COMMUNITY BASED FORESTRY PROMOTION

COMMUNITY BASED FORESTRY PROMOTION TO IMPACT LIVELIHOOD AND CLIMATE CHANGE.


A project of the People’s Solidarity Association (PSA), Trichirapalli, Tamil Nadu in India.

To facilitate growing of 100.000 extra trees in 20 villages mainly by women and children,  by an educational campaign, by starting tree nurseries. and  by paying monthly 1 rupee per tree for 4 years,  through the microfinance structure of  PSA’s partner Anisha.


This project wants to try out  a new concept (‘tree credits’) to combine existing microfinance structures and other community based activities with climate measures and to work on grass roots empowerment and income from agroforestry. Income generating, water supply and solar PV based power supply will play a more prominent role in the further stages of the project.


Lord Nicholas Stern: “The two defining challenges of our century are climate change and poverty. And if we fail on one, we will fail on the other”. 2009

Ban Ki Moon, UN chief: “Like in Microfinance, women can be agents of climate change too.” December 2, 2009,

“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.” Prof. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, Nobel peace price winner


Summary

The People’s Solidarity Association (PSA) is a community development NGO, founded in 1980  by a group of students social activists of St.Joseph’s college, Trichirapalli, with the vision of achieving sustainable livelihood among marginalised people with values of social justice and equity.

In the past, PSA had implemented quite a few major projects such as low-cost house construction for flood victims, ecological agriculture training among dryland farmers ,early childhood education in remote villages and microfinance for the economically active poor women.


Motivating school students and promoting tree planting remains an ongoing activity of PSA. See :http//psatrichy.net/friends –of-trees/

In 2004, PSA promoted a separate organisation by the name Anisha Microfin Association that concentrates on micro-credit and related activities.

PSA is actively interacting in  50 villages around Trichirapalli, Tamilnadu, India.

Regarding legal status ,PSA  is registered as a Society under Tamilnadu Government Society Registration Act.It’s Registration No is:49/1980.

PSA is also authorised to receive Foreign Contribution as it has been registered under Government of India, Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, vide Registration No:07604001.

 

This project as presented here, and links with ongoing activities of PSA, see http://psatrichy.net/friends-of-trees/

These environmental actions were a response to the long felt need among man to ‘green’ the villages by planting trees and to generate more income and resources. In addition, to making a possitive contribution to the biodiversity and global warming.


In May 2011 John Peter (CEO of PSA) and Ferdinand Swart meet for a week in Sri Lanka  to conceive the outlines of the project; both initiators are active in these fields since the 80’s. FS  hatched the  ‘tree-credits’ community forestry concept in 2009 in a attempt to channel carbon credits, due for newly planted trees to the grassroots; and to work through existing microfinance structures in an attempt to minimize the carbon footprint of the operations and to empower women.


The Project

This programme aims to spread awareness about how growing trees could improve the village environment, generating food, income, firewood, fodder and much more, while helping wildlife,  biodiversity, and the global climate as well.

The significance of trees for the world climate debate is clear and well researched. Trees are the most cost effective way to unbind CO2 and to fight global warming (see Nicholas Stern 2009).

Tree planting can have a real impact, locally and even globally, trees attract rain and cool the environment. If we would succeed to double global the tree/forest cover by 2050, most the actual CO2 excess, caused by men, will be absorbed, and this without radically altering our lifestyles or growth prospects (see Petrus Hoff, 2009).


This project targets mainly women and children. Usually they are the ones involved in collecting seeds and saplings, starting tree nursery and growing trees.

The project envisions 1 lakh trees to be planted in 20 villages.

Besides an educational campaign and helping them with setting up of nurseries and finding quality seedlings, we will pay those tending the trees a small amount (Rs1 per tree) each month for 4 years if the trees are maintained well.

Not only all kind woody trees and bamboo, which are planted will qualify, also protecting spontaneous upshots will count for monthly tree credits, since the effect is the same.

Mono culture plantations are not permitted under this scheme. We recommend to make

mixture of species, such as:

• Trees for shade, beauty and holy trees for public spaces

• Food forest: compound with mixed trees providing crops of fruits, nuts, medicinal oils and other products for own use or to be traded

• Trees grown for timber, often as a financial security for their children

Experiments with agroforestry will be supported:

• Quick growing trees and bushes for fodder and firewood

• Nitrogen binding trees planted in singles for inter-cropping and fodder

The preparation of a village tree survey, plan and map by the tree group will be encouraged.

