The Local Leaders Roundtable met on February 11 for Local Hive: What’s succeeding and what challenges are you facing.

We started with introductions and what on our plates. Successes included member online gatherings, member renewals, new campaigns and even a new job opening. Challenges included staff capacity, continuing changes with the pandemic, realigning priorities and political divisions.

The conversation launched some amazing ideas:

  • Jennifer Rubenstein ( continues to see great engagement using ( as an alternative to Zoom. Members love it and it’s easy to use.
  • Kathleen Roark ( is working on an anti-racism program for businesses.
  • There was also some discussion around B Corp education.
  • Second Round PPP loans—can a nonprofit apply if staff are independent contractors? The short answer is no. But independent contractors can apply on their own.

Perhaps the most interesting conversation came when discussing membership. Many IBAs suspended membership payments when the pandemic began but how do we get those stated again? And some IBAs took a different strategy of still sending our invoices but working with businesses in innovative ways including:

  • Pay what you can campaign. This has worked well with everyone who used it. It kept membership up, built loyalty and kept some money coming in the door. The surprise was how many members paid the full rate. Kathleen Roark (
  • Scholarships for memberships. Not a marketed campaign but offered when members did not renew due to financial concerns. Jennifer Rubenstein (
  • Gift Certificates for membership. Members can provide gift certificates in lieu of cash for membership dues. These were auctioned off, providing cash for the IBA and customers for the business. Colin Murray (
  • Extended Memberships. Extending memberships for members on a case by case basis worked for Cambridge Local First . Although they really only extended memberships for about 10 members. Theo Skeadas (
  • No invoices for six months. This maintained 80-90% of membership. In addition, 1/3 of the membership fees can be spent on IBA marketing campaigns. This invests in members and gives the IBA a pool of funds to work with. Janeen Murray (

It’s always a great discussion at the Local Hive! Missed this event? You can see the video on YouTube.

The Local Leaders Roundtable is every second Thursday at 1pm ET. Our March Roundtable is Nuts & Bolts: Using Your Website as a Member Marketplace. Register for this and other AMIBA events here. ( Hope to see you soon!

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