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24 September, 2019

Grassroots Group Harnesses Consumer Spending To Local Businesses Supporting The Community.

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Money talks. And it walks. Every purchase is a vote of support for that business. A consumer boycott is a vote against firms that live off the community but give back little in return. Shopping at socially responsible firms ('buycott') is a vote for social justice and corporate responsibility. Elections can be rigged, voters suppressed and districts gerrymandered, but it's hard to manipulate every day purchases by thousands of citizens. Every dollar spent is a vote. But it's hard for community organizers to implement direct activism. How do you research firms worth supporting? How can this information be shared with community members so that they can make their purchases to further the collective good?
Make The Road Nevada (MRNV) has launched an app for consumer activism. Its organizers poll residents and speak to local businesses in Las Vegas to understand their policies. The best are added into an online database that residents can easily search to decide where to spend their money. Good businesses get exposure and more sales. MRNV designed their app on the free GlideApps software platform in two days with a little help from DemLabs. Try it at http://bit.ly/shopnevada and remember to shop at the recommended firms when you are in Las Vegas.
Background
Martin Luther King Jr. explained consumer activism eloquently. "We don't have to argue with anybody. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."
Boycotts vs 'Buycotts' "59% of activist-minded consumers said it was more important than ever to participate in consumer boycotts, while far more — 83% said it was more important now to support companies they believe “do the right thing” and buy from them." - Washington Post. "The strategy of attracting consumers who are willing to spend more — by taking a stand on an issue or expressing how a company views a social issue — may better position brands than the strategy of remaining neutral to avoid “boycotters" who may not have spent money with them anyways."
Community activism
Make the Road Nevada (MRNV) builds the power of Latinx and working class communities of color to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, and transformative education. It informs, empowers, and mobilizes communities to act on issues that directly affect their families and loved ones.
"We wanted a means to let our community residents show their support for local businesses with social justice values", explains Lalo Montoya, political director at MRNV. "This app lets us engage more businesses and gives the community a stronger voice in Nevada’s legislative process".
Take away Money talks. Encourage supporters to spend their money in line with their values - from patronizing local socially responsible stores to avoiding products from companies that advertise on TV programs spewing racism. Learn more about encouraging digital consumer activism here.
Deepak
Co-Founder, DemLabs
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