The year was 2007, and Michigan’s economy was decimated. People were losing jobs left and right. Businesses were folding. Homes were being foreclosed upon. I wanted to do something to help, but wasn’t sure what. Eventually I took a trip to South Africa that changed everything. Afterwards, I decided to start paying attention to where my dollars were going, and attempted to inspire others to do the same. Thus, Buy Michigan Now was born on the day before Thanksgiving in 2007.
Since then, hundreds of local businesses and artists have benefitted, and yet, we have only scratched the surface. Originally we asked people to take a pledge that they would make a concerted effort to buy locally, which hundreds did. Now, at a time when it seems this simple idea has never mattered more, I’m asking for more active support. We need your help to jolt Michigan’s economy in a way only collective efforts can. Here are 8 ways to get involved in this movement and truly make a difference.
- If you own a Michigan business or are an artist or author, the most important thing you can do is to join Buy Michigan Now. Membership starts at just $100 a year, or is free for U.S. Veterans in appreciation for your service. There are lots of benefits of membership, but most importantly, your membership dollars help us educate and motivate people to prioritize buying from Michigan-based businesses on a daily basis. Think of it as pooling your dollars with other local businesses to make a bigger impact. For less than the cost of most streaming services, or a couple of lattes a month, your company can invest in Michigan’s future. JOIN TODAY and together we can change the way people buy, and grow our state’s economy.
- If you participate in social media, become a Buy Michigan Now Social Media Ambassador. Simply join our private Facebook group for BMN Social Media Ambassadors. This is a brand new idea. There, you can watch for links to content that you may want to share with your own followers on any of the networks you use. We rely on our friends far and wide to help us spread the word about fantastic local companies, products, and travel destinations. This is a great idea for those of you who do social media on behalf of Michigan companies and are always on the lookout for positive local content. For those that don’t want to join the group, but still want to help, follow @BuyMichiganNow and share the content you like, especially our gift guides. You might help a local company to find a brand new customer with one simple post.
- If you love taking pictures, we are always looking for eyes and cameras all around Michigan. While we do our best to get out and about around the state, we simply can’t be everywhere we want to be. If you’re willing to be on alert to snap some pix, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Take pix” in the subject line. We’ll happily write back and let you know more about what kind of pictures we are looking for and how to become one of our field photographers.
- If you love to write, we have a number of ways you can participate in the campaign. You can do a one-time article for our Visit My Town series to help promote your local community. Alternatively, you can become a regular contributor with a byline on your stories posted on the BMN website. To learn more, send an email to email@example.com with “Writer” in the subject line.
- If you love to shop, keep an eye out for stores that carry a lot of MI-made products. Drop by and see what they have. Send us a tip by tagging or messaging BMN on social media, or via email, when you discover something fantastic that we should know about. That could be the shop itself, or a locally-made product. Ideally, snap a pic and let us know who made the product and where you found it. It may just end up in one of our gift guides because of you.
- If you’re a BMN Member already, submit a story, quote, or video about why you think it’s important to be part of the campaign, or how your company has benefitted. Testimonials can go a long way toward getting other companies involved. What goes even further, we’ve learned, is word of mouth. The vast majority of our Members joined because an existing BMN Member suggested it. Spread the word. Also, let us know if you are interested in hosting an event at your location, being a mentor to newbies, or sharing your thoughts on what benefits you’d like BMN to offer.
- If you have skills, time, and talent to spare, please share. Our vision is for Buy Michigan Now to become the strongest buy local campaign in the nation, built with the expertise, innovation and abilities of Michigan residents and businesses. We can use anything from a person who has an hour or two a week to do some online research, to a company that wants to become an in-kind partner and provide services and expertise that will drive our message forward.
- If you love all things Michigan, then subscribe to our monthly newsletter. It’s a wonderful way to keep up-to-date on new products to try, great places to buy, and destinations that don’t require you to fly.
I’m so grateful to the many individuals and organizations that have gotten us this far, and can’t wait to see where we go from here. In case you didn’t know, Buy Michigan Now has always been a grassroots movement, with no public funding, that is run entirely through volunteer efforts and the generous financial support of local companies. Get involved and together we can reach new economic heights…one product, one purchase, one person at a time.