Indonesia’s fires burned mostly abandoned and degraded land, not forests

first_imgFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Carbon Emissions, Climate, Climate Change, Deforestation, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Plantations, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests, wildfires More than three-quarters of the area burned during this year’s fire season in Indonesia were idle or abandoned lands, and not rainforest, a new analysis shows.Only 3 to 3.6 percent of the total burned area constituted forested landscapes, according to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).The findings highlight the importance of protecting these areas and restoring them to prevent future recurrences of fires, CIFOR says.Much of these areas used to be peatlands, which according to a new report by Greenpeace continue to be burned by oil palm and pulpwood companies supplying some of the biggest household brands in the world. JAKARTA — It was large swaths of degraded and idle land, and not forested land, that accounted for much of the burned area during this year’s fire season in Indonesia, according to new findings.The preliminary analysis by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) contradicts the prevailing narrative that rainforests accounted for the landscape hardest hit by the fires in Indonesia.“There was no hard evidence to support that notion,” said CIFOR landscape ecologist David Gaveau.Instead, the fires took the biggest toll on abandoned lands, highlighting the importance of immediate protection for these areas to prevent a recurrence of intense and wide-scale burning in the future.Using high-resolution satellite images from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 over seven provinces, CIFOR found that 76 percent of the burning occurred on idle lands, and only 3 to 3.6 percent in forested landscapes. That chimes with earlier statements by the governors of the Sumatran provinces of Riau and South Sumatra, the two regions that were among the most affected by this year’s fires. They said that abandoned lands, including areas for which concessions had been granted but which had been neglected by the concession holders, accounted for much of the fires in those jurisdictions.“There are still lands whose status is unclear and they’re not managed, making them prone to fires,” South Sumatra Governor Herman Deru said recently in Jakarta. “Most of the fires burn these abandoned lands. So there aren’t many fires in [plantation] companies’ [active] concessions. They’re mostly on abandoned lands.”Gaveau said these were areas that used to be forests several years ago, but had been cleared and experienced cycles of burning and recovery, turning them into scrublands peppered with low trees and bushes.“Though locally present for centuries, forest fires have become a large-scale cause of forest loss since the El Niño drought of 1983,” Gaveau told Mongabay. “Once the forest has burned, the increased risk of subsequent fires leads many forests to cycles of repeated burns.”And once these closed-canopy evergreen forests turn into scrublands, they become much more prone to fires.“Such cycles have replaced millions of hectares of forest with invasive species of easily flammable scrubs, ferns and grasses, the source of today’s fires,” Gaveau said. “Villagers living on peatlands will tell you that abandoned land is prone to fires.”As a result, fires that start from industrial plantations, including oil palm and pulpwood, can easily spread beyond the intended area of burning because of the large surrounding areas of flammable idle and degraded lands.CIFOR’s analysis shows only 3 percent of the total burned lands were inside oil palm plantations, and 0.4 percent in acacia or rubber plantations or rice paddy fields.The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has disputed the figure for total burned area derived in CIFOR’s analysis, but not the proportion of affected forest versus abandoned/idle land. CIFOR has acknowledged the need for further peer review on the matter of the total burned area, which its initial analysis put at 16,000 square kilometers (6,200 square miles) across seven provinces — almost triple the official figure released by the ministry of just under 6,500 km2 (2,500 mi2).On Dec. 6 CIFOR took down a blog post on its website, citing the need for peer review.Fires in peat land in South Sumatra’s Ogan Komering Ilir district. Image by Nopri Isim/Mongabay-Indonesia.Peat restorationThe findings present a strong case for mass restoration of degraded idle peatlands back into fire-resistant ecosystems, according to CIFOR.In 2016, President Joko Widodo launched an ambitious program to restore 26,700 square kilometers (10,300 square miles) of degraded peatlands across the country to prevent a recurrence of the particularly devastating fires in 2015. Ideally, this would mean phasing out large swaths of existing oil palm and acacia plantations on drained deep peatlands.However, the industry has pushed back against this notion, arguing that what’s important is to maintain the water table in peatlands by blocking off drainage canals — something that can be done without changing the current dominant land use of oil palm and acacia cultivation.At the same time, the government and some companies have explored “peat-friendly” cultivation alternatives that don’t require intensive draining, including sago and pineapple, as well as agroforestry. But these have been largely written off as far less profitable than palm oil or pulpwood.CIFOR said there’s a need to create an “economy of restoration” to jump-start efforts to restore degraded peatlands.“We need a paradigm shift,” the organization said. “Massive investments in restoration, massive investments from banks to create an economy of restoration. Only by considering nature as part of a vital green infrastructure that must be rebuilt and maintained with adequate investment in tandem with other infrastructures, can we begin to see significant changes.”Anggalia Putri Permatasari, a researcher at the NGO Madani Foundation for Sustainability, said one solution to restoring idle degraded peatlands while also developing the local economy is through the government’s social forestry program, which aims to give local communities greater control over lands.The Ministry of Environment and Forestry recently issued a regulation that allows local communities to cultivate peatlands through the social forestry program. There are 2,590 km2 (1,000 mi2) of peat areas that can be distributed to local communities under this scheme.“The social forestry program can be a way to solve the problem of open access to land,” Anggalia said. “Because even if the lands are clearly concessions that are the responsibility of companies, the problem of open access remains. There are even concessions that are in conflict with local people.”Burning in Jambi’s protected peat forest Lorendang where restoration efforts by WWF-Indonesia and the Peat Restoration Agency take place. Image by Elviza Diana/Mongabay Indonesia.Emissions from burningThe fires in Indonesia this year pumped out at least 708 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to data from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) — nearly double the 366 million tons generated from the burning in the Brazilian Amazon.A major factor is the burning of carbon-rich peatlands, and in particular the burning of peatlands within the concessions of oil palm and pulpwood companies.A new report by Greenpeace shows that Indonesia’s plantation industries — principally palm oil and pulpwood — were responsible for 41.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of peatlands in the country from 2015 to 2018.Their share of emissions amounted to 427 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent during this four-year period — the same as the average annual emissions from 110 coal-fired power plants or 91 million cars, and more than half the annual emissions of the whole of Germany.And these plantations supply palm oil and paper products to some of the world’s best-known brands, including Unilever, Nestlé, Mondelēz and Procter & Gamble, according to the report.For instance, between 2015 and 2018, Unilever’s suppliers were responsible for accumulated greenhouse gas emissions as a result of peatland fires on their Indonesian concessions that amounted to a quarter of the total emissions produced by the Netherlands in a year, the report says.Similarly, Nestlé’s suppliers during this period were responsible for more emissions than Switzerland produces in a year; for Mondelēz, it was an amount greater than the annual emissions of New Zealand; and for P&G it was double the emissions produced by Norway.Greenpeace Indonesia senior forest campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said the findings were a reminder of the toll that many of the consumer products people use daily can take on the climate.“On Forest Day at the Madrid Climate talks, people around the world will be horrified to learn of the damage the makers of Kit-Kats, Oreos, Head & Shoulders shampoo, Dove soap and Paseo tissue are doing to our climate,” she said.Annisa called on the brands mentioned in the report to stop sourcing from plantations linked to fires.“Companies parading as ‘climate champions,’ such as Unilever, are linked to massive greenhouse gas emissions from peatland fires,” she said. “These brands need to cut ties with all traders and supplier groups whose fires continue to trade our future for cheap commodities like palm oil.” Article published by Hans Nicholas Jongcenter_img Banner image: Fires raze Jambi’s protected peat forest Londerang. Image by Elviza Diana/Mongabay Indonesia. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Fighting to save an endangered ape, Indonesian activists fear for their lives

