Archive for the ‘Future’ Category

Non Profit Boards — Are You Recruiting?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Is Your Non Profit Board Focusing on the Younger Generations — the “X’s” and “Y’s”?

by Joseph R. John

One year ago, in one of my articles, I asked some very pointed questions: What is your non profit organization’s game plan for recruiting and retaining new board members? Who in the community are you approaching to fill the pipeline for a steady stream of quality board members — and future donors?

I recently made a presentation to a group of board members from a statewide and international non profit organization. During the first half of my presentation I focused on “to-do’s and must-do’s” for a Board Member. I then moved on “to-do’s and must-do’s” for the entire Board. During that part of the presentation, I asked the attendees the following question: “Who is forty years old or less? Please raise your hand.” The results were sobering. Let’s just say only a couple of hands went up. It was déjà vu. It was confirmation of what I wrote about last year and continually talk about — whenever someone lends me an ear.

It’s pretty safe to say that every board member in your non profit organization knows numerous people who represent both the “X” and the “Y” generations. Your non profit organization needs to put a full court press on talking to those individuals and inviting them to your functions. The board of directors can’t afford to let membership skew solely to the boomer side and not have younger members coming into the organization.

Let me also suggest just one place where you can begin recruiting for new board members. I’m sure there are colleges and universities in your area where you can approach the Placement Officers and explain to them your plan to grow the organization and the composition of the board.

Your plan, as you outline it to the Placement Officer, is to find young-and-upcoming individuals to become board members. You’re looking for the Placement Officer’s recommendations of very good students, very good citizens, and potential leaders. By adding seniors, recent graduates or graduate students, the non profit organization will be providing a living classroom by teaching leadership skills, creating community involvement and awareness, learning friend-and-fund raising, as well as receiving outstanding “real life” on-the-job-training.

And just as importantly, the addition of people the Placement Officer recommends will help breathe new life into an organization and challenge it to take an inward look at itself and ask “WHY” on many organizational issues. It’s exciting how your organization can re-invent itself while becoming better than ever with the addition

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of new, young members on the board.

Oh, yes, did I also mention that this life experience and board training will also look very good on the student’s resume. This is a win-win-win situation for the student/young board member, the institution of higher learning, and, of course, the organization. Actually, there’s another “win” — the community you serve benefits from this methodology.

Let’s briefly review some basic characteristics of each group which I shared in the article a year ago:

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980): flexible, value work/life balance, technologically adept, independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. *

Generation Y (born in mid-1980’s): tech-savvy, family-centric, achievement-oriented, and team-oriented.*

Any coach or general manager of a sports team knows the importance of building a strong bench, having a strong farm team, and creating as many pipelines of recruiting as possible. The same scenario applies to non profit boards. Remember the additional perks of recruiting the younger generations — they too will provide additional pipelines to increasing membership and revenue in their spheres of influence.


by Joseph R. John

Change for a Penny, Please

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

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Prices: just some Friday thoughts…

by Neil Kuvin

$4.00/gallon. Saw it change at the Thornton’s in Middletown last nite. And what’s with the 3.999 anyway. Who gets the extra .001? Is that a coin? If I give the clerk $4.00 what do I get back? I’m going to start asking for change. Why not? The oil companies think we’re all dumb, inactive, pliable sheep, don’t they? I figure on every 10 gallons they owe me a penny. During a year of transactions, I figure with their “rounding up,” I’m owed several bucks.

Back in the early 1900’s there was an actual coin representing this transaction amount. If the gas station had those coins today they likely would be worth thousands of dollars each! And for advertising, marketing purposes, they casually “round down” with us going along. Do you say, “three ninety nine? Or do you say “Three ninety nine, ninety nine?” Do you ever day, “Four bucks.” We’re all so easily trained. Welcome to the “Lemming” universe.

The major point I want to make here is what are we going to do about it? Lemmings are braver than we are and a lot tougher. Lemmings may follow their front row of brothers and sisters right off a cliff, but when challenged they are aggressive, dangerous little beasts. Are we?

Howard Beal (“Network”) said it best: “I’m as mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

I didn’t think I’d reach this level of anger & frustration. But I have. I’m strapped to this gas pump and I’m watching it get fatter almost every day, while my wallet is losing weight at the same rate.

