Today, our guest is Charles Tiné, entrepreneur and President of The Small Projects Team. Born out of international collaborations in Ukraine, Poland, and France, this NGO is committed to making a rapid, direct humanitarian impact. They work on diverse projects, from children’s welfare to medical aid and even entrepreneurial efforts for reconstruction in affected areas.
Meet our guest
Name: Charles Tiné
What they do: Charles is the President and co-founder of The Small Projects Team NGO. The Small Projects Team’s mission is to create immediate impact projects directly with the beneficiaries.
Interesting fact: Charles is an entrepreneur who used to also work in the online brand protection business. He found himself in France when the war in Ukraine broke out, and feeling compelled to help, he decided to travel to Medyka and Przemysl, Poland, to lend a hand at the border. This experience led to the creation of The Small Projects Team NGO.
Everything we receive is a result of people trusting that we’re doing a good job. If we don’t effectively communicate our impact, even if we are doing well, it won’t work.
We start our conversation with a background story of what motivated Charles to begin his humanitarian involvement. He shares how he initially joined a humanitarian friend in Krakow, Poland, a couple of days afteer the Russian invasion, and then quickly moved to the Poland/Ukraine bordering city of Przemysl, where a transit center for refugees had just been set up in an old Tesco commercial center. This center becomes a major transit point for refugees leaving Ukraine and willing to reach European countries outside of Poland. Charles and other volunteers create country-specific help desks to provide information, assistance, transport and local shelters to refugees. They help around 1,000 people daily, working tirelessly around the clock.
The refugees come from different parts of Ukraine, with waves of people arriving from cities like Kyiv, Bucha, Irpin, and Mariupol.
Charles talks about the challenges his NGO faced and how they engaged in various small projects prioritizing agility and quick action and focusing on projects ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 euros. One of their initiatives involved distributing nearly 200 generators in different locations across Ukraine during the winter.
We discuss the importance of branding and communication in the humanitarian sector. Charles explains that humanitarian organizations need to position themselves, gain trust, and attract donations just like in any business. Reporting and accountability are crucial as donors expect transparency in how their contributions are used.
Regarding some basic do’s and don’ts for entrepreneurs who launch themselves into charitable projects, Charles highlights the need for a credible website and differentiation from less reputable fundraising sources. Overcoming donor fatigue in ongoing crises and expanding corporate support are continual challenges. Having official nonprofit status and a proper website enhances credibility and attracts more funding.
As Charles continues his work assisting the Ukrainian people, he finds himself captivated by the country and its people. Despite the hardships caused by the war, he sees the potential for future opportunities and involvement in the country’s technology and startup ecosystem.
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