Easy Ways to Better Your Community

Easy Ways to Better Your Community

Small town, big city, the suburbs or the country – no matter where you live, you’re part of a local community. Without realizing it, you can have a big impact on your community by the everyday choices that you make. And a thriving local community is good for everyone who lives there.

Why You Should Go Local

Local First, a Grand Rapids, Michigan based organization that encourages sustainable, locally-based economies, states that when you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Local First estimates that for every $100 you spend with local businesses, $73 remains in the community. Only $57 remains in the local economy when you buy from a national chain store.

Most new jobs are provided by local businesses as well, and local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners. This means that your support of local businesses has a farther-reaching effect than you might realize. You’re helping people find and keep jobs, and you’re helping make it possible for charitable organizations to continue doing much-needed work.

How You Can Go Local

Start Subscribing. Get a subscription to your community newspapers and local magazines. Not only will they keep you informed about what’s happening in your community, but you’ll help support local business.

Shop Locally. There are plenty of locally owned businesses and service providers in your neighborhood. One easy way to find them is through MerchantCircle.com, a social network of about 1 million local businesses. By signing up for a free account, you can easily search out and follow nearby businesses and service providers such as jewelers, plumbers, grocers, and accountants,  to get coupons and find out about special events and offers. MerchantCircle’s “Answers” lets you get expert advice from local businesses in your area and across the country on virtually any topic for free. Car mechanics, veterinarians and professionals in every industry will quickly respond, saving you time and often money.

Get Involved. Many communities have volunteer advisory councils for local governments – everything from city planning committees to arts councils. Check out your town’s web site to find out how you can impact the development and character of your community.

Visit Local Attractions. Parks, arboretums, museums, parades, festivals, theatres – there plenty of ways to have a good time without leaving town. A staycation or weekend getaway at home is less expensive for you than heading out of town, and you get to enjoy local treasures.

Volunteer. Local schools, community centers, libraries, museums and charities often need people like you. Check the local paper, community bulletin boards and web sites such as VolunteerMatch.org to find out what you can do to make your community stronger.

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