This is not a political call to rally. Just to have you pay the clerk and casually ask for your change. Just look at the amount and figure is out. For every ten of their ” round up” dollars they owe you a penny. You’ll blow him away.


Shades of Green: Recycle – Part 2

Friday, August 26th, 2011

recyclingRecycling—it’s a noble thing to do. And it’s getting harder and harder to tell people—maybe even your kids—that you don’t recycle. However, the national recycling rate is only about 30 percent, according to the EPA.

Learn what to do and get your business or house recycling program going. The time has come for many people to do some things rather than for one person to do many things. Whatever you do will make a difference.

Some more ideas:

  • Plastic—Since it doesn’t break down in a landfill and it’s a great recyclable item from which many products can be made, try to recycle all plastic waste. But not all plastics are created equal. Plastics #1 and #2 are used for things like milk jugs, liquid detergent and plastic soft drink bottles. Most recyclers want you to rinse these containers out and remove the lids. Lids are not recyclable and should be put in your garbage. Plastic #5 is the least recyclable and is used for packaging items such as cottage cheese,, margarine and vitamins. These containers may have more value for you to reuse than recycle. So how do I know the number of my plastic item? The number should be stamped on the container.
  • Glass is recycled according to color—clear, green and brown. Most recycling centers prefer donated glass separated by color. It’s okay to leave the paper labels on the glass, but you should rinse the bottles and put the lids in the trash. But not all glass is created equal. Light bulbs, Pyrex and mirrors, for example, have a different composition from glass bottles and will be accepted for recycling. These items just shouldn’t be mixed in with regular glass items.
  • Last, but not least, are the metals—aluminum, steel and copper. Everything from aluminum cans to car engines can be recycled. Aluminum cans, foil and foil packaging are all recyclable items. Paint cans and aerosol cans are recyclable, but the former contents are considered hazardous. So be sure to leave the labels on paint and aerosol cans so recyclers know what used to be in there. Copper is one of the most recyclable of all the metals. In fact, it’s 100 percent recyclable. Since bronze and brass are alloys, they’re totally recyclable, too.
  • Send e-cards instead of paper ones. This saves you paper and money.
  • Buy products like condiments, liquids and cleaning products in large quantities instead of in smaller sizes to reduce packaging that you just have to throw away anyway. And most times, purchasing in bulk is less expensive.
  • Have reusable food storage containers on hand for leftovers and wean off the plastic storage bags.

By Julie Vincent, APR and Bob Dittmer, APR

From: Shades of Green, available at


Shades of Green: Recycling

Friday, August 19th, 2011

recycleRecycling—it’s a noble thing to do. And it’s getting harder and harder to tell people—maybe even your kids—that you don’t recycle. The truth is, though, if it’s inconvenient it’s a deal breaker.

Done well, it doesn’t require much time or effort and it sure can make a big difference for you and the environment. However, the national recycling rate is only about 30 percent, according to the EPA.  Let’s face it—most folks won’t drive across town with a car full of recyclable items just to make their contribution to the cause. But more and more community and city leaders are taking a proactive stance and have pushed through local initiatives like curb-side recycling and established drop-off points. And there’s every reason to believe the trend will continue.

So, join the cause, learn what to do and get your recycling program going. Hopefully, this series of ideas will make it easier for you than you think. Go at your own pace, but get movin’! The time has come for many people to do some things rather than for one person to do many things. Whatever you do will make a difference.

Many regular day-to-day activities produce materials that should be recycled. But what to recycle and what to just throw away? Here are some quick and easy ideas:

