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Building in Good Faith - Green Building Resource for Religious Institutions

Fundraising Green Dollars: Making the Case for Building Green

A commitment to green building can be an important asset in your efforts to raise funds for your building project. Here are some suggestions about how to integrate green building themes into the fundraising work for your project.

Good planning - which involves the willingness to learn and communicate about green building's benefits and costs - is critical to a successful green building project.

Planning, planning, planning

Success in fundraising depends upon strong planning. Fundraising for a green building project is no different. It takes considerable time to develop a list of prospective supporters, research potential grant sources, assess donor capacity and interest, create materials to inform donors about your project, recruit volunteers within your community, and schedule, undertake and follow-up on solicitations. All of this must be planned and executed before you need to have your project funds in hand.

Not every fundraising campaign needs to include everything on the above list. But spend time early on to determine how you want to conduct your campaign.

How does green building enter into this stage of the fundraising process? We suggest that you communicate from the start that your building project will be a green one, and that protecting the environment is an integral part of your new/renovated facility’s identity. One way to do this is to create a mission statement for your building project at the earliest stage possible, which includes a statement about your intention to build green. The kind of statement can refer to your institution’s moral or religious reasons for building green (e.g. respect for Creation and the Creator, etc. See Theological Resources for more information and ideas.). The statement can also include a reference to the fact that green buildings are more cost-effective to operate, and healthier for those who use them.

Building green is an extremely positive commitment. From the start, take every opportunity to educate your members about it.

Identifying Potential Supporters

An important part of every capital campaign is to identify potential supporters for your project. How does green building enter into this stage of your efforts? As you are identifying potential supporters, ask yourself which of them might be most positively influenced by your commitment to green building. If they believe in the significance of your environmental commitments, these leaders within your community can help build support for your green building efforts.

Here are two examples of how to think about this.

  • Determine what funds you may already have available for your project, such as unrestricted funds you may have received over time, through bequests, etc., and that your organization can appropriately dedicate to this purpose. Among the donors of these gifts, are there persons who would like to see their gift used to support a green building effort? If a member of your congregation has recently passed away and left a bequest to your institution, might her/his descendants like to see their loved one memorialized through a contribution to a green building campaign?
  • Create a list of potential major donors to your effort, including those who have previously given to your organization and others who may be supportive of your project and who have the capacity to make meaningful gifts. Are any of these individuals people who would like their commitment to be identified with the environmental aspect of your building project? If so, plan to address this when you approach them.

Once these donors, or their representatives/descendants, have made a financial commitment, seek out opportunities to make their "green" commitment public - whether through a profile in your PR materials for your fundraising campaign, a brief, in-person presentation during worship or at a related meeting, or more. People often respond very well to these kinds of public examples of leadership. These "green" donors can help set a powerful, positive tone for other contributors to your fundraising campaign.

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