While we’re taking care of others through nonprofit work, let’s not forget to take care of Mother Earth as well. In honor of Earth Day we’ve provided some basic tips for going green at your next fundraising event. A few simple changes can help make your events eco-friendly. Feel free to add additional tips or tell us how your organization is reducing its footprint in the comments.
Make signs to remind participants of your green efforts and encouraging them to participate. Include global facts, energy information and tips. Sign ideas include: Conserve water! Recycle! Donate goods here!
Offer local, seasonal foods to conserve energy, reduce environmental hazards and benefit your local economy.
Think of ways you can get participants involved by using incentives. For the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure in DC, incentives included reusable shopping totes, visors made of recycled water bottles, and coupons printed on recycled paper.
Have biodegradable or reusable decorations and paper goods. Encourage participants and spectators to bring their own reusable water bottles
Eliminate paper waste. Ditch snail mail invites for web invitations. And when paper is necessary, use recycled paper and print double-sided when possible. The American Diabetes Association urges volunteers to use their website to download PDFs of team captain and walker information.
Replace light bulbs with CFLs and LEDs. Keeping your space lit is a huge energy-sucker so you’ll save a dramatic amount of energy, especially if your event goes all night.
Energy Offsets or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are great way to reduce energy use. Check out green-e.org for a list of providers. You can also look into biodiesel fuel for trucks, buses and diesel generators
Arrange your event at a venue that can be accessed by walkers, bikers, and public transit to cut down on fuel waste. If possible, find a building that is LEED certified and has low energy consumption. If car and air travel are necessary to attend your event, encourage participants and spectators to offset their CO2 emissions by purchasing carbon credits.
Read your meter or utility bill to calculate energy use before and after your event. For help, check out www.ghgprotocol.org.
Take leftover food to a local soup kitchen. Extending the efforts beyond your own cause will build loyalty to your organization.
Have clearly marked recycling bins and dumpsters for aluminum, paper and plastic as well as compost containers. For the Venus de Miles event in CO, over 2,300 pounds of material was recycled or composted. When it comes to clean up, use earth-friendly cleaning products.
Your environmental efforts will help reduce your organization’s footprint. You have the possibility not only to spark change for your cause, but for our earth as well!