Implementation

This project will be a grass roots initiative; a network of training and communications for individuals and groups (farmers, students, women), which allows them to build on their own internal strengths and develop best practices in tree growing, will be set up.

Since volunteer tree planting campaigns are usual lacking in follow up to protect the young trees, a monthly incentive of Rs.1 for each tree will be paid , for minimum of ten trees and maximum of 200 trees. This to provide some pocket money to the young planter and to promote saving habits. It will be presented as a reward, a fair share in the adult tree’s potential value in cash and carbon credits. Young trees as an investment for the future.

The payment is for 4 years and will be paid monthly into a special savings account (closely linked to the existing Anisha microfinance accounts) which each participant have to open.

All residents from 13 years of age will qualify, as individuals, families or groups (school classes, women groups, etc).

This proposal concerns implementation in 20 villages of in Trichirapalli district of Tamil Nadu state. We estimate to attract and target 50 participants in one village, so 1000 participants in total. This gives  the project some ecomony of scale, we expect 100 trees on an average per account holder per year, so we seek funding for 100.000 (one lakh) trees.


The total implementation and operations are geared in such a way to minimize overheads and keep carbon footprints low (or even negative). We like to link overheads to the amount paid directly to the villagers and so to the number of trees growing.

Because this is a pilot program, more efforts are needed to get things on the rails, overheads (including planting costs and extension services) will be still higher than the 10% target with which we are aiming.


The total amount sought for the complete is InRs 55 lakh (€ 83.300.-) spread over 4 years.

Disbursement: while these incentives are paid over a 4 year time span, overheads and start up costs like training the extension workers, are partly needed upfront. see http://bit.ly/nyMrRw for full disbursement scheme.

An insurance against freak weather disasters, like prolonged drought or fire will be integrated into the scheme. These funds will be used to replant any lost tree  and  provide even more security to the planter.

This insurance and the monthly “tree credits” make tree growing a full blown security, against which micro loans could be given at concessionary rates.

It also guarantees the continuity needed, when applying for carbon credits.

Ways will be explored to make the project self propelling, such as, just by motivating the groups to plant more trees or by establishing a tree fund in which a small percentage of fruits and other forest crops which are sold for cash have to be paid. By year five, when the first fruits can  be harvested, a Rs per tree per month might not be too much to pay back. These (re)payments will be used to plant even more trees.

We plan to develop this village forestry project step-by -step to an higher level of sustainability; to phase the total campaign in three projects to be implemented in separate years, gradually becoming economically more viable; from targeting mainly women and schools, to agroforestry and food forest, while we envision also combining forestry with PV solar power plant to supply power to the grid. Outlines of Part 2 (targeting farmers) and part 3 (income generation from PV solar plants and water management) can be found in App # and #

Considering the novel concept, such as combining climate measures through microfinance, we see enormous growth potential, both in scope as well as in size and spread therefore,  we highly emphasis future evaluation of the scheme and we envision that a consultancy unit might emerge from this evaluation.

Solar Forestry

1. SYNERGY SOLAR FARMS
Medium sized pv Solar Power combined with community forestry

Lord Nicholas Stern: The two defining challenges of our century are climate change and poverty. And if we fail on one, we will fail on the other. 2009

1.1 SUMMERY
To combine the management of small and medium sized solar PV plants with community development and micro finance; to use the shade and the run-off water of solar PV panels to grow tree saplings underneath; to combine maintenance, fencing and infrastructure; to sell most of the power generated to the grid and some to pump water and use locally. See 6.2 for more synergy advantages.

1.2 HISTORY
This concept is the result of a lifelong interest in community development, micro-finance, design and production of wooden toys, reforestation projects.
It tries to work out solutions to the following questions:

  • How to fight poverty and climate change in one go?
  • This while empowering weak groups like the rural poor in developing countries, women, youth, tribes, refugees and nature too.
  • And to implement this in such a way to maximize the impact and minimize its carbon footprint.
  • How to channel carbon credits to the grassroots

This resulted in the ‘tree credit’ concept to pay for each tree planted a small monthly amount to the person who look after the growing tree,
organized through micro-finance structures. Background info available on request, see www.tree-credits.org

A project is now being implemented in 20 villages around Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India targeting 100.000 trees, a project of the People’s Solidarity Association (PSA) :http//psatrichy.net/friends–of-trees/


This project will be expanded to included agroforestry (mixing crops with fertilizer trees) and with the traditional food forest (compound with mixed trees providing fruits, nuts, other food and fodder, timber, medicines, flowers and some cash crops).

