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  • Public Participation - The Watershed Institute
    necessary review and decisions on pertinent site plans and permits Do not miss these opportunities to get involved 2 Ask Questions Informally discuss the project plans with the Chair of the municipal Environmental Commission or members of the Town Council or Planning Board to understand their position on the project to understand the review process and to express your initial concerns Here are some initial questions to consider How is the property it zoned What is the minimal lot size 1 3 acres or more Will the proposed development be serviced with public sewer and or water Or will on site septic systems and wells be used Is the site in an area designated by the town within a conservation area or growth area 3 Identify Partners The support from neighbors your town s environmental commission or other local groups will be beneficial to affect decisions These allies can quickly help you become more familiar with the planning process and how best to proceed to articulate your concerns and recommendations Call your neighbors and friends learn who may share your concerns and may be planning to get involved or attend upcoming meetings Organize an evening of cake and coffee at your home to discuss everyone s concerns Maintain positive rapport with your township officials that includes the township clerk town council mayor planning board and environmental commission members Obtain their contact information from the town clerk Let them know that you have concerns about this project and request a meeting to discuss the issues 4 Summarize the Information Develop a synopsis of the project and your concerns early in the process Explore the positive or negative effects of the project on your neighborhood town or region the environment and community Prioritize the most important or serious aspects and clarify your concerns so that others will understand these important issues Did the Environmental Commission of Planning Board have any comments Review these comment letters and write letter of support if appropriate Does a town ordinances require an environmental assessment for major developments Review this assessment if it has been submitted Did your community outline goals or ordinances that are protective of natural resources Review the site plan for consistency and compliance with these measures 5 Publicize Your Concerns There are many ways to publicize your concerns including written comment letters testimony petitions flyers websites or news editorials By publicizing your concerns you may gain more supporters not only from your neighbors but also from the town officials Many voices speaking together can have more influence on decisions than an individual 6 Attend and Participate at Public Hearings Speaking up or testifying at meetings and public hearings may seem overwhelming especially when discussions are heated Though you might feel intimidated you can and must speak up for your concerns You are an important representative of the community and have the right to communicate your position But be ready for some long nights Be familiar with the public hearing process The public may

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/public-participation/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Legal Assistance - The Watershed Institute
    first steps to forming a long relationship with an attorney who can provide many vital services Getting Started Get names of lawyers who have a good reputation and experience with nonprofits Obtain referrals from respected nonprofits and also check with the American Bar Association or your state bar association Refer to the Public Resources section for a list of resources to assist with obtaining legal advice When seeking a lawyer keep the following in mind Area of expertise Find a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in nonprofit matters Specifically seek someone who has experience with the issue at hand Fees When contacting lawyers discuss their fees for services In addition ask if they offer free consultations or other discounted services for nonprofits Rapport After obtaining the names of potential lawyers be sure to speak with each of them individually to determine how their personality blends with yours Getting along with your lawyer is just as important as their skill and knowledge Lawyers can provide great legal advice and technical expertise However this often comes at a price Ways to reduce fees include Combine requests Rather than presenting a lawyer with your Certificate of Incorporation Bylaws and application for tax exempt status individually work on all three at the same time The applications are closely related and you will save time and money in the long run Fees Do not rely on your lawyer for everything For example do research on the issue Your lawyer will only have to review the document instead of spending valuable time and your money drafting it him or herself Rapport Educate Yourself Read as much as possible on the topic at hand Ask your lawyer to share his experiences and knowledge The more you can learn the less time and money you will have

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/capacity-building/administrative/legal-assistance/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Online Curriculum Materials - The Watershed Institute
    1st through 8th Bridges to the Natural World Curriculum guide for elementary teachers and their students to gain a better understanding of their local New Jersey environment Healthy Water Healthy People Curriculum aims to encourage investigator on the connections between water quality and environmental and human health Includes 25 hands on lessons A testing kit and manual are also available Phone 609 984 0583 or 609 292 2113 Kids in the Creek Curriculum that provides students with a method of assessing stream health and aquatic insects NJ WATERS Curriculum guide for middle and high school students to gain a better understanding of their local NJ environment Includes lessons on watersheds water quality and developing a sense of connection between people and the environment Project WET A national interdisciplinary science and education program for formal and non formal educators of K 12 students focusing on water use Project WILD A national curriculum focused on wildlife geared to K 12 educators that introduces concepts such as food chains habitat and carrying capacity in fun and interactive ways Trout in the Classroom An educational activity that allows teachers to raise brook trout eggs in the classroom Geared toward middle and high school students

