♣ Diversifying the sources of financial and political support

"♣": Estrategias específicas empleadas por los estudios de caso para incrementar su nivel de auto-sustentabilidad.Pueden estar en inglés o español. Por favor usa el traductor del menú lateral 

"♣": Specific strategies used by the case studies to increase their degree of self-sustainability.They might be in English or in Spanish. Please use the side menu translator
  • El Apompal Ecotourism, and its wider network, consolidated their first efforts with the support of many governmental programs, state and federal, such as SEMARNAT and the National Commission for the knowledge and use of Biodiversity (CONABIO by its Spanish acronym).
  • The project is also economically supported by taxes paid by local businesses that benefit from tourism that arrives at the park and the temples (trains, hotels, restaurants, peasants’ houses remodeled for tourists, etc).
  • Unlike other UNESCO global geoparks, only the entries to the Museum of Geology and to the astronomical observation platform are free of charge. Entrance fees for services and other sites of interest are charged to ensure its maintenance, and to limit the number of visitors to the area.
  • The activity of the communities is regulated by the authorities with a wide margin of freedom. The prices of services are not controlled and many public resources have been allocated for the maintenance and beautification of traditional villages. Partly because of this, a significant part of the local population has decided to move to the surrounding urban areas and rent their homes located within the Geopark to acquire additional income.
  • The profits generated by the courses described above are shared among the instructors and the civil association that runs the farm and whose governing board, it should be mentioned, approves and monitors the projects proposed by the volunteers on a case-by-case basis. Even if constituted as a non-profit organization, the initiative was forced a few years ago to change its strategy of financial self-sustainability based on donations because they were tedious and difficult to obtain. Instead, it formulated mechanisms to diversify its sources of income: Sustainable development courses were prepared with a duration of 4 weeks (how to take care of the forest, animal handling, etc). The program of teaching Spanish for foreigners was created. The visit of schools and tourists was encouraged. Organizations and companies were invited to make their retreats on the farm. The production of local inputs (milk, eggs, etc.) was stimulated. Ways were looked for to take advantage of local resources (eg use of the fertilizer of the animals for the maintenance of the orchards). Bio-construction techniques were learned, which allowed saving some expenses, etc. Today, according to one of the current leaders of the initiative interviewed, the profits generated by the courses, added to the quotas contributed by the volunteers and tourists to cover the expenses of their stay, are enough to keep the project afloat.
  • The initiative of the Farm is in a moment of transition, as its founding leaders are delegating the project to a team of young people who once participated as volunteers and who today are establishing a new team that has already taken about half a year renewing the facilities of the farm and devising new ways to manage and promote the initiative. This group is multidisciplinary and much more inclined to promote civic-ecological practices through arts and sports. To diversify the financing mechanisms of the project and to rely less on the requirements demanded by their traditional clients, they have redoubled efforts to increase the visibility of the project and attract more visitors, including it in hosting sites (such as Airbnb).
    • [This/The initiative]  Farm also offers school trips and talks on environmental care, sustainable agriculture and food security. For this, it has set up a demonstration garden that helps it show the model to students coming from kindergarten to university.

    • As a social enterprise that serves as an integrated platform for agricultural development, the farm is maintained with the income received both from the rent of land and animals and from the school trips, mentioned above. In addition, it has set up a dining room that operates during the weekends and a store in which it sells its own products (eggs, meat, vegetables), as well as some from other collectives with similar working approaches (with commission), which makes the visit to the farm more attractive. The farm also offers consultancies and training to officials and organizations that want to replicate the model, as well as to companies that want to adopt greener technologies. It also offers carpentry and local arts workshops. It works with the support of volunteers — some thesis students, other young people who want to experience a way of life different from the one offered by the city — and still relies heavily on donations from both foundations and local governments, which help, in part, to finance scholarships for interns who help manage the farm. This diversity of income sources allows the subsistence of the project in a region where land rent is expensive.

    • The use of social networks such as Wechat, Weibo, Taobao, and their own website, allows the farm to organize with the participating consumers, receive their feedback, disseminate its project, sell its products online and diversify the forms of payment for the convenience of the consumers (through Alipay for example).

    • Obviously, this scheme benefits everyone because of the contribution it makes to reduce environmental impact. Moreover, it benefits:

      • GreenPrice, because it generates profits as a company that allows it to ensure the financial sustainability of the project — unlike if they were constituted as a non-governmental organization.

      • Customers, because it allows them to access products that would otherwise be out of their reach, while contributing, in principle, to solving the ethical and environmental problems that GreenPrice addresses. Here it is important to mention that the niche population of the project are middle-class citizens, especially adults. Firstly, because the civil organizations that collect and redistribute food waste in Hong Kong — from restaurants and not from distributors or suppliers — focus on the poorest populations and the wealthier sector is not particularly interested in getting their products at a lower price. Second, because the type of products that GreenPrice focuses on are not essential— they are foods that are normally considered luxury and some other products such as cosmetics. Third, because young people do not seem to care too much about the high price of products.

      • Suppliers, because it represents their only alternative, in addition to garbage dumps, to channel their products with dates close to expiration in a responsible manner, minimizing their monetary losses due to transportation, storage and disposal of these products — the GreenPrice initiative does not represent a risk for them because the project is still small and because the products it sells are not fixed, but depend on what suppliers provide it. In addition, some suppliers register their transfer of products to GreenPrice as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Moreover, the sale of these products through GreenPrice allows them to approach a population niche that will potentially continue to buy these products through conventional means.

    • The success of this proposal has been reflected in the abrupt growth of the project, which in just one year (since 2016) has managed to attract significant investments (especially from the SIE Fund in 2016) to attract suppliers, start the supermarket and multiply its physical stores.

