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How do I Start a Green Non-Profit?

Kristie Lorette
Kristie Lorette

You can start a green non-profit by adopting steps, one at a time, to conduct the business of the organization in a way that is friendly to the environment. Everything from the building in which you operate the non-profit organization to the office supplies that your staff members use can be planned out so that your organization starts and operates as a green non-profit. Some things that you can do as you start a green non-profit include going paperless or using only recycled paper, using electronic filing and electronic communication, encouraging recycling in your building and reducing energy use in the building.

Running a paperless non-profit organization is one of the primary ways to be friendly to the environment. Create a website for your non-profit to use as a basis for all of its marketing and donation efforts. Donors can make donations to the organization through your website. Prospects can become members online by submitting an online application and paying their membership fee online with a credit card. You also can collect names and email addresses for those who want to receive communications from your non-profit organization but are not yet members.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

You can even make your marketing green by using e-newsletters to communicate with members and other individuals who are on your mailing list. Invitations to special events, annual fund letters and other sharing of information or requests for donations also can be handled electronically. For individuals who do not have email addresses, you can create a small set of marketing pieces that are printed on recycled and recyclable materials.

You can help donors, members and visitors contribute to being green. Place recycling bins in the lobby and common areas for newspapers, cans, plastic and glass bottles. Use fluorescent light bulbs in all of your lighting sources to cut down on energy usage. Set the thermostat a few degrees lower than normal in the winter and a few degrees higher than normal in the summer. Urge volunteers, staff and visitors to dress accordingly so that you won’t have to touch the thermostat.

In order to start a green non-profit organization, you do not have to change everything that you do all at once. You can choose one area at a time on which to focus or improve. Over time, the small steps that you take can add up to a world of difference.

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