first_imgActivism, Animals, Apes, Conservation, Dams, Deforestation, Endangered Environmentalists, Energy, Environment, Environmental Activism, Featured, Forests, Great Apes, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Orangutans, Primates, Rainforests, Renewable Energy, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Activists and academics have attempted to stop the construction of the Batang Toru hydropower plant in North Sumatra, which is currently being built in the sole known habitat of the Tapanuli Orangutan.Critics of the dam have faced defamation charges, visits from intelligence officers, abrupt termination from conservation jobs and warnings that they could lose the right to work in Indonesia. One prominent opponent of the dam died in suspicious circumstances in October.Activists in North Sumatra say they feel constantly under threat. Dam developer PT NSHE denies any efforts to silence or intimidate critics, saying the company is “always open to inputs and to collaborate with various stakeholders.” JAKARTA — Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, the only known habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis), has proven to be a precarious place for the ape. Just 800 individuals survive in a rapidly shrinking habitat, and the orangutans, which were only described as a new species in 2017, are already listed as a critically endangered by the IUCN.In recent months, the people involved in efforts to protect these orangutans have also been feeling endangered. Activists fighting a hydropower dam planned for the orangutan’s habitat describe an atmosphere of fear and threats, both subtle and direct.Indonesia is a dangerous place for activists, and North Sumatra is no exception. In October 2019, the office of a human rights NGO and a coffee shop popular with activists were firebombed in the provincial capital, Medan. Early November saw the grisly murder of two activists-cum-journalists on an oil palm plantation in the province, allegedly by hitmen hired by the plantation owner.“The tension is high,” says Dana Tarigan, the head of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi). “In the past, we were only threatened verbally or intimidated, but now the threats are becoming real. And that makes us more cautious.”Most chilling for activists campaigning against the hydropower dam is the recent death of Golfrid Siregar, a 34-year-old environmental activist and legal aide. Formerly a Walhi staffer, Golfrid resigned shortly before his death to focus on a lawsuit aimed at forcing the North Sumatra government to revoke the environmental permit for the dam being built in the orangutans’ habitat. The lawsuit alleges that a crucial signature was forged during the permit process for the project, known as the Batang Toru hydropower project. In August, Golfrid had also reported three local police officers to the national police for allegedly stopping a related investigation into licensing irregularities.On Oct. 3, Golfrid was found critically injured on a traffic overpass in Medan. He died three days later in the hospital. Officials ruled the death to be the result of a drunken motorcycle accident. But his friends and family are unconvinced by the explanation: They say he wasn’t a drinker and that his injuries were not consistent with a motorcycle crash. Moreover, they point to death threats made against Golfrid over his activism, which included campaigns against oil palm plantations and sand mines in addition to his work to stop the Batang Toru dam.While there’s no hard evidence linking Golfrid’s death to his work on the dam, it still sent a chilling message to other activists in the region, says Ronald M. Siahaan, the national head of Walhi’s legal department. Ronald says Golfrid’s death, and the fear it has instilled, has also dealt a blow to the lawsuit against the dam: Another lawyer working on the case has since backed out in fear.“That’s how scared we are in Sumatra right now,” says Ronald. “These threats have turned out not to be just empty words.”Golfrid Siregar, center, and his team submit a lawsuit against the North Sumatra government over alleged irregularities in the permitting process for the Batang Toru hydropower project. Image courtesy of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).A controversial projectThe dam developer, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE), has denied any involvement in the death threats against Golfrid.“We’re actually supporting the police to shine light on [Golfrid’s] death so that the dam project won’t be tied to the incident,” says PT NSHE spokesperson Firman Taufick.The dam, currently under construction and scheduled to start operating in 2022, has been under scrutiny because environmentalists fear it will bring about the extinction of the Tapanuli orangutan by destroying the only forest where it lives.According to a 2018 study published in the journal Current Biology, the dam would alter at least 8 percent (96 square kilometers or 37 square miles) of the orangutan’s habitat by 2022, further fragmenting an already disjointed population into smaller groups. Scientists say this will increase the chances of problems like inbreeding and accelerate the species’ demise.PT NSHE, however, says it only holds a permit to work within a 70 km2 (27 mi2) area, and the company will clear less than 6 km2 (2.3 mi2) of forest. The company also argues that a river and a provincial road have already splintered the orangutan habitat.Despite global concern and ongoing campaigns against the dam’s construction, the project enjoys the government’s full-throated endorsement. It is listed as part of the government’s official electricity procurement plan and has also been given prominent billing as part of the country’s emissions reduction strategy. PT NSHE was even a sponsor for Indonesia’s pavilion at both the 2018 and 2019 U.N. climate talks.An investigation by leading Indonesian newsmagazine Tempo into the Dharmawangsa Group, PT NSHE’s majority stakeholder, found that the group has connections in high places. Subroto, the group’s founder, is a former minister of energy and mineral resources. During a graft case unrelated to the dam, another former energy minister, Jero Wacik testified in court that he enjoyed free services from the group’s Dharmawangsa Hotel.Tempo also tracked connections between PT NSHE and the government of South Tapanuli District, where the dam project is located. The district head, who in 2011 issued a location permit for PT NSHE, is Syahrul Martua Pasaribu. His brother, Panusunan Pasaribu, served as a PT NSHE commissioner from 2012 to 2016. Another brother, Gus Irawan Pasaribu, was the head of the