle to feel connected when she moved to a new town. In If You Could Live Anywhere she shares…

How SaveYour.Town is helping small towns in 2024

How SaveYour.Town is helping small towns in 2024

See our mood board, above? It’s all about how SaveYour.Town is helping you along the way in 2024 and beyond. Deb Brown and I picked that phrase, helping you along the way, because we know that you’re full up on work to do. You’re probably involved in multiple organizations in your community. Certainly you are…

Celebrate each step of the project, even the boring ones

Celebrate each step of the project, even the boring ones

I have so many stories from the amazing communities in Washington and Idaho that I toured and supported last month. People are doing heroic work to make their communities better. A new recreation area and ballfield is in process in Deary, Idaho. The next step is to install a culvert across part of it. Inspired…

You can’t order people to collaborate

You can’t order people to collaborate

And you can’t plan your way there, either. I ran into another one of those outdated “how to fix your rural community” prescriptions. I think you know the type I mean, written to address the “official leaders.” It started with shared vision, then planning (lots of planning), recruiting additional participants, assigning parts of the plan…

Here’s why I started the Survey of Rural Challenges

Here’s why I started the Survey of Rural Challenges

Could you help us spread the word on the Survey of Rural Challenges to as many people as possible? You could repost, add to your newsletter, print it in the local newspaper or share in meetings and presentations now through the end of May. Use this link: SaveYour.Town/survey2024  Thank you!  The very first time I…

Our natural rural collaboration vs. our giant silos

Our natural rural collaboration vs. our giant silos

A couple of times last year I had the chance to hear Dell Gines talk about collaboration. Both times, he used the phrase “build robust networks for targeted purposes.” That resonated for me as Deb Brown and I often tell you stories about Building Connections and turning your crowd into a powerful network as part…

Get more volunteer help with small steps

Get more volunteer help with small steps

What’s the best way to get volunteers to take lots of required training or complete an intensive commitment? Help them take small steps. Take a large volunteering goal: Break it into easier subgoals: And make it flexible for them: It’s the same goal! But wording it differently made a big difference in how volunteers reacted…

Who’s in your message group? An Idea Friendly way to stay motivated

Who’s in your message group? An Idea Friendly way to stay motivated

Two people at the Oklahoma Arts Council conference mentioned their support message groups. This is such a simple idea I wanted to share it with you.  Alena Jennings said people call her The Doodle Lady because she runs The Doodle Academy, an art experience education business in downtown Ponca City. Alena has connected with several…

Entrepreneur week advice for small towns: 3 practical steps for economic developers and chambers of commerce

Entrepreneur week advice for small towns: 3 practical steps for economic developers and chambers of commerce

Last year during entrepreneurship week, I saw lots of articles about what big cities can do to support entrepreneurship. Advice for small towns got left out. Again. So I wrote this entrepreneur week advice for small town economic developers and chambers of commerce, whether you serve 5,000 or 500 in your local population. 1. Create…

Overwhelmed with housing challenges? Gather your crowd

Overwhelmed with housing challenges? Gather your crowd

Caldwell, Kansas, has a population of about 1000 people. The city has taken an active role in improving the condition and availability of housing in their town. That’s a LOT for a town of 1,000 people!  But the city is not the only group interested in housing. When I visited the town, we made a…

How housing went from a rural advantage to a top challenge

How housing went from a rural advantage to a top challenge

You’ve probably noticed, but housing is a top challenge in most rural communities and small towns. That makes it hard to remember that back around 2013, cheap housing was a key draw of new residents to rural places, according to Ben Winchester from University of Minnesota and others. But by 2019, lack of housing was…