Filipinos have always been a helpful race what with the age-old custom of “bayanihan”—the act of coming together to help out members of a community—thriving to this very day.
While no longer in the general form of manual labor as depicted in history books—helping a neighbor build his family’s home, for example—bayanihan these days often comes by way of volunteerism in various advocacies, and more commonly through donations to charitable causes.
In this age of social media, however, it seems that bayanihan or the act of giving, is about to change yet again in the Philippines in the same way it is evolving in the rest of the world.
Power of the internet
Indeed, the Internet has become the world’s primary source of information, even for individuals or groups who would like to find ways in which to give back to society. As a medium where stories are shared, one will always find a post—be it a photograph, a video or an essay—that is a plea for help. Some are inspirational; others heart wrenching, but all an opportunity to do good for others.
It is this power of the internet that inspired Cuisia-Lindayag and her small group of friends to build an online donor community with the vision “to make generosity a lifestyle” among netizens.
Cuisia-Lindayag grew up with a strong sense of social responsibility, seeing her parents readily helping not just relatives who needed a boost, but also poverty-stricken members of their community. Happily, she had always found like-minded individuals throughout her life thus far, and is amazed how so many people in a third world country like the Philippines have such generous hearts.
Over time, however, Cuisia-Lindayag noticed that while Filipinos are intrinsically giving, there are many who, much as they would like to help out those in need, are unsure of how to go about it. Often times, they worry if they are turning over their donation through the proper channel and be sure it gets to their intended beneficiary.
On the other hand, institutions or even individuals seeking help and support also find difficulty in looking for a platform where they can openly discuss their situation or advocacy and seek the help of willing contributors.
To bring both sides together, Cuisia-Lindayag came up with the idea of creating a public space for “need and generosity” to meet.
“My background is really in IT [Information Technology] for 20 years, but during the last five years of my career, I’ve especially been exposed to non-profit organizations,” Cuisia-Lindayag related to The Sunday Times Magazine.
“Obviously, I’m aware how expensive it is for a non-profit to hire a consultant like me to apply or implement a software to help them with their fund-raising efforts. The licenses that we get from other countries are very expensive, but since I’ve also been exposed to many implementation projects for advocacy groups, I decided to do it locally and create a platform and donor care system that is readily available to non-profit groups. This way, they won’t be needing a consultant nor pay costly licenses just to make things work,” she continued.
As such, Cuisia-Lindayag media launched Gava Gives on July 11. Developed by Gava Tech Pte Ltd, Gava— which anyone can access via URL Gavagives.com—enables users to easily create crowd-funding campaigns for personal and social causes. The website is designed with a simple interface where an individual or group’s advocacy is promoted, with links to various payment options [including online and offline]so that donors can easily support campaigns that touch their generosity.
“Whether a personal, social or even corporate advocacy, Gava provides a full fledged fundraising platform,” Cuisia-Lindayag furthered. “And as an all-Filipino start-up company, we would like to be seen as an enabler to raise the generosity index of the Philippines. The question we started with is, ‘How do we get every Filipino be able to give or donate to their chosen causes in the most convenient way?’ You see with Gava, they don’t even have to personally go to the institution they want to support. This technology makes the act of giving easier for today’s busy but nonetheless generous people.”
On the other side of the spectrum, those advocating causes can likewise create their campaigns with ease on Gava. The first step is to sign up, click on the “Start a Campaign” button, fill in the details necessary, input one’s story, and launch it.
They site then shares the said campaign across social media.
As for making sure one’s donation goes to the right individuals, they can further keep track of their campaign of choice and other pertinent activities or program’s via the site’s Donor Care feature. With the said tool, one can view updates, analytics, and information with a click of a button and even communicate with beneficiaries and keep track of their transactions.
“Those starting a campaign should follow the simple steps, upload photos, indicate their call to action and that’s it. Within two minutes they will be given free micro site, which they can link to their social media accounts,” Cuisia-Lindayag elaborated.
Gava at work
Donors can be sure that Gava is a legitimate fund-raising website what with its current roster of partnerships with established charitable institutions. To name a few, they carry campaigns for World Vision, Operation Blessing,
Save the Children, World Wildlife Fund, CARA [Compassion and Responsibility of Animals] Philippines, Philippine Red Cross, Haribon Foundation, Children’s Hour and Make Your Nanay Proud Foundation.
An example of a personal story that Gava has helped as that of Jannah Malonzo, a 24-year-old Overseas Filipino Worker, who was able to raise a total $1,501 to help clear her father’s name after he was jailed for a crime he did not commit.
Malonzo shared, “It is through the platform that the hearts of the people who wanted to give were able to give out of faith, out of the generosity that God has placed in their hearts.”
With Gava now at work, Cuisia-Lindayag hopes that the propensity toward giving will flourish in “every land, every culture and every age” because she believes that generosity is never about the amount one can give, but the heart with which it is given.
“Like I said, our goal is to improve the giving index of the Philippines. While giving those in need this facility from which they can ask for help, our aim is to make giving fun and easy for those with generous hearts. Gava is here to create a culture of giving right at the tip of your finger, because the possibility to give, to share with others is now more than ever, right within your reach,” she ended.