    • With the support of this network and in addition to the on-line consultancies, [This/the initiative] organizes activities to expand the opportunities of this population to adapt and improve their living conditions in their destination city. These include psychological care, book loans through a mobile bookstore, badminton, ping pong, karaoke, health training, courses on how to use a computer, get a job (write a CV for example), develop cultural skills such as theater, defend labor benefits, select and organize representatives to negotiate as a group with the employers (collective bargaining), etc. It also encourages members of the network to engage in public benefit activities — planting trees, donating blood, etc. — that help them organize and improve their surroundings. To date, more than 14,000 people have participated in these activities.

    • [This/the initiative]’s intervention in labor disputes and its tasks of promoting the rights of this sector have generated many resistances and made it difficult to obtain financial support that, rather, usually comes from foundations and foreign embassies (mainly). [This/the initiative] also collaborates with volunteer organizations of universities, hospitals, the justice bureau, unions, news agencies and other government agencies, which in addition to financing support it with courses, training, and know-how. All these associations, coordinated by a department exclusively responsible for public relationships, allow the initiative to work project by project and ensure the gratuity of its services.

    • Integration, thus, not only can help in broadening the sources of financial support (and diminishing with that the reliance on a single one of them). It also can facilitate that financial, infrastructural, human, and other resources are more easily shared across different areas. This is of particular importance because some development areas have more difficulties than others in producing or attracting financial sources of support.
      • initiatives’ ability to set up mechanisms that ensure transparency and demonstrate their effective management of the budget, seems directly related to their capacity to attract funding or other kinds of support
      • Diversifying the sources of financial and political support to avoid relying on a single one of them. This can be helped by:
        •  Allocating an ample percentage of the initiative’s income in fundraising work, that is, investing the required resources to address the financial sustainability imperative
        •  Making investments at fair value and beneficial interests in trusts
        •  Increasing the number and quality of collaborations with other initiatives and supporters (including volunteers)
        •  Creating local alternative currencies that complement the mainstream ones and make them more dispensable (time banks, digital or paper currencies, etc.)
        •  Facilitating the means for donors’ contributions (online resources; informational hotlines; concrete donation alternatives such as school materials, equipment; children/communities’ sponsorships by individuals, enterprises or even workers’ organizations; etc.)
        •  Developing mechanisms to ensure transparency and make it easier to attract new supporters (as suggested above).
      • Capitalizing on people’s ownership and empowerment, and making social participation a transversal dimension of the initiative helps in making better use of the local political and financial resources already available, which are needed to sustain the initiatives over time. Fostering them can further help in filling the gaps of the development initiative, and thus, in reducing the need of external support (dependency) — by facilitating that the internal stakeholders share their diverse products, services, and other resources, the need to acquire external funds to cover them is minimized.
    • In other words, defining strategies specifically aimed at ensuring the community’s participation and negotiation in the design, implementation and evaluation of the programs, seems to increase the initiatives’ level of self-sustainability (its ownership) of the process, giving their programs a greater possibility of survival should financial support be withdrawn or the presence of the development initiative diminish.
    • But no donations or grants have been received of late and, as a consequence, they have had to use not only the FDR but the capital itself. What is clear is that external funding for the Night Schools is not stable. A similar lack of stability characterizes the families’ contributions, because employment in the region typically depends on the season and the weather, rendering family income unstable. This lack of stability in the [This/the initiative]’s funding is crucial because the families and the whole community´s contribution to their existence is, as detailed before, enormous.
    • For that,[This/the initiative] complements this strategy by searching for what is known as parity/matching funds, on which each donation that the organization manages to secure is paired by a third source on the condition that the said commitment of the farmers to help preserving the forests is verifiably met.
    • An additional funding source comes from the project’s participation in the carbon bond market, in which it redeems its carbon emission certificates for the price set by the international market rules.
    • The Participation in the Carbon Bond Market Scheme:

    Donations are possible to a large extent as a result of the project’s intention to participate in the carbon bond market through an intermediary. The carbon bond market is an international instrument to account the emission of greenhouse gasses which are not produced or are reduced as a result of compensatory measures such as the generation of renewable energy, improvement of energy efficiency process, afforestation, avoided deforestation, lakes and rivers cleaning, etc., to voluntarily mitigate the environmental damage caused. These bonds are translated into carbon emission certificates (CERs), each one equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced or avoided, which can be redeemed for a price set by the international market rules. The carbon bond market is one of the internationally recognized mechanisms that allow particulars and public and private organizations become conscious of their responsibility towards climate change, and participate actively by selling or buying CERs to comply with the objectives of mitigating the environmental damage caused.

    To participate in this market,[This/the initiative] hired an intermediary entity – Terra Global Capital (from San Francisco) – for the design and promotion of the project within the international carbon bond market and the payment for the services to the beneficiaries. Therefore, all red tape procedures for this scheme are done by intermediary companies like this one that budget their payment themselves.

    • inspired by the[This/the initiative], which has operated from Mexico City since 1996 promoting alternative barter markets (of products and services), local university teachers in 2010 created an alternative market project popularly known as “The[This/the initiative] Project” as a tool to boost the local economy (promoting the circulation of goods which had no buyers due to the absence of conventional money in the place) and reduce external dependence (on resources and on the values from the printing and distribution of economic currency).

    The Tumin is a voucher that is complementary to the peso, the Mexican currency. It seeks to support family income serving as a means of facilitating the development of an alternative exchange dynamic: the barter system (which actually used to be the traditional exchange system in the region).

    Vouchers are used to exchange goods with value equal to (but not worth) 1 Mexican Peso ($ 0.08 USD approx.), backed up by the goods and services offered by its partners, which are listed in a directory so that its members can compromise to support each other. A coordinating team, which is rotatory (ensuring the equitable representation of and responsibilisation of all of the members) monitors and evaluates the project. It is made up of Commissions (education, communication, etc.) that are in charge of organizing various issues related to the project, ensuring its integrative character.

    The current economic model does not offer a solution to the problems of poverty, but reproduces them. We must create an option that represents an alternative to the current economy, which creates immense external dependence. Start creating it from the children, through an education that questions what is produced locally and what is missing, considering that the local production, however, is never enough. We need a trans-generational approach to transcend the economic dependence that creates scarcity, poverty. To exit the well we must stop digging.

