Keeping Kids Alive – Team 2

Photo TeamPhoto Project Description

Our team sought to partner with Feed My  Starving Children (FMSC), an organization  that ships packets of life-saving food to  malnourished and impoverished families and  orphans all over the world. The best way for  our team to support their cause was to  provide the three things they always need:  donations, volunteers, and awareness. To  facilitate this, we partnered with Team 3  (who was also supporting FMSC) and  planned a joint fundraising, volunteering, and social awareness campaign.

We looked to deliver on all three fronts by hosting a major multi-faceted event on August 8th, which included a red carpet event with a photographer (to use for our post-event social media push), a fundraising food basket raffle, a two-hour packing event, and a fundraising dinner immediately following (with a contribution equal to 15% of the check). We also conducted an ongoing fundraising drive online with the support of FMSC during the length of the class, and supported both the fundraising and service efforts with a comprehensive social media campaign that included Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email/phone calls/face-to-face interactions.

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About FMSC

Founded in 1987, FMSC is a national non-profit organization, based in Minnesota with three locations in the Chicago-land area. Their mission statement is to “Feed God’s Starving Children Hungry in Body and Spirit.” and their goal is to provide packed meals to needy children internationally. Since their founding, they have become a well-established organization. They have earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the last ten years, and allocate 92% of their donations to the feeding process.

How we chose FMSC

One of our team members, Mark, works for a company that has a close partnership with FMSC. He took the lead to contact FMSC and spoke with Lisa at FMSC’s development department to begin partnership efforts. We were able to utilize some of their resources to start our social media campaign and were able to utilize a FMSC website portal for collecting donations and for educating our friends and families about FMSC.

Project Objectives

Because of our partnership with Team 3, we maintained both team and combined goals. We broke out our goals as followed:

  • Fundraising goal: $350 per team member or $2,450; collective goal of $5,000
  • Volunteer goal: 7 attendees per team member (49 volunteers), collective goal of 91
    • Stretch goal: 10 attendees per team member (70 volunteers), collective goal of 130
  • Packing (base) goal: 10,584 meals packed, collective goal of 19,656 (average 216 meals per volunteer)
  • Kids fed for one year: 29 kids, collective goal of about 54 kids
  • Awareness goal: 2 communications per team member per week, or 98 communications total; collective goal of 182
  • Survey results: Solicit feedback from at least 25% of our event attendees to determine effectiveness of our program

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Project Analysis

Several group members were able to generate volunteer interest for a day other than August 8th. Given the numbers involved and the relative ease by which volunteerism could be accommodated, three micro-events were held on July 16th, July 27th, and July 30th. These micro-events netted 33 volunteers and 7,128 meals packed. Better still, these micro-events were used to generate further interest in the August 8th event day by serving as a concrete demonstration of the good that can be done by volunteering with FMSC.

After weeks of working tirelessly to pursue our goals, the day of the event eclipsed even our wildest expectations. In addition to the micro-events leading up to the 8th, both teams together registered 157 volunteers for the service event, or an average of 12 volunteers per person. Our team specifically registered 104 people for the event, or an average of just under 15 volunteers per person. While it was impossible for us to get an exact attendance count for our group (a family not associated with our project reserved space for twenty), we had no fewer than 144 volunteers show for the service event.

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 Volunteers arriving early to the service event were  treated to our red carpet photo session (courtesy of  Team 3, and full marks for a job very well done  there). They also had an opportunity to purchase  raffle tickets for our two-chance raffle, which was an  incredibly popular draw. And, of course, each of us  had the opportunity to network and verbally speak to  what we were about to accomplish.

 

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Two exhausting hours later, our volunteers packed an amazing 33,188 meals, which is enough to feed 90 kids for a year. We were also able to collect survey feedback from 53 people, or 37% of total attendees. Following the event, we moved over to Jimmy’s Charhouse, where we expected to have about 64 guests attend. Instead of 64, we had a whopping 94 people show. The raffle was drawn following dinner, a thank-you cake was shared with the group, and Jimmy’s Charhouse cut a check of $250 to FMSC.

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Overall, we surpassed every project objective  we set for ourselves which was a pleasant  surprise. Our group’s collaboration with Team 3  helped diversity our resources to create a better  day-of experience for all of our volunteers. We  raised $3,950 in donations and another $5,324 in volunteer time value as assessed by FMSC.

