Team Heart – West Suburban Humane Society Fundraiser

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Our team’s mission was to raise funds and collect in-kind donations (supplies) for the West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS).  We chose to support this non-for-profit organization by selling raffle tickets ($5 donation per ticket), getting general donations (no tickets purchased), and collecting supplies for the shelter (dog/cat food, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc.).  We held an event on 07/07/2017 at our place of employment in two parts: a lunch session “Meet and Greet,” and a Happy Hour session after work.  We provided cookies for the Meet and Greet and served snacks and beverages during the Happy Hour.  The prizes for the raffle (all donated) included the following:

  • 1st Prize: Two VIP tickets to see Chicago and the Doobie Brothers at Northerly Pavilion
  • 2nd Prize: Two tickets to see All Time Low at the Aragon Ballroom
  • 3rd Prize:  Two tickets to SkyDeck Chicago (ten sets available)

We collected donations in the weeks leading up to the event and during each part of the event.  The Executive Director and Humane Educator from WSHS pulled the raffle tickets at the end of the night to announce the raffle winners.

CHARITY DESCRIPTION:
WSHS operates a premier animal shelter in Downers Grove, Illinois for the purpose of finding safe, permanent and compatible homes to adopt domestic dogs and cats.  WSHS serves as a resource to educate the community and animal owners about responsible dog and cat care. One of their many values is to always act ethically and in the best interests of animals and potential adopters alike.

FACTUAL ANALYSIS:
Team Heart set a goal to raise $1,000 and collect 5 boxes of supplies for WSHS.  We more than doubled our goal by raising $2,378 and collecting 6 boxes of supplies for WSHS!

LESSONS LEARNED:
1)  HAVE FUN!  Our group had a great time supporting WSHS in the weeks leading up to the event and during the event itself.  We had musical entertainment and served snacks and beverages.  The more fun we were having, the more successful we were.
2)  ACT QUICKLY, STAY ON TRACK:  A huge part of our success came from identifying our stakeholders and contacting them as soon as possible.  As soon as we chose our charity and event location, we contacted all the appropriate parties right away (venue facilitator, employer HR department, employer facilities, WSHS representatives, “connections” who provided raffle prizes, and most importantly, the potential donators).  Constant communication keeps everyone on track.
3)  IF YOU DON’T ASK, THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO!:  Each time we came up with an idea, we contacted the person who we needed permission from to execute it.  Each time we had the opportunity to sell raffle tickets to someone, we took it (at work, home, parties, family events, etc.).  Each time we had the opportunity to ask someone if they had any of the requested supplies laying around the house, we asked them.  Each time we had a suggestion for the group, we threw it out there.  Getting past the fear of rejection helped us to build a momentum that lasted throughout the whole fundraiser.  If we didn’t go for it, we knew the answer would be no!

ADVICE FOR FUTURE TEAMS:
Be mindful of scope creep.  Our team was excited about our cause which led to lots of creative ideas flowing. All five of us had tons of ideas about how to collect the most donations, how to choose the raffle prizes, how to decorate for the event, how to generate revenues through multiple streams, how to promote our event, etc.  Since we only had 5 weeks, we didn’t have time to explore every avenue. There were many times that we had to recognize that we didn’t have enough time to expand our plans, or we would have let the scope get too large and unmanageable.

PHOTOS OF THE EVENT:

Team Pi – JPA Supply Drive

Description of Project

Our project was a multi-stream fundraiser composed of a collection drive for school supplies as well as in-person and online monetary donations.  We partnered with the Juvenile Protective Association (“JPA”) and their mentor program, 9th Gear.    We assembled and decorated school supply collection boxes to encourage participation and placed them throughout multiple floors in our Rosemont Headquarters.   JPA identified our initiative on their donation website in text and also built out a special event to be selected within a drop down menu to have the funds donated be included as part of this fundraiser.  We promoted online donations through flyers, verbally, and through social media.  The divide and conquer approach within our team allowed us to reach the highest number of donors possible.

Description of Charity

Juvenile Protection Association (“JPA”) is a Chicago based organization that was founded in 1901 by Jane Addams.  The mission of JPA has shifted over the years from initially providing the first probation officers within the local juvenile court system to currently providing therapeutic counseling services to at-risk children.  Within JPA, the mentor program 9Th Gear was established in 2016 to offer a summer program to help assist students in their transition into high school.  JPA currently provides therapeutic counseling services to at-risk children, both in the classroom and at home.  The social workers and therapists at JPA recognized that continual involvement with the students set them on a better path entering high school and kept them off of the gang-filled streets.