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/online-curriculum-materials/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Budget Creation - The Watershed Institute
    to allow enough time to draft review and approve the budget This step by step guide below outlines the thought process for creating a budget Step 1 Strategic and Resource Planning During strategic planning evaluate your group s mission Determine your organization s goals and objectives and allocate resources to accomplish them Write action plans to determine how you will achieve the goals outlined in your strategic plan Step 2 Estimate Revenues Revenue is money your organization generates from programs services or grants Estimate revenue by examining records from previous years If it is the first year your organization is working with a budget find organizations that do similar work and offer similar programs and services Use them as a benchmark to estimate revenue for your group Decide if a source of revenue will be short term or something your group can count on as an ongoing source Be as realistic as possible with estimates taking into account factors that may affect your revenue such as competition and staff availability Step 3 Estimate Expenses Try to predict the amount of money your organization will need to operate in the coming year Consider staff salaries utilities rent office supplies printing travel marketing and programs when totaling costs Again future cost estimates can be based on past needs Throughout the process identify areas where it is possible to reduce costs Step 4 Calculate and Evaluate the Fund Balance Calculate a fund balance by subtracting expenses from revenue A positive result is ideal to ensure your organization will have enough money to weather uncertainty or to experiment with new programs Step 5 Establish a Budget Calendar Budgeting is a team effort Maintaining a calendar serves as a guide for how everyone can work together Use the calendar to establish specific due dates timelines

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/budget-creation/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Newsletters - The Watershed Institute
    will cost money there are ways to minimize costs without compromising on a content driven visually appealing and readable newsletter See the Helpful Hints for some cost saving ideas Be sure to also review the format and content of your current newsletter if you have one Is the writing style consistent Does your newsletter have a good story mix including a wide variety of article types and topics Does the newsletter directly address readers inspire action and or solve reader problems How about branding and image The stylized name of your newsletter nameplate should be prominently displayed on the first page A nameplate does not change issue to issue so seek a design that is eye catching and memorable Did you include a masthead as well a citation of the newsletter s publisher editor organization staff with contact information Consistency is key to a visually attractive and effective newsletter Page to page issue to issue it is important that your newsletter maintain a uniform look Readers anticipate the same columns and features in each issue and look for them in the same location Across the board experts agree that a simple design is often best A poorly designed newsletter is hard to read In Every Nonprofit s Guide to Publishing Woodard and Hwang sum up the key elements to an effective newsletter design a large eye catching title logo or masthead a clean and organized layout one good piece of art and headlines that promise the reader valuable information are often enough Resources You Will Need The following resources will assist in the production of an effective newsletter whether in print or electronic form The time taken to develop these resources will be time well spent An evaluation of what needs to change in your current newsletter This includes considering the possible benefits of an electronic newsletter for your publication An editorial mission to guide the focus of article content An editorial mission describes the purpose of the newsletter For example if your editorial mission is to keep members informed of efforts to protect and restore water and the natural environment of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed then every issue and article should have an obvious connection to protecting and restoring the Watershed If you cannot make the connection briefly and clearly the article does not belong in the newsletter An editorial calendar to help anticipate and meet publication deadlines Create a calendar to plan themes article content and contributors several issues in advance The editorial calendar should include in house editorial deadlines as well as printer deadlines and turn around times This will help all involved work together in a timely manner A style sheet and grid template to ensure a visually consistent product One of the first steps to facilitate this consistency is to establish a style sheet which sets the formatting that will remain constant with each issue Helpful Hints Electronic delivery is an important option to consider Environmental nonprofits need to know that the medium is

