At Strong Towns, we’re all about supporting a model of development that allows towns to be financially strong and resilient. One of the ways that we work toward this mission is by speaking at events across the continent, where we share our message, educate people on Strong Towns principles, and soften the ground so that the community can begin a lasting conversation about how our approach applies in their place. (See our event calendar and get info about booking an event here.) These events connect people to their neighbors and to the broader national Strong Towns conversation in a way that's truly amazing.
As the Strong Towns Pathfinder, I get to sit in the special seat of answering all of our event inquiries . Usually, when I ask someone what made them want to call us, the answer is because of a great story they heard about Strong Towns. They mention a specific article or podcast episode that outlined a similar problem that their town is facing, or they talk about a colleague who saw Chuck Marohn present at a conference and inspired them to bring the same message to the citizens in their town.
Sometimes, events happen simply because of one specific person who is constantly sharing articles and talking about the Strong Towns philosophy. This person is often affectionately described as the one who “drank the kool-aid.” Sometimes this person is a citizen who keeps presenting at city council meetings. Other times, this person is a member of a city’s planning department, or is an elected official. Either way, this advocate is almost always a member of Strong Towns.
Strong Towns members are a special breed. If this movement were a bicycle, our members would be the power that keep the wheels spinning. They grow the reach of our message by sharing it online and in person.
Membership donations are vital to what we do. The funding provided by members are what have made it possible for us to assemble a robust, growing staff that can accomplish so much. This has resulted in an audience of over 1.3 million readers a year, and it's what allows Chuck to take time to go on the road and share the message while we keep the ship running back home.
And here's an incredible fact: In 2017, over 6,000 people from diverse backgrounds and professions showed up to hear the Strong Towns message in person. If just 20% of those who attended became members, we would have 1,200 new members. That’s 1,200 people from around North America saying that they care about the Strong Towns mission and that they want to be a part of the movement. Can you imagine how our movement bicycle would fly with that kind of power behind it?
It’s the enthusiasm and follow-through of committed Strong Towns members that are the real heart and soul of our work. It’s their courage to connect with people to talk about uncomfortable issues that affect their towns, and reach for radical new solutions. They are motivated by their love of their community. Their words and actions prove that they are people who care.
Please take that step to strengthen your commitment to the Strong Towns mission by becoming a member.
(Top photo source: Zeitgeist Community Facebook page, from a Strong Towns event in Duluth, MN)