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

  1.  Scope-Creep: First and foremost, our group  learned the trial and tribulations of managing  scope-creep. From the beginning we had difficulty agreeing on the scope for the project and once it was set we had difficulties staying with the set scope. Without an official project sponsor, it can be hard to work out differences in opinions within the group about the direction of the project. Opportunities presented themselves for unique fundraising events, and the group had to workout amongst ourselves what best fit into our project’s scope.
  2. Communication: Managing communication during the project amongst our 7 member group and then with the 6 additional member of Team 3 became a challenge. We used traditional methods like email, conference calls, and text messaging to communicate, but due to the volume of communications things got lost in the mix. Other teams used communication management applications that could have benefited our group. Communication amongst 13 people is never easy, but a service like Asana could have served as a hub to organized and distribute information.
  3. Risk Management: We found that our risk register addressed risk mitigation for what to do if too few of people RSVP/attend the events, but did not well enough account for too many RSVP/attend. The number of guests who attending the fundraising dinner surprised us all and left us scrambling a bit. Thankfully our venue was very accommodating and handled the issue quickly. In retrospect, we would like to have addressed this potential risk ahead of time.

Advice

In addition to the lessons learned above we have the following advice for future project teams:

  1. Determine what your project will consist of early and stick with it. The sooner you cement your plan, the sooner you can focus on fundraising and outreach. Uncertainty leads to limited time executing then plan.
  2. Appoint a project manager. Previous students gave this advice to us during the first class and it was invaluable. With large teams that are spread out around the Chicago-land area and all have numerous other commitments, a strong project manager is crucial to keeping the momentum going. Mark was our project manager and he did a fantastic job of motivating and organizing the group and we do not feel as though we would have been as successful without his great leadership.
  3. Utilized all of our friends, family, and coworkers to the best of your ability. We were continually surprised how much our networks were willing to give (both of their time and money) if you just simply ask.

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Keeping Kids Alive – FMSC Team 3

the whole group

Project Description:

Our team selected to work with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) after completing the

proposal and reaching out to our selected charities. They were very eager to assist with the

planning of the event and had a lot of online resources to help our group get started. After looking

into their organization and mission statement further, we felt it was a charity that everyone could

relate to. Although we do not all have children, it was important to all of us to help an organization

that believed in the world’s future. FMSC is committed to feeding hungry children around the world

where getting a healthy meal on a daily basis is hard to come by. FMSC is a non-for-profit

organization that relies solely on donations and volunteers to hand-pack specially formulated meals

which then get shipped to the children that most need it around the globe.

 

Our project consisted of recruiting 145 volunteers for a two-hour packing event on August

8th 2015 and a combined fundraising effort of $5,000. Our team (#3) joined team #2 to pool our

resources together and scale up both the fundraising and volunteer event. We named ourselves,

“Keeping Kids Alive”. We also had a pre-event set up outside the FMSC Libertyville location and a

post-event dinner at Jimmy’s Charhouse. The pre-event activities included a red carpet where

volunteers could take pictures with their families and friends. This was a way for volunteers to

showcase their pictures on their social media sites and create additional awareness of our event.

During this time, we were also raffling off tickets to gift baskets that would be raffled at Jimmy’s

Charhouse after the packing event. All the goods in the gift baskets were donated by the employers

of some of our group members. The dinner at Jimmy’s Charhouse provided additional revenue

towards our fundraising goal since they were donating 15% of the proceeds to FMSC.

volunteers

Factual Analysis of Success

Funds generated through donations:

fmsc donation link

Goal – To achieve the most likely scenario (each group member is able to obtain a $25 donation from at

least 10 people) – Total donations of $1,500 raised from our group.  Total combined group donations to

be $2,400.

Actual – Our main source of revenue came from the FMSC site donations. The original goal for our team

was to raise at least $1,500. The total amount raised from the FMSC link on our group’s behalf was

$2032.  This amount is 35% more than we anticipated. In addition, we received cash donations outside

the link in the amount of $1025 which we did not anticipate. FMSC T-shirt sales and coin boxes raised

another $108.75. The raffle ticket sales generated additional fundraising revenue of $300.00. Finally, the

proceeds from Jimmy’s Charhouse totaled $96. The grand total of all donations was $3561.75. We

exceeded our fundraising goal by creating different revenue streams such as an online website, through

purchases, a raffle, and hosting a post-event with a percentage donated to our charity.

