MBA’s for the Dogs

Project Description

MBA’s for the Dogs Virtual 5K challenge was an event intended to raise funds and awareness for One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue. 2020 has posed many challenges when it comes to hosting social events due to social gathering restrictions to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Therefore, event adaptations needed to be made away from the traditional in-person fundraising events.

Our virtual 5K allowed participants the opportunity to run for our cause on their own time and in their own safe space. The event occurred between August 7 through August 16 allowing participants to complete their 5K on their own time within that span. Whether participants chose to run in the rain or shine, in the morning, lunch or evening, on a treadmill, at a track, through the streets, or through trails, transitioning to a virtual platform helped make participation even more accessible than an in-person event.

We promoted the fundraising event through social media posts including; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. In addition to social media campaigns, we also used our individual networks to send pre-templated e-blasts to recruit additional participants. Since the event lasted for around 10 days, we requested (through social media/email) participants send pictures or posts to our social media (Facebook) event page. This interaction helped add an aspect of fun and continued to enhance our promotion of the event throughout its duration.

Charity Description

Charity Name: One Tail at a Time
Charity Website: https://www.onetail.org/
One Tail at a Time is a Chicago based no-kill 501 (c)3 rescue that helps hundreds of families find their new best friend through adoption each year. Their mission is to end pet homelessness by making pet ownership a joyful and accessible experience for all. They accomplish this by rescuing animals from overcrowded shelters, placing them in loving forever homes and providing support and resources to pet owners in need.

One Tail at a Time has been serving the Chicagoland area since 2007. Their growth was, and continues to be, due to the overwhelming support received from the community. In 2019 they helped over 900 dogs find loving, permanent homes.

Analysis of Success Measures

Our group had 4 objectives we sought to meet when planning the event. The four objectives were:

Background regarding estimations for monetary donations raised:
In terms of monetary donations raised, we had estimated a best case scenario of $1,220, a worst case scenario of $140, and a most likely scenario of $660 in donations. The best case estimates were made under the assumption that each team of the 7 team members would recruit 10 people to join the Facebook event, with 80% of those 77 total people (61 people) donating $20 each. In the worst case scenario, each team member was estimated to only recruit 5 people to join the Facebook event (42 total) with 16% of the 42 attendees (7 people) making an average of $20 donations. In the most likely scenario, we estimated $660 in donations from 60% of 56 attendees (33 people) making an average of $20 donations.

Below are the results of our event as it relates to our objectives:

 

Lessons Learned

Some of the lessons learned were:
• Ensure communication is constant and clear
• Confirm all links and sites for a virtual event are easily accessible for all participants
• Plan out team meetings far in advance to meet deliverable deadlines
• Ensure goals are realistic and can be tracked easily

Advice for Future Teams

• Have fun!
• Pick a charity the group is passionate about
• Time flies so don’t fall behind
• Set a communication schedule early on

Project Photos

 

Supporting The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Brief description of the project 

Virtual Food Drive

We chose to support a local food depository with a virtual food drive due to the severity of the recent COVID outbreak. We wanted to address the issue of hunger since ancillary charity gifts could be more challenging to collect during times of insecurity. Because of the pandemic risk potentials, we felt safest in espousing online collections with no expectations of physical donations or in-person fundraising. Social media channels were heavily utilized to advertise this initiative, as well as tapping into the team’s network of associates to garner full attention and contribution possibilities.

 

Brief description of the charity

The Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository was selected due to their assiduous commitment in helping the local needy and their long-time inception, helping the Chicagoland area since 1978. The GCFD is a well-known and respected organization, acting as a control hub for over 700 other food pantries. Millions of people donate to the pantry each year, in 2019 alone they collected over $160M, an astonishing amount of donations and indicative of their strong presence and stalwart donors. The GCFD is also actively pursuing future battles against hunger through initiates like Project Nourish, a plan which expands their cold storage areas and creates additional volunteering spaces.

 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives 

Success Metrics

We looked at funds raised and awareness generated as two measures of success. We used social media “likes”  as a proxy for awareness. We achieved our minimum fundraising goal, but fell short of our awareness target.

Total Dollars received: $1,383.54

  • Minimum amount of online donations – $500
  • Expected amount of online donations – $2,000
  • Maximum amount of online donations – $5,000

Social Medial shares/likes/views: 48 likes

  • Minimum – 50
  • Expected – 150
  • Maximum – 500

 

Two or three lessons learned about managing projects 

Communication is tough. Especially with virtual teams and no in-person engagement.

