Intensive Idea Friendly Action Package

Invest six months to work with us in person and online to generate lasting change in your community. 

SaveYour.Town was instrumental in helping our organization meet the needs of our community! Deb and Becky’s visits to our towns and online support were a part of a large small business development project, and we couldn’t have completed it without them!

Both of these professional women were extremely knowledgeable, helpful, detail-oriented and genuinely cared about results. I would strongly recommend working with Deb, Becky and all of the resources available through SaveYour.Town.

Lori Scovel

Limestone Bluffs RC&D, Iowa

Your town is worth your effort and ours

You want more for your town. You want someone who’s lived and worked in small towns and has spent a lot of time helping to build successful communities. Not some city ‘expert’ with a template to tell you what to do.

You receive direction from two people with real-world and real rural experience: Becky McCray and Deb Brown, the co-founders of SaveYour.Town.

You’ll help us get a feel for your community through our initial preparation. We will come to you, to work with you and your community in person. For a full year, you’ll access our video library for practical steps you can take to address your specific challenges. You’ll get more personal attention with follow-up online sessions.

This intensive work can cover one town, one county or a region. We work out the details and determine where you want your focus. We’ve done multi-year projects covering multiple counties in Montana, a 9 month project with 4 counties in Colorado, and many single town and single county projects. 

This intensive package includes

  • Coaching and preparation for you and your key local people before we ever come to town
  • A 3 day visit by Deb Brown to engage a lot of people outside your core group
  • A follow up online session with specific information tailored to your town, your challenges
  • A 2 day visit and keynote presentation by Becky McCray to energize your core group
  • A wrap-up online session for another boost of energy and clarity
  • One year of unlimited streaming videos from our archive to address specific challenges in your community, perfect for monthly watch parties
  • Toolkits to walk you through special projects
  • Weekly newsletters to keep your motivation going and spur conversations in your local people

You can schedule these in any order that works for your community. Want to engage a lot of people outside your core group first? Schedule Deb’s visit first. Need to energize your core group first? Start with the keynote and walkthrough by Becky.

We’ll work with you to find the best way for you. Usually, you’ll want to have 3 to 6 months between the first and second visits.

What this package changes for you

You’ll see your region through new eyes. We recognize those things that you don’t even see anymore. Empty buildings and possible uses, walls and parks not being well utilized, storefronts that could use some easy sprucing up. You’ll work through viable, easy, small alternatives to get projects off the ground right away. You’ll hear the stories of other rural areas and how they are accomplishing some of the things you’d like in your town. You’ll hear practical steps you can put into action right away, and your people will get the motivation to get right to work. Here are two examples.

When Deb visited Columbiana, Ohio, (population 6600) she drew attention to an empty building with a boarded up window. The owner didn’t want to replace window until there was a tenant he could build-to-spec for. Brainstorming with Deb, the mayor and other community members, they came up with the idea of painting the boards as a temporary improvement. Soon after, they hired a local artist who painted the mural during a festival. And the building owner opened up so prospective tenants could tour the building.

When Becky visited Castle Rock, Washington, (population 2400) she pointed out the chain link fence at the hardware store downtown. Its bare and unfriendly appearance was at odds with the town’s many beautification projects. There were a few art tiles on a nearby fence, and Becky suggested bringing them over to this highly-visible location. Soon the city, the business and community leaders cooperated with student artists to paint all new tiles to cover almost the whole fence.

Simple projects like these are public and noticeable. They generate more attention and make people ask, “Who did that? What’s going on?”

Your town is different, and the actions we kick off in your community will be based on specifically what you need.

More details about each part of the package

Coaching and preparation

You help us get a feel for your community with some initial information gathering. It involves talking to your contacts and who they consider their key players by phone, email or online.

We take note of what you’d like us to pay attention to.

Gathering Your Crowd is the first key tenet. Deb will take you through what that is, and how she can use it during the visit. You’ll receive a listing of the kind of folks you want to bring together for the visit.

Together, we figure out the timing. When is the right time to do this? Which of us should visit first, based on what you need? What things do you want us to do while we are there? We sort out the details!