parliamentary commission overseeing energy and environment from 2016 to 2019.The Batang Toru hydropower project also gained an endorsement from Emmy Hafild, the former head of Walhi who has now become a politician and a member of the National Democratic political party, a part of the President’s ruling coalition. Emmy now serves as an advisor to PT NHSE’s chairman.The project is also backed by a substantial public relations campaign led by Intermatrix, a firm owned by Wimar Witoelar, the well-connected spokesman of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid.But multiple activists and conservationists have told Mongabay that the efforts made by the proponents of the dam go much further than just a PR campaign.center_img FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. A Tapanuli orangutan in the Batang Toru forest, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Image by Matt Senior.Defamation casesAccording to Walhi’s Ronald Siahaan, journalists, activists and academics speaking against the dam have been systematically targeted.Ronald notes that police reports filed by companies affiliated with the project have resulted in at least two defamation cases, one against a local news outlet and one against an academic.On June 14, 2019, PT NHSE filed a report against trubus.id, an online environmental publication based in the city of Depok, alleging that trubus.id had defamed the company in two articles published in August 2018 that criticized the project. Rudi H. Paeru, the director of the publication, was summoned by the police in early November.Onrizal Onrizal, a forestry researcher at North Sumatra University, also faces criminal defamation charges. In 2013, the dam’s developers hired Onrizal to catalog the biodiversity of the Batang Toru ecosystem as part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. Several years later, Onrizal told reporters he discovered that his findings were omitted from the EIA. He also found his signature appended to the final document, even though, he says, he never signed or even reviewed it. This allegation launched the lawsuit led by Golfrid Siregar before his death.Onrizal was separately reported to the police for defamation in July by A+ Digital PR agency, one of the PR companies hired by PT NSHE. The alleged defamation came in a statementoriginally published in August 2018 on the website of conservation advocacy group ALERT.The statement contained a quote from Onrizal, which has since been removed, accusing the PR firm of misleading the public. In July 2019, Onrizal posted a screenshot of the statement to Instagram, prompting the A+ Digital’s director, Myrna Irawaty, to file the police report.In an interview with Mongabay, Myrna confirmed that she had personally reported Onrizal for defamation, saying the scientist had “caused both material and immaterial damage to our company.”She added that her report was the extent of the company’s involvement in the matter. “We respect the ongoing legal process and completely entrust this case to the authorities.”The dam was subject to local protests even before the description of the Tapanuli Orangutan as a new species. In this 2017 image, a scuffle breaks out during protests led by indigenous peoples protesting the establishment of the hyrdopower project on land they hold sacred. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro/Mongabay-Indonesia.Scrutiny from intelligenceIn addition to facing threats of violence and legal action, some conservationists report being monitored by Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency (BIN)According to Ronald, BIN officers visited an orangutan rehabilitation center in North Sumatra, which is run by the NGO Foundation for Sustainable Ecosystems, known by the acronym YEL in Indonesian. During the visit, Ronald says, BIN showed YEL staff email exchanges between other YEL employees and Walhi activists. The emails revealed that YEL had provided data that Walhi has used in its campaign against the dam.“The intelligence members knew about the communication between YEL and Walhi, and they were asking for clarification about the email exchanges,” Ronald said. “So everyone was scared and broke into a cold sweat.”YEL spokesperson Delfi Saragih declined to comment on the matter, saying she wasn’t aware of any visit by the intelligence agency.And it’s not just local organizations feeling pressured. PanEco, a Swiss-based NGO that partners with YEL to manage the orangutan rehabilitation center and also does research on orangutans in the Batang Toru area, also got a visit from BIN earlier this year.In early 2019, international activists began staging protests against the dam, including a series of small demonstrations in London. According to PanEco president Regina Frey, the protests rattled officials. Though Frey says PanEco had no involvement with the London activists, the organization came under scrutiny because the protests were an international event and PanEco is an international organization.In April 2019, BIN visited the foundation’s environmental education center in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra. During the visit, Frey says her passport and visa were inspected. “I guess it was primarily to check my document,” Frey says. “There was no consequence. When you do such things [campaigning against the dam project], of course the intelligence is on your back. We are guests in your country.”A group of protesters urging the Indonesian government to save the Tapanuli orangutan in front of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in London. Image courtesy of Protests for Orangutans Facebook page.Pressure on international groupsWhile local activists worry about violence, international organizations like PanEco face lesser-but-still-serious vulnerabilities. This reality came into focus in August 2019 after PanEco, which had initially described the dam as “the greatest threat to the long-term future of the Tapanuli orangutan,” announced it had formed a partnership with PT NSHE.Foreign organizations like PanEco operate only with permission from the Indonesian government, via memoranda of understanding with bodies like the Environment and Forestry Ministry.These memoranda can be abruptly terminated — as the international conservation NGO WWF recently discovered. On Oct. 5, the environment ministry terminated a two-decade-long partnership with the conservation group, following an internal evaluation concluding that WWF had been overstepping its authority in Indonesia.PanEco was put on notice that the group could face a similar outcome during a May 6 meeting with eco-activist turned-PT NHSE advocate Emmy Haflid. Frey and Emmy have known each