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Earth Day: How Can Your Nonprofit Help?

By Heather Brown
April 21, 2017

Earth Day is a yearly event celebrated on April 22nd by more than 190 countries. Founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day is a worldwide movement to educate communities on the importance of their impact on our planet. Plenty of nonprofits align their mission to continue educating and inspiring individuals to go green. Even if your nonprofit’s mission isn’t the same, there are plenty of activities you can participate in to support the cause and help spread the word.

  1. Review your energy consumption.

Energy Star offers an online portfolio manager that lets you measure and track your energy and water usage in addition to greenhouse gas emissions. Once you identify your energy consumption, the portfolio manager also helps you find ways to save energy and money wasted on existing usage. Over time, you can use the results to make better investments in your building and resources.

 

  1. Go paperless.

If you’re still guilty of printing everything including e-mails, this is a must for your nonprofit. Meet with your volunteers to brainstorm how to cut back on excessive printing. Can you take your donor drives paperless by sending e-mails instead of letters? Can you create a filing system on a shared server instead of printing paperwork? Can you e-mail donor reports instead of printing one for each board member?

 

  1. Turn off the lights.

Invest in automatic light switches that turn lights on and off based on movement in the area. This prevents wasted energy in rooms with minimal use throughout the day. If you have windows in your office, encourage volunteers to use the natural lighting instead of overhead lighting for a few hours of the day.

 

You can also reduce energy costs by updating fluorescent tube lights to high-performance tubes and magnetic ballasts.

 

  1. Participate in community efforts.

Check your local events to find scheduled Earth Day activities. Encourage volunteers to dedicate some of their time to the efforts. In addition to supporting Earth Day activities, you might find an event looking for vendors. Show your Earth Day support by setting up a table for your nonprofit organization. You might find some new volunteers and supporters that appreciate your commitment to Earth Day.

 

  1. Host a community event.

A great community Earth Day event can set you apart from other organizations. Organize an event that educates residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle more in the coming year. Invite attendees to bring aluminum cans to recycle, old papers that need shredding, and electronics that need recycling. Encourage other organizations to attend and provide recycling services free of charge, host classes about go green initiatives, and create art out of recyclables.

 

  1. Let volunteers telecommute.

These days, volunteers have access to the same information at home that they do in the office. Cut down on pollution and driving expenses by giving them the chance to do their work at home instead  for a day.

 

  1. Educate your online audience.

Most nonprofits have a social media presence in 2017. If you don’t, you need one. Use your posts to educate audience members on things they can do to help our environment. Don’t forget to include links to local organizations pages. Spark a movement by keeping daily tips easy to implement (something the user can do in less than 10 minutes per day).

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