As we approach the halfway mark of 2021, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to appear in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Thanks to a strong vaccine rollout in many cities, multiple areas are beginning to slowly open back up.
Yet as we begin to approach life after the pandemic, it’s become overly apparent how this past year has drastically impacted local economies. From people losing their jobs to businesses closing down for good, we’ve all seen our communities struggle amidst the weight of the pandemic.
On a recent episode of Formstack’s Ripple Effect podcast, we heard from David Taliaferro on why supporting small businesses and infusing capital into local economies is so important. The co-founder and CEO of Lenderfit has spent years focusing on ways to better equip entrepreneurs, small business, and communities with better access to equitable capital and growth opportunities.
If you’re looking for ways to do your part as our communities rebuild, check out the six simple, yet impactful ideas below. You can easily infuse support and capital into your local economy and community by making some strategic decisions.
Listen Now: David’s Ripple Effect episode, Fueling Entrepreneurship Through Equitable Capital, is live!
Join a Giving Circle
One interesting and fresh way to infuse money into your local economy is through joining a giving society or giving circle. These types of organizations bring people together and pool their money to make an impact in their community. They can range in size, from a handful of people to hundreds, and be incredibly broad or niche in their goals for the community.
Giving circles are a great way to connect with people in your community who are passionate about making where you live a better place. Although each organization and club is unique, they generally pool funds from members and then allow local nonprofits to submit grant applications for the money. Members then review applications and pitches, narrow down the pool, and vote on which organization(s) they want to receive funds.
Interested in finding a giving society or circle in your city? Review this list of more than 2,000 giving circles, or check out Impact100, which has over 60 chapters.
Shop Local Grocers
It’s very likely that there are local farmers within your area who need your help. Regardless of where you live, there are probably some great local grocers available to supply you with fresh food from local gardens, farms, and crops.
Purchasing food from a local grocery store or food co-op is a two-for-one win when it comes to making an impact in your local economy. Not only does your money help support a local farmer, but it also supports a local business that plays a role in developing the culture of your community. Try googling the name of your city with the terms local grocery store, food co-op, and farmers market.
Read Next: Discover how Formstack helps Big Green share the impact of their school gardens through the power of tech and storytelling.
Shop Small Businesses
It’s incredibly tempting to order whatever it is you need from large online companies like Amazon. But how many of those items can you buy locally? From coffee and meal kits to gifts and beauty products, much of what you’re buying online can be sourced locally.
When you shop at small businesses, you’re not only supporting your local economy but likely making an impact on the environment as well. If you’re shopping somewhere that makes their own goods or sources items locally, your purchases will have much less of an environmental impact than if you were buying items sourced from another state or country.
Pledge to Local Funding Initiatives
As David points out in his episode, there are many deserving entrepreneurs and small business owners who do not have great access to capital. Due to one thing or another, they simply don’t look strong on a loan application, which limits their ability to secure funding to grow.
One way you can help these small businesses and local entrepreneurs is through pledging to local funding initiatives. Hop onto sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, WeFunder, and GoFundMe to find local businesses in your area who are trying to raise funds.
In just a few minutes, you can find many small businesses that are looking to raise capital within your community. From raising funds to launch a new product to securing the down payment for a new location, there are businesses right in your backyard you can support by pledging to their campaigns on a crowdfunding site.
Attend Concerts of Local Artists
The COVID-19 pandemic hit musicians and those in the music industry hard. Many working in the industry have had to find new ways to make a living for more than a year. Without being able to gather together for concerts, meet and greets, and music festivals, many musicians have found themselves out of work and needing to find a way to make ends meet.
Now that group gatherings are becoming more common, concerts are beginning to trickle back onto the calendar. Take some time to scope out which local venues have reopened and what their concert lineup is like. Cities are beginning to bring back outdoor concerts, which may be more comfortable for those who are not ready to step inside a concert venue quite yet. Try to be strategic and look into performances by local artists, who were impacted the most by the past year’s events.
Support Community Events
Supporting community events is a simple way to support many of the different areas mentioned above. From art fairs and farmers markets to food festivals and nonprofit events, supporting community events is a great way to touch multiple lives within your community.
You can support community events in lots of different ways beyond simply buying tickets or attending. Consider sharing their information on social media, inviting friends and family through email or text messages, volunteering at an event, or donating items or funds.
Make an Impact in Your Local Economy Now
The ideas above are just a few ways you can easily make an impact in your local economy. As businesses continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that we focus on ways to infuse money, capital, and support into our communities. By making some smart and strategic decisions on how you spend your time and money, you can make a big impact in your own neighborhood.
Learn more about how you can help support small businesses and the intricacies of building equitable capital in the Ripple Effect podcast episode Fueling Entrepreneurship Through Equitable Capital now.