  • The first thing you need to do is “think recycling.” Energy savings do add up. For instance, it takes 95 percent less energy to produce an aluminum can from recycled aluminum than from bauxite ore. It takes 40 percent less energy to make a glass bottle from recycled glass than it does to make one from sand, soda ash and limestone. An added bonus? Recycling means less littering.
  • The second thing you need to do is understand the entire recycling loop. It’s just not enough to send items away to be recycled. You must also purchase recycled products or the process just doesn’t work. Read the packaging and do your homework and you can find recycled products and materials.
  • Now you’re ready to recycle. Set up containers for the following recyclable classes of items: paper and cardboard; plastics; glass; and metals.
  • Let’s talk paper and cardboard first, since paper takes up about 50 percent of all landfill space. Newspapers should really be saved in its own container as newspapers go directly into newsprint recycling. Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves one 40-foot fir tree! Corrugated cardboard is a highly valued recyclable. But please keep it dry. Plastic or waxy coated cardboard, such as pizza boxes, cannot be recycled.
  • Magazines, glossy paper, envelopes, phone books, computer paper and paper packaging can be saved together in one bin. Paper with staples still attached is okay, but remove all rubber bands and plastic overwrap.

By Julie Vincent, APR and Bob Dittmer, APR

From: Shades of Green, available at


Shades of Green: Save water = less money

Friday, August 12th, 2011

less water - less moneySo here’s a big problem: We waste a lot of water outside our homes and businesses. Watering the lawn and gardens. Washing outside. Etc. By taking some simple actions we can save water usage significantly. Yep, save money too. Here are some thing that are easy:

  • Most lawns need to be watered only an hour a week. Limit your grass watering to just that.
  • If you get into a drought situation, remember that most lawn grass can survive dormant for up to 6 weeks.
  • If you use an irrigation system, and these can be very efficient, make sure you install a rain sensor that tells the system when to water and when not to (as in, it’s raining!). Depending on your climate, you could save as much as 30 percent of your water usage per year.
  • Always use a mulching lawnmower. The grass clippings are returned to the lawn as fertilizers and the clippings actually serve as mulch for the lawn to help it retain water in hot, sunny weather.
  • (more…)

Shades of Green: Save Water – Save Money

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

save waterSave Water – Save Money.

Nearly the entire country is experiencing a significant heat wave. Here we experienced the first day at 100 degrees since this day in 1988. And while we suffer these temperatures, the water company is pleading with us to save water.

Our local water company is pumping nearly twice the normal volume of water daily, straining their systems nearly beyond capacity.

Water is THE absolute necessity of life. We cannot survive as a species or as a planet without it. We use water everywhere. In the house. Around the house. At the office. In all kinds

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of businesses everywhere.

Yet in many parts of the country water is becoming more and more precious and expensive. And while it’s renewable, we still have to clean it to use it. And in many parts of the country it more and more difficult to obtain. In coming few weeks we will demonstrate how to save water or use less

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of it. And thus, save money.

If you haven’t experienced a water shortage yet, you will. We waste clean water at a prodigious rate. Did you know that about one-third of the water we use during the summer goes on grass – not to people?! In the average large city we use 50-75 million gallons of water a day just to water our grass. Yet a few states away, water is scarce.

Did you know that most of the world gets by on only 2.5 gallons of water a day per person? Yet in the United States the average person uses 400 gallons a day!

Yet even in this country, Florida is experiencing fresh water shortages and they are common as well in the Southwest. Experts agree that if we don’t get a handle on this simple problem some cities will be importing water within 20 years. Los Angeles already has to import water to support its population. Las Vegas is a water sponge as well.

And spending on water continues to increase. Not just for the water, but for building and maintaining the infrastructure to deliver it. All of this costs increasingly more money. Anybody noticed their water bill actually going down lately? I didn’t think so.

Next Friday we’ll begin sharing some ideas on how everyone can help alleviate the water issues are – or will be – experiencing. Save water = save money.

By Julie Vincent, APR and Bob Dittmer, APR

From: Shades of Green, available at


Shades of Green: The Energy Challenge, Part 3

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Shades of Green: Save Energy CostsThe Energy Challenge

People sure know how to use—and waste—energy. In fact, nearly half of all energy used in our homes and businesses is wasted. Heating and cooling inefficiencies are the major cause. But don’t despair! There are many inexpensive ways to save energy costs without compromising comfort or operations.


Here are some more tips for reducing energy use for heating and cooling of business facilities:

  • Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the times the building is heated or cooled throughout the day and night. You can save as much as 10 percent of your heating costs by turning down your thermostat 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day, especially those hours when no one is occupying the facility.
  • (more…)