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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Bishop

Aligning Your Nonprofit with Sustainability

According to Google Cloud’s 2023 Sustainability Survey, Nine in 10 companies have publicly announced sustainability commitments. However, only 58% are implementing programs to advance those commitments.

The nonprofit sector is primed to change that stat. Our sector exists to fill the gaps, to work collectively, and to create positive change in our communities. Here are a few ways we can start to incorporate sustainable practices into our organizations.

Start Evaluating Office Habits

Hopefully we’ve all gravitated away from using a seemingly endless supply of paper cups and other single-use products by the water cooler. Metal cups, straws, and portable cutlery are great alternatives, and can also double as merch with your marketing message. Can 2023 finally be the year we adopt these trusty reusable items?

The shift doesn’t just happen there, though. It's time to swap out those light bulbs for LEDs, cut down on printing in favor of digital storage and communication methods, and ensure you are providing opportunities for recycling. This means recycling unused technology, too. Organizations like Arizona-based nonprofit AzStRUT will accept donations of used technology to refurbish what they can and responsibly recycle the rest.

Remote work has its many pros but also some cons for the environment, and tailoring a sustainable WFH set-up is specific for each nonprofit. Is your team frequently traveling for meetings and events? Consider emissions, additional tech needs, and how you can pool resources to lower your nonprofit’s footprint.

Keep Learning

Invest in the education of your team and you’ll see the power of collective ideation come to life. Consider planning monthly or quarterly lunch and learns centered around sustainability issues that impact your community. GreenBiz has some great webinars and other resources, including this panel on “Embedding Sustainability Across the Organization Using Data.”

Tap into local environmental organizations -- for us Arizonans, check out the Arizona Sustainability Alliance and Arizona Forward -- to stay up to date with upcoming events and local initiatives.

Integrate Sustainability Into Your Mission

There are a plethora of ways to make the work your nonprofit does more sustainable. To make a long-term impact, consider setting specific, achievable goals like: “By the end of 2024, 90% of our office lighting is LED.”

Take a look at organizations in your community that might be able to partner with you on your sustainability efforts. For example, if your nonprofit fights against hunger, Arizona nonprofit Waste Not can connect you with entities that have excess and ‘leftover’ foods available for donation.

Even your fundraising can be green! Check out this Donorbox blog for ideas like tree planting and clean up events or creating an eco-friendly market.

Weave Efforts and Learnings Into Your Storytelling

Share the impact and spread your good efforts, it catches on! Consider creating a regular social media series all about your organization's commitment to sustainability. You can also shout out other nonprofits that are inspiring you!

So how does your nonprofit plan to up its sustainability game?

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