The real benefit isn’t in the number of hours spent on site. The real value is in making a real connection between people. They will get more benefit out of the presentation and follow up if they feel the connection of having met in person. (Plus we get stories and photos to use in later online sessions with you!)

Get your core people into immediate action with Becky McCray

When Becky comes to town, you’ll get your core group excited and taking immediate action. She’ll be in town for 2 days and will work with you to customize what we do.

A walk-around workshop with your core group will give you new ideas and insights for placemaking and downtown development. It’s not about gathering ideas or building consensus or writing a plan. It is more about noticing possibilities than focusing on problems. It’s about unleashing people to take action. You’ll get started right away with ideas we generate together on the spot.

A keynote presentation gives your people an interactive work session and deep understanding of the Idea Friendly method. Of course Becky will work in ideas and suggestions based on what you learned in the walk-around and our informal conversations.

This is also your chance to pack the audience with local officials, elected and appointed leaders, sponsors who want to feel like they got a good deal, good people who can’t come to stuff during the day, neighbors from nearby communities, and people you want to impress.

A guided brainstorming session focuses your best people on your biggest issues. We get 10 to 15 of your core people in a room to talk about the big ideas that are going to require more than grassroots and individual action.

These sessions often tackle housing, internet access, youth engagement, or building community engagement. These are the challenges that can only be addressed together. This session will draw the discussion straight to the resources and connections that make progress possible.

Grow community support with Deb Brown

Why bring Deb to town? The best answer is because she understands you.

She has traveled the United States embedding herself in small towns in places like Roscommon County, Michigan; Columbiana, Ohio; Bennettsville, South Carolina; York, Nebraska and her home town of Webster City, Iowa, just to name a few.

Deb spends 3 days in your town, talking to as many people, groups, city people, non profits, students, service organizations and boards as possible.

Deb asks everyone “what do you want for your community?” This question prompts everyone to start talking and working on the things they want.

All those answers come back to you in Deb’s online follow-up presentation, focused on exactly the things you want for your community.

Two targeted online sessions

After Deb’s visit, she compiles what people said they want then shares that information in an online presentation. She’ll also tell stories of other communities who have done the things you are asking for. And she gives suggestions of other actions you can take. You’ll also get the recording of the presentation and a pdf of her photos and slides.

A second online session focuses on your questions. You can schedule this whenever makes sense in the 6 to 9 months we work with you. Usually it’s just about the last thing, a chance to answer any questions anyone has. We bring our photos from both our visits and share suggestions one last time. It’s a real boost to enthusiasm.

These sessions are not a sales pitch for anything else. We aren’t going to try to sell everyone a book or try to talk you into paying us for more work. This IS the work.

Unlimited streaming videos to share locally

It’s like your book club for a better community. You pick the videos that match your specific challenges: need more volunteers, create events they’ll attend, build a unified community and dozens more. Then you get your buddies together to watch, talk, ask and answer questions, and take immediate action.

Each video is short and to the point. You can watch them instantly anytime, on demand. Because they’re recorded, you can pause, stop, rewind or watch again immediately.

By holding regular sessions together, you’ll boost your enthusiasm over and over. You’ll get specific useful ideas to address exactly the issues that matter most in your community.

Videos by SaveYour.Town are a fun way to learn some no-nonsense alternatives to community inertia.

Clark Hoskin

Ontario

Toolkits for in-depth answers

Sometimes a 30 minute video isn’t enough. That’s why we create toolkits to walk you through a process step by step.

Tour of Empty Buildings Toolkit – learn how to show off your empty buildings in a way that results in new businesses, filled buildings, changed perceptions and positive attention.

Pop-Up Fair Course – a festival of local businesses, artists, home-based businesses and others creating pop-up temporary businesses right on your downtown sidewalks, just for one day. This is one idea that will work in a town of 500 or could scale up for a town of 50,000.

Weekly newsletters you can reprint or share

Keep your enthusiasm up, start conversations and take advantage of new ideas with our weekly email newsletters. Read about solutions to rural challenges, the Idea Friendly Method and stories of other small towns.

