Advice from the Founder of Austin2Africa

March 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

Vanessa Noel, founder of 2009’s successful Austin2Africa project, recently offered this advice to the Austin2Angkor team in an interview with our friend Anais Langston.

Why do you think Austin2Africa was such a success?

I think it was a success because everyone involved was really passionate about the project. Even though we were faced with the beginning of the economic crisis at that time, they never gave up in collecting the donations, they had a mission they believed in and thus made others believed in too. The project also created a wonderful energy within the team members which empowered them to implement some great and innovative initiatives in Austin in order to promote the project. It was also successful above all because everyone had fun, from the fundraising process to the project realization in South Africa. Finally, what really made a difference was our transparency. Donors knew that their donations would go 100% into the project and only be spent in South Africa to benefit the community; we had a very detailed budget and only invested locally. They trusted us.

Do you have any advice for the Austin2Angkor volunteers?

I would tell the Austin2Angkor volunteers to stay focused, always, on their goal. They will encounter some bumps on the road, and maybe some reasons why it seems too crazy to do it. Their success will depend on focusing only on the reasons why it is worth hanging on. FInally, they always should remember that their project will not end once it is completed. It will actually just be a beginning of a real change. For instance, in South Africa, once the ophanage was built, it inspired others. Today, we have a local volunteer group willing to build a second building in front of the orphanage, a community in San Francisco who collected books for a nearby school, and Austinites who now know the challenges South African children are suffering from.  It is all about Education and Action.



Entry filed under: feedback, inspiration, volunteers.

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