Tips for 'Greening' Your Nonprofit Practices
In the session "Green Your Fundraising to Meet Donor Expectations" presented at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2009 New York Nonprofit Conference, Meta Brophy, director of publishing operations at Consumers Union, and Anne Zaleski, production manager at the National Wildlife Federation, shared tips on how nonprofits can reduce and improve the environmental impacts of their direct-marketing programs.
Environmentally responsible marketing is increasingly important from a social, economic and ethical perspective, Brophy said, and it all starts with greening your mission. This involves:
- adopting sustainable practices that align marketing and fundraising operations with the mission;
- modeling environmentally responsible behavior to donors, prospects, consumers, staff and board members; and
- mitigating the environmental effects of fundraising and development activities.
To help marketers understand and apply environmental considerations throughout the direct-marketing processes, the DMA created an innovative environmental action program that includes educational initiatives and tools. One key tool it offers is the Green 15 Toolkit, a guide that provides strategies in five key areas relating to the direct-marketing process: list hygiene and data management; design and printing; paper procurement and use; packaging; and recycling and pollution reduction.
The "Green 15," as analyzed by Brophy, includes:
1. Honor customer choice to receive mail by maintaining in-house do-not-market lists; use the Mail Preference Service monthly for prospect mail; and provide customers with notice and choice in each of your solicitations.
2. Reduce misdirected and undeliverable mail by using U.S. Postal Service or commercially equivalent files.
3. Merge/purge and eliminate duplicate mailings.
4. Target those who are most likely to respond by applying predictive models and segmentation.
Mail design and production
5. Review your direct-mail pieces and packages, and test downsized pieces when and where appropriate.
6. Ask your suppliers to submit alternate solutions for environmentally friendly mail pieces and packaging.
7. Test and use production methods that reduce print order overruns, waste allowances and in-process waste. Brophy suggested testing an open window, for example, as it can save your organization money, uses fewer materials and makes your envelopes easier to recycle. She also suggested making labels, stickers and repositionable notes easier to recycle by selecting items that use benign adhesive and paper backers.
Paper and packaging
8. Increase wood purchases from recognized forest certification programs, e.g., Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).