Earth Day is quickly approaching, and whatever your nonprofit’s mission, you can do your part to help the environment. Here are some tips for going green in the office, working with volunteers sustainably, and caring for the environment at fundraisers:
In the Office:
- Provide reusable plates, cups, and utensils.
- Use energy efficient products, such as incandescent light bulbs.
- Turn off and unplug your electronic equipment at the end of the day (avoid “vampire power.”)
- Sign up for programs that provide discounted public transportation for employees.
- Use only double sided printing and limit use of the fax machine. Instead, send your communications through email and digital file sharing. Google offers nonprofits Google Apps at a discount and Dropbox comes with two gigabytes of free storage.
- Email your volunteers and put all the information they need online.
- If your event requires consent forms, have volunteers give online consent before they arrive. It not only saves paper, but it also saves time during the event!
- If your event is outdoors, ask volunteers to bring their own reusable water bottles.
- Provide local food that is in season.
At Fundraising Events:
- When looking for a place for your fundraiser, be aware of how close it is to bus stops and bike paths. When advertising, encourage attendees to take public transportation.
- Ditch paper invitations. Focus on emailing attendees and using social media. If you need to print out invitations, use recycled paper.
- If your fundraising event is indoors, make sure that the building meets the LEED standards of low energy consumption.
- Use biodegradable plates and utensils, and provide local, seasonal food.
- Label recycling, compost, and waste bins and remind attendees what goes where.
- Post flyers around the site that let attendees know about your efforts to go green.
- If you’ve got leftover food, donate it to a local soup kitchen.
Here are some more ideas:
- Sustainable Design for Nonprofit Organizations: 10 Ways to Go Green in Your Office Space
- Greening Your Office
- It’s Earth Day, Go Green! Making Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event Eco-Friendly
What efforts has your organization made to go green?
Cristopher Bautista is the Communications & Social Media Intern at VolunteerMatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.