1.3 Projects, which bring long term security and improve the village environment might be very popular among villagers but decentralized forestry projects are often less liked by investors……

 So, how to make the forestry project income generating from the start and so attractive for large investors

This resulted in the ‘solar farm’ concept: to use the shade and the runoff water of solar PV panels to grow tree saplings underneath; to combine maintenance, fencing and infrastructure; to sell most of the power generated to the grid and some to pump water and use locally.

This should make the project economically viable and attractive to investors.

1.4 Size matters

Recent research shows that bigger is not always better, cost per unit rises if existing powerlines are not anymore sufficient to carry the load and new ones have to be added.  Also the losses in the  internal wiring speeks for medium size solar farms.

Below see an example I worked out recently proposed to be implemented in South East Sri Lanka.

2 Outline pilot project proposal (20-05-2011)

2.1To install 25 grid tied solar power plants of about 400kW each in 25 villages,
with a total of 10MW installed power in thin film solar panels,
with a potential to generate a total 20GWh/ year = $2.4mn/ y;
as well as to develop each year 500ha of marginal land into high value food forest/ agroforestry/ timber-/ rubber-/ biomass plantation.

2.2 Aims
This community based project aims to create high value rural income and the means to revitalize 25 villages.
Local water and power supply form an integral part of the project in the form of a private/public cooperation.
This innovative project and its hardware and software needed could be exported the world over. This pilot is especially suitable for the dry zone of SriLanka

2.3 Finance
SriToys (since 1990, 250 workers) seeks $8mn in equity from investor offering a majority share in the overall $ 22mn solar farm project,
$8mn in local investment partly in shares for 50year land leases,
$5mn in soft loans.

3.0 The essence of the solar farm plan is to integrate land development in dry zone areas with the establishment of several of (small scale, <500KW) solar power plants with participation of the local communities. The shade and the security of the solar panels is used to start a tree nursery underneath.

4.1 Thin film panels are most suitable.
Thin film PV panels made from amorphous silicon are cheaper (<$1/W), more reliable (no internal connections) and perform better in hot climates than traditional solar cells; their big disadvantage is, that they take more space (50W/m2), thus are more costly to install and to maintain.

4.2 Use the shade of the panels
We are planning to turn this disadvantage into an advantage, by using the panels’ shade and allowing space in between, to develop the ground beneath. The whole fenced in area, about 4 times the total surface of the panels, will be developed into a tree nursery and vegetable garden and service roads in between the rows of panels, each 6 meters. All rain water falling on the panels will be collected and stored. If needed some power generated will be used to pump more water for the plantation and the village.

4.3 Land leased against shares
Another objective of the concept is reduce costs for land as well as security and maintenance by involving local village groups and institutions at various levels, invite those with roots in the district to invest and to give shares to land owners against lease of their under utilized lands.

4.0 Objectives

4.0 To combine the fight against poverty and climate change

4.1 To combine the planting of trees with solar power generation

4.2 To use an appropriate scale for the projects, not large scale commercial projects, but medium sized community based ones to give maximum benefit to the villagers.
4.3 To generate rural job opportunities and income and to empower even the least affluent.
4.4 To improve local water supply and infrastructure.

4.5 To improve local environment through planting of trees, parks and building well shaded schools and temples.
4.6 To further biodiversity by the planting of mixed species forests.
4.7 To plant traditional ‘food forests’ and thus improve access to food, drinks, herbs, spices, medicine, fodder, fire wood and construction materials.
4.8 To stimulate agroforestry, * “Planting nitrogen-fixing leguminous tree species, like Faidherbia or Acacia albida, in maize fields has helped achieve up to four-fold yield increases in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.”
4.9 Local power supply. To invest in biomass power generation.
4.10 To give people long term financial security by planting valuable timber crops.

4.11 To use existing rural structures and organisations to avoid duplication and waste.
4.12 To learn from micro finance how to service the poor while making a profit and use women as agent of (climate) change.

4.13 To develop the driest and poorest areas. In SriLanka, in Hambantota and Moneragala district.

4.14 To install 1GW power in community-based solar farms by 2025
4.15 The concept should be able to be scaled up, to have a worldwide impact on global warming.

