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From live concerts to medical contributions

How a ticketing platform adapted to help fight COVID-19.

It’s been months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the world is slowly coming to terms with the fact that we have a long way to go before the crisis ends.  While many countries remain under lockdown, the medical industry and essential services continue to operate, exposing frontliners to the worst of the pandemic’s effects. 

This has led to a shortage in protective equipment, medical supplies, and even transportation. The global society simply isn’t used to dealing with a health emergency of this scale. Still, governments and other organizations around the world are fighting back, staving off the disease one initiative at a time.

In the Philippines, a relatively young tech company was one of the first to answer the call. And all it took was their existing tech and some ingenuity.   

Ticket2Me is a digital platform that mostly sells tickets for live events: concerts, workshops, lectures, and so on. It’s device-agnostic, which means you can use it with whatever kind of phone, tablet, or computer you have. It also deals with event reservations and gate control systems for venues. 

They were one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with live events being canceled or postponed by the quarantine. But even with business slowing down and with an uncertain future placed before them, the company was quick to pivot. 

“When the first lockdown was announced on the evening of March 12, our founder and CEO Darwin Mariano immediately reached out to his friend Harvey Keh, Lead Convenor of the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership,” says Carlo Francia, Chief Communications Officer at Ticket2Me.    

Darwin Mariano, CEO of Ticket2Me.
Photo: Ticket2Me

“They discussed ways to immediately help the country’s health frontliners. The result was a fundraising campaign with Kaya Natin! Movement, in coordination with the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo, to help provide personal protective equipment and food and care packages for our health workers.”

By the following evening—March 13—they had already launched the campaign, and Ticket2Me was one of the first organizations to do so. But it wasn’t just the speed with which they did it that made the initiative so notable: it was the way they adapted their platform in the face of a pandemic. 

So how exactly does a ticketing company help fight a coronavirus? Unlike the tailors who decided to shift their work into making free PPEs, the connection here isn’t as clearly cut. But it’s one that was made with a little creativity.

“Since Ticket2Me is primarily an event ticketing platform, donors purchase donation ‘tickets’ on the platform corresponding to a certain fixed amount. For example a personal protective equipment  (PPE) set costs P387.37. Each PPE set is equal to one ticket. Donors may then buy as many PPE set tickets as they want,” says Francia. 

Offering a ticket for each set helped potential donors visualize what they were contributing. It’s clearer to have, say, a goal of donating ten sets of PPEs instead of simply contributing money to a collective pool.

Ticket2Me used its existing technology to sell “tickets” for PPEs, which are then delivered to hospitals and medical centers in the Philippines.
Photo: Office of the Vice President of the Philippines

It seems to have worked in their favor, and today, Ticket2Me has hosted 17 fundraising campaigns on the platform, generating Php18M (USD 355k) in funds for various projects. And while the first campaign focused on providing supplies and care packages, the company thought of other things they could do with their tech. 

“Aside from the first campaign, which benefited our medical frontliners by equipping them with PPEs and food and care packages, we also work with organizations that build emergency quarantine facilities for Covid-19 patients and persons under investigation,” says Francia. 

“This group, composed of the WTA Design and Architecture Studio and the Anthology Festival Organization, are building 62 emergency quarantine facilities throughout the country. They have completed 37 sites already, 20 are in progress and five are up for construction. Other fundraising campaigns’ beneficiaries include campaigns for film workers, the performing arts community and many others whose livelihoods were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The company is also using its campaigns to help build emergency quarantine facilities in the Philippines.
Photo: WTA Design and Architecture Studio

Aside from these initiatives, Ticket2Me has also built a separate online platform called Dok2Me, where patients can consult with doctors online. They’ve also included classes and performances into their lineup, which could be the answer to today’s social distancing rules. While the coronavirus might have disrupted our lives, it’s good to see that the tech world is responding with a little disruption of its own. 

Ticket2Me’s donation campaigns are a temporary setup, but it shows just how much (and how quickly) things can get done when faced with the unexpected. And here’s the thing: helping out is just like buying a ticket to a show. Only, you’re buying a ticket to help save the future. 

Should you wish to donate, you can view all their current initiatives and programs at Ticket2Me.