The Work We Do
Since 2006, Seacoast Local has grown to 200+ members and has actively promoted to residents, businesses, students, institutions and visitors the importance of doing business with locally owned independents on the Seacoast. Along with other groups nationally and regionally, Seacoast Local has succeeded in making the following ideas and facts a part of the conversation about how to build a strong local economy: When you shop at a locally owned business more money stays in the community
When Seacoast residents and institutions shifts another piece of their annual spending from non-local businesses to locally owned businesses, it makes a real impact— a 10% Shift by everyone means hundreds of new jobs and over $50 million in increased economic activity. A strong local economy is a key strategy for community success in facing the challenges of the 21st century. Locally owned businesses need the support of local government and community leaders to level the playing field and to create a climate that is conducive to long-term localized economic development
Seacoast Local has been one of the leading organizations in the U.S. in promoting and building a strong local economy and has initiated highly effective campaigns and programs:
Seacoast Local publishes and distributes 15,000 copies of the Seacoast Local’s Guide—an attractive publication that makes it easy for people, institutions, and businesses to identify and connect with nearly 200+ locally owned businesses. A searchable version is available online.
In 2010, the Somersworth City Council voted to make Somersworth the nation’s second Local Economy Community. As a result of this resolution the City of Somersworth agreed to promote local purchasing, to make efforts to move the funds of Somersworth to local banks, to increase local procurement, and to work with the school department to increase the percentage of local food in the schools.
Seacoast Local co-founded the national campaign to promote the 10% Shift by bringing to the nationally respected speakers, creating the Shift calculator, and promoting the Shift Your Shopping campaign on the Seacoast and throughout New England. In 2011, we helped launch it nationally, uniting the voice and vision of thousands of real people in real communities across North America who agree to support strong local economies.
Seacoast Local co-founded the popular “Fishtival” to demonstrate the impact of our local fishing industry and the opportunities it offers to all of us, and we convene the Local Food Network, a collaborative quarterly forum for all non-profit organizations working to build the local food system on the Seacoast.
We took an active role in bringing together a diverse pool of community interests to launch the Save Our Bridges campaign, and were delighted to celebrate its success and our strong communities by co-hosting the “Lift Off: Farewell to the Memorial Bridge” party. Year round, we are active in the media, online, at festivals and public events promoting local purchasing and spreading the word about Seacoast Local’s mission.
Every winter, our member businesses lead a coordinated (H)EAT campaign to support non-profits providing food and fuel assistance in our region. We have raised nearly $100,000 together.
A New Strategy for Growth and Impact
Seacoast Local has developed a calendar of events and a strategic plan that will take our mission of building a strong local economy and supporting the growth of locally owned and independent businesses to a new level of impact.
Step 1: Increase our leadership capacity. In fall 2011, we hired David Boynton, Seacoast Local’s new full-time Executive Director, who works closely with our growing board. This year, we are implementing a system of dynamic governance to integrate and empower committee and project volunteers in ways that will develop both stability and innovation within our strategic plan.
Step 2: Increase our program capacity. Think Local First will feature a Shift 2012 campaign across all sectors of our economy. Our business education series, including our new Advo-Kit, will engage our member businesses in promoting the fluency of local living economies throughout their business and our community.
Our Community Capital Program is launching a local investor network to connect local investors with local entrepreneurs and put our wealth to work in our community.
ReRootEd, our local food program, is laying the groundwork for developing a regional strategy to grow the marketplace and infrastructure at a system level for our food system.
Our Local Economy Community program will identify where there is an emerging preference in our community for policy and planning in support of local, living economies, and creating a suite of programs to help facilitate this transition with local government.
In order for Seacoast Local to grow in numbers and influence, we need to expand the quality and quantity of our marketing and enhance our programs. We have identified 4 major objectives that will move us forward: Build a new and more dynamic web site, digital media strategy and traditional media strategy that will play a pivotal role in promoting the mission of Seacoast Local, with a strong focus on 10% Shift promotional strategy that reaches a broader community.
Create a Think Local First educational campaign to educate our current and new business members and their stakeholders in the importance of local living economies. This campaign would include an in-house business Advo-Kit, plus business improvement workshops and the
Making the Connection speaker series. Increase internal leadership capacity with attendance at relevant conferences and events, including BALLE, NELBF, and Slow Money, as well as a year-long strategy to introduce dynamic governance into our programs, enabling board, staff, volunteers and everyone in our community to “lead from where you’re at.” Host creative, fun, and engaging fundraising events including our annually successful Fishtival, a local brewery tasting event, and all-local farm and restaurant dinners.
Seacoast Local Sponsorship
Seacoast Local has accomplished much in our first five years and we’ve done it leveraging few funds and thousands of hours of volunteer time. However, in order to achieve our expanded vision for the future, additional funding is required. Fortunately, our local businesses have been supportive in their partnerships with us, and together we are developing a new program of sponsorship of Seacoast Local and its pioneering programs. These sponsorships will offer local businesses significant value and exposure to a large and growing network of local business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and conscious consumers. Through website-based logo placement, dedicated e-mail communications, event promotion and more, Seacoast Local partners will be able to showcase their products and services, while publicly demonstrating their shared commitment to building a strong local economy and supporting and strengthening the important work of the Seacoast Local. As details are being finalized, we are happy to work with our sponsors to create a program that promotes our common mission.
Visibility- All members receive a mention in our newsletter, a listing in our Seacoast Local’s Guide with 15,000 distributed copies, and a listing in our online guide. The value of collaborating with 200+ like-minded locally owned and independent business members is inspiring. For more membership benefits including networking and “buy local” decal please refer to our membership packet. The recognition in our monthly newsletter speaks to 1,200+ targeted subscribers. This newsletter has a 30% and growing open rate and a 99.9% retention rate. It is also fully integrated into our social media. Our social media reach is growing daily. Currently we have over 1,200 fans on Facebook with a weekly contact reach of over 1,500. We have 1,300+ followers on Twitter and almost 500 connections on Linked In. We strive to have our social media outreach be relevant, compelling, and engaging to our community.