Because one of the most difficult things in life is starting, we asked our friend Julie Emerson, who started CAT, to describe how she began Cajuns Against Trafficking to help encourage you to start your own group, whatever cause is close to your heart.
Starting a new organization can be completely overwhelming. This is a bit how I felt when God called me to start an anti-human trafficking organization on my college campus and in my community. I had somewhat of a guideline as my friend had recently started one on her campus. Having been involved in many campus organizations in my college career, I was familiar with some of the process. In retrospect, it was really not all that difficult and stressful. Below are steps of how I started Cajuns Against Trafficking. By following a similar process, anyone can begin an organization on a campus.
The first and most important feature is to have a passion for what you are doing. If you really don’t care about the matter, it is easy to not be motivated. Flexibility is also a very key feature in this process. Being uptight is recipe for disaster!
It is common sense to realize that what one person can do well, three people with the same passion could do even better! That was my first action. I began to seek others that may have the same passion for helping young women trapped in sex slavery. I spent time in prayer about this, and the Lord really provided two (and then later three) incredible people to help found this organization.
We first completed all of the paper work to become a campus organization (which was completed through the Dean of Student Affairs’ office), and we partnered with a church to help us open a bank account. It is not necessary to go through a church, as most college campuses will have ways for student organizations to open accounts, but it did provide a nice support system.
Our last plan of action was to host an introductory event. We chose to do a 5K run. The 5K acted as a fundraiser for our parent organization, The A21 Campaign, and we had an event after the race to give information about trafficking and A21. This event did take some intense planning, but with the talents of four people, it was not difficult.
I have always loved promotions and giving presentations. I went to every classroom, student organization and community club that would allow me to speak. I gave a brief presentation on human trafficking and promoted our 5K. I also helped secure food and drink donations. One of our team members was very good at budgeting and computer graphics. He took care of the financial aspect and logo designs as well as some donors for the race. Another member was very familiar with many local businesses. She secured many of our donations as well as organizing volunteers for our event. Our last team member was very good at details and organization. She was responsible for race day and making sure we did not forget anything.
Each person played a very vital role in what we did. Our event and organization would not have happened without each member. Overall our event was a success. We had a band play after the race and served free food and drinks to all runners in the hope that they would stay to listen to our presentation on human trafficking. We also had door prizes following the race. Having entertainment at the conclusion enticed many to stay. Our event was a major success and we raised a substantial amount of money for The A21 Campaign.
Of course, there were speed bumps along the way, but that is why is important to stay flexible. Opportunities will absolutely arise. The amount of support we received was more overwhelming (in a good way) than the initial fear of taking on such a project.
If you have any questions, for us or Julie, please email us!