Success Analysis / Metrics

By researching school supply prices at the locations most 9th Gear students purchase their school supplies from, (Target, Walmart, and CVS), we calculated that the average student requires $30 worth of supplies each school year ($50 including backpack).  Given the brevity of the project timeframe we encouraged participants to provide tangible school supplies, but we also strongly encourage monetary donations as well.  Many of our financial donors were eager to participate even if they did not have school supply items to donate.

  • The calculated value of monetary goods received totaled $1,672.46 / original goal of $200.
  • JPA online donations totaled $2,000.00.
    • $338 in cash was received.
    • $110 received via Venmo.
  • Monetary donations totaled $4,120.46 / original goal of $700.

We emphasized keeping costs at a minimum with the intent to launch our project as early as possible to maximize the donation period. All marketing and donation box materials totaled $75.91. When deducting these minimal expenses from our aggregate donation value received our projects net income came out $4,044.55.

Lessons Learned

One lesson we learned about managing a project is that effective communication is key. We communicated in a way that worked for all of us, either through email or text, and when we met. We were able to effectively manage tasks, clarify any misunderstandings, reach out to help or ask for help through text or email.

Another lesson learned was to stay active with the stakeholders in the project. We had a team member consistently keep in touch with our stakeholders to obtain and provide updates. This helped our team shift focus when needed and remained persistent until we exceeded our goal.

Advice for Future Teams

Create a clear detailed project plan, a work breakdown structure, and a risk management plan to help prepare for what needs to be done and to help mitigate any anticipated risks. Match the team member to the task based on skills, our team shared tasks because we felt there was an overlap of skills to each task. Having clear ownership and accountability of tasks will help your team stay focused and succeed.

 

 

‘Birdies For Breath’ Campaign Benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Inaugural ‘Birdies For Breath’ Event Benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Project Description:  Our team’s mission was to create a fun and cost-effective fundraising campaign to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Our goal was to raise as much money as possible and to help achieve that goal, we created three primary revenue drivers: 1) we hosted a mini-golf event, 2) we sold raffle tickets for a pair of Cubs tickets, and 3) we established an online donation site through GoFundMe.

Description of Charity Organization:  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a national organization whose mission is to support all activities associated with finding a cure for the genetic disorder.  Such activities include coordinating/overseeing fundraising events, creating symptom/life management plans for people living with CF, host educational/awareness events, lead political advocacy efforts, etc.  Since its inception in 1955, the Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund drug research and development and has created a national network of care centers to help extend the life expectancy of people living with CF.

Analysis of Results/Success Measures:  Given that we elected to pursue a monetary fundraising campaign, our goal was to raise as much money as possible over a 4-week period.  In order to help meet this objective, we strove to keep overhead costs as low as possible.  The nature of our revenue drivers were extremely low cost and we were able to secure a pair of donated Cubs tickets for our raffle. An overview of our revenue goals/results follows:

  • Mini-golf event – Fundraising goal of $600 / Actual amount raised $1,000
  • Raffle – Fundraising goal of $500 / Actual amount raised $2,330
  • GoFundMe site – Fundraising goal of $300 / Actual amount raised $1,100
  • Charitable Match – Not anticipated / Actual results of $2,730

All in all, we raised $6,460 of net proceeds against a goal of $1,000 and successfully achieved all of our success measures established at the beginning of the project.

Lessons learned:

  1. Great teams make all the difference – every team member approached the project with enthusiasm and excitement during the course of the campaign, making it really fun to work together!  Each member brought unique skills and great ideas to the table, which was crucial in creating such a successful project.
  2. A well thought out risk management plan is critical – Weather was a major concern for us heading into the day of our mini-golf event.  Fortunately, we had thought through the risks on the front end and created contingency plans.

Advice for future teams:

  • Find a cause that you are passionate about and create a project that fits in with your team’s personality.
  • Define team member roles early and establish/adhere to an agreed upon communication plan.
  • Don’t micromanage!  Trust your team members to accomplish their assigned tasks, but make sure that the team is providing regular updates so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Resist the urge to continually add to the project scope.

Event Pictures

Volunteer/Awareness Fair (Team Star)

Project Description

Team Star organized a Volunteer Fair for the employees of MB Financial. The event was held on July 11, 2017. It offered attendees information on different non-profit organizations and possible volunteer opportunities with participating organizations. In addition, it opened the possibility of increased awareness and involvement in the non-profit’s cause.

