I just bought a scooter. I’m not bragging, like I would if I had just bought a Harley, I’m admitting. A scooter can never be a status symbol, even in this day of environmental responsibility and high gas prices. It’s a nod to practicality and a shrug to manliness.
I’ve tried to talk myself into a smug attitude of superiority as I fill my one and a half gallon tank from which I will eek 140 miles of embarrassed motoring. It’s not working.
But something wonderful happened today . . . gas lines at gas stations throughout Tennessee. People are stranded with empty gas tanks in their cars and nowhere to fill up. I filled up with my lawnmower gas can!
Seriously though, I really did buy a scooter and I did so paying no regard to the impressions of others – because a scooter makes good sense. The easiest and most efficient way to save on gas costs is to drive less. However, when you can’t put off a short trip to the grocery store or pharmacy a scooter makes good sense.
What does this have to do with nonprofits? Two things come to mind: 1) don’t follow the pack, and 2) now is the time to start re-evaluating expenses with an eye toward conservation.
Sometimes the pack is headed in the right direction and following along is a good idea. For example, when foundations started taking a closer look at the capacity of grantees all grantseekers started working on developing their capacity. But sometimes it’s a good idea to ignore what others are thinking (scooters are dorky) and just do what you know is right.
Secondly, now is a good time to start moving toward responsible conservation – funders will appreciate it and be more inclined to give. Start looking for ways to save on energy expenses. Instead of flying to a convention or class, can you accomplish the same objectives through webinars and tele-classes? Can some of your employees work from home a couple days a week? Will carpooling work for your workforce? In more temperate parts of the country, maybe even a scooter will do the trick!
For more on conservation ideas, visit http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/2007/10/conserve.html