Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Shop Local Matching Grant

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Shop Local Matching Grant

10 Steps to Creating a Shop Local Matching Grant

Written by John Derr
Publisher, Chestnut Hill Local

  1. Don’t feel you have to reinvent the wheel. Look at some other newspapers that have offered a Shop Local Matching Grant and “borrow” language from those programs. Here are two sites that are still live and accepting applicants:
  2. Determine your timeframe for the grants. You can always extend the grant period if a recovery does not materialize. For instance, the Chestnut Hill Local’s grant program is running now through October, assuming incentives will not be necessary in November and December. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to plan now for a first quarter matching grant.
  3. Think through product restrictions and exclusions. What publications or services are eligible to grant recipients to use their funds on, and what products are excluded? You likely want to limit eligibility to your owned and operated products.
  4. Determine minimum monthly grant amounts. You can also set a maximum.
  5. Determine who is eligible. If only small businesses are eligible, what is the criteria? Address existing advertisers and those that were running in the same month, prior year. You will want to require their grant request be at least for the same amount as the prior year.
  6. Create a landing page on your site to which you can direct interested businesses to learn more and/or apply. Collect whatever information you need to base a decision plus any additional information that might be helpful for you to know.
  7. Determine who will receive, review and approve the grant applications and how the advertiser will be notified.
  8. Have a plan in place for the sales rep to make immediate contact once a business is approved to create a schedule using the paid and grant portion in the month. Make sure the reps are aware of the limitations and regulations and, if applicable, that advertiser’s spend the previous year.
  9. Think through how you want to handle the billing and crediting of the monthly advertising charges.
  10. Promote the grant program in print (ads, article), online, on social media, etc. Reach out to local business associations or chambers of commerce and ask them to make their members aware of the grant.

Other Ideas

  • Create a subscription promotion that states that you will match every dollar from a new subscription or a renewal and place it into the matching grant fund for local businesses to market themselves.
  • Create a program in November and December for advertisers to create their own matching grants in the first quarter of 2021. That is, in January and February, you will match the advertiser’s spend in those months up to their spending levels in November and December.