Salsa Night for Portage Park Helping Hands

1) Brief description of the project


Our team set out to raise awareness and to raise money for Portage Park Helping Hands.   We saw the opportunity presented in class as a way to help a charity in our local community.  Gathering our DePaul network, local community as well as the school community we were able to make a difference in the lives of this charity.


2) Brief description of the charity


Portage Park Helping Hands (PPHH) is a nonprofit organization that is created to raise funds in order to promote and encourage academic excellence through a developed, integrated curriculum as well as extracurricular activities for the children of the Portage Park community. Promoting diverse programs to all students provides greater opportunity for children to develop skills in different areas and increase their capacity for knowledge and success academically.


3) Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives


Our group managed to raise funds of $1250 and increase awareness of PPHH by holding two fun-filled events. The first event was held at Kiddie Kingdom, a kiddie arcade with food and drinks for both parents and children to enjoy. Kiddie Kingdom donated 15% of the proceeds that day directly to PPHH. Our second event was held at a Mexican restaurant, El Nuevo Taco Loco, which offered a salsa lesson, food, and drinks for all who participated. We learned plenty from our first event to allow for greater success in our second. The obstacles and challenges faced in both events have definitely better prepared us for marketing, managing, and assigning roles to keep our projects in tact enough to meet or exceed our goals.

To prepare for these events, our project manager, Alicia, found our strengths and assigned us roles that complied with those strengths to allow for a smooth transition into our roles in this project. We each had roles such as creating the flyer, uploading to social media, creating a budget, communicating with any vendors, etc. The role assignments and deadlines for each task enabled us to be well organized prior to our events and during the events as well. We found that assigning tasks and deadlines put us in a much better place in regards to timing and better prepared us for our second event over our first. That explanation you will see shortly.

For both of our events, we created flyers to be distributed physically and electronically via social media. The social media outlets utilized were Facebook, SimplyCircle,  CrowdRise, and EventBrite. Further, our group wanted to arrange a convenient time for people to join and want to enjoy our event. We also needed a convenient location in the city of Chicago for people to attend and enjoy this event. Coming up with an attractive price and finding our target audience were some of the additional details we had to pan out. Further, we had to contact a restaurant owner, salsa instructor, and a DJ to agree to host the event at an affordable price.


4) Two or three lessons learned about managing projects


Our first event was unsuccessful for several reasons. For one, we did not market the first event well enough to create awareness both about the event and for those to attend. We limited our marketing crowd to the Portage Park Elementary school media which included: Facebook and SimplyCircle. Further, the physical flyers we printed out were sent home to all students, in hopes that all teachers sent them home in time, and in hopes that the students provided the flyers to their parents. Because of the lack of control we had over the viewership of our marketing, and the finite targeted crowd we chose, we did not have as large of a crowd as we had anticipated. Further, each member of our team carries a different personal and work schedule, which made it difficult for some of us to communicate effectively and/or complete our own assigned tasks. Because of this, some members had to carry an extra workload to compensate for the members who were difficult to communicate with and/or could not meet some of the deadlines.


5) Advice for future teams doing similar projects


The advice that our team would like to extend is to start early.  We started almost the first week of the project and still had concerns that there was not enough time.  Working with the charities like Portage Park Helping hands requires a lot of approvals from the school board as well as the charity board of directors.

Scope creep is something that is also dangerous for projects.  At times we had many ideas that we would have liked to pursue, but we needed to stay with the original plan. The weeks during the quarter seem to go quickly and scope creep can be detrimental to your team’s success.


6) Photos related to the project. Examples could be event photos, website, team members, etc.