    The prototype alternative market model promoted by[This/the initiative] and that inspired the[This/the initiative] Project, comprises, according to Luis Lopezllera’s “Money is not enough, what to do?” Manual (2008), the integration of an alternative economic system that includes at least the following:

    1. The granting of memberships for partners.

    2. The signing of a letter of commitment agreed on the rules of the exchange.

    3. The creation of a user directory based on the planning of a consumer basket (that defines what kind of partners are needed, including foreign partners, if the locals cannot fulfil the need).

    4. The training in person and/or through a brief Operation Manual.

    5. The provision of the barter/exchange vouchers to the partners.

    6. The creation of a regular newsletter that accompanies and strengthens the project.

    7. The creation and distribution of educational and publicizing materials.

    8. The establishment of a promotional team (volunteers).

    9. The organization of regular meetings for the project’s development.

    10. The organization of decisional deliberative assemblies of associated partners (decentralization).

    11. The establishment of cellular stores for the public (that link together, give certainty, and facilitate the buying of products for those who cannot attend the market’s meetings because of logistical problems).

    12. The organization of local fairs, private or public, gatherings, visits, courses, and workshops (introductory lectures and retreats).

    13. The organization of regional or national meetings (with similar networks).

    14. The use of advanced communication and dissemination means.

    15. The procurement of infrastructure and support resources (property for the shop and office, meeting room, exhibition room, furniture, telephone, computer, projector, transportation, support fund, etc.).

    to produce Tumins is cheaper than to produce Mexican Pesos, that they are of a recyclable material, and that they sustain themselves because they don’t depend on values imposed from outside.

    The[This/the initiative]’s model is not intended to be scalable, but the local autonomous economy model that promotes solidarity and local production is. Retrieving experience from the[This/the initiative] Project and[This/the initiative]’s initiatives (or from any other of the many thousands of alternative currencies – economies – that today are being multiplied in the world) can become a tool to reinforce the self-sustainability in the implementation, and therefore the scope, of the programs undertaken by the[This/the initiative], by attacking the roots of dependency with a systemic, integral perspective

    • [This/the initiative] could detect exchangeable value goods (products or services, existing or potential, between members of the[This/the initiative] or its beneficiaries) with which an exchange network can be created to complement, rather than replace, the use of the already scarce rupees circulating in the region, strengthening the social organization and all issues arising from a new economy based on trust and less dependent on the outside.
    • The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program, for example, implements demonstrative initiatives for resources’ management and the acquisition of legal certifications to increase family income generation, increase food security, and reduce the impact on the environment, as socioeconomic strategic components to improve the quality of life, environmental conservation, and regional development (e.g. the communitarian ecotourism or the crafts production with local forest’s resources).
    • [This/the initiative] is a non-profit organization that receives two kinds of donations: resources proceeding from covenants and/or projects (which operating revenues are recognized after the realization of expenses), and third parties’ donations – usually non-refundable.
    • Gain international visibility by bringing famous figures to attract funding.
    • Get funding from many and diverse sources, both public and private, that usually support concrete initiatives.
    • Allow online donations of materials, equipment, or others.
    • Work with partnerships both with the communities and with institutions abroad, from the public and the private sector, and with diverse development agendas. This enables the organization to expand these communities’ access not only to primary health but also to a wide variety of social programs that support one another with the transference, adaptation, and application of appropriate social technologies and also in terms of funding (x). It also benefits the foreign partners because they make good use of[This/the initiative]’s experience, know-how, and credibility in the region to access it.
    • Offer consultancy and advisory services to the public and private sectors, including NGOs and social movements (capitalizing on their experience).
    • [This/the initiative] also ensures that all its programs are supported by training to form “multiplier” agents, that is, local leaders that can manage and disseminate the programs independently.
    • [This/the initiative]’s development model is integrated because of the interconnections that exist amongst its various interventions, which are emphasized in the understanding that attending the communities’ needs in an integral way implies recognizing that community life is integral itself; that all age sectors have to be attended; and, that one area can support another because it is frequently the same people that are involved.[This/the initiative]’s institutional integration process consists of consolidating each area’s relevant institutions and trying to establish a transversal project.

    However, to achieve this level of integration is very difficult, as many factors work against it: The responsibilities of[This/the initiative]’s staff are distributed by areas and each area’s responsible has to be accountable for the programs at his/her charge, to ensure maintaining donors support. While all personnel are encouraged to be involved in all areas of work, they can only do it superficially because they have to concentrate on their own projects. Most importantly, the donors support very concrete/thematic agendas. Their funding criteria are not integral and they expect concrete results in concrete areas. So each area coordinator is generally responsible for the results of its domain and not the other.

    • Searches for partnerships that not only expand the amount of services provided to the communities it serves but the support of one initiative to another.
    • consultancy services portfolio
    • the option of creating local entrepreneurship initiatives (like[This/the initiative]’s communitarian ecotourism) that provide children with future options for employment, help the organization to disseminate its programs abroad, and function as parallel enterprises that not only incorporate Night Schools’ alumni into the local economy but help in the funding of the Night Schools. If programmed well, this specialized tourism could also help to diversify the Night Schools’ funding sources.
    • Explore partnership options for the Night Schools either as independent projects or for their social events (the Children’s Parliament for example), to diversify sources of income and the offer of services for the Night Schools.
    • [This/the initiative] operates as a social enterprise that generates surpluses to reinvest them in their social objective (to strengthen Escuela Nueva pedagogic model) and enlarge its area of impact, which has allow it to reduce its dependency to external financial support.
    • consultancy services,[This/the initiative] also relies on other financial sources, that include donations from different agencies sponsors, online donations, volunteer workers, visitors’ fees, and parity funds schemes with foundations
    • failing its consultancy services to cover all of the organization’s expenses, it relies on other financial sources that include:

    A. Donations from different agencies.

    B. Sponsors.[This/the initiative] searches for sponsors for specific occasions/projects by publishing particular activities of the Foundation that need donors’ support on their website. To that, they explain their projects’ objectives and enunciate the aspects that need financial support.

