The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network collaborates to accelerate the adoption of economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally responsible best practices in American Southeastern communities. We do this by sharing information and problem solving together.
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   The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network:
   April Update
Case Study:
Building Staff Buy-In
Building buy-in, in any situation, is about showing value. Managing political and interpersonal relationships to show how important sustainability is in a thriving, competitive city is intense. Sustainability Directors, it’s time to borrow skills from salesmen, politicians, and marketers. Read on for some pointers in navigating these waters. The thoughts below build on our April Generating Internal Buy-in call:
1.) Start Basic: develop relationships with other department staff. Helping departments with projects unrelated to sustainability can demonstrate the value of your office. Write a grant application for them, crunch some numbers they need, volunteer to work an event they are hosting in the community.  People want to help and listen to people who help and listen to them.
2. Repurpose your Green Team: create a Sustainability Performance Council. The council is made up of at least one employee from each participating city agency, and each department contributes to the overall sustainability metric (GHG, for example) for the city. They each have a stake in making the city sustainable. The performance of all departments influences the total score. This council is a place for departments to be held accountable. It provides an opportunity for others to own the process and make sure it’s attainable. 101 for cross-departmental interactions here
3. Be Efficient: identify and eliminate waste in city processes. This is just good use of tax dollars, right? Overcome individual fear of change by creating a platform called “I Want to be Innovative and Efficient, BUT...” The platform is a closed-door session where city staff have the opportunity to voice concerns. The Sustainability Director (most importantly) listens, and then offers tools for removing barriers to innovation/efficiency. More on the concept of efficiency in governing, here
4. Be Consistent: hold weekly meetings with the City Manager and one department. Through these regular meetings, which rotate through departments, the departments will realize that the Sustainability program is not just a short-lived fad but that efficiency and innovation are now a part of the city’s culture. Over time, the departments will become engaged and proactive in the process. When departments understand that they aren't being threatened but invited, it’s nice. But when they see that they can get points with the administration by playing, it’s better. Show them how being sustainable makes them shine politically. Don’t have the administration’s ear yet?  Basic boss navigation tips, here
5. Be About Goals: be willing to be unpopular at times. It’s not always about wooing, but at times about winning to move the needle. This is where you measure your political capital (be realistic), and take professional (read, polite but firm) steps to press an agenda that is necessary to meet stated goals. Don’t do it alone. Find another (preferably internal) proponent who is willing to make the strong case with you.  Pick one from all those relationships you've built. And if you are considering a career move in the next 12-18 months, make your departure really count. Pick a battle to fight and win so your successor has one less thing to worry about.  Common sense on changing minds, here
Bottom Line
Know your own worth and the importance of what you are doing. If you can’t explain the value of your office to yourself in dollars and common sense, you’ll have trouble quantifying it to others in those terms – and efficiency (economics), health (environment), and quality of life (equity) is a good sell in almost every town.

Funding Opportunities
By Due Date
The USDN Innovation Fund Regional Network RFP – Proposals due May 7  

Esetvan Baza (Oldsmar, FL) and Marcus Carson (Mecklenburg County) are leading a network application to the USDN Innovation Fund for adoption of innovation fund product Community Based Social MarketingProposals are due May 7th. Thanks to Estevan and Marcus for their leadership, and to Robin Cox (Huntsville, AL) for being a reviewer.

USDN Quick Funds RFP – Letters of Intent due May 15
The USDN 2015 General RFP is soliciting letters of intent to propose for an all-network pitch call through this RFP process, available to USDN members. Contact Susanna if you have an idea you would like to test.
USDN Quick Funds RFP - Proposals due June 11
The USDN Innovation Fund Steering Committee is offering support for innovations that demonstrate momentum and the need for quick funds through this RFP process, available to USDN members. Contact Susanna if you have an idea you would like to test.
2 Million available in Federal Funding for Drinking Water – Proposals due June 22
FOA for “Environmental Health Services Support for Public Health Drinking Water Programs to Reduce Drinking Water Exposures (CDC-RFA-EH15-1507)”, can be found here.


SSDN 2015 Annual Meeting Registration Closes Tomorrow

Charleston, South Carolina
June 22 - 24

The 2015 SSDN Annual Meeting is set for June 22 – 24 in Charleston, SC, and we hope to see SSDN members there. Register here by Friday, May 1.
Interested in planning pre-meeting activities with others, and in how the agenda is shaping up?  Check them both out here.
Interested in what the process is behind becoming an SSDN member? It’s outlined here.

Once you register click here to get a detailed list of next steps logistics.

Top SSDN Members Posts
Please continue to share with us what you're learning or needing to know on We look forward to sharing your posts  in the newsletter next month.

Can't log on to USDN?  Reply to this email or send Susanna a note and we'll fix that. Posters, be sure to tag the Southeast so we can all see.  A tutorial for the site is here.
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