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Social Change Champion: Johanna de Burca

Johanna de Burca is one of the Founders at Just Peoples, a social enterprise driven to reduce global poverty. After spending her twenties and early thirties travelling and working around the world and witnessing the true effects of poverty, she felt a sense of responsibility to support our international sisters and brothers who were doing it tough. We sat down with Johanna to hear more about Just Peoples and their journey so far.

What is your social enterprise elevator pitch?

Just Peoples offers an innovative approach to addressing global poverty by empowering donors to choose the actual people and projects they support. People around the world can browse vetted micro-projects which are run by local leaders across Africa and Asia who are making a tangible difference to poverty in their local communities. Just Peoples provides personalised feedback directly to anyone who funds or fundraisers for a micro-project.

What are your biggest personal and/or professional challenges as a social entrepreneur in Australia?

Our ambition is to increase the number of people who give to global causes rather than competing with existing charities. To do this we have committed to a model where we ensure every dollar we receive for micro-project donations is passed on to the donor’s chosen project. This level of transparency has attracted a new group of people who do not currently give to charity because they prefer to know exactly how their dollars are being used. Initially this made it very challenging for us to cover our overheads and remain financially sustainable however we have now attracted a community of nearly 100 Champions who are excited by our innovative approach and are happy to back our model with regular monthly donations so that we can scale up our impact.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received so far since starting your own social enterprise?

Reach out to experts in their field to see if they would like to get involved with pro-bono support. We have been so surprised and grateful with the response we have had from leading graphic designers, law firms and digital marketing experts to help us on our way with things that we had initially put in the “too hard” basket!

If you were to start over, is there anything you would do differently?

I would have taken the plunge and left my day job sooner!

Where do you see the future of social enterprise in Australia?

As people are demanding the organisations they support to demonstrate social values more and more I think the social enterprise sector will become more competitive, driving innovation as well as the need for social enterprises to deliver impact at competitive prices.

What appeals to you most about Social Change Central?

The one to one support I have received as a gold member has been brilliant. I have discovered numerous new funding opportunities, been connected with skilled interns and received invaluable advice on how to scale up Just Peoples.

The Social Change Central changemaker community is growing at a fast rate. How can our members learn more about you and help support your organisation?

The key thing I would like to promote through Social Change Central is our Just Peoples Champions regular giving program. I would like to attract more individuals and businesses who are passionate about addressing global poverty and are excited by our innovative approach to join us as we scale up. I have a video which explains the program which I will share with you via email.

And finally, what would you do if you found a lottery ticket that ended up winning $10 million?

I would hire passionate experts in their fields to work for Just Peoples at private sector rates rather than relying so heavily on volunteer and pro-bono support. I would travel to visit our partner projects and strengthen our relationships and bring back stories from the field to share with our supporters to show them the impact they have made.

Are you a Social Change Champion? Want to be interviewed? Join as a Gold Member.
Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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