Project Watch and Learn – Wrap Up

Group Row 4 Planning

Group Row 4 Planning at the SEO Hacker Conference Room

So there we were – a group of 4 men brainstorming on what kind of project we’re going to undertake.

“Fund raising seems tricky. How are we going to make that much money for our project?”

“Hold on, we don’t even know what kind of project we’re going to do. We need to know what we’re going to do so we can project how much money we need and what kind of fund raising we’re going to do.”

It was a long night. We came up with crazy ideas but we got two things right:

  1. We help a poverty-stricken public school in Manila through giving scholarships to some of their students
  2. We needed a huge fund raising event that would enable us to do that

So we met up again to discuss about the fund raising.

“How about a golf tournament event?”

“Yeah we could do that! Mark’s already done that a number of times.”

“We could also do an SEO seminar.”

“Yeah but how much are we gonna earn from an SEO seminar?”

“Well we could potentially generate 875,000 in gross revenue.”

“Okay we’re going with an SEO seminar.”

We brainstormed on how we can make SEO Summit 2014 come to life. It was an idea that Sean had in mind for quite some time now – and he’s going to do it with or without the need to raise funds anyway. So we went ahead and decided to do the SEO Summit as a fundraiser for the project.

Presenting to the Board

Armed with our ideas, we marched in and presented to the JCI board on January 21, 2014. The first one was without Sean Si – who was our SEO guy. Consequently, we were not immediately approved. We needed Sean to present his ideas on the SEO Summit to convince the board that it would work.

We were also able to conclude that helping out a school in manila through giving scholarships may not be the best, sustainable approach to a project. So we needed to rethink that.

When we came back to present again on February 14, 2014, we had Sean with us and we rethought the project to simply give away television and audio sets. Consequently, this had to come with the content to help the kids learn more and learn better – and in a more intriguing fashion.

Making things Happen

Timoteo Paez Elementary School

So we kept the ball rolling. Chariman Lec Toribio went ahead and talked to the schools in manila to find out which school would be the best one to apply our project to. We ended up choosing Timoteo Paez elementary school – which ranked 69th out of 72 schools in manila.

Mike made the promotional videos happen by conceptualizing it with our video editor.

Mark talked with the venue – Alphaland Southgate mall in hopes of achieving the best price possible for the said date.

Scouting Alphaland

Sean and his team proceeded to create the website, write the content needed, set-up the payment gateway, and finally market it out to SEO Hacker fans and followers in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

SEO Summit 2014

SEO Summit 2014 FB Event

Sean also contacted his events manager, ms Macky Soriano and hired her in helping us gather sponsors and an emcee for the event. She also coordinated the event proper.

Organizing and Planning

We were able to sell a good number of tickets online. 102 in total. For a first ever SEO Summit event, this was already a good number. All the payments went to Sean’s account – he was the appointed treasurer for the funds.

SEO Summit 2014

SEO Summit 2014

The event had a little over 200 people in it. The event venue was packed! Sponsors, attendees, the SEO Hacker team, and the JCI Manila team all present and rockin’. The three speakers delivered their presentations quite well. The questions at the ‘Ask me anything’ section were interesting at least and mind-boggling at best.

Getting Benj Arriola as a speaker was a grand feat for the team. In fact, the main reason that the event date was at June 21 was that Benj was coming back to the Philippines and that was his only available day to speak at the Summit.

Benj is the godfather of the Philippine SEO community. He’s been working in the USA for a decade now – and SEO practitioners here in the Philippines are very eager for him to do a talk. SEO Summit 2014 provided just that. In all, Benj Arriola and Jason Acidre’s presence made SEO Summit 2014 a success.


SEO Summit actual financial statement

So we calculated the funds raised and we had a gross revenue of 534,400.00php from the SEO Summit. After paying off the suppliers, we were left with a profit of 256,195.67php to boot! As it turns out, this amount is exactly what we needed to pull off the turnover event.

We were able to purchase 12 32″ LED TV sets with speakers, the License to use over 100gb worth of Knowledge channel content, fund the turnover event itself and all materials used and suppliers hired to make the event possible.

In the end, we were left with 4,263.17php – which is still with us to date.

Teacher’s Training

We were able to ask Knowledge channel to train over 40 teachers in Timoteo Paez Elementary school on how to use the Knowledge Channel content effectively. This is extremely important because we want our goals for Project Watch and Learn to be delivered by the teachers.

Turnover Event

JCI Manila Turnover

Endless smiles and thank-you’s were the highlight of the day as we entered Timoteo Paez elementary school. We proceeded to install the first 32″ LED TV, speakers and the decorations in classroom 101.

The JCI board came in time to see and participate in the turnover ceremony. JCI Manila president Steve Tycangco gave a speech after Mike Uy gave the opening remarks. It was a moment to celebrate.

Our hard work and planning finally paid off.

 Til’ Next Time

Group Row 4 Turnover

So here we are now – three of us inducted as JCI Manila members and one of us waiting to be inducted some time this year. We’ve learned a lot and we’ve grown in certain aspects of our lives. We’ve learned how to organize a seminar for 350 people, we’ve learned how to haggle prices from suppliers along the way, and we’ve learned that giving for a cause is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life – among other things.

More than just a project, Watch and Learn has been a journey for Group Row 4. A journey we’ll never forget. A journey we’ll probably relive someday.

Ultimately, it’s a journey that must go on.


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