    C. Online donations. These donations are received “in honor or memory of” and gift cards that are offered with exact amounts (also open) to receive single or concurrent support for specific objectives (e.g. workbooks for 5 children, signboards for 18 schools, 5 day training workshop for 30 teachers, etc.). The “donate” button appears on each section of the website (ibid.).

    D. Volunteer workers. It has a shortness of staff and hires personnel or volunteers for specific projects.

    E. Charging visitors. As a result of the model’s success,[This/the initiative] frequently receives visits (at their Colombia office) from interested parties. However,[This/the initiative] is composed of only 30 staff members and they have to subcontract personnel for each project. For this reason, the visits that used to be received without any charge became a heavy burden for[This/the initiative], because of all the time and resources (materials, people, etc.) it had to use to attend the guests. As a result,[This/the initiative] decided to charge visitors and with that money pay the expenses of moving them from school to school. It is planned to build a few demonstrative schools in the future.

    F. Parity Funds Schemes with foundations like Sosense that duplicate each amount donated to the Foundation by the public with a top fund of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10, 843 USD) or, for example, with Global Giving, that increases 30% of each donation that[This/the initiative] gets.

    Volunteer workers. It has a shortness of staff and hires personnel or volunteers for specific projects.

    Parity Funds Schemes with foundations like Sosense that duplicate each amount donated to the Foundation by the public with a top fund of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10, 843 USD) or, for example, with Global Giving, that increases 30% of each donation that FEN gets.

    because their partnership could be partially sustained by selling jointly elaborated learning materials, built on their prototype materials, and adapted to the local context