Effective communication turned out to be a pretty significant challenge with this project. Setting up group calls, sending emails, and posting shared documents were all done with relative ease. However, the true exchange of information was a bit more of a challenge. Internal group calls often ended up with limited exchanges of opinions or ideas. External communication attempts were less successful than imagined, with the target charity not responding to inquiries and request for donations receiving a lower than expected response.

 

The WBS can be a great tool. However, a tool is useful if it is used properly.

The WBS helps outline a project and can be used to assign work. However, it is only able to assign work that has been identified. While we developed a WBS at the beginning of the project, by the end of the project it became clear that many items were never really identified or assigned. Implementing the results of the risk plan would have helped the team take actions to be achieve our goal. Regular review would have helped us to understand project status and missing areas. More input from all team members at the onset would have potentially helped identified missing areas, clarify roles and responsibilities, and ultimately helps us hit our goal.

 

Advice for future teams doing similar projects 

Effective group communication is key.

For a project to succeed to it is greatest potential, it needs to be a collaborative effort. Virtual teams make this difficult, as the energy and engagement from an in-person experience encourage active participation and engagement more than video calls. Discussing ways at the start of the project to ensure everyone shares their opinion and is an active participant as well as making sure there is plan for making sure those who cannot participate are still involved would help with this. Similarly, making the WBS a large group discussion with a virtual whiteboard to would help people better find their true roles in the project, giving them platform to speak from in further discussions.

 

Project Photos 

Landing Page for our Virtual Food Drive

Virtual Food Drive Results! (We had a few more donations after this was taken)

Workout From Home (WoFH) For Youth Service – Group 1

Project Description: 

We planned a series of virtual fitness events over the course of a week.  Fitness instructors lead either a strength training class, yoga, or cardo dance class over Zoom. The classes were free to bring awareness to our charity organization. We asked for donations to support our charity organization.  

The classes took place on August 9, 2020 through August 17, 2020. 

Charity Information 

Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook.

A non-profit focused on providing mental health, crisis intervention, and family support services to children in the Chicagoland area.   

Mission: “ to ensure that every child grows up happy, healthy, and hopeful with a vision to be the center of collaborative social-emotional support for children and youth. Most important, Youth Services is proud to have the most generous sliding scale program in the area and many of our programs are offered free-of-charge. No family is ever turned away based on ability to pay.” 

 Website: https://www.ysgn.org/ 

Project Successes 

The project will be judged based on completeness and how successful we were in raising donations: 

Target:

  • Virtual Fitness Class Participation: 50
  • Donation to the Youth Service of Glenview (before the company match): $1,000

Actual:

  • Virtual Fitness Class Participation: 44
  • Donation to the Youth Service of Glenview (before the company match): $1,235

Lessons Learned 

  1. Better communication with stakeholders would make things easier 
  2. Limit project team size, larger teams tend to have time management issues 
  3. Contingency Plans are very important, we quickly needed to pivot when one of the classes was cancelled due to a power outage 
  4. Challenges of planning a virtual event, without being able to meet in person it required additional attention to communicating and tracking project objectives 
  5. Capturing meeting notes with actions items to keep everyone aligned, our first couple meetings were missing this, and it caused a little confusion 
  6. Technology and weather conditions can adversely impact virtual events so we should have a way of communicating to attendees in advance 
  7. Encourage volunteers to commit weeks before the event rather than waiting until the last minute, as we ran into some lastminute scrambles to confirm attendance 
  8. Limiting scope changes, aligning to a simple scope ahead of time makes things easier when complications arise 

Advice for Future Teams 

When hosting virtual events, it is important to start by building a team with different skillsets so that you can tap into each team member where they can contribute to the success of the project.  The teams should start the project planning early in the project. This will help keep you ahead and give you the agility to make changes. Having a well thought out project plan, a detailed risk/issues document will help the team plan well even as uncertainties come up.  Engaging all the key stakeholders (organization members, volunteers, team members, professor, etc..) is key. It is better to over communicate when planning a project than to miss critical items that needed to be completed. When picking an event to host, teams should conduct a survey to gauge people’s interest especially when you are in unprecedented times. Understand the need and respond by offering an event where you will see higher interest and participation. Having a contingency plan for every documented risk to the project will keep it from becoming an issue.  