5.0 Solar PV power

5.1 Sri Lanka is situated just north of the equator with a top level irradiance of 2300 kWh/ m2. Solar PV panel prices are rapidly reaching net-parity here. In fact for industrial use (electricity for industries is higher than for small households) it is already viable if the right feed-in tariff and import concessions are granted. A typical installation can be paid for within 5-6 years if interest payments are excluded. And expectations are that electricity prices and feed-in will rise in dollar terms.
 
5.2 PV systems for homes are still out of reach for most due to high retail prices for the panels, high interest rates and the need for batteries to be able to have even a light at night. Still it is attractive to own your own power supply and it increases you property value
 
5.3 Large solar plants (the first one in Hambantota to open soon) have the advantage of economy of scale and direct income from feeding the grid; and from professional operation and maintenance. But investments and overheads are high and internal losses of power increase with size, so that bigger is not always better. Also they take space and will replace local activities or wild life reservations.

5.4 Solar farm
That why we are working on a hybrid form, combining the advantages of both sides and on top of that facilitates the development of marginal lands into mixed production forest.

5.5 Location
To enable grid tie up, the availability of power lines in the vicinity is essential;
to locate the solar plant one or two acres of marginalized, sloping, south facing lands is needed. Try to build around existing trees and to follow contour lines to retain the water.
And more than 25 acres of barren land should be available around the village to be developed.
Further the need for improved water and power supply and the availability of a strong civil society in the village calling for improvements is an important qualification.

6.0 BENEFITS

6.1 TREES

6.1 TREES + SOLAR
Both trees and solar panels are “machines” to capture and transform solar energy with a similar efficiency and use of space. Investment per acre for PV panels is at least 200 times higher than for trees. Solar panels start to produce power and income from day one, trees have to grow and only by year 5 they might produce an income, but the credits for the carbon stored in wood reach parity by year 10 with the panels per acre. And after 30 years the panels have to retire while the trees are at its prime and represent a great value.

6.3 Synergy between  solar – trees

  1. Security, infrastructure and maintanance of the solar plant and the tree nursery can be combined; think fencing (incl. elephants!), guards, excess roads, water


  1. Water management synergy: the run off water of the panels can be used to water the saplings. Some solar power, water can be pumped to be used to grow (tree) crops
  2. Financing: both solar plants as well as trees are long term investment of which the management can be shared; together they are an ideal long term investment
  3. to use the shade of (and the fencing for) the panels for starting a tree nursery
  4. solar generate a regular income of which a small part can be used to plant trees
  5. land to grow trees can be leased against shares in the solar enterprise
  6. solar is popular and attract capital, trees are much cheaper but are hard to finance
  7. carbon credits of both solar and trees can be bundled
  8. labour, mainly maintenance and guard duties can be shared
  9. initially solar income can pay for tree planting labour
  10. trees improve working conditions and local environment around the solar plant
  11. trees have many more advantages on its own.

6.3 Water and more
Most power generated will be sold to the grid, but at times that the tariffs are low, power can be used to pump water; this is vital in these semi-arid locations for agriculture and to provide the nearby village with piped water.
Power and water supply are tasks of the government. Local public/private cooperation should be considered within a full package to provide all eminities within the 25 year duration of the solar project, containing: local power and water supply, a tank and water tower, food and firewood, employment and income, 20 acres of food forest, some housing, if not a school, at least a good playground, if not a place of worship, at least a beautiful park.

7 Community involvement
We envision community participation will take place at various levels:

  • Location.  Besides basics like availability of power lines and suitable lands, the locations will be chosen on invitation of village groups in the target area.
  • Shared ownership,  savings by the locals, investment by those with roots in the region, 50year lease of land
  • MFIs, woman saving and loan groups, farmers cooperatives, rotary clubs, individuals will do the day to day management of the solar farm together with the technicians.
  • monthly renumeration: looking after 100 solar panels 600rs  ( power income 5kW = 1000kWh/month = 9000rs), max. 500 panels/ family; looking after 100 young trees up to year 4: 300rs each month, max. 1000 trees. Also for trees planted on land leased by SF also outside the solar plant reservations. Some of these income will pay for water and power bills.
  • Income generation: besides  renumerations for investors and for care takers the project will generate  food, fodder, medicine, fuel and other product of the growing food forest or agro forest. Both concepts are native to SriLanka.
  • Trees, timber, biodiversity, no mono cultures, mixed orchard, mixed plantation

8 Consultancy
Since this combining of community participation and investing with solar power plant with agroforestry is such a novel enterprise that many new operational manual have to be developed. It is logical that this should result in to start of a consultancy and software development unit to specialize in novel approaches  and solutions for global warming and poverty reduction combined with alternative energy, agroforestry and microfinance.
 