    • Among the different strategies to secure diversity of funds (and as with the cases above: reduce dependency to one sole source),[This/the initiative] a) establishes win-win partnerships with enterprises – in which enterprises promote themselves by demonstrating to their customers their support for[This/the initiative]’ projects; b) requests online donations in various modalities including children’s sponsorships; c) searches for grants; d) makes investments at fair value and beneficial interests in trusts; and e) matches donations of enterprises and their employees with community sponsorship programs.
    • [This/the initiative] promotes that enterprises invest in opening local cooperatives where an agreement is made with the participants that they will take care of their families and communities (e.g. bring their children to school) provided that a job is being offered to them and that there is already a buyer for their products (with fair prices). The cooperative’s surpluses are used to reinvest in the cooperative, cover the organization’s operation costs, pay the salaries of the cooperative’s employees, and invest in the community – e.g. on one of the NGO’s initiatives in that same community. With such a model, enterprises benefit with tax deductions (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ensure suppliers. The community, on the other hand, benefits by settling cooperatives that stimulate local production, promoting employment to the families, and reducing migration rates to the cities (as happens with the[This/the initiative] and the[This/the initiative] Project). It also benefits from the agreement made with the participants about taking care of their families and communities, and from the investment that is done of the surpluses into initiatives that help improve its overall living conditions.
    • Other strategies are specifically addressed to avoid creating dependency relations. In concrete, the community sponsorship programs are intended for a specific target: ensure the community’s self-sustainability in an agreed period of time. The money to find the partner enterprise comes from[This/the initiative]’s main office and it is recovered from the money the enterprise provides in the sponsorship budget.[This/the initiative] is an officially registered civil organization and each of its local offices is an officially registered civil organization as well, and not a part of[This/the initiative]’s main office. So the budget goes to increasing the community’s Civil Association’s self-sustainability through capacity building programs (training them on getting funds, managing programs, establishing cooperatives, increasing social participation, etc.). The enterprise and[This/the initiative] make an agreement where the local Civil Association (the community organized) ensures results in a certain period of time (10, 20 years), and if there are not results (periodical evaluations are made) the funding is stopped. In short: the partnership contemplates an Exit Plan for both the enterprise and the[This/the initiative]’s main office with the intention of ensuring a decentralized development program
    • Working through partnerships with organizations already working in its target communities to save money and energy.
    • Finding children sponsorships: Sponsors are offered to pay $28 USD/month to sponsor a boy/girl of their choice, and are explained how their contribution is going to be used, and that it is going to be combined with others to attend to all children in the area and their community. Strategies to secure sponsorship include concerts, sending trained fundraisers to streets and malls to solicit sponsorship face to face, setting community funds for all children where children sponsors can also donate, etc.
    • allowing the creation of a local economy that can become a sustainable source of financial support for the Night Schools.
    • El Banco de Tiempo de [Esta/la iniciativa] fue creado en 2011 como medida para ayudar a recuperar el tejido social de la región, tan lastimado por la inseguridad, promoviendo la confianza y la creación de redes de amistad y cooperación. El proyecto además busca atender los problemas causados por la falta de dinero convencional, proponiendo una moneda de intercambio alternativa (el tiempo) que evita a la comunidad participante la necesidad de gastar el poco dinero con el que cuenta, en tanto sea capaz de identificar y atender las necesidades de sus miembros mediante el intercambio de servicios valorados en horas tiempo.
    • Opción viable al dinero convencional para no estar gastando cuando se puede evitar
    • Un banco de tiempo, que es una versión de lo que se conoce como monedas alternativas, las cuales han sido utilizadas por distintas comunidades u organizaciones como estrategias para regenerar o mejorar las relaciones entre sus miembros; facilitar su intercambio de bienes y servicios y sus dinámicas de cooperación en general; compensar su falta de acceso a dinero convencional; reducir su dependencia a recursos externos; y/o apoyar mecanismos de auto-organización alternativos. El principio básico de los bancos de tiempo, según uno de sus promotores, podría resumirse en que: “Al unirse a un banco de tiempo, las personas están de acuerdo en participar en un sistema que implica ganar y gastar créditos de tiempo. Cuando pasan una hora en una actividad que ayuda a los demás, ellos reciben un crédito de tiempo. Cuando necesitan ayuda de otros, pueden utilizar los créditos de tiempo que han acumulado”(x). Hoy, los bancos de tiempo operan en alrededor de 50 países y su modelo ha sido adaptado para proyectos de salud pública,  de intercambio de conocimientos especializados, de cohesión comunitaria e intercultural, de permacultura, de economía local, de apoyo a grupos vulnerables (como desempleados, jubilados y jóvenes reclusos), e incluso de cooperación entre empresas u otras organizaciones para el aprovechamiento de recursos escasos o sub-utilizados (x). El objetivo común es el uso de la moneda-tiempo como instrumento para motivar y potenciar las relaciones de intercambio entre los miembros de una comunidad u organización, y con ello fortalecer la capacidad de esta última para satisfacer de forma más efectiva sus propias necesidades. Por ello su circulación suele ser administrada por un broker o coordinador de red. Éste documenta, analiza y promueve los intercambios a partir de las ofertas y demandas señaladas por los miembros participantes (generalmente a través de un sitio web).  Como se trata de cubrir necesidades reales, la relación entre oferta y demanda es cuidadosamente vigilada tanto en el primer registro de los participantes, como a lo largo del proceso de conformación de la red de cooperación
    • gracias al apoyo económico y emocional de parientes y amigos, se consiguió el terreno de su sede actual en 1997, en el que ellos mismos construyeron cabañas con materiales biodegradables y reciclados que hoy sirven de albergue a visitantes principalmente de Puebla y de la Ciudad de México. Gracias a la gestión de apoyos financieros gubernamentales, estas instalaciones se han complementado
    • Un sistema híbrido de energía (generador eólico, celdas solares y corriente eléctrica de la Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE). Esta combinación no sólo les permite ahorrar gastos y evitar fallos de abastecimiento (toda vez que la corriente eléctrica es más estable que las energías alternativas y la CFE deduce los excedentes de estas últimas), sino también reducir el impacto ambiental del establecimiento.
    • A dicho éxito del proyecto ha ayudado la práctica de re-invertir todas las ganancias. También le ha servido el hecho de que sus promotores aceptan y fomentan, además del pago con dinero convencional, la práctica del trueque con los clientes (a quienes prefieren llamar visitantes). A la fecha este sistema les ha permitido intercambiar noches de hospedaje por publicidad, paneles solares, botellas de alcohol, e incluso trabajo – todo ello tras discutir la conveniencia para ambas partes de forma directa. Esta última modalidad de intercambio, el trabajo, es la única que no ha funcionado bien, pues al parecer ha habido mucho abuso por parte de los visitantes (que no trabajan lo prometido o se quedan más de lo acordado, por ejemplo). El trueque permite además que el[Esta/la iniciativa] pueda cumplir mejor con su misión de apoyar los proyectos personales de los visitantes, que son de distinta índole (retirados, mochileros, tesistas).
    • “Lo que pides al universo te lo da, por eso es seguro”.
    • Apoyo comunidad (su familia y amigos) para evitar que se fueran a USA y se quedaran a hacer su sueño del hostal (les prestaron fondos.
    • El que sea fondo perdido (dinero que no se tiene que regresar) cambia la naturaleza de los proyectos, su proyección a largo plazo, según si vas a tener que regresar el dinero o no.
    • El régimen de donatarias autorizadas facilita que las iniciativas de desarrollo consigan apoyos financieros (porque pueden ser deducibles de impuestos para los donantes) y les exenta de pagar impuestos.
    • Desde que concluyó esa etapa de cursos,[Esta/la iniciativa]   ha dado consultoría a autoridades hacendarias, con la intención de sensibilizarlas respecto a las necesidades particulares de las iniciativas de desarrollo más vulnerables. Desde la perspectiva de[Esta/la iniciativa] , los encargados de diseñar la legislación fiscal conocen poco de la realidad que se vive fuera del ambiente urbano y es por ello que han privilegiado mecanismos bastante estandarizados para la certificación y distribución de apoyos, que han reproducido las condiciones de desigualdad entre las iniciativas de desarrollo, al tener pocas previsiones para su trato diferenciado y por ende equitativo. Como resultado de lo anterior, muy pocas organizaciones culminan el trámite de reconocimiento como donatarias autorizadas con éxito.  De 60 organizaciones asesoradas por su grupo a la que se les dio seguimiento, menos de 10 lo concluyeron. Esta deserción se explica en parte por el hecho de que el proceso es complejo y no gratuito, y la desidia por parte de las OSC mucha, pues el trámite o es costoso (cuando la mayoría carece de recursos) o es gratuito pero lento y tedioso. Además, los costos del notario no se pueden evitar. Más aún, la estandarización de la normatividad favorece a las iniciativas con mayor grado de: 1. Estructuración (solidez, desalentando la innovación); 2. Vinculación con los donantes (son mundos que no se juntan); 3. Capital intelectual para enterarse y competir con éxito en las convocatorias por fondos, especialmente las internacionales (por idioma, formación, acceso a los medios, etc); 4. Capacidad económica para cubrir gastos de constitución legal (asesores en el proceso, notarios, transporte a las oficinas administrativas en las ciudades, principalmente la capital).

    Por lo anterior, para[Esta/la iniciativa] contar con el estatus de donataria autorizada no es para todos, y no basta para resolver las necesidades financieras de una organización porque las donaciones son pocas y difíciles de adquirir. Aún así, le considera una herramienta útil, de apoyo.

    desde hace algunos años su actividad principal se ha convertido en dar asesorías legales y fiscales a distintas OSC, ahora sí, y con muy contadas excepciones, cobrándoles. Apoyarles gratuitamente como varias de ellas solicitan, no sólo no permite solventar los gastos de la organización. Desde su perspectiva además es inservible, pues la constitución legal y como donataria autorizada son sólo los primeros pasos ante una serie de obstáculos en el camino que, si no se tiene la capacidad de financiar, serán difíciles de resolver. Finalmente, la iniquidad no sólo caracteriza al régimen de donatarias autorizadas, sino a varios otros mecanismos de apoyos públicos cuyo nivel de complejidad, tiempos  limitados recursos, hacen el camino casi imposible para buena parte del sector,

    • El proyecto asegura la sustentabilidad del bosque vendiendo sólo 50 mil de los 350mil árboles que produce al año y sembrando árboles vikingos, cuyos troncos tienen la capacidad de regenerarse después de su tala. También han producido patentes de algunas combinaciones de árboles.