Charity Description – based on information from organization websites

    • American Red Cross: Red Cross volunteers provide disaster relief and emergency response services.
    • Northern Illinois Food Bank: NIFB wants to solve hunger in 13 counties in Northern Illinois by providing nutritious food and innovative feeding programs.
    • Special Leisure Services Foundation (SLSF), in tandem with Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA): Creating and providing greater options that enrich the life experiences for children and adults living with disabilities through recreation activities.
    • PAWS Chicago: PAWS is committed to building no kill shelter communities, reducing the overpopulation of homeless pets, and setting higher standards for animal treatment.
    • Tutoring Chicago: Tutoring Chicago provides free one-to-one tutoring and mentoring to economically disadvantaged children.
    • United Services Organization (USO): [Cancelled involvement 7/4/2017] Helping Military Service Members and their families keep connected throughout their military service.

Success Measures

As the goal of the event was to gain more awareness for multiple organizations, we found the best way to measure the success of the event would be to track how many organizations would participate, the number of attendees and the amount of people that signed up with each organization to volunteer. In addition, to understand whether the organizations and attendees felt that their involvement was useful, we used surveys to track how well the event was received.

Based on the short time frame and to give MB Employees a semblance of choice in organizations we limited our goal to 2 organizations. After contacting 8 organizations, we gained the interest of 6. Initially, we received confirmation from five organizations but one dropped out a week before the event. However, one of the organizations that was originally non-responsive agreed to do the event at short notice.

The main HQ of MB has a total of 1,045 employees stationed in the building. We used an estimate of approximately 10% (100 people; consideration given to absences and off-site business activities) attendance as our goal and base for other measures. At the end of the event we received 156 visitors.

Not knowing how to estimate a successful percentage of volunteer signups, we calculated this at 20% of the targeted attendees (i.e. 20 attendees). The total amount of sign ups was 60 (approx. 38.5% of attendees).

After receiving the feedback forms from the organizations, we hoped to find that the majority had found the event helped increase awareness and that they would attend a future volunteer event at MB. It was a unanimous success. The five participants stated that they believed the event increased awareness and they would all participate again. Some constructive feedback was to give more lead time and to increase promotion.

Feedback from attendees was received via an electronic survey sent via email to all of the attendees who entered the raffle, 128 individuals. Ongoing results are listed below (29 responses as of July 16, 2017):

We asked what interested the attendees about the event. The top three responses were:

  • Getting information regarding volunteer opportunities
  • Gaining information from multiple organizations
  • Learning about a specific charity that was participating

Attendees were further asked about whether they found a charity/organization that they wanted to learn more about. Of 29 individuals, 82.76% responded Yes.

In order to help learn and build from the experience, we wanted to give an open forum for input into how to better the experience and what attendees were looking for. The following information was found:

When asked what other type of charities/organizations/causes would you like to be included in future events? Some of the responses were as follows: women shelters/domestic violence services, cancer organizations, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and military and “support troops” organizations

In addition the following feedback was received:

  • Multiple responses about how nice the event was (e.g., lots of learning, well-organized, interesting organizations)
  • A few responses regarding disappointment around USO not being in attendance
  • Having MB volunteers with the organization leads host tables together

Overall, the responses were immensely positive and the feedback received was very constructive.

Lessons Learned

  1. Developing the WBS was essential to the process.
  2. Matching team members’ functions with skill sets helped bring about the success of the event.
  3. Regular meetings and touch points kept the team on track and the event moving.
  4. Creating contingencies to mitigate any potential risk saved problems from happening.
  5. Finding a means of communicating deliverables to the whole team in real time without the confusion of everyone using a separate method was very helpful. We utilized a Sharepoint site.

Advice to other teams

  1. Planning is critical, consider risks and develop contingencies.
  2. Be flexible and willing to adapt.
  3. Trust Your Teammate. They may surprise you.
  4. Take care of your Stakeholders.

Photos

  

  

Team 1 – Spend or Save?

Team 1 developed and launched a new financial literacy game for elementary age children primarily aged 6 to 9.  MB Financial Bank is often asked for volunteers to provide introductory financial literacy training; therefore, we decided to focus our efforts in this space. We scanned the bank’s current training materials and decided the perfect supplement would be a board game and curriculum for young children.  Our curriculum and game sought to help children decipher between needs and wants as well as maintain the very basics of personal finance (sources of money and the importance of saving money).

