BASED IN: AUSTRALIA
PROJECT FUTURES is a not for profit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and slavery by empowering individuals to take action on the issue in their community. Funds raised go directly to services that rehabilitate, reintegrate, education and empower men, women and children who are victims or at risk of exploitation. We currently have impact projects in Australia and Cambodia.
What was the inspiration behind starting the organization- how did you get started?
When I was 21 I read a book about a woman sold into prostitution at a young age and was inspired to do something to support the three safe houses she ran in Cambodia. That 'thing' was one bike ride across the country! 21 friends joined me and we collectively raised $80,000! It was fun, easy to do and something I did in my spare time. After I came back from that experience I thought well why not create an outlet where we can empower and mobilise more people to do the same!
How important is it to have co-founders and focus on building a strong team? Do you have any tips you can share with us about meeting new people and bringing them on-board?
Your team is everything to a growing organization. When we started out we had a 'management team' of 11 people who were friends with a variety of skills and talents. Collectively we organized events, bike rides, parties - fun stuff that we knew our networks would want to do and guess what the bonus factor is profits from those events went to an amazingly worthwhile cause - the end human trafficking and support victims. You need to be really clear with your team, have goals they can hit, be as detailed as possible in what you want them to achieve and let them go out and do it.
What advice do you have for others who are inspired to start their own non-profit organization?
Let me say first - the solution isn't always to start something, I know I might seem like a hypocrite saying that but the hard work coupled with funding constraints (which is the number one reason many businesses and organization fail) is something that really needs to be looked at. Have a solid plan for what you want to achieve and first and foremost see whose already in the space - try to work collaboratively with them - it's completely a waste of time if you think you can do it all - the NGO world must learn and collaborate with one another to achieve what it wants - big NGOs, small ones and everything in between.
Why do you think now is the time to be a female entrepreneur?
There is so much opportunity now than ever before! We are so much more connected and there is a desire to support women grow in this space- why not take advantage of that?
What do you envision for the future for Project Futures?
We want to support more and more impact partners on the ground in the Asia Pacific region and we want PROJECT FUTURES to be known amongst young people as a empowering outlet for them to make change!