    Para facilitar la venta de los árboles fomentan dos tipos de colaboración que aseguran la integridad del proyecto y con ella su mayor proyección y atractivo sin la necesidad de invertir recursos extra:

    Colaboración estrecha y de mutuo beneficio con otras Sociedades Anónimas (S.A.):

    -Una ofrece paseos de integración, retiros y pláticas a la medida para empresas (Coca Cola, El Metro, Coppel, etc), lo que le sirve a [Esta/la iniciativa] para hacerse de recursos extra y publicidad.

    -Otra, Hacienda X (desde 1999), ofrece alojamiento (hotel y campamentos); visitas culturales al Museo de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz y al Museo de los Volcanes, al laberinto inglés, al parque de los venados, las águilas y las serpientes acariciables; instalaciones de deportes extremos como la tirolesa. Todos estos servicios y más están disponibles gratuitamente a los clientes de [Esta/la iniciativa]. Además, la Hacienda le envía sus clientes a éste último en visitas diarias a cambio de lo cual éste les regala pequeños árboles, les ofrece pláticas sobre manejo sustentable de los bosques y paseos por el vivero y el bosque.

    -Otra más organiza visitas escolares que son reconocidas por la Secretaría de Educación Pública, pues están diseñadas de manera tal que sirvan para reforzar la enseñanza de materias del plan de estudios como ciencias, educación ambiental (manejo de basura, aprovechamiento del agua de lluvia, etc), civismo, etc. Estas visitas (van como 20 escuelas al día) tienen un costo de$140 pesos por alumno y representan un ingreso extra para [Esta/la iniciativa], quien a cambio obsequia cupones de descuento en árboles de navidad para cada alumno, un árbol pequeño del vivero y un certificado de participación. Aunque esta colaboración le es redituable a [Esta/la iniciativa] en términos financieros y de publicidad, un reto que tiene que vencer para asegurar un mayor impacto de su objetivo de sensibilización ambiental es la significativa apatía que parece caracterizar a buena parte de los alumnos y maestros que les visitan (una tercera parte según nuestra fuente).

    Colaboraciones de mutuo beneficio con la población local:

    -[Esta/la iniciativa] provee las instalaciones para un Bazar Navideño que da oportunidad a comerciantes durante la temporada alta de vender sus productos — a quienes selecciona en función de garantizar la diversidad en la oferta de productos y con ello, el mayor atractivo del bazar. Aunque la renta que [Esta/la iniciativa] recibe de éstos sólo le alcanza para mantener el lugar y no le representa ninguna ganancia monetaria, le sirve para hacer su lugar de venta de árboles más atractivo a gente que viene de otras partes del país.

    -Lo mismo sucede con el Mercado de comida navideño, en cuyo casi ni siquiera se le cobra renta a los vendedores, pues la mayoría son locales.

    -[Esta/la iniciativa] da permiso a pepenadores locales de recoger y aprovechar la basura, lo que le ayuda a su vez a mantener sus instalaciones limpias.

    -También da permiso a los pastores locales de traer sus borregos a pastar, lo que a [Esta/la iniciativa] le sirve para que éstos corten el pasto y le abonen.

    • En lugar de una renta fija, cada proyecto paga a[Esta/la iniciativa] un porcentaje de sus ingresos que varía según el acuerdo establecido al inicio de la colaboración.

    Dan varios apoyos a proyectos como HUB:

    espacio físico/terreno

    Asesorías/talleres de planeación

    Les ayudan a conseguir escuelas que les visiten

    Les ayudan a planear sus talleres


    Les organizan eventos

    Ayudan a establecer alianzas

    Negociaciones diferenciadas con cada proyecto para asegurar flexibilidad (mecanismo flexibilidad)

    Les cobran porcentaje de comisión de lo que vendan y no cobran renta por instalaciones. Todos tienen que ser negocios en sí mismos.

    Les dan tiempo de gracia y se re-negocia (por si no es efectivo el proyecto o para contrarrestar abusos).

    Los términos de la concesión no son claros, lo cual pudiese representar una fuente de riesgo para la sustentabilidad del proyecto a largo plazo, toda vez que los dueños no tienen seguridad sobre los criterios que serán usados para la evaluación de su desempeño.

    • El plan de[Esta/la iniciativa] A.C. es rehabilitar primero dos hectáreas (limpieza, reforestación, regeneración de biodiversidad, saneamiento del agua fluvial) y aceptar proyectos de socios[Esta/la iniciativa] para generar ingresos y contribuir a la rehabilitación de la zona. Al ser barrancas, los proyectos que se pueden realizar son, en su mayoría, deportivos (bicicleta de montaña, escalada en roca, tirolesa, senderismo) y ambientales (reforestación, acuaponia).
    • Securing diversity of funds through:

    a. Finding children sponsorships: Sponsors are offered to pay $28 USD/month to sponsor a boy/girl of their choice, and are explained how their contribution is going to be used, and that it is going to be combined with others to attend to all children in the area and their community. Strategies to secure sponsorship include concerts, sending trained fundraisers to streets and malls to solicit sponsorship face to face, setting community funds for all children where children sponsors can also donate, etc.

    b. Establishing win-win partnerships with enterprises (e.g. The One for One Program with Toms Shoes where for each pair of shoes purchased, a new pair is given to a child in need. Benefits for the enterprises: publicity. Benefits for the community: footwear is introduced into the holistic health and education programs).