other since the early 1980s, when Emmy worked for an environmental group run by Frey.The meeting, which took place at a street side durian stall in Medan, was also attended by representatives of PT NSHE and several officials from the environment ministry.In an interview with Mongabay, Emmy said that during the meeting she reminded Frey that PanEco’s work in Indonesia, and the memorandum dictating the terms of its partnership with the government, could be terminated if the organization and its staff members continued to criticize the dam.According to Frey, two specific PanEco staffers were mentioned by name: researchers Graham Usher and Gabriella Fredriksson, co-authors of a commentary on the dam published April 2019 in the journal Conservation Science and Practice that named the hydropower project as one of the threats to the survival of the Tapanuli orangutan.Emmy said speaking out against the dam amounted to campaigning, while PanEco’s memorandum with the environment ministry only allowed the organization to engage in research, conservation, ecotourism and fundraising.“People said I threatened [Regina]. I didn’t threaten her,” Emmy told Mongabay. “I just reminded her as a friend that this [campaigning] was already outside the activities permitted.”PT NSHE also denied pressuring PanEco.“NSHE is always open to inputs and to collaborate with various stakeholders in order to give as much positive impact as possible to the public,” the company told Mongabay. “There’s never pressure given to any parties because we really respect the freedom of speech of every stakeholders.”The Batang Toru River, the proposed power source for the hydroelectric project. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro/Mongabay-Indonesia.Police reportsPanEco staffers Usher and Fredriksson, and their colleague Ian Singleton, were also reported to the police by local community members for campaigning against the dam project.“They were accused of causing civil unrest, which is a very severe thing to do in Indonesia and probably other countries as well,” Frey told Mongabay. “So that was just like a bomb. This was very threatening. So I was just thinking, How we can appease the situation?”In addition to the police report, locals also staged a series of protests in front of PanEco office, demanding the deportation of the organization’s foreign staff members. A person familiar with the situation described the protests as “scary,” causing everybody in PanEco to be “constantly worried about what’s going to happen.”PanEco researchers, including Usher, Fredriksson and Singleton, had worked in Batang Toru for over a decade without previous problems with local residents. Their work figured prominently in the description of the Tapanuli orangutan. However, in May, Frey fired Usher and Fredriksson, communicating the decision by WhatsApp message.Three months later, PanEco signed a deal with PT NSHE to work together to protect the Tapanuli orangutan and minimize the dam’s impact on the apes. Frey says that teaming up with the developer was the best way to move forward, given the inevitability of the dam and the existence of other pressing threats to the species.“What’s more detrimental to the ecosystem is the gold mine, which is never mentioned,” she says, referring to the nearby Martabe gold mine operated by PT Agincourt Resources. “It’s a very huge company. There are also palm oil plantations and illegal encroachment.”She added, “NSHE has given us a lot of indications that this is what they want, to protect the whole place and help us convince the other stakeholders to do something.”Frey said she knew the deal would be controversial but that she’s willing to risk condemnation from other activists and the loss of donor funding because she believes working with PT NSHE is the best way to help the orangutan. “I don’t care about me being blamed,” she says. “You can’t make decisions based on self-consideration. We want to protect the Batang Toru ecosystem.”An ad for the Batang Toru hydropower project, describing it as “a socially and environmentally responsible developlment,” displayed at the Indonesian pavilion during the 24th U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.Greenwashing concernsPrimatologist Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University describes PanEco’s decision to team up with PT NSHE as “disturbing.” Wich, who has carried out a spatial analysis showing forest loss due to the development of the dam and the power plant, believes the dam is the biggest threat to the Batang Toru ecosystem. And he dismisses the idea that the orangutan is more likely to survive if groups like PanEco agree to work with the developer.“That’s absurd,” he says.Wich also said he fears the memorandum with PanEco might play an important role in PT NSHE’s bid to secure funding for the project.The project is estimated to cost $1.68 billion, and it will be financed by equity and loans. Before the discovery of a new orangutan species was announced, PT NHSE was working to put in place the policies and documentation necessary to apply for loans from funders like World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).In response to the groundswell of global concern over the future of the Tapanuli orangutan, the IFC and ADB distanced themselves from the project. And in March 2019, the Bank of China, which is also involved in financing the project, said it had “noted the concerns expressed by some environmental organizations” and would carefully review the project. It has not issued any further public updates, leaving the funding for the project uncertain.In a recent interview with Mongabay, Hafild confirmed that the project’s funding was in doubt as a result of campaigns against the dam. “With the bad reputation we’ve received, I’m afraid banks are wary,” she said.The Batang Toru River, the proposed power source the dam, winds through the forest in North Sumatra province. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro/Mongabay-Indonesia.While PT NHSE works to burnish its image and secure funding for the dam, activists in North Sumatra face a difficult choice.Golfrid’s death, coupled with the legal threats connected to the dam project, has deterred some people from the fight against the dam. But others vow to continue campaigning.“We understand the risks that come with being human rights and environmental activists,” Dana, chapter head of Walhi North Sumatra, says. “We are cautious for sure because the threats are real, but truths still have to be revealed. So we won’t stop.”Banner Image: Tapanuli Orangutans found near YEL’s orangutan study camp in the Batang Toru forest, by Aditya Sumitra/Mighty Earth.last_img read more