Photos

Dishing Up Hope at Inspiration Cafe

Brief description of the project

Four DePaul Graduate School Students from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business endeavored to raise money and host a community service event in order to give back and help those less fortunate in these difficult times. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the economy and no other group of people have been hit harder than the homeless population. Partnering with a local Chicago charity known as Inspiration Corporation, we raised money to support the charity’s ongoing programs and solicited in-kind donations of food and snacks for our event.

As an additional contribution, we offered to bring in a group of volunteers to Inspiration Corporation’s program site and take on the duties of administering their nutrition assistance program on Saturday, August 15, 2020 so that their staff could take a well-earned day-off. Our duties included everything from preparing and distributing food, to cleaning and sanitizing the space.

Using the food and snacks we received as donations, our volunteers cooked a hot meal and bagged a to-go meal for the homeless population in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The event occurred at the Inspiration Cafe at 4554 N. Broadway as they have kitchen facilities and people in need are familiar with the charity as a place where they can go to get a warm meal and other services.

The Uptown neighborhood is known as a neighborhood where large numbers of people experiencing homelessness and other barriers like mental illness, substance addiction, and physical and mental disabilities reside.

Brief description of the charity

In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing. Inspiration Corporation has been providing free meals to individuals experiencing homelessness, shelters, and transitional housing for over 30 years.

The agency was founded in 1989 by Lisa Nigro, a police officer who was searching for a personal response to the people she encountered on her beat. Lisa borrowed her nephew’s red wagon, filled it with coffee and sandwiches, and pulled it around the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago offering a little dignity and respect to the people she encountered. Over time, the wagon grew into a van, bus, and eventually a full-service cafe, where men and women experiencing homelessness could sit down, order off a menu and be served.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

The fundraising and event were a huge success! We met the project head on, exceeded our financial goals, distributed more meals than planned and helped many Chicagoans experiencing homelessness have at least one day better than they have had in recent memory. 

  • We raised more than 150% of our goal of $3,000. We ended up with $4,711 in donations raised through a variety of channels including social media, email and phone calls.
  • We received almost $1,000 ($990.84) worth of food donations, including ribs, tofu cups, and potatoes from area food producers.
  • We distributed over 150 meals to 75 people including men, women and children. 
  • Although there were only four members on our project team, we solicited support from others for the day of the event and ended up having nine volunteers help set-up, cook, pass out food, and deep clean the Inspiration Cafe.  

Lessons learned about project management

  • Do not put off the work! Make sure to get your team together to start planning early, and make sure you are meeting deadlines, handing in deliverables, and staying accountable to your team. There is no way we could have done all of this work if we had put off until the actual event. There is a lot to do, but if you take it one day at a time and delegate properly, you should have no problem hitting your milestones. 
  • In the very beginning, set up a recurring day and time for everyone to be on a Zoom or conference call. It is imperative to have regular check-ins to keep your project moving forward.
  • Be thorough with your risk assessment and contingency plans. Several of our risks presented themselves including increased COVID-19 restrictions, a project team member’s first baby, and even rioting in Chicago.
  • Make sure your Work Breakdown Structure is comprehensive and clear, and that it logically connects to your other project planning tools like the Gantt Chart and Risk Matrix.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

  • Be less concerned with the number of donors you need to reach out and more concerned with the average donation amount. We overestimated the number of donors we’d need and underestimated the amount of each donation. Pick a financial goal and don’t get bogged down with how many people invest. 
  • Don’t over-invest on securing in-kind contributions. We spent too much time tracking down food donations, finding that the logistics around soliciting and handling those contributions was more time intensive than we expected. If we had spent that time soliciting monetary donations, we could probably have made more money than the amount of money the food cost.
  • If your event involves food preparation, make sure to start early on the day of. You can always put things on the warmer for a while, but you can’t serve raw chicken.
  • Schedule all baby births after the event!
  • Try not to do your project during a global pandemic! 
  • Have fun! We had a great time and will remember this project forever!

