Being green is just smart these days. Not only will you be helping the environment, but chances are you can save a little money too. Plus there's the added benefit of impressing the heck out of your members! Here are a few ways to “green” your association that you can start implementing this week!
- Phase out paper
Paper is one of the largest sources of waste in most offices. As a small staff association your paper waste is probably far less than most big offices, so you’re already on the right track. And thankfully, paper is an easily recycled material. But phasing out paper altogether could be a good plan in the long run. Take a look at your organizational system first: do you print off emails often or shuffle through stacks of printed-off articles when the screen versions would do fine? It might take a little while to get used to keeping things online, but ultimately it’ll be better for the environment and you may find it cuts down on clutter and improves organization.
- Be conscientious about energy use
This is more than just turning off lights when you leave a room, but while you’re at it make sure you hit that switch. Allow computers to go to sleep or shut them down completely when you leave for the day. Unplug things like chargers and power stripsf. Take the stairs instead of the elevator: save power and burn calories! Turn down the brightness on your screens to save both power and your eyesight. Be sure to encourage your employees to do the same!
- Green your commute or work from home if possible
Green commuting is tough- trust us, we’re in Atlanta. We know. But if it’s possible to walk, take public transportation, or bike to work, try that! You may find that time to be very peaceful and conducive to creativity and new ideas; or perhaps you just need a minute to enjoy your coffee and morning paper.
Another alternative is working from home. A lot of small staff association leaders already do this. If that’s you, good for you! You’re saving fuel and sanity by not being another car on the road, and these days you can get the same amount done with an AMS system and a great conference-calling program, plus be home to get your kids off the bus. Talk with your board to see if this is a good option for some association employees, but be sure to consider the important in-office values of cohesion and teamwork, too, and get together every now and then!
- Locally source if possible (and be sure your venues recycle and compost)
When planning events, let green thinking come into it. Choose caterers who locally source food and choose in-season menu items if possible. When you select venues, pick hotels that have water conservation and recycling programs. This information should be available on the internet, but if not a quick phone call could answer that question. Inquire about recycling and composting programs, and if you’re choosing a restaurant ask about the food sourcing and if the chef has a garden. This stuff can get pricey, of course, so make sure you consult your budget and prioritize accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with sticking what works, but if you have room in the budget to get a little “greener” go for it! Be sure to ask either way, though. Sometimes the local stuff is cheaper after all.
- Be strategically green with community events
Your association probably has a ton of opportunities to volunteer in your local community. When selecting which ones would be best for your association, consider strategic value first and let environmental concerns on your radar as well. Would your members enjoy and get the same benefit from helping beautify a local park as they would at another networking dinner/fundraiser? If you do choose a “less green” event, bring your own environmental consciousness. Recycle where you can and be diligent about energy usage.
We understand that for small staff association leaders, “being green” seems like an insurmountable task that’s pretty low on the priority list. But in reality, it’s not that hard! Give it a shot. You’ll be surprised how much your members really appreciate the effort.
Imagine recycling that file cabinet full of old spreadsheets and paper records and putting it all online in a nice, organized, all-in-one solution. Your AMS can do just that! Click below for our free guide to buying an AMS and take a step in the green direction.