"Think Local First" is a term developed by the members of BALLE networks to refer to our commitment to our communities. Rather than simply promoting "buying" local, we are suggesting our larger role as stewards. By thinking local, we can make choices that have dramatic impact on our local communities, economies, and environments. We recognize that we will rarely be able to buy everything we need or use from local independent businesses. But we are advocating that people first think local - look first for local and locally owned sources of the things they need and want - to maximize the impact of their daily actions and purchasing decisions.
A Local First campaign educates consumers about the economic and social advantages that independent and local businesses bring to a community. The goal is to create a thriving local economy by maximizing the potential of local businesses, and transferring market share (business, government, and consumer purchases) from non-locally owned businesses to local independently owned businesses. (See The need for Local First campaigns.)
Read How We Define "Local" and our guidelines for determining who is eligible for inclusion in a Local First campaign.
One of the greatest things an individual can do to support his or her local community is to patronize its locally owned businesses. Compared to their national competitors, local independent businesses recycle more money back into the local economy and give greater support to a community's nonprofit and civic needs. They are better positioned to respond to the special needs of the community, and they are more tied to the community's future. Additionally, unlike a homogenized Anyplace, USA, a community with vibrant independent businesses retains its unique character as a great place to live and visit. In promoting a Local First campaign, a community supports a thriving local economy and its way of life.
Read Who Benefits From a Local First Campaign? and check out the increasing number of studies detailing the benefits to businesses and the general community of Local First campaigns.
Whether you're starting a Local First campaign or looking for new ideas and best practices for your existing campaign, this manual is for you. It includes proven strategies from innovative, longstanding, and successful Local First campaigns across the country. Visit our Manuals page to preview this updated workbook and order your copy.
Every year, BALLE celebrates Buy Local Week with many of our local business networks across the US and Canada. Buy Local Week is an opportunity for locally owned businesses to work together to increase the local economic impact of holiday spending, create more jobs, more tax revenue and a more stable local economy. Buy Local Week leverages traditional media, online marketing, public events, local news and radio and other local partnerships to raise awareness of the role of local business on our economy.