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November 2, 2010

Greening Your Nonprofit’s IT: How to Save the Environment and Money

At last month’s 501 Tech NYC meeting, we had a great conversation with Anna Jaeger of TechSoup Global and Mathew Heggem of The Bookkeeping Center who gave some helpful tips about how you can green your technology and your communications.There are a lot of easy things you can do right now–so do look through Anna’s slides (embedded below). My favorite comment was one of her first, “Some times changing the situation can be easier than changing people’s behaviors.”

Here are some of ways you can change the situation at your organization:

  • Check and update the power management settings (sleep, hibernating, etc) on everyone’s computers. This can save $60/computer every year. Anna’s specific recommendations: Set your monitor to power off after 5 minutes, your hard drive to power off after 10 minutes, and your computer to go to ‘sleep’ after 20 minutes.
  • Green your operations. Cut down on travel, consume less energy, and stop storing so much data. (Guilty confession: I’m an email hoarder.)
  • Save toner and money with programs like Ecofont, a more eco-friendly font that uses less ink (actually, tiny white dots) when you print.

Anna Jaeger, co-director of TechSoup Global's GreenTech Initiative helps nonprofiteers go green: update power management settings, reduce travel, and embrace the cloud.

  • Waste less paper and reduce toner usage. Print double-sided, in draft mode with 0.7″ margins. You can also install GreenPrint or FinePrint to eliminate wasted page prints.
  • Don’t trust Energystar alone (it is not audited). Check Epeat for bronze, silver and gold ratings of energy efficient equipment.
  • Embrace the cloud. Cloud computing lets you maximize server use and keep older computers longer. You probably already use some popular cloud software as a service (SaaS) such as Salesforce, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, and Basecamp. TechSoup has a great webinar on why you should care about cloud computing. Watch, listen, learn and share.

Thanks to Thomas Negron (@ThomasNegron), Elizabeth Jenkins (@elizaj), Sonya Thimmaiah (@sonyasushi), Libero Della Piana (@ldellapiana) for some awesome live tweeting (#501technyc).Want to see what the excitement is all about? Join us on November 17 at our next meeting! The amazing Allyson Kapin will be sharing the inside scoop on “Becoming a Nonprofit Tech/Social Media Superstar.” The event is free and you can RSVP here. Would love to see you!

As always, if you have other ideas or examples of how nonprofits can go green, please comment away.