Fresh hope for reopening of Glenties playground after funding secured

first_imgThere are fresh hopes for the reopening of Glenties community playground after it was announced today that funding has been secured for repair works.The playground was locked to the public last month after the committee said they could no longer fund the insurance and upkeep of the space.The playground was originally constructed through local funding, Leader and Lottery grants, which meant that the local authority was not in a position to cover the insurance costs. Recent interventions have sparked fresh hope that Donegal County Council can take over the responsibility of the playground so it can be enjoyed by families again. Glenties Community Playground. Photo: Sue Barrington PhotographyDeputy Pat the Cope Gallagher and local County Councillor Anthony Molloy confirmed today that funding has been secured to carry out the necessary repairs at the playground. A notice of motion to takeover the playground will be submitted to Donegal County Council “at the earliest opportunity”, they said.In a joint statement, Pat the Cope and Cllr Molloy said: “The playground was originally funded through Leader, Lottery and by local contributions, and since its opening the running costs have been the responsibility of the local committee, who have carried out trojan work over the years. We wish to compliment the commitment of the local voluntary group who continue to look after the playground.“We would be hopeful that once the repairs are completed and the playground brought up to a high standard, that the Council will then be in a position to take over the responsibility. “Both of us would like to publicly acknowledge the co-operation of the Playground Committee, Glenties Community Development Group and the benefactor for funding the repairs. We will both maintain the pressure so that the repairs are completed and that Donegal County Council can secure the long term viability of the playground.”  Fresh hope for reopening of Glenties playground after funding secured was last modified: November 17th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

NBA: Damian Lillard would rather not win a title than move to star-studded team

first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors “Like I said, I’m not joining nobody. I would not win a Championship before I go and team up and do all that,” he said. “Unless it was like something that I couldn’t control. But I wouldn’tve did that.”With his prime years still ahead of him, Lillard was asked if he’d change his stance once he gets up in age.Still, the Weber State product held his ground and made it known he won’t join any “super team” anytime soon.“I’m saying this because this is how I feel, not how I feel at the moment. That’s just how I feel about it,” he explained.“I think if that’s what somebody wants to do, I’m not mad at them for doing it. I’m just telling you what I’m not going to do. That ain’t how we get down”  Khristian Ibarrola /raADVERTISEMENT NCAA: Arellano stays in Final 4 hunt, downs EAC Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard acknowledges the crowd during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Portland, Oregon, Saturday, April 8, 2017. Lillard scored a franchise-record 59 points as the Blazers won 101-86.  We in(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)The trend of creating “super teams” or NBA superstars forming an alliance remains to be the fastest way to a championship in today’s game.But as far as Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is concerned, he won’t go to such lengths in pursuit of the Larry O’Brien trophy.ADVERTISEMENT Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges MOST READcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ In an appearance on Complex’s “Everyday Struggle” show, the two-time NBA All-Star revealed that he’d rather “not win a championship” than join the other superstar-caliber players from other teams.Lillard first pointed out his former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, who decided to jump ship and join the perennial contenders San Antonio Spurs in 2015, in an attempt to win a ring.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“I mean, like I said about [LaMarcus Aldridge], I wouldn’t have done it. For me, I’m not joining nobody,” he said.When asked if he would entertain the idea of playing with LeBron James, the 2013 NBA Rookie of the year kept his stance. ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

