How to Change the World in 5 Easy Steps

1. Decide what you want to change.

People were washing up drowned on Mediterranean beaches all around me. Although there were services available to help the survivors on land, resources were thinly stretched at the most perilous part of the journey: the sea crossing.

2. Be specific.

Keep the scale realistic. Enormous projects like ‘Eradicating Malaria Worldwide’ may not be within your scope. Providing treated mosquito nets for a single village may be a more manageable goal.

MOAS started with one boat, one crew and a handful of volunteers.

3. Use what you know. And who you know.

I’m a logistics guy. My professional career is all about moving and maintaining people and equipment safely through hostile environments. Transforming a fishing boat into the first state-of-the-art privately-owned search and rescue vessel was challenging, as well as the legal challenges, but my experience coordinating networks in war zones helped streamline the process. Most importantly, I couldn’t have done it without the amazing people I asked to come in through my network: doctors, security personnel, advisors and more.

4. Keep going.

Where will the project be in 5 years? And you? If the project has potential for long-term success, do you still want to be stuffing envelopes 10 years later? Figure out the most efficient way to manage and fund the project.

After our first season in 2014, in which MOAS saved 3,000 lives, we realised this was a project that needed to keep going. We set up a global NGO and hired experts in fundraising and management to ensure top efficiency. 90% of our donations go to rescue-based expenditures. We’re proud of our efficiency because it means donors can know that the money they send in goes directly to our cause. We know the problem isn’t going anywhere, but until there is no need for MOAS, we’ll keep saving lives.

5. What’s next?

The project is a self-sufficient success. What now?

Take advantage of your brand. People know you, and who associate you with success. Use your experience navigating logistical and political landmines to expand the project, or start something new.

In 2014 and 2015, MOAS saved more than 12,000 people from the Mediterranean. But our boats lay idle during the winter months. (Even most traffickers aren’t crazy enough to sail on the cold and stormy Mediterranean in winter) We knew that MOAS is needed in other parts of the world.

Coordinating with Greece, we now have an operation in the Aegean Sea, with a mother ship and two high-speed rescue boats. The MY Phoenix is in Thailand, being readied to launch a mission in the Andaman Sea later in 2016.

It all started with an idea, a boat, a crew, and a handful of volunteers. And you.