Philadelphia’s eco-economy is featured in this bimonthly newsletter sent to thousands of local officials, organizations, businesses and job seekers. The focus of GreenJobsPhilly is on grassroots initiatives because most new jobs in a tight economy will be created by small local businesses. This site also makes it free and easy for Philadelphians to offer and request green jobs, services, grants and loans. Plans are to translate content to Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.
Paul Glover, Editor at Green Jobs Philly, has written a book about his initiative. “America’s neighborhoods can employ themselves to reduce living costs, while rebuilding toward balance with nature—without waiting for either government or Wall Street. By doing so they take power over food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, and finance. They build a solid future for the next generations.”
Green Jobs Philly News Becomes A Switchboard for Greening Economy
Five years ago, there were quarterly ‘green’ meetings in Philadelphia. Today, there are several daily, says Paul Glover, whose Green Jobs Philly News serves principally as a compiler of ‘green’ news. “It provides a lively and efficient digest of Philadelphia’s economic greening,” he says, “but we have created original content, too.”
Articles from GJPN have appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Grid magazine. These drive more traffic to the website, and Glover noted he has scooped other media by meeting innovators at festivals and in parks, prompting stories by mainstream press.
Green Jobs Phillly News’ subscriber base of current emails reaches over 7,000. Many others visit the site via links, RSS feeds, forwarded emails and searches.
During the past 23 months, he has issued 21 editions of the News. He estimates his web version receives about 120 hits per day, and double that number subscribe to his RSS feed. By his estimation, the News is viewed 12,000 times per month.
The News is now distributed via Constant Contact, giving Glover statistics for the number of times an email is opened and the usage. It shows a 22 to 25 percent open rate, or roughly 1,200 to 1,400 of 7,000 subscribers, he says, as well as a 32 percent click rate.
“Our opens rate [the percentage of people who read the email from GJPN] is nearly the highest among all sectors tabulated, and our clicks rate [the percentage of people who click on a link within an email] is higher than any other sector.” That is, Constant Contact has indicated GJPN’s click rate is higher than the average for other categories, such as education-, sports-, or news-themed newsletters, says Glover.
He also noted that 12 percent of visitors remain on the site for more than 15 minutes, with dozens browsing for more than an hour.
“We’re action-oriented, providing links to new local initiatives, prompting readers to help create good news.” He adds that the letters section reflects enthusiasm for the News and a reliance on Glover for connections and advice.
Despite those statistics and anecdotes, Glover has found it difficult to sell online ads for Green Jobs Philly News.
Glover also describes himself as a serial entrepreneur: “I start organizations,” all of which fit in with greening the Philly economy, he explained. Among these is the Patch Adams Free Clinic for primary care and green jobs training; Philadelphia Regional & Independent Stock Exchange (PRAISE), which gathers capital of all kinds for eco-development; Philadelphia Fund for Ecological Living (PhilaFEL) which gathers donations for installation of green technologies in lowest-income neighborhoods; and Neighborhood Enterprise SchoolTeachers (NESTS), which rewards and credentials low-income neighbors for teaching neighborhood kids.
Green Jobs Philly News often links to these organizations, which Glover often starts and then hands off to others to run on a day-to-day basis. There’s no conflict of interest, he says, since this is “a new medium that is different from hum-drum media. There’s no bad news.”
He also delivers speeches to religious, civic and professional groups about green jobs.
Green Jobs Philly News continues to evolve, says Glover. He has reserved the domain trabajosverdes.org (which translates to green jobs) and is preparing to launch content in Spanish soon, too.
“I’ve done good for others,” he said, “but haven’t been as successful” financially himself. He also wishes he had greater technical and advertising-related skills: “If I could get a partner who can help with advertising, fundraising and is an internet-savvy person, the site could be solid and reliably permanent.”
Green Jobs Philly Gears Up
Green Jobs Philadelphia News continues to gain subscribers, with more than 5,200 people now signed up to receive the monthly e-mail publication - a nearly 25 percent increase since February. The Green Jobs Philly website had 3,720 unique visitors in May, up from 889 uniques when GJP launched in August 2008.
The newsletter serves to market GreenJobsPhilly.org, a digest of everything green-related in the Philadelphia area. Project manager and site founder Paul Glover updates the site, which functions primarily as an aggregator, as often as news and information come in.
