Description of Project
Our project was composed of three major aspects:
•A 2-hour volunteer event at Cradles to Crayons Chicago’s the Giving Factory. At this volunteer event, volunteers would aid the charity in cleaning and sorting of donated items that would eventually be donated to children in need.
•Donation drive to collect items from friends, family, classmates, and colleagues to support Cradles to Crayons, as well as a direct online item donation through Cradles to Crayons’ Amazon wish list.
•Monetary donation collected through a company-sponsored snack cart donation at one of the team members’ company.
Description of Charity
The charity that we chose was Cradles to Crayons, a 501(C)(3) organization that was started in Boston in 2002, expanding to Philadelphia in 2006, and then finally to Chicago in 2016. Cradles to Crayons provides children with the essentials that they need. Donated items are collected through the local community, which volunteers and staff process, clean, and package to be delivered to the children. One of the mottos on the wall at their Giving Factory in Chicago is Quality = Dignity, meaning that children are given items that are in good condition, like-new, and high quality so that they can have dignity when receiving them, despite their circumstances. The packages that are packed at the Giving Factory are then distributed to children in need through different service partners including schools, nonprofit organizations, and state agencies. The items that are most sought out include clothing, shoes, toys, diapers, bedding, towels, books, car seats, and strollers.
Our team had set four major objectives to measure the success of our project. These goals were:
•We surpassed this goal by recruiting a total of 11 volunteers for our volunteer event.
25 Kid Packs packed
•We surpassed this goal by 200, for a total of 225 Kid Packs packed. This was the result of several other volunteer groups being present on the day of the volunteer event.
$200 in monetary donations from the snack cart
•We surpassed this goal by raising a total of $300 from the snack cart.
100 items donated to Cradles to Crayons
•We surpassed this goal with a total of 482 items donated to Cradles to Crayons.
Our team learned several lessons:
Select a Charity that has support.
•Local charities have more favorable support from local venues.
•Find a cause & charity that potential volunteers would be willing to support with time and/or money.
Have a risk management plan from the beginning
•There are many potential obstacles that can come up when trying to plan an event to support a charity.
•Be prepared for the unexpected and have a contingency plan or two.
Have a responsibility matrix and communicate within team.
•A responsibility matrix ensures the team knows who is responsible for specific tasks that must be done and holds the team members accountable.
•Finding a method of communication that works efficiently for the team can resolve any issues that may come up. Without communication, the team cannot make progress and precious time is lost.
The project manager needs to lead and guide.
•The project manager needs to keep everyone on track and accountable for tasks that need to be complete, coordinates different aspects of the project, and most importantly communicates with the team about what needs to get done next in order for the project to progress on schedule.
Advice for Future Teams
•Don’t fall in love with the team’s first idea, be flexible and open to change because not everything goes the way you want them to.
•Find charities and causes that the entire team can rally around because this will allow the team to put a more active effort in doing the best for the organization by sharing a common goal.
•Manage time well because ten weeks may seem like a long time, but time flies by when you are organizing your project.
•Make sure the team is always communicating and make sure everyone knows what tasks need to be completed and who is responsible for them.
•Have fun and enjoy the process as much as the event.