15 Secrets to Great Subject Lines

first_imgKatya’s note: The name of a white paper recently caught my eye – it promised 15 rules to good email subject lines. My marketing colleague Rebecca Ruby here at Network for Good was interested too — and lucky for us, she read it and summarizes it here for us. Thanks Rebecca!By Rebecca Ruby, marketing maven at Network for GoodLyris HQ has a great a white paper “Email Subject Lines: 15 Rules to Write Them Right,” which highlights the make-or-break importance of subject lines. It’s well worth taking a few moments to go through their registration and obtain your own copy, but here my favorite highlights:•Test! Test subject lines. Write them early (not at the last minute). Test again, measure results, and use those analytics to drive future content.•Structure and content are both important. You need to be cognizant of where the key info goes, as well as how strong your call-to-action is.•Subject lines play into trust-building. The subject line can include a branding element or another device to tie to the “from” address. A quick way to kill that positive messaging? Stretching the truth about what’s inside the message.Here’s a breakdown of their entire list:1. Read the newspaper. Newspaper headlines highlight a story’s most important fact in a limited space—which is coincidentally exactly what marketing email subject lines should do.2. There is no sure-fire formula. Subject lines are non-recyclable and not necessarily the same when sending different types of campaigns.3. Test, test, test. According to rule 2, there’s not a surefire winner, so be sure to allow time for testing.4. Support the “from” line. The “from” tells recipients who sent the message, and the subject line sells that recipient on whether to open it. You don’t need to repeat your company name in the subject, but do consider some subject-line branding (ex: the name of the newsletter).5. List key info first. Put the key information in the first 50 characters. Not sure where the subject line will be cut off? Send it to yourself to test and check!6. Open rates don’t always measure subject-line success. Your end goal is not necessarily high open rate, but to have subscribers take a specific action. Focus on those results instead of open-rate numbers.7. Personalize. Personalize subject lines based on your recipients’ content preferences and/or interests, and then be sure to make it easy for readers to find and update this information upon receiving your message.8. Urgency drives action. Set deadlines for action, and consider using a series: “Only five days left until–!” followed up later in the week with, “Just 24 hours left until–”9. Watch those spam filters. Run your copy through a content checker to identify spam-like words, phrases and construction. A couple of big no-no’s: all capital letters and excessive use of exclamation points.10. “Free” is not evil. As a follow-up to number 9, avoid putting the word “free” first, but you needn’t leave it out entirely.11. Lead, but don’t mislead. Subject lines are not the place to overpromise. Be truthful about whatever the text claims to avoid distrust.12. Write and test early and often. Flip your thinking: Craft and test your subject line prior to composing the rest of your message. (Remember rule 3?)13. Review subject-line performance over your last several campaigns or newsletters. Not only will this type of data-mining shed light on your subject-line successes (highest conversation rates, click-through rate, etc.), it will drive future content strategies.14. Continue the conversation. Sending campaigns more frequently than once per month or quarter helps create a back-and-forth with readers, and also allows for content follow-up if something from a previous campaign has news.15. Can you pass the must-open/must-read test? Must-read means this: If a subscriber doesn’t open the email, they will feel like they are out of the loop and may have missed an offer they will regret not taking advantage of. Also, be sure to check out whether your message is going to the bulk-folder (see rule 9).last_img read more

What You Get Is Why You Give

first_imgThis is my new column for Fundraising Success.Soon after I was divorced, I heard a story on NPR that really got to me. I was driving home from work, half-listening to a profile of East St. Louis. It was about the area’s extreme poverty and the efforts of some extraordinary people to rise above their circumstances and make better lives for themselves and their families.The details are long lost, but I remember one person from the story perfectly. She seized my complete attention. She was a single mother working long hours to support her two daughters. She’d cobbled together the funds to send them to a good school, and she was doing all she could for their future. She kept going, against all odds, for those girls.As the single working mother of two daughters myself, I was amazed and humbled by this woman. Though my life is far easier than hers, I did have an inkling of just how much strength it took to do what she did. When I got to work, I tracked down the NPR reporter, emailed him, thanked him for the story and asked him to put me in touch with the woman. After he got her permission, he gave me her contact information. I told the woman how much I admired her and thanked her for inspiring me, and then I sent a small check to support her daughters’ education. While technically I was the donor in this relationship, there is no question that she did more for me than I could ever do for her. She gave me faith that the job of raising two daughters alone could be done, even in the hardest of circumstances.I tell this story because it illustrates something so important: that giving and receiving go hand in hand. Fundraising is not simply about what you ask of people, it’s about what they get in return. You don’t have an empty, outstretched hand. You have a lot to offer donors, and you should frame your ask accordingly.In crass marketing terms, we call this the benefit exchange. It is the answer to the question, what do I get for my money? If I’m manufacturing pricey anti-wrinkle cream, the benefit exchange might involve $100 as the price for hope I can regain my youth. If I’m fundraising, there are many possible benefit exchanges I can offer to my donors – faith in themselves, inspiration, a feeling of accomplishment, or – on a more mundane level — a plastic wristband or logo-laden coffee mug.Think about this formula the next time you ask for money. Remind donors of the returns of giving, which are precious indeed.Here are a few qualities of a great benefit exchange:IMMEDIATE: What will people get right away in exchange for doing what you ask, whether you want them to give money, volunteer or quit smoking? Some good causes deal with the immediacy challenge with a gift like a t-shirt, hat or wristband. These offerings provide the person that donated money or took some action with an instant benefit, for example, recognition. Other options? Show how someone can save a life RIGHT NOW. Demonstrate they can feel good by making a difference THIS SECOND. And above all, make it incredibly EASY to act, so people will believe they will get the benefit exchange pronto.PERSONAL: Our audience members need to believe from our message that the reward we’re offering for taking action will make something better for them personally. The private sector understands the importance of making rewards personal. They don’t sell you a car by explaining the way the engine is built; they tell you the car is reliable, safe, or fast, depending on who you are and your personal priorities. They take the attributes of their product and translate them into personally desirable benefits. That translation is easy to make for most products. It’s harder for good causes because we get swept up in the huge scope of what we want to accomplish. But remember, at the end of the day, it is always the personal connection, not the grand concept, that grabs our attention. RELEVANT: We can’t easily change what our audiences believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set we unleash great power behind our benefit exchange and our message. The values of our audience may have nothing to do with our cause, but we can still use them. A famous, frequently cited example of the value-based principle at work in social advertising is the successful Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. The phrase has become so famous that many people outside Texas don’t even realize that this is not a state slogan but rather a long-running marketing effort to get people to stop littering. The young Texan men who were the target of the campaign didn’t care about littering, but they did care about their macho image, and no one doubted the fierce pride they had for their home state. By tapping into these powerful feelings with the Don’t Mess with Texas concept, which didn’t have a thing to do with trash, the ad agency that created the campaign (GSD&M) drastically reduced roadside litter.The bottom line? Doing good is not a one-way transaction. It’s an exchange – I give your cause support or dollars, and you give me some thing or some feeling that I want and value, right away. In my case, I gave to a woman in East St. Louis because she gave me faith in myself. And that is a benefit that not only compels a donation, it is also most certainly priceless.last_img read more