Glover, the one-man showman behind Green Jobs Philly, is also working to create local microbusinesses that will help green Philadelphia and build on his New Voices-sponsored website and newsletter.
Green Jobs Philly is also providing original content - Glover has written 18 articles and linked to hundreds of stories and new initiatives. He and the site also work as a switchboard, linking job seekers with companies and individuals offering employment. About 550 people have registered to be able to offer and/or request jobs. Of those, 348 people sought jobs, 221 uploaded resumes, 48 offered green jobs, 30 offered green services and 28 sought grants.
To help evaluate the impact of his site, Glover has contracted with Constant Contact, an e-mail marketing company that also provides web services to small firms and groups. Constant Contact reports that Green Jobs Philly’s “click through” rate - the percentage of site visitors who click on a link to open it - is 33 percent, about six times higher than average for websites monitored by Constant Contact. “The site is ‘sticky,’” Glover says. “Many of my subscribers are on it for over an hour.”
Glover reports that all his GJP stories have been copied or linked to by a number of blogs. Several magazines also have reprinted his articles.
Glover has made his New Voices’ Year Two match, consisting of $1,000 from in-kind donations, $1,000 from speeches, $2,400 from teaching at Temple University, $400 for a January 2009 City Paper cover story he wrote and $200 in advertising.
Among Glover’s in-kind donations was an original illustration of a “greened” Divine Lorraine Hotel by an artist who usually charges several hundred dollars for his work. Glover paid $50 for the painting of the former luxury apartment building, which stands at the corner of Broad and Fairmount streets, awaiting its transformation. The artwork illustrates the 12th Green Jobs Philly newsletter, published May 15, 2009.
Glover’s launch of the Green Jobs Philly site prompted Temple University to ask him to teach two Metropolitan Ecology classes. Glover reports that he will cut back to one class in the fall to better devote himself to his website, newsletter and related projects.
His expertise also means Glover is in demand as a speaker; he has given about a dozen speeches in the last year. In addition, Glover estimates that he’s been interviewed on the radio at least 30 times since GJP launched, discussing his plans for a local currency and a health co-op. (Glover was quoted in an April 2009 CNN.com story about local currencies).
Glover is working on several spin-off ideas, including the creation of a Philadelphia factory that would manufacture insulation using recycled materials and employ citizens with the least formal education.
This enterprise and others would “raise the profile and credibility of GJP as a leader creating new institutions” and accelerate the greening of Philadelphia’s economy, Glover says.
Glover would like to increase the frequency of his e-mailed newsletter. “With reliable funding, Green Jobs Philly could publish weekly, filling in where conventional media lag,” he says. The semester over, Glover is now pedaling his bicycle around town seeking potential advertisers. He has also made a list of about 20 Philadelphia-based grantors and begun submitting grant proposals.
Esoteric as his ideas may seem, Glover told the CNN interviewer that he’s never been busier: “As the economy has fallen apart, my phone has been ringing off the hook.”
- Hope Keller, 6/4/09
Green and Growing
In six months, Paul Glover’s GreenJobsPhilly.org website and newsletter have developed a devoted readership in Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth-largest city, with a population of nearly 1.5 million.
“Readership” might be putting it too mildly; “fan base” better captures the enthusiasm of Glover’s audience, which apparently includes a bunch of Big-J journalism types. “A treasure trove” is how Philly.com (the website of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News) recently described the Green Jobs Philly newsletter.
Philly.com, in its Earth to Philly blog, also hailed the Green Jobs Philly newsletter as “the value-packed local resource that everyone who’s down with the ‘Green’ thing is reading. Some people, in fact, have been known to start hyperventilating when the new issue comes out.”
Launched in September 2008, the website functions as a bulletin board for those seeking and offering green jobs in the Philadelphia metro area, as well as for people looking for or providing venture capital and grants. As of mid-February, 115 resumes had been uploaded to the site and more than 300 people had registered as users. The website - which is updated as job, loan and grant information comes in - receives about 3,000 unique visitors per month.
