Many of us are “going green” in one way or another these days. But, environmental sustainability is more than a trend. It is our future–– a more responsible way to do business and power positive, lasting change in the world. And we all play a part.
In today’s world where climate change is a growing concern and global emissions continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to act responsibly as a leader in the community.
Green business systems are the way forward. But what does that mean for grantmakers, who sometimes rely on traditional processes and workflows? What steps can you take to make your grantmaking lifecycle more environmentally friendly?
First of all, it’s important to note that an investment in “greening” your grant cycle doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. It’s simpler than you think to take practical steps to make your organisation more environmentally friendly. And, in the long run, the return on investment will be immeasurable.
Why do we care? Creative Force, the company behind Good Grants, works to recognise extraordinary human achievement. We believe it’s important for future generations to have the opportunity to do remarkable things. For this reason, sustainability is a high priority for us.
We want to ensure a healthy and livable planet for generations to come. Climate change and loss of biodiversity is threatening life on earth and we believe organisations have a responsibility to minimise their impact on the environment.
So how can grantmakers minimise their impact and go green?
1. Goodbye paper, hello online grant management system
The most meaningful step you can take toward “greening” your grantmaking process is to switch to a paperless grant system.
Not only is it better for the environment, but online grant management tools will also quickly streamline your workflows, make it easier for your grantseekers and program participants to apply for and track grant projects, and generally provide a better experience for everyone involved.
While the investment is more than a paper-based system, the return can be exponential.
If you’re still using paper and rifling through manila folders in a metal cabinet, we probably don’t have to explain to you the challenges you’re experiencing. You are undoubtedly painfully familiar with the stress of labour-intensive manual work.
By making the switch to an online grant system, you’ll save all that pain, cut down on administrative costs and have a more eco-friendly, sustainable process. Sure, grant management systems can range drastically in price. But, we promise, you can find one that won’t break your budget and can provide sophisticated solutions that will positively transform your grant process.
But here are a few more compelling arguments for adopting an online grant management system that you may not have considered:
One hub for all your administrative tasks
Whether you are a grant manager, a grant application reviewer, or support staff, you can log into the same system and do the work you need to do in one centralised place. No stack of papers littering your desk. No emails piling up in your inbox. You can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and do the work you need to do.
Fast quality control on incoming applications
With an online grant system, you can easily qualify applications as they are submitted to make sure they meet eligibility requirements. You can create automatic checks that quickly disqualify any applications that don’t meet your requirements. #timesaver
Digital application attachments are easier (and cheaper)
You can manage all application attachments such as photos, reports, PDFs and even videos online as part of the application. No lost reports or missing applications. And save money on all that postage!
Improved integrity in your grant lifecycle process
Have you ever lost time due to manual processes or your internal systems not working? Have you ever lost an application? With a good online system, and especially a SaaS (software as a service), there is rarely downtime. You can access it any time, from anywhere, and it is regularly maintained by a team of experienced engineers.
Better grant reporting functionality
An online grant management system provides a way for you to streamline and even automate many of your grant reporting needs. You can email grantees from the system when a report is due or manage and share submitted reports with your team with ease.
2. Avoid travel when possible
Consider cutting down or avoiding airplane travel when you can. Around 2.4% of global CO2 emissions come from aviation. Together with other gases and the water vapour trails produced by aircraft, the industry is responsible for around 5% of global warming.
Think about how you can meet virtually for those business meetings or appointments. To go back to that online grant management software, it’s easy to collaborate and communicate with your grant program participants right from within the platform.
3. Carbon off-set to manage your footprint
To help offset your carbon footprint, you can partner with an organisation to help you “carbon off-set”, which is a reduction or removal of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.
At Creative Force, for example, we make a small number of flights per year for business purposes. Our carbon footprint from flights (pre-pandemic) was 35 tonnes of CO2. Like our server energy use, we’ve offset that carbon dioxide through tree planting via Greenfleet.
4. Evaluate your vendors + partners for value alignment
Not only do you need to consider your own carbon footprint, but it’s important to evaluate your vendors and partners as well in your grantmaking lifecycle.
Do their environmental values align with yours? Choosing partners and vendors who have the same values can further your mission and provide trust and transparency for your community.
5. Operate virtually when possible
The pandemic has helped us all move to a more virtual work environment, whether we wanted it or not. And many organisations have reaped the benefits–from logistical cost-savings to recruitment. Technology (and online collaboration tools) has allowed us all to work more easily from anywhere at any time.
In the grant reporting process, for example, grantees can submit photos and videos of their initiatives for virtual review. And funding allocations can be tracked and managed online.
6. Support environmental defenders
Whether your funds and support go toward environmental causes or not, you can also consider throwing support toward your favourite environmental defenders. This could be through financial support or simply your time, where you encourage your organisation members and community to volunteer for an environmental cause.
At Good Grants, for example, we support the following environmental charities through donations. We give to the following organisations:
- Sea Shepherd Australia
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Lock the Gate Alliance
- Environmental Defenders Office
- World Bicycle Relief
- Earth Protectors
- Climate Council
Taking the green lead
Making your grantmaking organisation more environmentally friendly is an important step in creating lasting, positive change in the world and in your own community. And, as a grantmaker and changemaker, it’s important to help lead the way toward a greener future.
Your community of grantseekers and grantees will appreciate your commitment to a more sustainable world and no doubt will follow in your footsteps.
Learn more about how Good Grants can help you move to a paperless online grant management system that will save you time, money and plenty of trees. Try it with our 14-day free trial.