Our hope was to not only have a direct impact on kids, through playing the game and teaching them ourselves, but to also leave a legacy behind for continuous impact.  To do this, we left our board game and curriculum with teachers.  We thought that a board game would be the perfect way to not only engage children and accomplish our first goal, but also an easy way to document teachings for future use and accomplish our second goal.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”               – Maimonides

By the end of the course, we were able to meet or exceed all of our project goals.

  1. We played the game and taught 24 kids, above our goal of getting the game in front of 20 kids.
  2. We held at least two events for kids from different groups, meeting our goal.
    • Event 1 – Music House (local nonprofit organization): Our team was able to teach to Music House’s summer camp students at the Humboldt Park location.  The camp students were between the ages of 6 to 12.
    • Event 2 – At our second event, our team was able to teach kids from the Yorkfield Presbyterian Church in Elmhurst. The members were between the ages of 5 to 12.
  3. We provided the game and curriculum to two teachers, in line with our original goal.
  4. We provided the game and curriculum to MB Financial for further development.

Above all else, we learned that the planning portion in project management is very important.  Our team was so worried about the short timeframe we had to complete the project that we started purchasing materials for the game right away.  We could have benefited from doing some basic project planning before starting by at least setting a budget and estimating what we might need first.  As a result, we ended up with a lot of unused materials in the trash – though not the worst mistake, given that it only cost us $30!  Additionally, we learned that worrying about scope creep too much can actually have an adverse impact than what it is infamous for.  For the board game, we limited ourselves a bit too much in setting our scope too tight.  We tried to define the target market for the board game too definitively and ended with a larger age range/target market based on the versatility of the game.  Though we are happy with the number of children we were able to get our game in front of, limiting ourselves to a tight age group likely forced us to miss out on getting this game in front of even more!

Advice for future teams doing similar projects would be to set a detailed schedule with deliverables from the start!  Having a plan makes everything run smoother and helps meet deadlines.  It also eliminates any confusion.  A more specific piece of advice if you have a final product you are leaving behind, make sure you have the chance to get it in front of as many people as possible.  Professor Cook was nice enough to let us use 15 minutes of the class to test out the game on our classmates and receive feedback.  Without this feedback we would have missed out on some critical changes to the game (i.e. setting the tiebreaker….  how did we not think of that!).  Also, use Trello!  It is an awesome workflow management app where you can assign tasks to team members and make due dates. With an intricate project like a board game, it would have been next to impossible to coordinate/keep track of everything and make sure things were done leading up one of the eight dry-run games we held before our two events.

Last but not least, make it fun. We had a blast!

Chicago’s Common Pantry Food+ Drive [Team: $]

Project Description:

Our team hosted a food and personal care item drive from 6/28/17 – 7/7/2017 at selected MB Financial Bank branches to support Chicago’s Common Pantry.  Based on a list provided by Common Pantry, the food drive focused on collecting non-perishable food items such as canned foods, easy prep meals, and condiments along with personal care items such as shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant.

Once the food drive concluded, Common Pantry will use the contributions to serve individuals and families from the community they serve in need of food and personal care items.

Common Pantry

Common Pantry, was founded in 1967 to combat hunger and food insecurity in specific northern neighborhoods of Chicago. Common Pantry is dedicated to eliminating hunger and food insecurity in our community by providing access to food and by addressing the root causes of poverty. We rely entirely on the generosity of private donors.  Click on the title of this section for more info on Common Pantry.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Our main objective was to collect as much food and personal items from the “needs list” of our charity, Chicago’s Common Pantry.
  • We had to determine the logistics and scope of our project to be completed in a feasible time frame given that we had a little less than 5 weeks to complete it from conception to the end.
  • Bring awareness to a great not-for-profit organization that helps the community in which it resides in, the north side of Chicago.

Results:

We had 14 points of collection and had a solid turnout at most of those locations resulting in the accumulation of 8 full-sized (large) boxes with an estimated value of $250.00 per box totaling around $2,000.00 in goods for Common Pantry to distribute to families in need.  A rough estimate of almost 1,000 items ranging from toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, to pasta, peanut butter, and lots more food and personal care items were collected in the week and a half drive.

Lessons Learned & Advice for Future Teams Doing Similar Projects:

  • Don’t underestimate small potential problems that could affect the outcome of the project. i.e.: In our case, 14 huge boxes are hard to distribute from a small vehicle (even when the boxes are not yet fully assembled!)
  • Large collection boxes get real heavy, real fast!  They also need to travel to their final destination once they are filled-up.
  • Try and arrange a pick-up ahead of time from the charity that you are working with.
  • Always remember that this is all for a great cause!
  • COMMUNICATION IS KEY!!!  Not only between your teammates, but also your stakeholders and extended help.
  • Thank everyone that helped out, whenever possible. 

