MIT Public Service Center

Promote Native Plans: Help us Reinvent our Native Plant Festival

Grow Native Massachusetts

Cambridge, MA
http://www.grownativemass.org

Background

Reinvent "Festival Floralia" - a native plant gala and annual fundraiser!!

We inspire people to take action across the Commonwealth, on behalf of native plants and the diversity of life they support. Every garden matters; every landscape counts. We are a young nonprofit, incorporated in 2011, run entirely by volunteers. We began as a community of friends, neighbors, and citizens who recognize the significance of our gardens and green spaces as important components of our common ecosystem. We know that each of us has tremendous potential to improve ecosystem health through the stewardship of our own landscapes, and by working locally in our own communities. By planting many more native plants and controlling invasives, we can create essential habitat for birds, butterflies, and wildlife. Our own human future, and the biodiversity of our ecosystem, depends upon this. We advocate for a new paradigm that views nature as everywhere, throughout all of our cities and towns, and that understands the importance of conservation beginning at home and not restricted to special places that are set aside.

Our programs currently include: an educational website used by 8,000 people a year; a free public lecture series at the Cambridge Public Library; "Festival Floralia" native plant sale and gala; community workshops about the ecological importance of native plants; a free monthly newsletter for all subscribers, and more.

The Challenge

We seek a talented intern to take a leadership role in the redesign of our annual Festival Floralia. This gala event promotes native plants and is also an important fundraiser. It offers local residents the opportunity to purchase a diverse array of native plant species with the guidance of landscape professionals for appropriate species selection. It has included educational workshops and fostered a sense of community among our members as we celebrate the importance of native plants to biodiversity. Festivities have been enhanced with music, food, and a silent auction. Critically important to our budget, after expenses it netted $5,000 in its first year and $7,500 last year.

This intern will work closely with our president, other board members, and volunteers,
to "reinvent" and plan this year's event, to be held in May 2013. The three main goals of the reinvention are to:

  1. Ensure that the event continues as a fun and mission oriented program that results in people purchasing and planting more native plants, as well as understanding their importance to local ecosystems;
  2. Design an event that is more effective from a fundraising perspective, i.e. that generates enough revenue to make the time investment required to plan and staff the event worthwhile and cost-effective; and
  3. To net at least $7,500 after expenses, needed revenue for our 2013 budget.
We are open to significantly changing the event as part of the reinvention process. The responsibility for meeting the above goals will be shared among many, yet we expect the intern to take a lead role in this challenge, while also building on our past experience. They will also be important to event execution, and relied upon for dedication to the basics of successful event planning. This internship will give them a great opportunity to gain practical experience in program development, fundraising, and nonprofit management.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

A strong interest in ecology, wildlife, and native plants is important to the work. Other basic requirements include: good facility with MS Office (Word and Excel); an ability (and the patience) to learn to use a complex database (Salesforce); creative thinking along with sound judgment in incorporating the knowledge and input of others; and a willingness to take initiative. Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail are essential, as this person will have real responsibility for the implementation and success of the project.

Time Constraints

The time requirement is 7-10 hours per week, with some additional hours needed during the week the event is held. Our preferred start date is January (early February at the latest). We expect the event to be held in early May with project evaluation completed by mid-May.

Contact

Claudia Thompson, President
617-354-0502
cthompson@grownativemass.org
206 Lake View Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138