The Coming Transformation of Social Enterprise

first_imgProfessor Kash Rangan is one of the pioneers of Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative, now 15 years old. Back in 1993, most people took a “spray and pray” approach to philanthropy—writing checks to charities and hoping something would happen. But Rangan and HBS professor Jim Austin, picked by Dean John McArthur to lead the new initiative, saw the potential for research, curriculum, and career development around the challenges of social enterprises, including both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Over the ensuing years, the initiative flourished as did the nation’s social enterprise organizations.Today, the United States has more than 1.4 million non-profit organizations, and they account for 5 percent of GDP. Annual contributions have grown faster than the economy for years, and experts predict an avalanche of cash ahead. By 2052, an estimated $6 trillion will flow directly to social enterprise organizations. Concurrently, a new generation of business leaders and philanthropists is experimenting with hybrid forms of social enterprises while demanding more transparency and accountability from the organizations they are funding. In Rangan’s view, the sector is poised on the brink of transformation, a topic he enthusiastically expounded upon during a recent interview in his Morgan Hall office.Roger Thompson: The terms “social enterprise” and “nonprofit” seem to be used interchangeably. Are they synonymous?Kash Rangan: No. There’s an important distinction. Very early in the program we decided that we wouldn’t focus purely on nonprofits. We thought it should be about social enterprise, regardless of whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit. We defined social enterprise as an entity that’s primarily in the business of creating social value. As long as an organization creates significant social value, we don’t care how it sustains itself—with internally generated surplus or with donor funds.Americans give roughly $300 billion a year to nonprofits, yet we really don’t know much about what charitable organizations actually accomplish. Why aren’t nonprofits more accountable and transparent with all this money?That’s a very big issue in this sector because there is no common measure or framework to assess whether these organizations are accomplishing their mission. Even simple measures are not widely reported, like we got X donations, and we took care of 1,000 children at a cost of $80 a child, which is less than $120 a child spent by comparable organizations. Even that amount of reporting would be very useful, but it is not the norm.By and large the reporting focuses on the costs of raising money. The lower the better, with the logic being that more money can then go to actual programs. So an organization might report, “We spend 6 percent on fundraising, whereas the industry average is 12 to 14 percent.” That’s typical, but beyond that, we don’t know how the other 94 percent is used. How many people came into the program, and what benefits did they get? And then the even bigger question beyond cost efficiency and effectiveness is, what impact did the organization have? Granted it is very complex to get all the way to that level, but even signposts along the way could be very useful.Q: Which is harder: raising money, building a successful organization, or achieving real impact?A: They are all interrelated, but raising money is not the hardest of the three. Getting money is hard, but it is not more difficult than the other two. That’s why there are over 1.4 million nonprofits, each with some amount of funding.Putting the money to good use, building a successful organization, showing that you have a demonstrable impact in achieving your mission, and then scaling the organization are the hardest to accomplish. When you show impact, more money will flow in.Q: Given how few nonprofits can document impact, would you say these organizations suffer from a leadership deficit?No, I wouldn’t put it that way. Many nonprofit leaders are fantastic, more than is acknowledged. They work hard, and they are very passionate about what they do. So I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.“I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.”Leaders typically ask, “Am I accomplishing my program?” But that is too narrow a view. Nonprofit leaders need to be more visionary. They need to stretch themselves more and worry about mission impact. I believe nonprofit leaders get too bogged down in operational issues, be it fundraising, or managing the board, or program execution. They need to be more strategic.Q: What role can HBS and other business schools play in helping develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders?A: I don’t think the business schools by themselves are going to solve this problem. Whether it’s HBS or any other business school, ultimately I think students come to learn how to be leaders in the business arena. Right now 5 percent of our graduates go to work in the nonprofit sector. To expect 20 to 30 percent is asking too much. Maybe we could pump the percentage up to 7 to 10 percent. But at the end of the day, even counting graduates from other business schools, if you produce 2,000 to 3,000 MBAs a year to work in a sector with more than 1.4 million nonprofits, it’s just a drop in the bucket. There are huge salary discrepancies as well.Ultimately our impact lies beyond directly producing leaders for nonprofits. At least half of our graduates between ten and fifteen years out are quite involved with nonprofits. They might not be directly engaged as leaders, but they sit on boards, provide donations, and serve as volunteers. And they can influence and bring about change. That’s where the education we impart at HBS is so important. Our approach to social enterprise has broad appeal to students who may not even go to work directly in the sector. Without it, they would always approach nonprofits as philanthropy. I believe our curriculum conditions our graduates to ask the difficult questions on performance, and even go beyond and recall cases, frameworks, and solution approaches. It is quite a different approach to participating in the sector. In a way they become the catalysts for internal change.Q: Many alumni get involved with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Critics of CSR often cite Milton Friedman, who famously said that “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.” Do you agree?A: I absolutely think it’s too narrow a view. In the decade of the ’90s, maximizing shareholder value became a corporate mantra. But the notion that the corporation exists only to maximize shareholder value lasted only a decade. It was a historical anomaly. In almost every other decade business leaders have acknowledged that corporations exist within the larger fabric of society. The School’s second dean, Wallace Donham, said that the focus of a business is to make a decent profit decently.Q: Venture philanthropy, which applies principles of venture investing to social enterprises, has become a hot topic lately. Is venture philanthropy a good idea?A: The first generation of venture philanthropy had its roots in the success of venture capital. Investors were carried away by the notion of gaining economic returns on their investments, not huge returns but some returns, as a way of forcing an efficient use of their capital. The shining example was microfinance, which provided attractive returns, so why not otherforms of social enterprise?I don’t think that’s a realistic view of the work of nonprofits in general. If you look at social service organizations working at the cutting edge of where markets have failed, the idea of venture philanthropy clicking is a little hard for me to buy into. Venture philanthropy has to come of age and reorient itself by defining what measures of social return it is looking for. In some instances social and economic returns could be correlated, but in many cases they won’t. If you are looking for a social and not an economic return, then loyalty to the program rather than an exit strategy may be a better use of funds. The venture philanthropy community has some translation work to do. Right now venture philanthropy is only a small part of the landscape.Q: Another hot topic in the nonprofit world is the idea of creating a for-profit business to help underwrite the cost of operations. Is this the way to go to secure a reliable stream of funds?A: I don’t think so. There’s a lot of charitable money available. Family foundations now number more than 34,000, an increase of 22 percent between 2001 and 2005. Big foundations have more money in their endowments than they can give away. And there is an intergenerational transfer estimated at $6 trillion over the next fifty years specifically earmarked for social enterprises. None of these sources of money is actually looking for an economic return. They’re definitely looking for a social return. That being the case, I don’t think that nonprofits should quickly jump at creating for-profit enterprises. In certain segments like health care, and even arts and culture, it might make sense when the for-profit and nonprofit parts are tightly linked by a common purpose or platform. For example, in health care several very successful social entrepreneurs have created a hybrid model where paying clients subsidize the “free” clients. The whole organization, however, is doing only one thing, eye surgery or heart surgery or orthopedic surgery and so on.But to think that an environmental organization could sustain itself by selling mugs and T-shirts is a bit of a stretch. It is not that hard to put together a for-profit arm, but to have it be a significant contributor to the core mission requires considerable strategic work. It may not be possible for a vast majority of organizations in this space. It could be an unnecessary distraction.Q: Where do you see social enterprise heading over the next decade?A: I am an optimist, and I believe we will see refreshing changes in that time frame. The new cadre of donors, the new family foundations, the folks who are involved in venture philanthropy, the new generation of entrepreneurs, and business leaders engaged in corporate social responsibility initiatives all will start attacking social issues in a much more disciplined way. Nonprofits too are very adaptive organizations. I expect to see some common understanding in the sector of what performance means, and how social value creation is measured and reported. From there on it is only a matter of aligning the money with the causes they care about. Perhaps investment intermediaries will emerge to ease the introductions and connections. There may be some consolidation of nonprofits at the top, but the sector will be a lot more vibrant with many new players and actors helping to facilitate the transformation.About the authorRoger Thompson is editor of the HBS Alumni Bulletin.Copyright © 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard Collegelast_img read more