Event Flyer & Pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team 6 – PAWS Chicago

Project Description:

Our group chose to raise money and hold a fundraising event for PAWS Chicago, which is a no-kill animal shelter in Chicago, Illinois.  To begin our project, the team developed a comprehensive implementation plan.  The two main activities at the onset of the project were to (1) contact PAWS Chicago to get approval on the event and any support materials, and (2) identify and select a location to host the event.  Our initial inquiries to PAWS Chicago received limited response and it took over a week to complete the necessary application and approval process.  The selected event location was DIAG Bar and Grill, which is pet friendly bar that offered unlimited beer, wine, and appetizers for $40 over three hours.  We scheduled our event for Saturday, May 20th and began to prepare by getting flyers and a donation box from PAWS, setting up an online donation portal, designing an event flyer, sending out invites, and securing raffle prizes.  On the day of the event, the team showed up about an hour early to setup.  DIAG Bar and Grill had reserved about a quarter of the bar for us and we were able to position a donation table at the front of our section.  As guests arrived, we would talk to them about PAWS, sell raffle tickets, and help them secure a wristband from the bar.  The event went smoothly with $330 raised and about 30 attendees.  Additionally, online donations brought in $1,440, netting a total of $1,770 in donations for PAWS.

Charity Description:

PAWS Chicago is a national model in animal sheltering, committed to bringing an end to the killing of homeless cats and dogs.

  • Mission:
    • To build No Kill communities – starting with a No Kill Chicago – that respect and value the life of every cat and dog.
    • To end the overpopulation of homeless animals through solutions, practices and education.
    • To transform animal welfare by setting higher standards in the way animals are treated and developing a sustainable, solutions-based model.
  • Highly rated on Charity Navigator:
    • 3% of expenses spent on the program
    • 100/100 Financial and Accountability/Transparency score.

Success Measures:

  • Objective: Raise at least $500 for PAWS Chicago
    • Exceeded:  We raised $1,770 for PAWS Chicago, outperforming our target by $1,270 (+254%)
  • Host at least 40 attendees at the fundraising event
    • Did Not Meet:  We had 30 attendees due to a late cancellation, missing our target by 10 (-25%)
  • Have an Awareness table at the event with signage and pass out at least 25 flyers
    • Exceeded:  We setup an awareness table with a donation box and passed out well over 50 flyers throughout the fundraiser attendees and bar patrons

Financials:

Lessons Learned:

  • We should have started earlier:
    • We changed the charity to support (originally GFDC) because another team had selected them, which delayed our project start about a week.
    • Diag Bar and Grill did not get back to us right away with dates for the event, which limited the potential weekends to host the fundraiser.
    • Scheduling conflicts within the team also reduced the possible days for the event.
    • Other groups also held their event on May 20th, but due to the limitations listed above, this was the best date for our event.
  • Do not rely on weather:
    • Diag Bar and Grill had a nice outdoor patio, but it went unused most of the night because it was cloudy and rainy.
    • The poor weather conditions also could have resulted in invitees not attending when they would have otherwise.
  • Plan for attendee cancellations:
    • A birthday party of 12 people had committed to attending, however, a friend’s flight was delayed into the start time of our event, so the party decided to make dinner reservations instead.

Advice for Future Teams:

  • Communication is crucial:
    • Rapid responses between members is critical.
    • Do not take to long to respond to each other – it’s easy to just look at a message and say “I’ll respond later.”
  • Utilize technology:
    • Slack app (highly recommended for group based work) worked well for group communication.
    • Google Drive worked well for sharing documents and collaborating.
    • The PAWS Chicago donation link really helped drive online donations.
  • Brainstorm and form a Work Breakdown Structure:
    • Having a checklist ensures activities get done on time and in an orderly manner.
  • Start early:
    • Diag Bar and Grill and PAWS were not quick to reply to our inquiries.
    • Calling instead of emailing helped to decrease lead times.

