Summary: Incorporating Chaffee Green as a Sustainability Program within the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA)
A series of meetings was held between 2 members of GARNA’s Board of Directors, GARNA’s Executive Director and four members of the Chaffee Green leadership team to explore the possibility of folding Chaffee Green into the GARNA organization. The recommendations from those meetings have been summarized in a detailed Letter of Intent, following the McKinsey 7s Framework for Organizational Effectiveness. An executive summary of that effort is provided here, and a copy of the full Letter of Intent is available upon request.
How does this help Chaffee Green?
501c3 status. Establishing a new non-profit requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. Without non-profit status, Chaffee Green will be unable to solicit tax-deductible donations and many grants. By joining GARNA, Chaffee Green can begin fundraising immediately.
Insurance. It is critical for organizations that hold public events to maintain insurance. GARNA’s existing policy will cover Chaffee Green events, but as a result all Chaffee Green volunteers must become members of GARNA.
Reduced administrative requirements. Because GARNA already has a Board of Directors, Chaffee Green volunteers will not need to fill those roles. To ensure coordination, GARNA will add a minimum of one and up to two members from the Chaffee Green leadership team to its board. GARNA also has an existing accounting system and treasurer, so Chaffee Green will not need to duplicate those services (although some oversight of Chaffee Green-specific funds will be required). To compensate for the increased overhead of supporting a volunteer organization of Chaffee Green’s magnitude, GARNA will assess a minimum 5% fee on all funds generated by Chaffee Green, including grants, donations, earned income and fundraising events.
Logistical support. GARNA provides established overhead and infrastructure which can help to promote Chaffee Green initiatives. For example, GARNA has a newsletter platform with over 2000 recipients, and an existing membership with over 500 members. GARNA staff have experience promoting events via local media (e.g., Ark Valley Voice, Chaffee County Times, etc.). The GARNA database/distribution lists can be used by Chaffee Green members to target emails to a desired audience (e.g., to core members, to volunteers, etc.).
Experience, connections and credibility. At 22 years old, GARNA has a solid reputation in the area, with well-established community and youth educational programs. Since many Chaffee Green members are relatively new to Chaffee County, having access to the wealth of knowledge and networking possibilities provided by GARNA could be invaluable.
How does this help GARNA?
GARNA has been a leader in providing high quality, transformative learning experiences aimed at increasing stewardship and sustainability in the valley. To have increased impact, GARNA would like to enhance their services to provide more stewardship or “Action after Education” initiatives. This goal meshes well with the Chaffee Green mission of providing leadership to encourage local individuals, businesses, and government entities to adopt comprehensive sustainable practices. Additionally, GARNA has been providing education on sustainability issues for a long time, and the considerable volunteer energy and passion from Chaffee Green members can help to move this forward.
The addition of Chaffee Green into GARNA will allow for a more competitive advantage when applying for grants and other funding opportunities by being the “best at what we do” while merging our staff expertise—innovating, creating, and leading in the community together.
Will this benefit the community?
With the addition of the Chaffee Green Sustainability Program, GARNA will be the premier streamlined resource for environmental stewardship efforts, environmental education and sustainability and stewardship expertise for the community.
The new Chaffee Green Sustainability Program within GARNA will enhance an already dynamic and productive nature-based organization while addressing the sustainability gap within Chaffee County that was identified during the Chaffee County Envision process. The efficiencies and increased synergy within both organizations will transfer into the delivery of more high quality, transformative learning experiences aimed at increasing stewardship and sustainability through personal action as well as interaction with businesses and government in the community. Administration, marketing, fundraising, and combine efforts will create more a synergistic programming menu for the community.
Are there any negative consequences?
GARNA staff capacity is currently limited, and the addition of Chaffee Green will add to the workload.
For both GARNA and Chaffee Green, additional communication and coordination will be required.
What is the structure of the combined organization?
The following figures show a draft of the current Chaffee Green task force structure and the proposed structure with Chaffee Green as a Sustainability Program within GARNA.
Figure 1: Chaffee Green Existing Task Force Structure – DRAFTChaffee Green Draft Task Forces
Figure 2: Proposed Combined Structure – DRAFTGARNA Proposed Structure with Chaffee Green