Is it imperative for non-profits to promote a healthy environment within the organization and community? That may or may not be part of your mission, but it can be a valuable tool that not only spreads your mission farther, but also provides you with some nice cost saving opportunities.
So, should every non-profit take on green initiatives? Becoming involved with environmental solutions certainly seems to be the bandwagon that everyone is jumping on. Organizations around the globe are becoming increasingly more aware that environmental sustainability is critical to long-term success. All non-profit organizations work to have a positive impact on the community, and therefore have a key ability to lead the way and start providing an earth-conscious work environment. Those that invest a substantial amount already into an organization (donors, investors, volunteers, and board members) will easily see the value in going green.
It is important for nonprofit organizations to follow for-profit business industry trends, in our increasingly connected world. There are several differences between nonprofit corporations and profit-driven corporations, but yet they both include one thing: you. “Nonprofits and businesses have joined partnerships in the past, but recently their speed and diversity approach have increased exponentially. Research shows that nearly 75 percent of consumers will go out of their way to do business with vendors that support charities. Businesses are jumping on the corporate social responsibility bandwagon as they see their popularity and customer loyalty soar when they shine the spotlight on nonprofits they support. The nonprofits benefit from the increased visibility, which is important because most don’t have a budget for marketing. This year we’ll see more businesses linking up with nonprofits in mutually beneficial strategies. (www.noozhawk.com)
Not only will for-profit businesses be linking up with nonprofits, but also the two should understand each other’s industry trends. “Going green is becoming increasingly attractive as a business strategy in the 2014 business trend. Green industry practices focus on making a profit while having a negligible (or even a beneficial) impact on the environment. The green industry seeks to meet the demands of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow. Consumers are becoming better educated about the dangers of a growing population competing over rapidly depleting natural resources, and many are looking for ways to lessen their impact on our environment. And companies are noticing! From huge multinational companies to local companies, the green movement is in full swing and reaping the benefits. The trend is not by customer interest alone, as sustainable business practices help companies save money over time: Initially the cost of going green will be greater up front, but will pay off in the end. Indicating that companies reporting sustainability efforts have a greater return than companies that do not. (www.franchisehelp.com)
I cannot stress enough that this is an increasingly connected world. The community around a nonprofit organizations cause is fundamental to its success; the community around a for-profit is fundamental to its success. The communities around both corporations are individuals, such as yourself; individuals that are starting to notice our rapidly depleting natural resources. These individuals are looking to lessen their impact on the environment, and how will they do that? When nonprofits and for-profits lead the way in green initiatives. There is a demand; we just need to supply the demand!
A nonprofit is founded on a social mission; they want to improve society for future generations. The little changes you make can help make a big impact on the environment, not to mention your operating budget. Treat your non-profit as much like a business as possible. Be organized, have a plan, invest wisely, stick to budgets and focus on the end result. Engage in green management; reduce the resources to save money, it’s good for the bottom line. Engage your board members and staff about your internal green initiatives. This is done effectively through open communication. You will need to make sure they are on board with the organization going green, but you can empower your board and/or staff to come up with sustainable projects that they can work on every day that will benefit them and the organization. Before long, you will be seeing “green” in many new ways!