Apr 11, 2011

Keep on Keeping on.

by Nathan Jackson

Sustainable Seattle has been making waves with its Happiness Initiative, the fifth iteration set of indicators, and people are noticing our work. We have been pushing forward revamping our programs and projects to reflect the results of the Happiness Initiative and we have just completed a revamped communications strategy.

We are an organization made up of tireless idealists who give so much of themselves to see these programs and projects be as successful as they can be. We put our hearts, minds and souls into this work and the work has been noticed.

The last few months media giants such as: Seattle Times, Reuters, Seattle P.I., King Five and CSR Wire have all written and spoken about our work and we continue to have hundreds of people take the happiness survey every week. We've had numerous blogs, and locally independent coverage of our work around the initiative and we have even attracted the notice of many professional counselors, psychiatrists and other human service providers.

The thing about Sustainable Seattle is that we do this work while seeking sustainable funding. We are pushing the world of indicators in a new direction just as we have in the past when we were the first organization to create regional indicators that were replicated throughout the world. We do this for the love of the work and we realize that in order to continue this important work that has enlightened and heartened so many people we need to look to our own material well being.

We are taking a different approach to nonprofit funding than many other organizations. As a 501(c)3 organization we are very mindful of tax regulations and therefore we've taken an approach that combines varying revenue streams. Most nonprofits have a financial plan that starts with individual donations then grants then corporate sponsorships and then in a few cases fee for service. We are Sustainable Seattle and we are flipping that model on its head.

We are approaching our revenue gathering from a fee for service, corporate sponsorship, grants and then individual donations perspective. We have had success with our training classes and we are rolling out in response to the overwhelming demand for such services such as: Corporate Social Responsibility (Sustainability and CSR Reports Services), forums for dreaming and initializing a more sustainable future (Dream a Sound Future), ideas and practical actions to enhance our personal happiness (The Flow Campaign) and helping people make significant changes to their own property to lower their negative impact on our fragile Puget Sound watershed (Sustainable Rain).

Our approach is to make our financial futures more sustainable and within our own control. We want to be able to keep this work going while still being able to feed ourselves and our families. We look at our financial security as a serious challenge and opportunity to create a new model for other nonprofits who perhaps view the financial side of their work as somehow lesser or base. Without a secure future for ourselves this work that is in such demand cannot continue in perpetuity. Here's where you, dear reader, come in.

We are seeking individual donors, corporate sponsorships as well as grants in combination with our fee for service work. We have many ways for the individual to get involved from the very much appreciated donation to supporting our partners such as Ideal Network to joining our Facebook Cause called Support Sustainable Seattle. We are also looking for corporate sponsorships from organizations that are aligned with our mission and values and we are seeking grants that can help finance our work as we continue to lead change and fight the good fight.

We have many different events and projects coming up as well and we would love, love, love your participation as well. Check out what we have going on in the next few months here at our shared calendar with Sustainable Ballard and Sustainable West Seattle.

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