Philadelphia officials, businesses, organizers, environmentalists and jobseekers read Glover’s newsletter, which is e-mailed to more than 4,300 subscribers once or twice a month. (Click here for the most recent newsletter, Glover’s ninth, which includes the first article in Spanish - a translation of a story Glover wrote for the Philadelphia City Paper.) The newsletter highlights green economy initiatives by local businesses, universities, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals; it also features a calendar of relevant local conferences, meetings and cultural events. Glover hopes eventually to feature online videos showing Philadelphians performing environmentally beneficial work, as well as Flash animation that explains how the work is done.
Glover reports that J-Lab/New Voices’ support for the site has “conferred broader authority” on his overall project to “green” the Philadelphia economy. In addition to being asked to write for local publications, he was recently interviewed by Pacifica Radio and is frequently sought as a speaker by Philadelphia neighborhood and church groups. Also, Temple University has invited him to develop and teach a green jobs course. Glover says he plans to train students to research and post content to the GreenJobsPhilly.org site.
Glover eventually would like to publish a quarterly print edition of Green Jobs Philly, which he hopes would raise his venture’s profile and provide advertising income. He also plans to update the website - “make it look a little spiffier” and make the archives more easily accessible. In addition to articles in Spanish, he is seeking a translator to prepare Chinese-language articles for publication, and down the road he would like translations into Vietnamese, Korean and other languages.
Glover’s larger plan is to create a network of organizations that will work to green Philadelphia’s economy and change the dismal arithmetic of the city, which has double-digit dropout and illiteracy rates and tens of thousands of uninsured. He has a kind of citywide Works Progress Administration in mind, which he calls the Green Labor Administration, or GLAD.
Glover’s biggest challenge is finding the time to expand his venture. “If I were five people we’d meet much more of the city’s green networking needs,” he says. “I’m excited to find and report the accelerating volume and variety of initiatives here, but am too busy with daily work to quickly build the broader organization.” Calling himself “old school,” Glover says he is gradually learning the technology that will allow him to post multimedia news items to the website. He is also working with two grant writers to help him sustain the GreenJobsPhilly website and newsletter and to enable a second-year matching grant from J-Lab.
- Hope Keller, 2/24/09
All Things Green and Local
On Sept. 15, 2008, 3,706 residents, public officials, neighborhood organizers and environmentalists in Philadelphia received an e-mail announcing the launch of GreenJobsPhilly, a new website publishing news and promoting opportunity in the evolving local green economy. The site is a clearinghouse of everything green when it comes to jobs, services and grants sought and available on the local level.
Project director Paul Glover said he’s contacting businesses, nonprofits and government agencies, inviting them to post jobs on his site. Job seekers are also posting jobs wanted. The response has been very positive; the listings are free. Ten jobs have been posted; 31 job seekers have deposited their descriptions into the job bank. Glover said the presidential campaign and the economic downturn on Wall Street have given new attention to the green-collar jobs as a solution for both climate change and rising unemployment.
As of Oct. 16, GreenJobsPhilly had distributed four editions of its twice-monthly e-newsletter. Each edition includes comprehensive coverage of related legislation, book reviews, links to resources and research, job opportunities and more. Glover said people in the community are sending him event listings and other content, which he is editing and compiling in the newsletter.
The newsletter spotlights some of the green job seekers and quotes from their posts on the website. For example: “I love to help people make their flat roofs last longer and use less energy, while avoiding costly repairs. I specialize in small repairs, cool roof coatings, and vegetated roofs. I’m certified by two different companies in green roof installation, and have over two years of experience on flat roofs and nine years of construction experience.” Anyone need a roofer?
Glover is proud of one promotional gimmick he’s using to attract e-subscribers. Every e-mail in his database is assigned a number and on a monthly basis, he randomly picks a person to receive a $10 gift certificate donated by the Infusion Coffee Shop in the Mt. Airy neighborhood.
Glover, a longtime community organizer, isn’t relying on viral marketing to get the word out. He’s been pounding the pavement, speaking at schools, church groups, doing outreach at every environmental-themed community event. In early September, he joined over 200 businesses and groups at the GreenFestPhilly, an outdoor fair.
Glover said he’s still in the learning curve, as he manages new web publishing tools, databases and college interns. He’s reserved the right hand column of the home page for advertising, but hasn’t decided yet what to charge for it.
New Voices is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. J-LabTM is an incubator for innovative, participatory news experiments and is a center of American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C. New Voices is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.