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/newsletters/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Tax Exempt Status - The Watershed Institute
    requirements include a conformed copy of your Bylaws and a request for an Employer Identification Number EIN There are various tax exempt status options the most common is the 501 c 3 determination The main advantage to filing as a 501 c 3 involves tax deductible contributions A disadvantage involves your group s political involvement The IRS limits a 501 c 3 s lobbying abilities and other political activities Other common alternatives are briefly outlined below For more information on these options contact your attorney or tax advisor or visit the IRS website at www irs gov File as a 501 c 4 A 501 c 4 is a type of nonprofit association that is also not required to pay federal income taxes A 501 c 4 group must be organized to promote social welfare Donations to this kind of group are not tax deductible however these groups may engage in lobbying as a primary activity without threatening their tax exempt status Form a Sister Organization If your group is already recognized by the IRS as a 501 c 3 form a sister group that is a 501 c 4 organization Work Under an Umbrella Organization You can also choose to work under a local umbrella organization that has already filed as tax exempt Elect 501 h status If you file as a 501 c 3 your group can elect to follow a different standard called the 501 h standard also known as the lobbying expenditures test The test allows a group to spend a certain amount of its budget on lobbying It is important to note that not all activities are appropriate for tax exempt organizations To be eligible for federal 501 c 3 tax exemption your group must be organized for charitable educational religious literary or scientific purposes or participate in fostering national or international sports competition preventing cruelty to animals or testing for public safety Therefore when determining which option is best for your group consider your group s mission the types of activities in which your group will participate and whether or not these activities will be limited by a certain tax exempt status IRS Tax Exempt Government Entity Helpline 877 829 5500 Once an organization incorporates it is important to begin preparing its tax exempt application According to the IRS an application is filed in a timely manner within 27 months of incorporation This includes a deadline of 15 months after incorporation with a 12 month extension If your application is filed within this time period your tax exempt status is considered retroactive to the date of incorporation Otherwise it is effective from the postmark date Consult an attorney versed in tax exemption or the IRS for assistance in determining if your group s purposes comply with those allowed for tax exempt organizations As of 2006 organizations must file their annual report online Each year your organization needs to renew your incorporation status To file electronically a nonprofit will need to go to the State

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/capacity-building/administrative/tax-exempt/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Environmental Education Supplies - The Watershed Institute
    and classroom resources and materials for teachers naturalists interpreters parents and their children Topics covered include botany birds mammals reptiles amphibians fresh water and marine ecosystems art literature and gardening Phone 800 422 8886 E mail emailacorn aol com Ben Meadows Supplier of aquatic nets microscopes water quality testing kits binoculars and more Phone 800 241 6401 Carolina Biological A reasonably priced supplier of field and classroom microscopes insect nets waders and more Phone 800 344 3100 Other Resources State Environmental Education Directory Website Provides information for educators included programs curriculum training opportunities volunteer programs grants and scholarships New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards Educational standards adopted by NJ State Board of Education they were created to improve student achievement by clearly defining what all students should know and be able to do at the end of 13 years of public education Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education ANJEE A privately supported nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and improving environmental education for people of all ages in New Jersey Website has resources and grant opportunities Email anjee president yahoo com North American Association for Environmental Education NAAEE A network of professionals students and volunteers working in the field of environmental

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/environmental-education-supplies/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Bylaws - The Watershed Institute
    of your group s officers Bylaws are a basic document necessary to start your nonprofit on its journey In addition to establishing terms and responsibilities for trustees and officers Bylaws define a host of other procedures for your organization such as whether or not you will have a formal membership They also restate items from your Certificate of Incorporation such as your organization s location and purpose Getting Started Bylaws determine how the organization is structured rights of the participants and procedures for how they exercise their rights For example Bylaws establish rules and procedures for items such as the number of trustees on the board and how they are nominated Bylaw content is generally standard It includes Articles that discuss your organization s location purpose trustees officers committees records and membership Although Bylaw content is fairly standard there are many decisions to make while writing them Therefore your group should Set aside plenty of time to decide on content and draft your Bylaws Find a lawyer preferably one who will work pro bono to review your Bylaws Obtain a copy of sample Bylaws to use as a formatting and content guide In light of recent nonprofit ethical issues spend time establishing a provision to handle potential conflicts of interest If a trustee foresees having a conflict of interest potential or real in a matter that comes before the Board he or she must advise the Board of this conflict and refrain from participating in any discussions or decisions that pertain to the matter Having these items in mind will facilitate the preparation of your Bylaws enabling your organization to experience a smooth sail down the river Contact organizations with similar missions and request examples of their bylaws rather than reinventing the wheel And remember to always keep your bylaws

    Original URL path: http://thewatershedinstitute.org/bylaws/ (2016-04-28)
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