Event Photos:

Event Flyer and Invite:

Online Donations:

Trivia Night for Association House of Chicago

PROJECT AND CHARITY SELECTED:

The charity selected for our team project was the Association House of Chicago, a nonprofit organization serving the communities of Chicago since 1899. Their services include:

  • Employment training and placement
  • Foster care support
  • Mental health programs
  • High School guidance services

The event we chose was to host was a Trivia Night with the following components that we focused on: Venue, Accommodations, and Entertainment

  • Venue: The venue selected will be the Revolution Brewery. This location is a popular location for with a great atmosphere and popular among residents of the city of Chicago. An added bonus is that the venue already has a standing relationship with our selected charity, which aided in planning and execution of this project.
  • Accommodations: Our event offered all you can eat and drink for a standard ticket price. This helped loosen up the atmosphere and ensured a good time!
  • Entertainment: Alongside a great atmosphere and drinks, this we offered attendees multiple avenues for entertainment aimed at aiding in raising funds. Those avenues included a Trivia Game with prizes for winners, Silent Auction, and a 50/50 Raffle

Primary purpose of the event was to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

PROJECT RESULTS:

Our project raised a lot of awareness for the charity. We had the charity’s staff at the even mingling with attendees and sharing some of their work for the residents of Chicago. We also played a brief video highlighting the charity’s work.

We also raised a substantial amount of funds, approximately $4,500; only $100 shy of the goal we set out for. We also had close to 50 people attending the event, making it a great success.

LESSONS LEARNED:

Some of the lessons we learned in the project are the following:

  • Plan for contingencies and focus on teamwork: Things happen, emergencies professional and personal. It’s important for the team to have sense of camaraderie. This helps in ensuring that things don’t fall through the cracks and that we are all vested in each other’s success!
  • Be nimble in your plans: We planned for around 75 people to attend, however we only sold 50 tickets. It was important for us to remain nimble in our plans, had we stuck to our original work plan, we would have fell much more short of our goals for funds to be raised. But by remaining flexible and being able to adjust project plans, we were able to still hit our targets with a smaller than expected turnout.

EVENT PICTURES:

Vincentian Hunger Fighters – Team 8

TEAM 8
VINCENTIAN HUNGER FIGHTERS


Project description

Our team chose The Greater Chicago Food Depository as the organization for the project. Our objectives consisted of spreading awareness and raising funds for this organization. Our team members also had personal interests in this assignment. The desired outcome was to gain project management experience along with enjoying the time working on the project.

The reason why we chose the GCFD was based on our personal values and available resources. We wanted to collaborate with a local organization that has a proven evidence of spreading positive impact on the community. An organization that is known for their act of kindness rather than just another big brand name.  The GCFD was a perfect fit to this description.

We worked on the assumption that the first and the best step to help the organization is to find their needs. Then we matched those needs with our available resources and identified the following events as the most suitable in contributing towards our goals:

• Volunteering at the GCFD facility
• Running a traditional food drive
• Running a virtual food drive.

These events became the core elements of our project.

 

Brief description of the charity

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is Chicago’s food bank. Their mission is to feed the poor and to end hunger in the community.

The GCFD partners with 700 agencies and programs including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and responses for children, older adults and veterans to collectively achieve their goal. Since 1979, the Food Depository has made a daily impact on hunger across Cook County. Last year, the organization distributed 70 million pounds of food, 35% of which was fresh produce. Every day GCFD distributes the equivalent of 160,000 meals. The GCFD has been recognized as one of the leading charities in Chicago.

 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

Planned:

  • Goal of 130 likes on our Facebook Page
  • Goal of 40 donors contributing on our Virtual Food Drive
  • Goal of completing 30 Hours of volunteer work at the GCFD facility (equals 10 volunteers)
  • Goal of collecting 150 lbs. of Food

Achieved:

  • 85 likes on our Facebook Page, 661 people reached
  • 4 donors donated $130 via Virtual Food Drive
  • 24,75 hours of volunteer work (equals 9 volunteers)
  • 181 lbs. of Food obtained via actual food drives

 

Lessons learned

  • We have learnt that identifying risk possibilities and managing risks are two different things.
    Identifying risk is the first and the basic step in risk analysis.
    On the other hand, managing risk is a much more difficult and complex act. Having backup plans is a key element in any project.
  • We have learnt that maintaining a healthy balance between planning and execution is very important.

 

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

  • Do not go easy on the marketing part. Focus more on advertising and promoting your events. It is easy to set up marketing campaigns, but difficult to attract and motivate people to participate.
    So be strong in marketing and promoting your event.
  • Communication is the key. Have a regular face to face group meetings to communicate all aspects of project.
  • Have contingency plans for your events. This includes back-up plans for places as well. Do not rely on just one event. We had a good experience with dividing our project into the variety of events.
  • Don’t forget to have fun whether it’s just a group meeting or the actual event.