9 Budget Solar Farms

Research, development, marketing, legal, management            $1.5mn
Import  10MW thin film solar panels (for 25 units of 400kW)     $10mn
Inverters, cables + others elect. eq. in container (25x $60k)     $1.5mn 
Structure, 2.5m high, 4m x 500m rows, terrassed, with roads    $2mn
Property development and water supply $1mn
Other; training, housing, infrastructure, software, hardware, etc.$2mn
Land on lease hold, value                                                               $2mn
To develop the 2500 ha of food forest                                          $2mn
                                                                                              Total $22mn

Structure
We propose a Holding Company owning 65% of Solar Farms, including all land leased for 33y and its produce. The HC could be owned 90% by VC, 10% by STI.

Financing

  • Venture Capital                                                    8mn   
  • SriToys, FS, project proposal, management         1mn    
  • Development Bank  soft loan                 5mn    
  • Local investors, land lessees, local management  8mn  


Total                           22mn  


10 Potential sources of revenue:

  • sales of electricity to the grid, upto $2.4mn/year, for about 25 years
  • local power and water supply (public / private)
  • agro business on 5000 ha plantation, will be planted in a 10 year program, return for tree crops like coconut, rubber and mango are upto $10K /ha/ year
  • property development on 500 acres, incl. housing, schools, parks.
  • software development, management services and consultancy to implement solar farms worldwide (this might be the main revenue stream in the long run)
  • sales, import + export of solar PV equipment,
  • carbon credits (CDM), potential $0.2-0.3mn/year, are generated by solar panels
  • carbon credits (CDM) for trees potential $0.4mn/year by year 12, $1.4by year 17 and growing very quickly, if planting continues.
  • timber sales of 200K trees per year from year 12

11 Exit strategy
It is the intention of the principles list the company on the Colombo stock exchange within 4 years.
The solar farms part the investments are as follows:
$1.5mn for R&D and marketing, should result in a strong consultancy firm in solar farms and the combination with (mixed) plantations, property development, community participation and micro finance.
$ 10mn to import 10MW thin sheet panels; because of the scale we can work far below the market value (now $4/W), so it will always be possible to make a profit on these.
$ 1mn, same goes for the inverters and the other electrical equipment
$ 1mn for water and site development, $ 2mn for housing, infrastructure and overheads, $ 1mn for land and $ 1mn for further local input are planned to be financed locally and will return to the local investors in case of default.

12 Planning
Besides arranging the financing (VC + bankloan) the preparations of the project involve a lot of permits and clearings of the following departments:

  • planning and rural develop dept.
  • security dept.
  • electricity and alternative energy dept.
  • water and environmental dept.


However endorsement at the highest political level (President) and passing an act in parliament are crucial for the success of the scheme, as is support at district level. With such powerful patronage of the scheme all necessary permits will materialize.
Since we plan for 25 unique projects in 25 unique locations only general guidelines can be approved by the central government, most of the permits have to be arranged at district and provincial level.
The government is also needed to grant wavers of import duty and allow favourable feed-in tariffs.
The roadmap is as follows:

  • install test array of 100 panels (5KW) on STI HQ roof
  • get political backing
  • advertise the concept locally
  • get bank approval
  • get investors approval
  • find location for pilot project
  • write guidelines for pilot project
  • get all permits and concessions for pilot
  • implement pilot project
  • get act in parliament passed
  • advertise to find 24 locations and groups
  • evaluate pilot and update guidelines
  • finalize budget and finances
  • get all permits needed from central government
  • write tenders for subcontractors
  • help getting permits at local level
  • import 10MW solar panels (120 container loads)
  • implementation

FS 21-6-2011

4trees draft plan

4trees.org

Did you realize that the two defining challenges of our century will be climate change and poverty? And that it is impossible to solve one problem without tackling the other? And that rural women could be the key players? Visit our website  4trees.org to see the background if these thesis and how this project helps to further these goals.

Business Plan

Firstly we should distinguish the core company 4trees.org from the various campaigns and business models like Toys for Trees. However since this is the best illustration of the working of the company, we’ll start with this Toys for Trees concept:

– send small orders directly from factory to consumer, packed and labelled in SL to save costs.

– group many parcels, ship the items by sea and deliver to the homes

– choose products which fit into the mail box to save costs and to be able to send direct by post

– for each item sold a number of trees are planted. As the brand name, 4Trees, indicates, 4 trees will be sold with most products and trees are sold seperately.