    c. Creating local cooperatives:[This/the initiative] promotes that an enterprise invests in opening a local cooperative where an agreement is made with the participants that they will take care of their families and communities (e.g. bring their children to school), provided that a job is being offered to them and that there is already a buyer for their products (with fair prices). The cooperative’s surpluses are used to reinvest in the cooperative, cover the organization’s operation costs, pay the salaries of the cooperative’s employees, and invest in the community – e.g. on one of the NGO’s initiatives in that same community. With such a model, enterprises benefit with the tax deductions (Corporate Social Responsibility), and this ensure suppliers. The community, on the other hand, benefits by settling cooperatives that could stimulate local production, promoting employment to the families and reducing migration rates to the cities (as happens with the[This/the initiative] and the[This/the initiative] Project). It also benefits from the agreement made with the participants on taking care of their families and communities, and form the investment that is done of the surpluses into initiatives that help improve its overall living conditions.

    d. Requesting (like[This/the initiative]) online donations in various modalities (e.g. fix amounts donations, “In honor or memoriam” donations “committed to honor any stated preference”, and “Gift Catalogues”) where they detail concrete items or services for the children explaining to whom it will be addressed and for what (ibid.).

    e. Looking for grants.

    f. Making investments at fair value and searching for beneficial interests in trusts.

    g. Finding enterprises whose employees match the donations collected for community sponsorship. Differently from the matching/parity schemes used by[This/the initiative] and[This/the initiative],[This/the initiative] usually uses this scheme with enterprises that work permanently with one particular region/population (e.g. a coffee enterprise that buys most of its coffee from one region). The scheme[This/the initiative] uses is to link the enterprises employees with the communities they work with is implementing a dynamic where each employee donates a certain percentage of his salary to the NGO’s initiative/program in the community, and the enterprise doubles that amount. This strengthens the wellbeing both of the community and the company’s employees. The employees are invited to inquire in their enterprises’ Human Research Department if their company already has a “matching gift program” and join it. The sponsorships are intended to a specific target: ensure the community’s self-sustainability in an agreed period of time. The money to find the partner enterprise comes from the[This/the initiative]’s main branch, and it is recovered from the money the enterprise provides in the sponsorship budget. This budget is allocated into capacity building programs for the community.[This/the initiative] is a Civil Association and each of its local offices are Civil Associations as well, and not a part of[This/the initiative]’s main office. So the budget goes to increasing the community Civil Association’s self-sustainability (training them on getting funds, managing programs, establishing cooperatives, increasing social participation, etc.). The Enterprise and[This/the initiative] make an agreement where the local Civil Association (the community organized) ensures results over a certain period of time (10, 20 years), and if there are not results (periodical evaluations) the funding is stopped. In short: the partnership contemplates an Exit Plan of both the enterprise and[This/the initiative]’s main branch with the intention of ensuring a decentralized development program.

    • Regarding the Sponsors Scheme:

    So far the[This/the initiative] Website has a section for specific (lamps, water-tanks, etc.) or general donations (x). Searching for sponsors for specific activities such as the Balmela and/or other incidental costs (Children’s Parliament meetings for example) could be another way of finding funding for the whole program or for learning materials and infrastructure.

    Recommendation made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R7:[This/the initiative]’s “Donate” page could detail Night Schools’ activities where resources (support) are needed such as the Balmela festival, which in the field research was identified as one of the greatest yearly expenses of the program.

    Regarding the Online Donations Scheme:

    So far, the[This/the initiative] Website’s “Donate” section (ibid.) accepts donations for specific items (such as mosquito nets, or solar lanterns) or higher, voluntary amounts.

    • Recommendation made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R8: The[This/the initiative] could incorporate[This/the initiative]’s website ideas like gift cards (that people can give to others in their name as a Christmas or birthday present, for example) or the option of “Memorial” donations, where people can donate their legacy in the name of their family or the like.

    Creating win-win partnerships with enterprises such as the One for One program that the[This/the initiative] runs (with aims at diversifying funding sources).

    • Fuentes de autosustentabilidad:

    Casas construidas por ellos mismos con biomateriales

    Bio-construcciones de paja y adobe con aceite para que dure (proteger) – según X. Se llama pajareque – dijeron hijas- y es una mezcla de lodo, paja y baba de nopal.

    Apoyo comunidad (su familia y amigos) para evitar que se fueran a USA y se quedaran a hacer su sueño del hostal (les prestaron dinero).

    Sistema híbrido de Energía…

    Uso de energías alternativas tanto por filosofía ambientalista como por pragmatismo: Generador eólico + paneles solares + Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) (porque energías alternativas son más baratas y CFE  te deduce lo que tu produzcas sobrante que le vendas pero no son estables y el hostal no se puede dar el lujo de que se le acabe la energía en días lluviosos o así).

    • The Parity/Matching Funds Scheme:

    Funding comes from a variety of sources in exchange for an active commitment by the communities who own the forests, to take the necessary actions to ensure that the forests are always kept strictly intact – which means not exploiting them and not allowing anyone else to do so. The funds are used to compensate the communities for revenue lost, resulting from their abstention to economically exploit their forests.

    Some of these funding mechanisms are obtained through parity or matching fund schemes where, in exchange for the communities’ contribution consisting on their commitment to keep the forests intact, entities such as the National Forestry Commission (Mexico) provides 1 Mexican peso for each peso that[This/the initiative] obtains from other financial sources to help the community to achieve the same objective – which is basically to preserve the environmental services that forests provide. Other mechanisms consist of financial contributions on the condition that the said commitment is verifiably met, and that the community engages in undertaking active forest conservation activities.

    Like the National Forestry Commission in Mexico, many institutions are concerned about the lack of direct involvement (ownership) that most development projects have on the part of the beneficiaries. Frequently, beneficiaries’ involvement and ownership of the project demonstrates that the donors’ investment has greater possibilities of surviving and leaving a lasting effect.

