By Matt Bateman
Franklin, NC is a small town in western North Carolina, with a population of approximately 3,500 citizens. Within Franklin lies a solid core of concerned individuals that want to help support locally owned & operated businesses, as well as the overall well-being of our community. We call our movement “Venture Local Franklin (VLF).” VLF is an effort that was started to move Franklin forward and to help us lead within our region. We are both action-based and outcome-focused when it comes to getting things done. We have several goals and initiatives in motion at any given time. However, one in particular has been both dynamic & gratifying for the entire community to witness. We call it, “Ca$h Mob Franklin!”
Ca$h Mob Franklin! has hosted 8 very successful cash mobs throughout our small, locally owned business community. From gift shops, lunch counters, and outdoor outfitters, to hardware, electronic, and health food stores, Ca$h Mob Franklin! is making the rounds.
How we do it:
Nomination of Ca$h Mobs
After our very first cash mob, we had all participants nominate a local business by writing business names down onto a piece of paper. We then tossed all of the nominations into a bucket. We have the owner of the current business that is being mobbed pull (blindly) from the nomination bucket. Poof! We have our next cash mob victim. This has worked really well, but tweaks are being made to get an equal ratio of nominations to mobsters. Some of our mobsters get caught up in meeting new folks and exploring the business, while forgetting to nominate.
Promotion of Ca$h Mobs
We utilize Facebook, Twitter, email and our website to push the our message out into our local community and beyond. Staying in front of our audience has been the leading force in our success. We create active FB event pages for each cash mob and post on them frequently. A few of our nominated businesses have truly embraced this movement and created promotion of their own in the form of flyers, word of mouth, and their own social media outlets. This works really well and elevates the Cash Mob within the community.
Pay it forward
As part of our Cash Mob initiative, we require that each business pay it forward by selecting a local non-profit or charity to donate to. It can be a percentage of the cash mob sales or donation of time/resources. We really leave this up to the business owner to decide. Several non-profits have benefited from this portion of our Cash Mobs, and it’s something that we’re very proud of.
The calm before the storm
We meet up 15 minutes before each scheduled mob. We meet at a central location that’s closest to the business we’re about to mob. For example, with our downtown businesses, we’ve been meeting at our cool and historic, Franklin Clock Tower. This works well for us for so many reasons. First, we’re a large group standing together and that immediately draws attention. Grabbing passerby’s attention is always a good thing. Second, I always pass around a clipboard asking folks to “sign in” to let us know they were there. I also ask for email addresses to add to our growing lists for our e-news. This ensures that we’re always promoting to a growing audience for each new Cash Mob. Next, I make announcements and go over the “rules.” Like I mentioned before, VLF is involved in other initiatives, so I take a few minutes to talk about what’s new. Then I go over our rules:
1. Commit to spend at least $20 cash.
2. Meet at least 3 new people.
3. Have a blast!
I always add a 4th rule, which is, “Talk about Ca$h Mob Franklin!” Finally, we take a group picture, and head towards the business with our $20 cash in hand (hooting and hollering, of course).
A few highlights I would like to share with you…
– We are averaging just under 30 mobsters per cash mob. Incredible.
– We have attracted over 225 people to our cash mobs.
– Upwards of 85% of our mobsters are spending well over the $20 commitment
– We have had a nice mixture of locals AND visitors join in on the cash mob (tourism development)
– 30% of our mobsters have been to every cash mob
– 20% of our mobsters are first time participants
With the success of Ca$h Mob Franklin!, many in the community are starting to pay attention, and rightfully so. We are making this movement happen 100% organically, and it is grassroots driven. We don’t have a budget or funding to help with promotion, etc. We don’t have a board or committee to answer to (whew, thank goodness!). Ca$h Mob Franklin! is a testament to what can happen when a core of motivated and passionate citizens come together for the common good of their community.
Connect with us
I invite you to keep up with our progress as we move Franklin NC forward in a positive direction! Here is how you can do that.
Note: You can register via social media or create an account via our website that will allow you to interact with us. Please do!
Note: VLF has multiple initiatives going on at any given moment. Like our page to see what we’re up to.
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