Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

ACT4 - Immediate and Future goals: Helping another agent out :)

Agent MichelleAngelaKim & Panamericana are working on a petition project, and I have jumped on board ! She is advocating against the Water Bottle Industry, and their current pricing of water, and advocating for them to use money and resources to find, and create water generation in countries around the world.
Very neat, go sign the petition ! They are starting something pretty interesting.

In the long run, I am looking at doing this as a part of SEED: http://mb-soft.com/public3/water503.html .

Essentially it uses the laws of science (ooooh) to create a enclosed system using evaporation (distilling) to create clean water for people. The cost is low, the power generation is none, and it is a simple process to create and maintain in various enviroments. They have the calculators to predict how much water a system can create in particular enviroments and have examples of both single family and village systems. It is very scientific, but at the same time simplified so basically anyone can set it up ! Instructions on building are provided, and it is easy to maintain and implement. I am interested in trying to implement this in Sierra Leone, as it has tropical environments and access to seawater in many regions.

It has the capacity to create up to 1,000 liters a day for approximately 400 dollars. Essentially that gives 2 liters per person, for a village of 500 people, which is not too bad. By creating 2 or 3 of these systems (hey, evoke is giving out 1,000 dollar prizes folks) you could easily meet the needs of a small community.

Views: 46

Comment by Nick Heyming on March 26, 2010 at 8:48pm
Can they build them with local materials?
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 26, 2010 at 9:53pm
Yes, and no. But, the materials needed end up being cheap enough for donations to easily cover the cost. They estimated the cost is around 400 dollars- basically for the lining and the piping nessisary to keep the purified water sealed. Depending on how creative one is, there may be options to use only local materials. However; if the seal breaks it contaminates the water and you are back to where you started. So- by spending the money on non-local materials- which isn't all that expensive- and then assisting with instillation, one can guarentee a workable set up for a pretty long time.

In comparison with other methods of purification; which can require chemicals, electrisity or both, this comes out pretty good , in my opinion...but I'd have to look more up on its use in field to know for sure for sure.
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 26, 2010 at 11:50pm
Have you looked at the financial statement for any NPO's or NGO's?

The NPO I work for-- just based in Chicago, for Fisical Year 2009 and no where else in the world took in a total of 3,800,000 dollars. Over which 1,500,000 came from goverment sources, 600,000 came from corporate donations and 350,000 came from individual donations.

A mere 1,000 is just the begining- a seed to seek more funding and to discover the power of lobbing, grants, and other revenue sourses. Its quite amazing how much money an organization can obtain... its hard for someone not looking at fiancial records to realize how much money an organization can raise and spend in just 1 year!
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 27, 2010 at 3:06am
Various sources of revenue- paid rent (its housing), interest, fundraisers, miscellaneous things that get money... I would post the financial statement, but I work there. I'll find another organization and grab a link to their report. But pretty much any US NPO will post their financial report online.
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 27, 2010 at 3:14am
Here is a report from Global Alliance for Africa a non-profit in chicago that I just randomly googled. http://www.globalallianceafrica.org/annual-report IT is a pdf file, and it explains who they are and stuff including their financial. That information is on page 14. It is outdated ; (from 2006) I do not know if they are still in operation.
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 27, 2010 at 3:16am
actually they are in operation; they just don't have any other financial info available. omg must stop posting.
Comment by Thomas Pinkerton on March 27, 2010 at 1:56pm
"so why are they still begging for money? "

Fantastic use of a word with negative connotations to paint a starker picture of them.

See, if NGOs and NPOs go into the private marketplace, they no longer are non-profits, just civic-minded corporations. One of the main reason they stay non-profit is because of the positive connotations of that title. People like donating to non-profits, not just for tax reasons, but because they feel their money is going somewhere worthwhile (even if the NGO is not an ethical one). They can better advertise an idea or service if they are non-profit. And, really, the tax issue is worth mentioning. Because of a tiered tax system, upper-class folks will often donate just enough money to be considered in a lower tax bracket, so that they pay less in taxes. Sometimes they save more, despite donating, then they would otherwise.

Also, what makes you think this would be any different in a for-profit situation, if they had a product to sell anyway. Take McDonalds for example. They buy from processing plants and wh***salers, but have the power to, essentially, shape the industries that serve them. If they decide they no longer want to make potato fries, but sweet potato fries, so many farmers would have to drop everything and switch crops, just to serve their whims.
Comment by Thomas Pinkerton on March 27, 2010 at 2:21pm
You mention stockholders. Technically, a non-profit shouldn't have stockholders, according to you, since that would mean they are accountable to someone who has given them money. That's wh*** idea of stocks: you give money to a company to have some tiny part of control over it. As it is, now, they technically aren't accountable to donors -- they simply sometimes capitulate for money's sake.

And yes, an NPO could sell a product, however, they are immediately at a steep disadvantage over a for-profit. Since they can't "beg", as you put it, the founders have to fund everything privately. They won't get venture capital, since that's a loan, and loans mean someone has leverage over you, right? The wh*** "hand that gives has power over hand that takes". They can't market, save from volunteers, since they don't have a profit margin to draw from. (And, really, they are "Begging" for help from anyone, since they need volunteers to run it) They can't undercut competition -- a corporation like walmart has deep pockets and a large stockholder base to fall back on, NGOs/NPOs often just have donors.

So, I'm all for NGOs supplementing their donations with actual revenue (as Crystal pointed out, a lot own land and make money off of rent), but to cut donations entirely would leave you with very few operating non-profits. And good luck getting governments or for-profit corporations to lobby for or do the right thing.
Comment by Thomas Pinkerton on March 27, 2010 at 2:57pm
Look, there's nothing wrong with the concept, just the practice.

You say there's nothing wrong with a loan -- how will they secure one? Especially as the economic climate gets worse, who will lend money to a company with no profits? I'm not saying they couldn't pay it back, they could. But banks will simply see, "No profit" and say no. And, even then, you say that they should get donations. Still, no different than now, where they receive donations. And startup costs are one thing, but in order to expand, you need that profit margin. A goodly amount of trained staff in a non-profit are paid (sometimes as much as their compatriots in for-profit), so you'd need to cover those costs.

In other words, the only savings is not having to pay shareholders, which isn't much savings at all, since that money then has to be put away for future expansion (unless you plan on asking for donations for expansion, which means you're still possibly submitting to someone else.)

So, my view: Non-profits could enter sales/services. They'll be at a major disadvantage in almost every way, but it is possible -- and they'll still need donations. And no reason why they shouldn't ask for them; people want tax shelters, so with all those millions out there, why not accept the few. The one point you make is that non-profits will begin to pander to certain donors, and that's wrong. I agree, and think that NPOs shouldn't compromise values for money.

I wanted to just touch on moral leverage last: it's big, but it's still not that big. The recession dropped lowest 08-09, guess what the only retailer to still make money was: Wal mart. Most people run to the least expensive when things get rough, and let that override morals. In times less dire, though, you're right, it is a big advantage. I'm willing to pay, for example, an extra 50-100% for my meat, simply because I know it comes from a local, organic farm. The cost hurts, but I know it's better.
Comment by John D. Boyden on May 9, 2010 at 7:21pm
+1 Collaboration. Addd to my stash of URLS

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