Five questions with a person who gets it done, Andrew Malais
Andrew successfully raised funds, purchased equipment, and hired help to get his Joshua Tree Trash cleanup project done. We're truly impressed with how Andrew wanted to help his community, but we're even more impressed with how he didn't just talk about it - he actually did something. We sat down with him to ask him how he gets it done with Projects for Good.
What inspired you to fight for your cause?
I started living on and off in Joshua Tree in 2015. I saw trash everywhere. It wasn’t until 2018 that I decided I wanted to make my introduction to the community by doing a cleanup of illegal dump sites. Maybe get the community behind it. Projects for Good was a fresh new platform at the time. It was a perfect tool for what I wanted to do. That’s when I came up with the idea for the trash map and thus started my project.
How did you pick your fundraising goals?
I added up the cost for equipment, a typical days wage, and gas money for the hauling and factored in a team of up to 5 people for 2 days or 10 people for one day. Some people volunteer to clean up the desert, including myself, however cleaning up these piles of junk is beyond volunteering. This is work. Hard work. So I want to pay a good wage in order to get good results.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced?
Not everybody is as excited to clean up the desert as I am, haha. Paid or volunteer. It’s hard enough to motivate people to clean up junk that’s not theirs. That’s why it has been accumulating in the desert. People drive right by it incapable of finding a proper place to dispose of it without coming out of pocket at the local dump. And there are existing groups of volunteers to clean up trash but there is a lot of this stuff and some of it is heavy and fairly dangerous to handle. Personally I feel good paying people instead of asking them to volunteer to prove they’re some kind of radical eco-warrior. If people can earn a living successfully destroying our planet, then people should be able to earn a living successfully reversing this destruction.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is just starting out?
Don’t expect, accept. Things never turn out the way we want them to. For better or for worse. I highly recommend creating an Instagram/Facebook business account based on your project(s), that way you can promote ads for your project and use analytics tools to promote your project to key target areas. With Projects For Good, you get what you give. In other words, if you promote the crap outta your project, to target people who can see your vision, you will see results. People want to give, so give them a reason to.
Why would you choose Projects for Good over other sites?
When I look at crowdfunding sites, most have the same underlying basic features. They give you a way to securely collect donations, most have some level of customer support, the sites all look good or have their own visual style. But by now each site has found their people right? So Kickstarter is for creative projects, GoFundMe is for personal stuff, Indiegogo is for products - robots, drones, random inventions. Those are all great but my project was to help my community, it was going to require more than funds. It was going to require help from others. Projects for Good only focuses on projects that help others, so its a smaller community but you know you’re only going to meet people who are dedicated to helping others, animals, the environment, etc. And it has a way post jobs or list if you need volunteers, and I needed that. I had noted some of the funds I raised would go towards labor and found people to help me complete the cleanup. It was the perfect place for my cleanup project and I’m stoked to give advice and help anyone that might want to start their own cleanup project.