Creative Resource Library

The Creative Resource Library offers free research for economic developers.  Check back often for white papers, free research, and how-tos.


2021 North Carolina Economic Development Salary Survey

Ensuring your economic development organization has a competitive pay and benefits structure is critical to recruiting and retaining talented people. With 38% reporting retirement plans within the next 10 years, it’s more important than ever for economic development organizations (EDOs) to evaluate compensation structure to recruit future talent and keep the pipeline strong. This survey, along with national data, can help EDOs be confident they have the latest information about the profession.

Transforming a Textile Mill Site into a Catalyst for Redevelopment

The City of Lancaster, SC, and the Red Rose City Development Corporation have a vision to redevelop the former Springs Mill site into a catalyst for redevelopment of the Brooklyn neighborhood and all of Lancaster. Currently contributing to blight in the neighborhood, the former mill site could become a center of economic activity and uplift the community.

Fundraising 101: A Guide to Transforming Great Ideas into Reality

A case study of Onward NRV’s Fundraising Campaign.

You can have a million great ideas, but great ideas are just ideas until you find ways to fund them. Onward NRV, the economic development organization for Virginia’s New River Valley Region, exemplifies how great ideas can be put into action when funds are secured. Onward NRV set a fundraising goal to support the implementation of a new five-year strategic plan that positions the region as a competitive business location and a desirable place to live, work, and play. Through successful fundraising, Onward NRV has enhanced the competitiveness of their region and transformed their great ideas into actions. Other EDOs struggling to implement bright ideas can learn from Onward NRV’s best practices.

Using Housing Data to Attract Business and Talent

Housing is one of the hottest, most talked about topics in economic development. The reason? In order to attract new businesses to your community you need to have a talented workforce to draw from to fill those jobs, and that workforce needs a place to live.

Transforming a Corridor in Waynesboro

One of the biggest assets in Waynesboro is East Main Street/Hwy 250, which connects downtown Waynesboro with the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, and Appalachian Trail, three nationally-known and visited outdoor destinations. Waynesboro was selected as the 2019 Creative Give Back winner because connecting downtown to these assets, via what we called the Gateway Parkway, will be a pivot point for the local economy.

Re-Energizing the Blacksburg Young Professionals Program

The Blacksburg Partnership won the 2018 Creative Give Back because they are passionately working to engage young people in business and the wider community. The program needed a refresh if it was going to be a driver in Blacksburg’s talent attraction, development, and retention efforts. The action plan recommends continuing to focus on networking, education and professional development, and volunteering, with ways to shake up the program and keep it fresh. New to the Blacksburg Partnership are recommendations to increase business and community awareness around how to engage young professionals and working collaboratively on issues that are important to young professionals. With leader-champions, quality programming, and awareness, the YP Program will help Blacksburg become a sticky.

Spurring Downtown Revitalization and Entrepreneurship in Graham, NC

The enthusiasm behind the City of Graham’s application is what made them the 2017 Creative Give Back winner. Graham asked for our help in developing a framework for the implementation and operation of a Community Development/Revolving Loan Fund and programs to support entrepreneurship initiatives. One goal of our Creative Give Back program is to work on projects that can be replicated. What we learned in the Graham project has applicability to many small towns across North Carolina. Read the full report to get ideas for your community.

Defining Success in Business Retention & Expansion

Economic development organizations track a wide range of metrics from leads to BRE visits to business start-ups and beyond. However, does the time invested in measuring specific data points pay off in future success? An article in Community Development authored by Dr. Jonathan Morgan, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Crystal Morphis, CEO of Creative Economic Development Consulting, reviewed success factors in BRE programs.

Creative Give Back Report: Connecting Military Spouses and Former Military to Employment in Wayne County, NC

Does your community have a strong military presence? Do you have talented military spouses, dependents, and veterans seeking local employment but struggling to find an existing business with the right employment opportunities?  The 2016 Creative Give Back Project developed a concise action plan to raise awareness in the business community about the benefits of hiring former military and military spouses.

Creative Economic Development Consulting

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