Summary and Plan of Attack

Like many nonprofit organizations, the YMCA is presently dealing with actual and anticipated decreases in income and the subsequent budget cuts that accompany these changes.  In an effort to reduce expenses, the organization has taken steps to reduce energy consumption, lower utility expenses, etc.

The YMCA has allocated numerous resources to reducing energy consumption in its branches for the last ___ years.  Patrick Barrington, Facilities & Project Manager, has hired InnoVerde to assist him with fine-tuning his energy reduction plan and developing a strategy for achieving organizational buy-in from the numerous stakeholders throughout the Capital District YMCA.  If implemented, our plan would assist our client with developing growth strategies that will improve the organization’s long-term viability.

InnoVerde has developed a proposal that will assist Mr. Barrington in convincing internal and external stakeholders that a companywide sustainability approach will:

  • Mitigate risk;
  • Create new competitive and revenue opportunities;
  • Fuel innovations by motivating employees and other stakeholders to look at other ways to reduce consumption/expenses;
  • Enhance employee recruiting, development and retention – Generation Y is more concerned with the environment than previous generations. Employees are more likely to have a positive perception of the company;
  • Improve the external image of the organization, thus attracting socially concerned employees, volunteers and investors (donations); (get more info on how much money socially/environmentally concerned people donated to likeminded nonprofit organizations).
  • Benefit the bottom line of the financial statement by reducing costs and improving efficiencies;
  • Stakeholders – Any implementation of a sustainability effort would require buy-in first from the internal and external stakeholders listed below (Corporate social responsibility). (Research each)
    • Management
    • Employees
    • Volunteers
    • Board Members
    • Members
  • Explain how this relates to the organization’s mission
  • Efforts made to this date
  • Provide statistics/reports that show how the company’s bottom line is positively impacted by a strong internal sustainability policies
  • Best Practices – Efforts done by other organizations. Have any other YMCA organizations implemented similar initiatives?


Step 1.

Develop an internal structure for implementing the plan, including identifying a Chief Sustainability Officer and a Sustainability Committee of the YMCA Board.  These individuals will be responsible for implementing our plan and making any additional recommendations for energy-saving actions.

Step 2

Needs assessment (option) – assess the energy-saving steps that have been taken so far and recommend additional opportunities.  If not previously conducted, decisions must be made as to whether the YMCA will be allocating resources for a professional energy-usage assessment (ie, potential building or appliance upgrades, opportunities for consolidating energy-consuming activities occurring at multiple branches, etc) at any of the YMCA properties to determine potential energy-saving investments, or whether the plan will be based entirely on the YMCA’s own internal assessments.

Step 2.

Create new programs for members and employees that promote sustainability, recycling, and reduction of carbon footprint.  Program outcomes must be measurable and provide results either by attracting more members, donors, and/or impacting the financial bottom line.  Examples might include:

  • Community garden;
  • More visible on-site recycling opportunities at branches for both members and employees;
  • YMCA programming that provides education on topics such as recycling and reducing waste.

Step 3

Create a communications and marketing plan that will guide communications with YMCA members and the public about the initiative and its benefits.  Specific actions include:

  • Working with the YMCA marketing department to promote the initiative;
  • Surveying YMCA members as to how energy use can be reduced as a part of their membership experience;
  • Promoting the benefits and results to members;
  • Developing incentives for buy-in from members. For example: raffle off an Ipad for members to make some kind of efforts.

Step 4

Create a plan, in conjunction with the YMCA’s Human Resources Department, to roll out the initiative internally with staff.  Specific actions include:

  • Soliciting recommendations from employees for how they can reduce energy consumption as part of their own work processes;
    • Staff trainings, seminars, mentoring & coaching , and assessments;
    • Promoting the benefits and results to employees;
    • Revising the employee manual as necessary

Step 5

Implement a solar energy strategy to reduce the organization’s utility bills/consumption.  Explain how much the organization is spending now.  How much can be saved by adding solar panels to the roof of one Y.  Use the information from your flow chart.