 

Snaps from the events

REPACK EVENT 

 

 

REPACK EVENT

 

 

REPACK EVENT

 

 

REPACK EVENT

 

 

MICRO FOOD DRIVE

 

 

TRADITIONAL FOOD DRIVE

 

 

TRADITIONAL FOOD DRIVE

 

 

FOOD DRIVE FLIER

 

 

VIRTUAL FOOD DRIVE WEBSITE

SKY HIGH NIGHT for Bridge Communities

The purpose of our project is to plan, host, and execute an event to support Bridge Communities Inc. to assist with propelling their cause. Our group had set up a trampoline night at SKY HIGH SPORTS in naperville to raise awareness for the Bridge Communities. This event would attract trampoline enthusiasts and also family and friends in residing in DuPage County for fun trampoline night. SKY HIGH has a program “bouncing for Bucks”, which donates half of the ticket prices to non profit organization of our choice.  So we held a successful trampoline night for family and friends on may

30th 5-9pm at naperville location of SKY HIGH SPORTS to raise awareness and donations for the organization.

The charity that our group has chosen for our project is a local charity that assists DuPage County, Illinois residents with giving them free temporary housing to 131 DuPage County families each year. The name of this charity is Community Bridges Inc.

The critical services Bridge Communities provides to the homeless are housing, mentoring,unemployment and other supportive assistance. This includes giving the homeless a place to stay, learn to save and budget financials, obtain employment, and guide them to live self-sufficiently in the future. The first two years that each family spends in this program, they learn to save money, learn budgeting skills, and more.

The area which they target is DuPage county which is west of Chicago. Because of this, we wanted to host an event within the area in order to reach the community which is directly affected by Bridge Communities.

The reason we chose this charity was,

  • Chicago magazine ranked Bridge among the 20 Best Charities in Chicago in 2015, for connecting more than 130 families to homes and hope each year
  • Bridge partners with dozens of local churches, community groups, and businesses to provide a comprehensive program for homeless families in DuPage County. These partnership result in awareness, donations and volunteering for the events at Bridge communities.

We started the project with the intention of creating a dodgeball tournament to drive ticket sales and fundraise for Bridge Communities. This included providing Bridge Communities a proposal which states what our event is, what are the tasks involved, who is completing the tasks, and when we are expecting these tasks to be completed.

During this process, we also had to consider where our event would take place, when the event occurs, how much time the dodgeball tournament will last, the budget of our group, the materials and equipment needed for the event, how to track team registration and revenue, and finally how to attract people to this event.

We decided to host the dodgeball tournament on May 27th, 1:00PM – 5:00PM but now we needed a location. After conducting cold calls to numerous school’s and recreational centers within the DuPage area, we had to look elsewhere because the prices and availability of the facilities were unsuitable for our capabilities. This made it easier for us because the Ray Meyer Fitness Facility in Chicago was able to accommodate our requests. In addition, the Ray Meyer Fitness Facility could provide us with dodgeball equipment such as the dodgeballs, whistles, ect.

Once we acquired the facility, we had to start marketing the event with 3 weeks left. We made a Eventbrite page so teams are able to pre-register and we could forecast whether to shorten or extend the time of the event. Because the Ray Meyer Fitness Facility was a DePaul building, it accommodates DePaul students for a rental discount. We focused our marketing efforts to attract DePaul students which included posting 52 flyers in the student dorms and pushing 78 emails to undergraduate and graduate student organizations. In addition, we posted on DePaul related groups on Facebook to drive awareness.

Unfortunately, a few days before the event, only a couple teams pre-registered. We decided to cancel the event and proceed with our contingency plan which was to partner with an indoor trampoline park called Sky High Sports.

We contacted the Regional Manager of Sky High Sports about 3-4 weeks before our planned event date of May 30th. Usually, their organization only accepted events if requests are made prior to a month before, but because we communicated our strategy to attract customers, he allowed us to host the event. Our marketing strategy was:

  • Post in high, traffic groups in Facebook which are approximately close to the Naperville area
  • Leverage Bridge Communities’ capabilities to email blast and post on their social media channels
  • Engage and persuade our peers to come to the event and bring friends and family

When we were posting on Facebook, I came across a group called “Naperville Moms Network Business, Events, & Happenings!”. It was a closed group for Napervile moms but we made contact with the administrator of the group. She was not only the admin of the group but also the leader of a community group called Naperville Moms Network. She allowed us to post in the Facebook group and she spread our event on her website and community group.

