by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer
Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!
Today’s feature is Marsya Anggia, Director of Indorelawan, an online platform that connects people looking for meaningful activities with nonprofit organizations and communities that are searching for volunteers to help them achieve their social missions.
You can also register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!
Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?
Being a writer is something that I always put in the back of my mind. I haven’t started anything serious but I tried my best to write in my blog once a week. I also love to travel and go to the movies.
What inspired you to start this venture?
I start volunteering during my college years so I really understand how hard it is to find volunteering opportunities, let alone the ‘right’ one for you. Information is scattered and volunteers are usually treated as a someone who do the technical work for NGOs. NGOs are tired with non-commited volunteers but they also don’t invest their time to manage them. So, I was immediately sold when I first heard about this venture from the other founders.
What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?
As a nation that was build in the spirit of “gotong-royong” (collaboration work towards a certain goal), surprisingly volunteering is not a culture in Indonesia. In the eyes of volunteers, being ‘relawan’ (volunteer) is identical with natural disasters or political party (thanks to the latest presidential election). While for NGOs, the idea of managing volunteers is something new so it took a lot of convincing for them to see the benefits of our platform.
Without any predecessor in the market, we did a lot of trial and error in the beginning of our venture. We are spending a lot of time with NGOs to develop their volunteer management and using our personal network to capture volunteers needed. Over time, NGOs are starting to share about Indorelawan to the public. We also find success stories from people who start their journey in volunteering through our platform. At the end of the day, what makes us grow is being open to ideas and collaborations.
What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program?
I am looking forward to mentorship on how to develop the business unit of Indorelawan – what are the tools, how I can attract companies to invest in us, etc. Our core team is very strong in the operational department however we definitely need help in expanding our business strategy.
Also, I have to say that I am very excited to visit the USA for the first time! See you soon, Seattle!