We are recruiting experienced volunteer facilitators, mediators and coaches for a new Facilitation Support Team. This team will support Sierra Club leaders and leadership teams with an emphasis on three key areas: facilitating or coaching others through large-scale or in-depth planning meetings and retreats; facilitating conflict resolution to help people find solutions and rebuild relationships that may have been damaged by the conflict; and coaching leaders through significant transitions of leadership to help leaders move through a process of change. Express your interest or submit recommendations of others here. Questions? Greg Casini (email@example.com).
Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are set to release their draft of comprehensive climate legislation on Wednesday, September 30th. This is an important benchmark in our work to strengthen and pass clean energy and climate legislation as we move closer to global climate negotiations later this year. You are invited to join a Club-wide teleconference "Call to Action on Global Warming and Energy." Grassroots mobilization plays a critical role in our fight to build a clean energy economy. We need your continued help to create the groundswell of support necessary to usher in a true clean energy economy.
When: Thursday, October 1st at 8:30pm Eastern Number: 866.501.6174 code: 223 9223
Draft Agenda: - Welcome and Context - Senate Climate Legislation - Call to Action - Questions and Answers
Hope you can make it!
Christina Marie Yagjian National Conservation Organizer Sierra Club, Global Warming and Energy
On Tuesday, March 17, Tom Libby and Scott Elkins, co-leads of the Chapter & Leader Support Team will host a conference call to talk about the various support teams they're coordinating and how they might
March 17 -- 8 pm Eastern | 7 pm Central | 6 pm Mountain | 5 pm Pacific
1-866-501-6174 -- 1892-005
Here's what Tom calls his "elevator speech" --
I'm the volunteer co lead of the Chapter and Leader Support implementation team of the Sierra Club. We are the team of tools, rules, and schools for our volunteer leaders; the basic organizational functions that leaders in the club use to carry out the Club's mission.
Our areas of focus include
Providing training for specific Club roles
Providing coordination of communications and new technologies
Providing a foundation for developing fundraising programs
Providing coaching for increasing leadership and organizing
Providing the counsel of trained mediators for conflict resolution
Providing guidance for by laws, standing rules and elections
Our leaders are the backbone of the environmental movement. Their ability to be effective and efficient in their work is critical to restoring the planet.
Join Tom and Scott on Tuesday, March 17. Once again, here's the call-in number and times.
And March 24, Robin Mann and Mary Wells will host a discussion about Campaigns & Programs. See the full schedule here.
We need people with skills in each of these areas to help us develop programs and procedures to support our leaders.
What kinds of skills might you have you could share?
To: Board of Directors, Volunteer Leaders, All Staff cc: Cabinet From: Carl Pope Date: January 30, 2009
We are writing to update you on the Club's finances during this economic downturn. First, thank you all very much for your earnest efforts to reduce our expenses. Many operating units and entities have already cut costs. These efforts will serve us in good stead.
The investment climate has worsened since our last communication in October. Because there’s great uncertainty about how deep and how long the economic downturn will be, we must continually reassess our budget projections. We must adjust our plans as the outlook becomes clearer. The Club's 2009 budget was adopted in November, but it was crafted in early September. That budget is now obsolete and no longer reflects likely 2009 revenue inflows, particularly with respect to unrestricted income.
So what is the current outlook? As you recall, our revenues come from three primary sources - member dues and donations, larger planned gifts, and investment income. Both member donations and investment income are declining, while larger gifts continue on track. But because these large donations come in the form of restricted, not flexible dollars, they cannot be used to pay for our infrastructure and operating costs.
As a result, we need to make additional cuts in our unrestricted expense structure in order to establish a baseline unrestricted expense level that is consistent with our organization's ongoing financial stability. Because of the erosion of our operating surplus, we have no margin for error this year – that is, we have no room to run red ink. As a first step in this effort to ensure we can operate in the black, I have asked each of my operating and administrative units to submit potential expense reduction scenarios of at least 10%. We are hopeful that overall cuts will not have to be this deep, but it would not be responsible for us not to prepare for this necessity in this uncertain economy. And regrettably, it is in fact possible that deeper cuts could be necessary if revenues continue to erode. Our objective will be to meet as much of this goal as possible by reducing expenses in areas that do not impact current staff directly, when it is operationally feasible to do so.