– Trees are planted by OARM for their ‘expand the rainforest’ campaign, see http://oarm.wordpress.com/

– Monitoring and registration of the tree planting is done by EDC

– payment in advance (= investment). The tree planting can be paid partially from the interest.

– production of wooden design toys + soft toys is done by Sri Toys International

– All products are Dutch design

– Initially there are two product prices: 1) around 15 euro for a small toy and 2 trees. 2) Around 25 euro for a bigger toy and 4 trees.

– Logistics by Sri Toys/ ACTI including individual packaging, shipping order administration and financial administration

– We will start in the Netherlands where an agent (close family) will open a bank account, and soon expand to India, US, UK, Malaysia and Australia. English is working language.

– Clearing of the goods and passing them on to parcel post company will be done by affiliated clearing agency

– In Sri Lanka the campaign will legally operate under ACTI, a BOI approved trading house

– The agent will legally place the order

Later on we are planning more campaigns with slightly different business models:

New target groups:
– Targeting e-shops with larger quantities, 1 item + 1 tree
– Targeting schools with our innovative “grow” project

New products:
– Selling organic tea and other eco-tropical products
– Promoting wooden post cards
– Selling personalized items
– Selling special design items of the “all wood” brand.

Some of these projects are already worked our earlier (postcard + tea), others are to be developed.
We plan to expand sales worldwide.

For the tree planting, we have contact with community based reforestation groups in SL, India (2x), Madagascar and Afghanistan. We plan to pay (usually $2 per tree) for caring for young trees and other environmental services to poor communities following the tree-credits.org concept. See also ecodesigncenter@wordpress.com

Budget

1) shoe string budget to start with volunters only

– website / shop / domain hosting $17 / month + $5 / year
– pay functions, paypal….ideal $
– autoresponds
– software for order administration
– subsistance volunteers 3 x 2 month a $10 a day $1800

2) Start up with professional help

– website building
– Text writing
– social media marketing strategy (2 volunteers found)
– registration of NGO

3) When sales take off we have to invest in a smooth running distribution center. We plan to rent/ lease an empty floor of the SriToys factory of 480sqm, which has to be renovated and fitted with solar panels

– lease of warehouse
– renovation of warehouse
– office
– software development
– stores
– packing section
– packing trolleys
– labeling equipment
– hardware
– vehicle lease   
– solar panels 220sqm (thin film 15kW)  $15.000
– mounting of PV panels                          $15.000

Toys for Trees, a project from ALLWoood.org

Toys for Trees, a project from ALLWoood.org

After 22 years of designing and making wooden toys for export worldwide, Ferdinand Swart decided that it was high time to act on what is perceived of real important:
Lord Nicholas Stern: The two defining challenges of our century are climate change and poverty. And if we fail on one, we will fail on the other. 2009
to promote community based “food” forestry and especially the @treecredits ‘pay per tree’ concept that would guarantee a small monthly income to those planting + caring for tree world wide. Also to benefit the climate and biodiversity.

With SriToys´ sales are not what they should be, we decided to combine the two and start a e-shop with a difference.
“We” are Ferdinand Swart (57), Abel Swart (20), Elsbeth Smit, Thomas Albers, all from the Netherlands, but now, beginning of 2012, together in SriLanka.
The difference is that the shop is non-profit and that design, art and humor will play a role not only in the looks but especially in the wittiness of the campaigns. Also it will work “open source” and work with volunteers/shareholders.

The business model is loosly based on the “drop ship” model in that the importer/middleman will be avoided and the country representatives never touch the goods and only have to operate a bank account and participate in organizing the online community. Produce will be shipped from the SriToys/ACTI warehouse by sea, already individually packed and labeled, so that the parcels can be delivered directly from the harbour by parcel-post to the consumer, shop or school. Final delivery is free from $100 value. Even personalisation of each product will be viable.
Grouping together the production and shipping of the products vital for the economy of scale so we will start with one Christmas action and might end up with a monthly shipment to the major countries/continents.

Trees will be sold with most products and seperately. They will be planted twice a year, at first by our counterpart OARM…….in B. but later we have firm contacts in N+S India and M.
Each tree could be geo-tacked and linked to a planter-carer as well as donor.