    • The Capital Fund Scheme:
    [This/the initiative] uses a comprehensive scheme that includes several funding mechanisms that allow the organization to create a capital fund that yields interests to be used to finance the project.

    The establishment of a capital fund is an option that intends to avoid searching for annual funds but, instead, creates an investment fund that yields interests to be used to finance the project without touching the fund itself. If the fund is enough, there is no need to get more money. If not, or if the interests decrease, it will be necessary to keep up the search for donations. It can represent the whole or only a part of the budget needed for the project, but having a part makes it easy to get the rest because it gives certainty to the donors. This scheme can be discussed with the donors in the teaming contract.

    • The Banking Trust Fund Scheme:
    • All financial resources obtained are deposited in the capital fund, the use of which is subject to control by a banking trust fund mechanism, which provides the project with credibility to encourage donations to contribute with those resources.Donors, foundations, governments, and international NGOs trying to support the so-called “developing countries” frequently face the same problem: corruption. Money frequently doesn’t arrive at its destination and stays in intermediary hands. It also happens that the money is distributed but the recipient organizations don’t have projects to offer, even if the money is there. With a Trust Fund, the money doesn’t have to go through the organization’s hands but rather goes through the Trust Fund’s hands which gives transparency to the money’s management, and certainty to both the organization and the donors.A Trust Fund is composed of 3 parts:
      1. The Trustee (the Bank) that is the one that generates the confidence (the trust), as it is the one that monitors how the money is being spent and ensures that it is used in the way and with the purpose agreed, by contract, between the beneficiaries and the donors.
      2. The Donors/Foundations that put money in the trust for a specific purpose.
      3. The Beneficiaries (the organization and/or local people).

      1, 2, and 3 elect an Executive Board (also called Technical Committee) that supervises/manages the Trust Fund on a daily basis and under the general supervision of the Trustee. It is formed by representatives from donors and beneficiaries.

      All rules applicable to the operation of the Trust are convened through a contract among 1, 2, and 3.

      All decisions (the designation of the Executing Board, the use of the money donated, etc.) are settled in that contract. All parts would like to advocate for their own interests but the ideal is to find a balance between them – respecting the beneficiary’s project objectives and the donor’s aims. The donors participate in the model because they accept it, which means that once they sign the contract they cannot make changes to it. That has to be clear in the original contract.

      The content of the contract is to establish that what is being settled is a Trust Fund, that is, a contract based on trust because there is someone (the bank) that looks after the contract’s compliance (e.g. “We agree to ensure that the obtained money will be dedicated to x and the bank will supervise that it is done that x way” ). When, during the implementation process, money has to be spent, the Executive Board decides how to use the money and the bank watches that the conditions are in line with what was agreed both on the contract and in the conditions to which the granting of the funds were subjected, that is, the original objective and destination of the funds.

    Regarding the Banking Trust Fund Scheme:

    To arrange a Trust Fund, the[This/the initiative] would have to prove that if it receives donations it would use them wisely and effectively. This should not be a problem since the College’s current budgeting process is already highly decentralized, which means that there are many actors supervising it at the same time. After receiving a donation or grant, the College’s main office, known as the Tilonia office, sends the money directly (that is, bank to bank) to its branch offices – the Field Research Centres (FRC) and the Associated Partner Organizations – who, in turn, transfer it to the Village Education Committees (VEC)’s accounts. The latter are managed together by a member of the FRC and those of the VEC, which are closer to the communities. A mechanism to ensure certainty on how the money is spent would strengthen the model.

    Recommendation made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R4: The establishment of a Trust Fund will strengthen the effort of giving certainty to both, the organization and the donors, by increasing the transparency in the money’s management. It will not affect the autonomy of the Village Education Committees because, as members of the Trust Fund, they will be able to ensure their requirements in the agreement between all members of the Trust Fund.

    • Because of the[This/the initiative]’s high level of contribution to its own project, it could suggest to be Beneficiary and Donor at the same time, offering its Community Contributions Inventory (referred before in R1) as a contribution.
    • Regarding the Participation in the Carbon Bond Market Scheme:

    One of[This/the initiative]’s main strengths and most well-known contributions in the development field is the Solar Energy Program, which is already greatly intertwined with its other initiatives – including the Night Schools – that are largely possible due the provision of the solar lanterns that allow them to run at night. Moreover, many Night School alumni participate in the Solar Energy Program once they have graduated.

    This means that, so far, the Night Schools are already part of the Solar Energy Program, which generates renewable energy and therefore is eligible to participate in schemes such as the carbon bond market.

    Recommendation made in the[This/the initiative] Study:

    R5: To design a strategy to integrate more solidly and consciously the Solar Night Schools Program to the[This/the initiative]’s UNESCO Learning Centres for Sustainable Community Development (x), and find an intermediary (such as Terra Global Capital) that introduces it to the international carbon bond market and deals with all the procedures involved in this funding source.

    Money collected by this means can also be included into the Capital Fund (see R3) and ensured through a Trust Fund (see R4) as[This/the initiative]does to strengthen the financial sustainability of its project.

    • Since the project relies completely on external funding, it is currently discussing the possibility of creating a parallel for-profit enterprise that can serve to fund its social objective.
    • Accept and incorporate volunteers from abroad.
    • [This/the initiative] works in partnerships with the communities, creating or strengthening local organizations that are independent from[This/the initiative] itself, thus limiting its financial and administrative responsibility and ensuring their autonomy (x).
    • the[This/the initiative] could profit by innovating new means to motivate local production and vocational trainings to create long-term economic autonomy both for the people and for the schools program.
  • [This/the initiative] is an alternative market created so that elderly farmers from the Sanggang and Baoshi villages of Hebei Province (China) can earn extra income through the direct sale of the remaining products of their subsistence economies to consumers in the city of Beijing. Eggs, chickens, fruits, etc., products that do not require any type of special production and that generally do not have buyers within their communities because they are similar to those generated by the neighbours.