It was a weekday afternoon when I met Doyzkie Buenaviaje of iLuvCebu, a well-known lifestyle website that showcases the best places in Cebu. I just got off from another meeting just near I.T. Park and went straight to the coffee shop where we are to discuss his other passion – iLearners, Inc. – a foundation that champions education for little children in rural areas.
I have been hearing so much about the foundation and its projects that I decided to meet up with Doyzkie who I have been hearing a lot about in the social networks (yes, he’s that famous) and wanted to be able see where we could collaborate for Third Team Media.
With our current setup with homeschooling, I felt like their championship of education for rural children is very much admirable. He showed me the current projects they have for iLearners and learned how they are very much run like startups and have some similar challenges.
1. Bootstrapping and minimal resources
Doyzkie mentioned that with the death of their previous president, it was a bit harder for them to build up the linkages for the foundation. They needed to do more with the resources that they have and that most of the funds they get from the membership fees immediately went to renewing the foundation’s SEC papers and also went directly to the Brighter Future Project 2013.
This is something very similar to startups wherein the founders themselves have to fund the project straight from their wallets in order to ensure that things still go smoothly for the entity.
2. Collaboration is key
On learning that they have several outreach schedules for June, we at Third Team Media offered up the help to connect iLearners’ cause with Unilab, a pharmaceutical company in the Philippines that carries several brands of medicines and other health products. Unilab is very much active in supporting causes from the community and therefore were the best to engage with in the outreach program.
Unilab was able to donate boxes of vitamins that were given to the school children of Kaluangan Elementary School and this is an admirable move from that company. This shows us that just like startups collaborating with other startups, individuals, investors, this is something that even startup foundations should put in their agenda.
3. Test various ways to engage
“How do you engage different kinds of members?” I asked Doyzkie as he mentioned about a member who was not replying to any communication from the foundation. They sent various channels to communicate – social media, sms, email – and yet some members are not engaged enough to join or volunteer for their programs.
As having the experience of working for several nonprofits, what I personally realized was that you have to be ready to test out different ways to engage your constituents. And just like startups, it is the challenge of gaining attention from your target customer that would drive them to action.
When the outreach was done and all the thanks were given, it is a great opportunity that we were able to collaborate and learn lessons from each other regardless of the industry. How about you? What other lessons can we tie up to nonprofits and startups?