On the day of the event, we set up a table which included a banner, flyers, and a free raffle. Everyone received a free raffle ticket but if they liked and shared Bridge Communities’ group page, they would receive an additional 2 raffles to win a Patrick Kane and Addison Russell jersey as well as other coupons and gift cards from local stores.

Goal

  • Awareness
    • Increase Facebook Likes by 100 on Bridge Communities’ official Facebook page
    • Pass out 50 Bridge Communities’ informational flyers at the event
  • Fundraising
    • Raise $750 which is equivalent to 150 attendees

Results

  • Awareness
    • Increased Facebook Likes by 186 (raised from 2054 likes to 2240 likes)
      • 53 Facebook Shares of Bridge Community which reached 34,149 friends
    • Passed out 82 Bridge Communities’ informational flyers at the event
  • Fundraising
    • Raised $596
      • 123 attendees – $492
      • Donations – $104

Although 123 attendees sounds like a lot, it was a family event. For perspective, if you brought 50 people and they all have 1 child, there are essentially 100 attendees. In our event, there were people who brought 1 or 2 children as well as both parents attending.

We are very proud of the successes we’ve made despite being unable to meet our fundraising goals because of the difference we’ve made in both the homeless community and those who helped us achieve our goals.

Of the lessons learned from the project the two the immediately stand out are:

  • Establishing a risk management plan
  • Stay on schedule and establish dates for when contingency plans kick in and staying in constant communication with one another.

If it wasn’t for our risk management plan we may not have been able to pull off an event. The main take away from our risk management plan was the chances of our event having to be canceled due to venues complications or lack of turnout which in the end made us start preparing our secondary event at Skyhigh which would allow us to pivot from the Dodgeball event because the chances of having to cancel where high enough for us to have to start preparing for what would eventually be the inevitable.

This lead into our second major take away, which is establishing deliverable dates and contingency plans. Because of the risk management plan we were able to set up key dates for when deliverables had to be completed. This allowed us to coordinate appropriately as a group. We met up as a group once a week on Saturdays and had follow up calls on Tuesday evenings to make sure everyone was on task and on track to meet the due dates. Eventually we started having evening calls daily during the last week leading up to the event so we knew what the game plan was, who was arriving when, and how we would follow up with our report and presentation that was due the very same week of the event. Because of that we were never caught off guard and had an unforeseen event occur during our time together as a group.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects  Peter  from final paper & slides

It is always important for teams to always be able to come up with an alternative project in case one does not always work. It is always important to maintain group communication between the charity that the group, the customer, and the charity that we are working with. The Project Matrix is the last major requirement that will be needed in terms of responsibilities and to communicate who does what in the group. The Project Matrix success plan is explained in terms of awareness, participants, and revenue.  Controlling scope creep is important in which the project’s parameters are restrained and the project scope is classified. The goal is to produce the wanted product on time and in the budget. Some colleagues in project management from the Project Management Institute state that there are six primary reasons for project scope creep. The first one is less articulateness and greatness of knowledge about the initial specification document, permitting straightforward contact between client and team participant members, customers attempting to get more work that is cheaper for them, starting design and advancement before a comprehensive requirements analysis and cost-benefit analysis has been completed. The fifth one is in which the belief is “to do it yourself” because of less anticipation and devising. The last sixth one are badly explained initial requirements. The main reasons for using scope creep is because of a dishonest customer with a “value for free” policy, improved communication between parties, improper antecedent about what is needed to bring about the project’s goals, bad change control, an active and energetic project manager or executive sponsor, quick and durable software development primarily relying on subjective amounts. Some important challenges to be aware of finding a proper venue, finding the correct price ranges, trying to determine which events to cancel based on event awareness, and maintaining communications with charities. There are seven important lessons to maintaining scope creep:

1. It is imperative that the project perception and point of view.

2. Know the order of activities that comes first activities that are permitted by project controllers.

3. Describe the project end results and goals and make sure these are authorized by the project drivers.

4. Make the sure approved project deliverables are placed into real work requirements.

5. Describe areas of the project that are major and minor goal indicators and make a great project schedule to be finished by the project drivers.

6. Appoint resources and figure out the critical path using a project evaluation and review method chart or a work breakdown structure.

7. It is important to know that scope creep will occur. Scope creep happens when there is a bad requirements analysis, not getting users engaged early soon enough, and not knowing and being cognizant of the largeness of the project. There at times is a lack of understanding the change and control enough and gold-plating in which the practice of exceeding the scope of the project in the belief that value is being added.