♣ Rethinking funding strategies

"♣": 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
  • 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).

 

  • 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 to save 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.
  • Obviously, this scheme benefits everyone because of the contribution it makes to reduce the 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.

  • Creating and capitalizing on the local resources, which could be helped by:
    •  Fostering the initiatives’ beneficiaries production of local goods and services through entrepreneurial or cooperative schemes which surpluses can be reinvested in their own communities (and that might be supported with local barter systems)
    •  Creating a parallel for-profit section or even enterprise within the initiative that generates surpluses to be invested on its social objective (e.g. selling consultancy services packages or training workshops based on the initiative’s know-how and particular experience, charging for guided visits to the initiative or the local area, etc.)
    •  Establishing parity funds schemes that capitalize on the local contributions and address funders’ concerns about how the frequent lack of ownership of the programs by the beneficiaries tends to result in their investments being non-sustainable
    •  Systematizing the components, working methodologies and results of the initiatives’ models, showing supporters the effects of their contributions and demonstrating the initiative’s differentiated capacity to make them cost-effective (which would also help in gaining  visibility and thus, further support for the initiative for the settling of new projects).

 

  • Making the most of the resources secured, which could be helped by:
    •  Accommodating all funding strategies around the objective of enriching a Capital Fund that reduces the initiative’s need to search for additional funds annually and allows it to keep in the stewardship of its project, without being obliged to fully adapt it to the interests of the financial supporters that it manages to secure
    •  Intensifying the transversality of the initiative’s institutional responsibilities and the interrelations between its development programs (to avoid fragmentary work and allow for a more flexible distribution of funds across them).

 

  • 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).

 

  • 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.