Like a particular story? Forward it around, or reprint it in your own newsletter or newspaper.

Get your entire core group on the same page by letting them sign up to receive the newsletters in their own inbox.

The practical inspiration from our newsletters has helped spur real-world action in towns from all over.

You have all been so helpful to our small town of Sayre PA. I read your newsletter faithfully! We have had two successful Pop Up events, both art shows because of your inspiration. Thank you for all you do to inspire all of us!

Debra Landy

Sayre, Pennsylvania

Reach out, we’ll answer

Anytime during the project you can ask a question or bounce an idea off of us. Hit reply to any email or newsletter you receive from us.

We’re also available by email or phone for questions.

What’s not included? A written plan in a fancy binder you’ll never open again.

We don’t do plans like that. There is no pre-written plan where we just swap in your town’s name. We don’t show up with some big city template and expect you to “dumb it down” or come up with tons of additional funding to make things happen.

You’ll make things happen because we help you kick off immediate action.

Sometimes you really really need something to show others or put in an application or report. You can compile what you learn from that immediate action, and that is your plan. Add in the PDF report from Deb’s follow-up presentation, and the results are perfect for submitting to funders, boards and those with oversight.

What does all this cost?

Lots of people are shy about quoting real prices. We’ll be straight with you. This is an intensive program with a serious investment.

The price is a flat rate US$19,000. That’s current throughout 2022 and 2023.

That includes our airfare and driving costs. You’ll provide local lodging. We’ll cover our own meals on our way there, and we know you’ll feed us well while we’re together!

The individual prices for the two visits, travel, two online sessions, and year-long video and toolkit membership add up to over $25,000.

  • $ 7,500.00 Becky’s visit 
  • $ 7,500.00 Deb’s visit 
  • $ 3,000.00 Deb’s follow-up online session
  • $ 3,000.00 final online session  
  • $    600.00 one year membership for toolkits and video archive
  • $ 4,000.00 travel for both visits

Is it worth it?

Akron, Iowa, population 1500

During Deb’s visit, around 30 local people gathered for a “Plant Your Flag” session. The mayor put ideas on small table flags. Anyone could put a flag on their table of things they would like to help address. Or they could write their own ideas on a flag. Deb facilitated a discussion, added suggestions and helped make it practical.

One immediate result was a sale of “Wreaths for a Reason” to help raise money for a new aquatic center. Another flag was to offer more family-type activities. Two younger adults created a family-friendly car cruise downtown. It was cold that night, but they had so many people participate. After every home football game, they again did it. Local business people would offer free floats, or $2.00 hamburgers, and other creative ideas. Cars filled with families lined the entire length of the business district.

This is the best money we could have paid to open the eyes of various groups. Deb has a way of getting people to get out and do something, and not just sit on our rears and hope something would happen.

Sharon Frerichs

Mayor, Akron, Iowa

Colfax, Washington, population 2,800

During a walkaround in Colfax, a local business owner got inspired by the idea Becky shared of creating a retail space for multiple tiny businesses inside a single building. It took award-winning cooperation between local business owners Laura and Austin Storm (you can see Austin with the ball cap and mustache in the pic below) and the Colfax Downtown Association’s Economic Vitality committee to make it happen.

The new Colfax Mercantile Store is now open, with room for 8 to 10 new vendors. They’re full up and have a waiting list. There’s women’s clothes, handcrafted soaps, and fun upcycled stuff. The commercial kitchen means they also have a cookie baker and a frozen yogurt place inside the Mercantile.

The Chamber and downtown group also have their offices in there. Each vendor works a set number of hours a week at the counter making sales for everyone. The people in Colfax did the work themselves spurred by the ideas and excitement that our visit helped them generate.

Get started now

Call Deb. Or send us an email.

However you do it, just reach out.

  • Reply to any email you’ve received from either of us
  • Use the live chat messaging button on our LearnTo.SaveYour.Town site (if we’re offline, you can leave your question and email address)
  • Send us a Facebook Message from our SaveYour.Town page
  • Use this link to send us an email (it may not work in all browsers because: internet)

Be sure to include your phone number!