SriToys was founded in 1990, by FS and PMJ and since 1992 attend the great Nurnberg Toy Fair where we have presented a new collection, often developed by Dutch students, ever since. Besides these 1000s of models available, mainly wooden toys, soft toys and children furniture, we have resently designed a more design oriented AllWood collection.
Also we plan to sell other tropical products, like thee, coffee, copra etc., ayurvedic products and handicrafts through our Trading House, ACTI.
Problem Analyses

Goals in short:

  • Sell toys and plant trees
  • Build an online community and platform to implement tree credits system
  • To educate children and to link up schools, North/South

Means in short:

  • Back up of SriToys-ACTI production, warehousing, export, business and accountancy routine
  • SriToys/FS designs and copyrights
  • New brandnames, website, e-shop, blogs
  • Auto-responds to automatically build the mailing list
  • Social media, f, t, in, .., y, p , W,…….
  • Personal networks
  • Networks of Promoters
  • links with OARM, Anisha, MFF, etc.
  • Treecredits´ innovative concept
  • Help of volunteers and students

Problems

  • how to organize legally
  • how to reach target groups
  • how to generate great content
  • how to design a marketing plan, so that it turns into art, branding
  • IT, what, how and who, timing
  • Logistics of export
  • Financial: bankaccounts, administration, cashflow, profit, investors
  • Personnel

Solutions

  • Legal: For the meanwhile we will operate under the umbrella of the STI/ACTI export companies and use their offices, if founds are available we will register the organisation elsewhere like Singapore or London.
  • Market penetration: Under means I listed most of the online resources of the actual team. This team seeks help of volunteers and specialists to design and implement the perfect market strategy.
  • Content: Most of us are designers and photographers, but for perfect texts, especially in English  we relay largely on outside help, although we have no lack of wit  🙂
  • Branding: Need partner like ProPortion
  • IT: investor needed?
  • Logistics: SriToys´ accountancy and export section are preparing a client-parcel registration system, SriToys´ expedition section can easily reorganised to prepare the parcels. There is more than enough place, more people are needed to increase capacity of the expedition. SriToys has its own forwarding company with office near Colombo Port, the container hub of South Asia.
  • Bankaccount: For our first action in NL, I asked my brother HA (and Abel´s father) to open an account. HA already manages our shared stocks account for years and can be well trusted to make monthly payments to SriToys and OARM; and for clearing and expedition of shipments. Further administration and exporting will be done by STI. Payments to STI will be made early, to ease there cashflow constrains.
  • Profits: Although we are a non-profit, it is necessary to reward all involved: founders, new partners, volunteers and investors in case of success. The income generated will first be used to repay claims all those involved have build up, if there is more it will go to our good causes.

11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager

 

SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

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The following is an excerpt from the newly released Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits and was published in the September 2011 edition ofFundraising Success Magazine (@frsuccess). However, do to word count constraints the content below is not in its full entirety. In the book, this section (taken from Chapter 2) is twice the length seen below.  Just a FYI. :)

 

11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager

Despite all the buzz about social media, the reality is that your social media campaigns are only as good as the human being(s) behind them. Going “viral” on social media sites is extremely rare, and instantaneous success is a myth. Being an effective social media manager is both an art and a skill. Some personalities are more inclined to be successful at managing and inspiring online communities, but the vast majority of practitioners will need months, if not years, to learn to produce social media success through a process of trial and error. For your nonprofit to succeed on social media sites, make sure that your social media manager (a.k.a. new media manager, digital marketing manager, etc.) has most of the following qualities:

1. Has a passion for the cause and for social media

You can hear it in his voice and read it in his tweets. A good social media manager has passion for his cause(s) and enjoys participating in social media. The best social media practitioners express their personalities with a dash of attitude and a bit of flair, and are comfortable articulating their opinions online. They don’t need to be brash or controversial in their opinions, but they do not shy away from asserting their viewpoints on behalf of your nonprofit, its mission, and its programs.

2. Is friendly, patient and responsive

Effective social media managers enjoy engaging with and responding to comments on social media sites. They relish discussing ideas and issues online, and they do it with patience and kindness. They are attentive to their communities on an almost daily basis. They express gratitude for support, and they acknowledge questions and concerns. They have the unique ability to defuse troublesome (and sometimes obnoxious and rude) personalities with kind, but firm commentary. It’s a real skill to navigate and guide the online commons and know how and when to react.

3. Is creative and detail-oriented

Creativity is what makes exceptional social media campaigns stand out from the rest. Doing something different with a set of tools that tens of thousands of other nonprofits also use is the trademark of an exceptional social media manager. Her brain is constantly at work dreaming up new campaigns, and rather than shying away from being different and taking risks, she embraces it. Creativity combined with the ability to multitask is the winning combination of skills for an effective social media manager.