From Beverly Hills to Homeless: What a story

first_imgA while back, through this blog, I met an extraordinary person. Mark Horvath used to be homeless, and now he does all kinds of amazing things, including blogging at Hardly Normal. Now he is onto a new project — documenting via video the stories of people in the situation he once knew all too well. Here is a story you must watch — one day an investment advisor, the next, homeless:Mark from invisible people on Vimeo.Mark not only has an incredible personal story, he also knows how to tell a story. These stark interviews with homeless people are riveting. If you’re an agency helping the homeless, I’d post them on your site and I’d reach out to Mark. If you’re a funder, I’d fund him. If you’re a nonprofit, I’d do as he does. Put a face on the problem — and the solution. Show, don’t tell.last_img read more

The 5 funniest charts ever

first_imgAll I can say is OMG. You, dear bloggers and readers, have outdone yourselves. I asked you for chart fun for this Blog Carnival and you gave me chart brilliance. The best come from Jan Fonger and Kivi Leroux Miller who not only have a great sense of humor, they have razor-sharp insight. The three below are from the wonderful Janice. This could not be a better explanation of marketing in the nonprofit sector:Janice also offers her take on fundraising and candy corn. Kivi, who is right here in NC with me, hits the humor-insight sweet spot with this great piece on nonprofit reactions to web designers’ work and email. You must check them out.But wait, there’s MORE!!Jeremy Scheller presents Jeremy Scheller: Hyper-Blogging: Loud Message + Deaf Ears = No Communication posted at Jeremy Scheller. John Haydon presents How eNewsletters Can Kill Your Non-Profit | CorporateDollar.Org – Exceed your on-line fundraising goals with social media know-how! posted at CorporateDollar.Org – Exceed your on-line fundraising goals with social media know-how!. It’s not really a chart, but it’s a cool way to present numbers: Marc presents Cape Argus Aids stats – Osocio, Social Advertising and Non-profit Campaigns posted at Osocio Weblog. Thanks everyone for your creativity. And your smarts. And for making us laugh on (yet another) day when our 401Ks tanked.last_img read more