do_action Manila – A Recap

We first learned about do_action back in 2017. The idea of a hackathon centred around building WordPress websites for charities was brilliant. But back then we had just started the work of re-building the WordPress community in the Philippines. We felt we needed more experience before tackling a charity event. Fast forward to 2019, after successfully organizing three WordCamps for Manila (and several dozen meetups), we felt our small but dedicated group of volunteers was ready to take on the challenge.

After consultations with Hugh Lashbrooke, we decided to go with a modest target of 4 charity beneficiaries, with teams consisting of 5 to 7 members for each beneficiary. We projected around 50 to 70 total attendees.

As with any event, it all hinges on securing a suitable venue. do_action is unique since it would require a large space to house the teams, and a separate training room for the charity representatives.

The kind people from Canva Manila didn’t really need a lot of convincing. They readily agreed to host our charity event, and also sponsor lunch and snacks for all the attendees. This, I would say, was the biggest factor that helped our event — the support and generosity of our community partners and sponsors. Our friends from Inbytes.dev offered to take care of breakfast for everyone, and the good folks from Pantheon sponsored our modest event shirt tokens. As a result of this outpouring of goodwill, we didn’t have to raise additional funds to cover costs.

The next challenge was recruiting participants. The WordPress community in Manila was still fairly new and small, so getting enough participants to sign up was a challenge. For participant sign-ups, we turned to other tech communities for help, specifically Developers Connect, Philippine Web Designers Organization, and Women Who Code Manila.

It’s worth mentioning that in the Philippines, the different tech communities have a fantastic working relationship. Organizers from different groups regularly meet to share their knowledge, exchange information and collaborate together. We are proud to say that it’s this awesome collaborative environment that has allowed our local tech communities to grow and make a greater impact.

The actual event day itself went relatively smoothly. We did notice that a few of the teams still had difficulty getting their projects finished on time despite being given extra time to prepare in advance. For future hackathons, we’re considering putting more structure towards pre-event work, especially with regards to gathering materials and consultations about design and functionality. This will hopefully help teams plan and execute their projects.

To cap off the day, we had a small program where the teams presented their work along with their partner-charities. One of the more noteworthy work was from Women Who Code – Manila and their partner org Lilak Philippines.

In the end, it was a very productive day full of lessons and lots of community fun. We’re already planning next year’s charity hackathon. Thank you again to all the people who worked tirelessly to help make this event possible. From our WordPress Community mentor, Hugh Lashbrooke, to our sponsors, volunteers and participants. This is only our first charity event, we hope to make a greater impact in the future not just in Manila but across the Philippines.