Lots of local groups issue “shop local” coupon books. Most are pretty much what you expect: a packet of coupons good for savings at local businesses.
But one local business alliance came up with a better idea during one of my conference workshops. The alliance helps local people build a stronger local community. To communicate their purpose to local shoppers, they came up with the idea of adding in some bonus coupons with actions the customers could take to make a better community. It could be anything as simple as having a picnic in the park or making time to help out a neighbor. (Need action ideas? Here’s a list.) That’s brilliant. It not only communicates that the alliance is building a better community but also that the local shopper has a role in building that better community.
Following up on this idea, I found a local coupon book online that has some more engaging elements, though not action items. It’s theLocavore’s Resource Guide and Coupon Book from Edible Louisville. It has stories and recipes in addition to coupons. So that’s an excellent addition to just the coupons.
Action coupons for a better community could even include a way to “redeem” them. So when a person joins in a street festival or picks up some trash, they could use the hashtag that’s printed on the coupon for Tweeting or Instagram-ing a picture. That not only gets the person taking action but also sharing it with their friends and community.
Keep making your small town better,
PS – This article on How to Start a Makerspace in Small Town America is a pretty useful outline for how to start almost anything in a small town: building awareness, building partnerships, locating downtown, offering education, and helping people see how it is relevant to them. Hat tip to Chad Nabity for sharing it.
US folks, I’ll be on Capitol Hill in DC today and tomorrow talking rural broadband organized by the folks from the Rural Broadband Policy Group.(http://ruralassembly.org/broadband/) I’d love to tell your story of why broadband matters to your rural or small town business. Hit reply and send me two or three sentences I can share. You can send a longer email, too, and I’ll send it as a follow up, but I need a short summary to share while visiting in person with legislators and FCC commissioners.