4. Has experience in online communications

Just because someone is 19 and came of age using Facebook in his personal life does not mean that he can manage and implement your online communities on social media sites successfully. Untrained interns were fine two or three years ago, when the Social Web was still in its infancy and everyone was experimenting. But that era is over. The truth is, in terms of results in social media, you get what you pay for, and if you want the best person for the job, you need someone who has at least a year or two of professional experience in Web 1.0. He needs to have written content for the Web, published an e-newsletter, blogged, and experimented with various online fundraising campaigns. It’s rare that someone with no background in online communication or fundraising instinctively understands how to use social media to build an online brand.

5. Reads blogs about social media and mobile technology

A good social-media manager is a regular reader of MashableTechCrunchSocial Media TodaySocial TimesMobile Marketing WatchAll FacebookAbout Foursquare,Nonprofit Tech 2.0Beth’s BlogTechSoupNTEN, and other such blogs. Social media moves very quickly, and your nonprofit will fall behind or miss opportunities to explore the “Next Big Thing” if your social media manager is not regularly browsing these blogs for breaking news about tools, upgrades, and emerging trends.

6. Is an early adopter

The nonprofits that are the most successful in social media today were on Myspace andYouTube in 2005 and 2006. They have time on their side. Online communities grow in number over time, exponentially. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to be successful. Not only that, but online communities also tend to grow the fastest during the early adoption phase. They’re not interesting or buzz-worthy once thousands of other nonprofits are using them. In fact, in the era of the Social Web, and even more so on the Mobile Web, early adoption in and of itself is a strategy. Those who do it first tend to do it best.

7. Is not overly confident about her social media skills

Overconfidence about their social media skills prevents most social media managers from getting the necessary training. Every second of every day, nonprofits on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,FlickrWordPressFoursquare and other social media make obvious mistakes that are counterproductive to their presence on these sites. Please get training! Take webinars, attend boot camps or workshops, or go to conferences that focus on the how-to of social media. The most valuable advice should be practical and come from someone who actually manages online communities and works with these tools every single day. Be skeptical of the self-proclaimed social media mavens, rock stars, or experts who have no practical experience running, maintaining, and building online communities around causes or nonprofit brands on social networking sites.

8. Thinks like a journalist

Well-written, timely content is what drives the Social Web. Old news is not share-, like- or retweet-worthy. Increasingly, nonprofit communicators and social media practitioners need to consider themselves reporters for their causes and nonprofits — always listening, responding rapidly, and sometimes even “Live! On location!” This is why blogging has become so central to a successful social media strategy. It allows social media managers to respond to breaking news by quickly and easily creating content that can be posted and shared by others on the Social Web.

9. Is mobile

Social media managers should be comfortable with the idea of posting status updates and tweets from any location at any time, when necessary. Whether we like it or not, the news cycle is now 24/7, and as a journalist for your cause, you need to be, too. Mobile technology enables that. Increasingly laptops are becoming cumbersome in comparison to smartphones and tablets, and as the Mobile Web continues to expand, so will the tools that have been uniquely designed for smartphones and tablets. The best social media and mobile technology practitioners embrace these new tools, experiment with them and are willing to sacrifice some of their free time outside of traditional office hours in order to be available to their communities 24/7.

10. Is willing to mesh his personal life with his professional life online

It’s a whole new Web. It’s social. It’s mobile. It’s public. You have to be willing to be on Facebook personally or LinkedIn professionally. You have to be willing to merge some of your personal life with your professional life online. For a good social media manager, privacy is a concern, but it is not a crippling one. He takes responsibility for his own privacy and takes steps to protect it where and when he wants to. He is educated about privacy settings on various social networking sites. He doesn’t post anything he doesn’t want his boss or his parents to see, but beyond that, mixing his personal and professional lives online is something that he is willing to do in order to be the best advocate he can be for his cause and his nonprofit.

11. Takes steps to prevent social media burnout

For all the social good it can do, social media does have a downside. Nonprofit practitioners are bombarded with messages all day long on social media sites. It can be too much for the brain to process sometimes, especially since much of the content coming out of the nonprofit communities is related to sad, depressing news (war, rape, poverty, depletion of environmental resources, animal cruelty and extinction, and so on). A good social media manager knows when to draw the line and takes time away from her communities when necessary.

Related Links:
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits
Social Media and Mobile Technology Webinars for Nonprofits