Number of people participating in the packing event:

:fb event fmsc

Goal – To achieve the most likely scenario (each group member is able to recruit 10 people to

participate) – Total of 60 packing event participants from our group.

Actual – We met our goal of 60 volunteers. We also created awareness for the charity and many of the

volunteers that did not attend have stated they plan to volunteer at FMSC when their schedule allows.

In addition, the collaboration between the two teams generated an in-kind investment in the amount of

$8,316. We were able to pack 175 boxes which equates to $8,316 in cost of food (37,800 meals, 103

children fed for a year). If we split this investment down the middle, our portion would be $4158 worth

of food packed.

 

Number of people attending the post event

Goal – To recruit a total of 60 attendees from our group (each group member is able to recruit 10 people

to attend).

Actual – When this goal was set, the post-event was being planned to be held at a larger venue so the

expectation of recruiting 10 attendees per member seemed reasonable. However, after checking

availability and going through the logistics, it was necessary to scale down the post-event. The total

number of attendees for both groups was set at 60 people. Our team brought in 32 attendees for the

post-event.

Advice for Future Teams

1. One of the biggest reasons why our event was a success was the willingness of the charity to

help. Although they did not have a lot of space on site to support a larger pre/post event, they

were flexible in accommodating many of our other requests. Their online website supported a

way for us to keep track of donations made on behalf of our team. They also had a lot of printed

material, videos, and information on their social media sites that we could use to promote our

fundraising and volunteer efforts. So it is important to work with an organization that

communicates well and is willing to provide you with some of their resources so that your event

is successful.

2. Create events based on the talents and connections that your team members have.  The idea for

the gift baskets came about because some of the group members knew their companies would

be willing to donate the goods that went into the baskets. They were easy to put together and

had virtually no cost. It was a great way to raise additional revenue for our fundraising goal. The

red carpet backdrop set-up was made possible by one of the group members having a

connection to a Chicagoland DJ who provides this service as an add-on package. The equipment,

red carpet and backdrop were donated to make the pre-event possible.

raffle3. Select venues with low costs that are willing to donate a percentage to your cause. The post-

event at Jimmy’s Charhouse was a way for volunteers to decompress, enjoy dinner, talk about

their experience at the packing event and be present for the raffle. The restaurant offered a

private area to host the dinner where a cost-conscious menu selection was provided. For $20

dollars, a person received a choice of 3 entrees, salad, and soft drink with tax and gratuity

included. Children had a similar arrangement for just $10. The group members did not incur any

costs besides the cost of food if you chose to attend. It was an attractive deal which benefited

those that went to have a meal and in turn generated additional revenue for our charity.

4. Don’t assume that your company will help you with a donation. Many of the members in the

group had success in getting their companies to match or donate on their employee’s behalf.

There were some of us where our employers do not contribute to employee hosted events and

they do not allow solicitation (no emails, no printed material handouts, and no discussions

during work hours). The potential to get donations from co-workers or recruit volunteers was

minimized because of strict policies. Do not rely on one source of donations. Learn the policies

of your company right away and find other ways of gathering donations or volunteers.

Otherwise, you will be scrambling at the end to get donations from family members and friends.

Lessons Learned

Time management and identifying roles for every member of the group are key

elements to the success of your project. We had every member accountable for a function

during the event and responsible for project deliverables. Every member completed their task

by the date assigned but it helped to have a project manager who would follow up and check

the status. Every member had different school, work or personal commitments and there

needed to be some flexibility in the expectations for deliverable completion. The lesson is that

effective communication between team members is as important as the deliverables in your

project. It is very important to follow the WBS and make changes during the planning phase if

the task assigned to a particular member will not work with their schedule and the date that the

project milestone needs to be completed.

 

Every members input mattered. During the planning phase we all had many ideas that

were suggested and as a team we voted on whether it fell within our scope. It was important

not to become a victim of scope creep especially since we were working with another group. We

were able to work together effectively by having each project manager communicate with each

other and then give their own groups an update. We were able to avoid scope creep by keeping

the end result in mind and having the two groups remind each other what the goals were. We

learned that working with more people doesn’t make the project easier. The amount of work

each member had was the same as if we would have done the project without the other team

but our goals may have been more modest.

 

 

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