EXPENSE REDUCTION STRATEGIES
As a result of the economic downturn, many, if not most, other non-profits are looking to dramatically reduce their expenses. Many have already announced and/or implemented plans to impose travel, hiring and/or salary freezes and to reduce staff through layoffs or attrition (i.e., not filling many of the positions which open when people resign).
At Sierra Club, we are seeking strategic adjustments that retain our focus on our core conservation, legislative and outreach objectives and that preserve our leadership role within the environmental movement.
That being said, we are looking at similar options and believe, unfortunately, that we will not be able to make the necessary scale of expense cuts without downsizing the workforce. Again, we do not mandate an across-the-board approach, and we will provide guidance to managers to attempt to minimize the scale of the inevitable reductions. We plan on achieving as much of this workforce reduction as possible through attrition in an effort to achieve as much as possible of the necessary reductions that are required to assure our financial stability without impacting current staff.
Some entities or departments may also be able to allow employees to voluntarily reduce their work hours. If and when involuntary layoffs are needed, a voluntary layoff program will be offered in some units, consistent with our bargaining unit contracts. Where layoffs are unavoidable, severance packages that are consistent with our contractual obligations (for bargaining unit employees) or our non-represented employee severance benefit plan will be offered. We will provide more details on these initiatives when they are further developed.
In addition, salary increases or promotions will be fewer and more modest than in previous years. Given the slowdown in the cost of living we are now experiencing, this is a less painful option than it might be in other circumstances.
The Cabinet (i.e., Carl and his senior direct reports) have also decided, that in light of the economic downturn, they will forego salary increases for the second time in three years. The salary increase plan for other managers, supervisors and non-represented staff is currently under review by the Cabinet and will be announced shortly. Of course, contractual obligations for salary increases for bargaining unit employees must be honored in the absence of permission by the bargaining units to amend them.
YOUR HELP IS IMPORTANT
Is there anything that you can do now to help in this current budget situation? Obviously, any immediate reduction in discretionary spending -- reduced travel, delays in capital expenditures, and reductions in meeting or retreat expenditures, in addition to those previously mentioned -- will ease the year's budget. Each department has been asked to undertake initiatives to identify such savings. For staff, reducing the carrying value of your accrued vacation pool will also help our bottom line by reducing our liabilities. Finally, if you have ideas for significant savings that might be achieved in your area please share them with your department head or head of your volunteer entity. We all have ideas about things that can be done more efficiently and in a less costly way.
As challenging as these times may be for us, they will be temporary. We remain a fundamentally strong organization, even if our financial health has waned. Your contributions to maintaining our standards of excellence, each and every day, will help see us through. We will be back in touch with you as we have further developments in our budget circumstances. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of the Sierra Club.
FROM: Lane Boldman, immediate past chair, Council of Club Leaders
This year's annual meeting, my last as chair of the Council of Club Leaders, was a real high point for me, and a great team effort.
For one, we tried some new ways of working. In two one-hour sessions, we asked Council Delegates (the volunteer representatives from each Chapter) and Board members to collaborate in small discussion groups to help solve some of the Club’s upcoming challenges. It was great to see Delegates and Directors really focusing with each other face-to-face on these important issues. The notes from those discussion groups, along with the questions they were responding to, are now on Clubhouse.
What we did this weekend was just the start of what I hope is a continuing dialogue. I urge you to add your voice to the discussion, check out what the task forces are charged with doing, and keep in touch with your Chapter’s Council Delegate to learn more.
One last item, we started something at the Council meeting that we called: State of the Chapters. It was an overview of what's going on in chapters all across the country and was a learning opportunity for Chapter representatives and Directors alike. The Board’s new Volunteer Leadership Advisory Committee will take this information and focus on how to continue and expand it into a real reference for the whole Club.
So watch for more info, and thanks for your input and support through the years. Now I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Council Chair, Tina Schulstad who I know will continue to be a great force in keeping Chapters and the National Club better connected.
P.S. Here are some photos from the Council meeting.