Virtual Back To School Drive – Supporting Children First Fund

Project Title: Virtual Back To School Drive – Supporting Children First Fund

1. Description of the Project

    • For our project, we teamed-up with the Children First Fund to support Chicago Public Schools through a virtual back to school drive. Given the implications of COVID-19, our ability to host in-person events or fundraisers were limited, which forced us to think outside of the box. We decided to create a social campaign leveraging the hashtag #throwbacktoschoolfund across multiple social media platforms. We each dug-up school aged pictures of ourselves and posted them, along with a donation link and our hashtag, and encouraged our followers to participate in the campaign by donating and posting their own throw-back picture on their respective social media accounts. Additionally, two group members created a flyer with the important information and their throw-back pictures and sent it via email to their department at work. The other two group members leveraged their work Slack channels to encourage participation within their respective areas. We coordinated with the Children First Fund to create our donation portal (Network for Good), which provided clear and consistent tracking throughout the two weeks our campaign was active. The ultimate goal of our project was to raise funds for Chicago Public Schools, increase awareness of the Children First Fund and all of the incredible work they are doing, and have fun along the way!

2. Description of the Charity

    • Children First Fund (childrenfirstfund.org), part of the Chicago Public School Foundation, is an incredible charity seeks to support children within the CPS system in meaningful ways that go far beyond school supplies. They work to secure scholarships in an effort ensure that no student is denied a college education due to lack of financial means. They promote culturally relevant reading by raising funds to put books in the hands of students across the city. They provide district programs such as student wellness, success in career and life, equal access, and academic excellence. And they partner with individuals and corporations all over the world to provide supplies, technology, and other necessities to ensure success in and out of the classroom.
    • Children First Fund’s mission is to promote the growth and success of Chicago Public Schools through philanthropy and partnerships. We serve as a knowledge hub and liaison between CPS and its community of partners, including businesses, foundations, and individuals. By matching resources provided by external donors and partners with the students, schools, and staff that need them most, CFF maximizes the impact of CPS’ partnerships and advances the CPS Vision.

3. Factual Analysis of Success

  • Our success criteria were broken-up into three categories, Donation Value, Awareness, and Education.
    • Donation Value: At the end of our campaign, we met our success criteria and raised a total of $1,355 (which includes a later match of $150 provided by our employer) for Children First Fund. Our base success goal was set at $750 and our stretch goal was $1,500.
    • Awareness: Our goal was to raise awareness of Children First Fund by reaching at least 500 people. While we were ultimately unable to track our total reach, we are confident that we exceeded this goal when taking into account our social media posts, Slack channel messages, and emails to our departments.
    • Education: Our last success criteria was to learn the fundamentals of project management throughout the planning and execution of this fundraising campaign. I can confidently say we achieved this!

4. Lessons Learned

    • Communication is Critical: Arguably the #1 most important aspect of Project Management is open, clear, and continuous communication. It is absolutely critical to identify your key stakeholders across all functions of the project and establish reoccurring communication that ensures all stakeholders feel aware of current status. Without this open dialogue, you will inevitably run into issues that could cause delays or larger problems. Assigning a person to be in charge of communication at the start of the project is recommended.
    • Time Management: While two months might seem like a long time, it goes by in a blink of an eye. Leveraging sound time management skills is very important to ensure all deliverables and aspects of the project are completed timely. One delay of a critical deliverable may start an avalanche of delays which will increase stress and cause strain on your project. Ensure your team is organized, has established a clear Work Breakdown Structure and Milestone Schedule and works diligently to correct any delays as quickly as possible.

5. Advice for Future Teams

    • The first piece of advice we have for future teams is to hold each other accountable for specific deliverables. Everyone is busy juggling many things at once and it can be easy to put off deliverables for this project. By doing this, you’re setting your team up for major stress. Create your Work Breakdown Structure and Milestone Schedule and ensure that everyone is committed to staying on track!
    • The second piece of advice is to always think outside of the box. When tasked with a project such as this, it’s easy to land on the first idea that comes to mind. However, there are likely much better options out there if you spend the time and energy brainstorming. Don’t settle for ordinary when you can create something extraordinary!

6. Photos of Project

   

Orphans of the Storm

Orphans of the Storm – Group 2

Final project description:

We hosted a virtual fundraiser to raise money for Orphans of the Storm, an animal shelter. As animal lovers, this cause was near and dear to our hearts, and one of our group members adopted her dog Layla from this organization a few years ago. All proceeds were donated to Orphans of the Storm to help purchase supplies and fund operational costs of the shelter. The event began on August 10th and ended on August 17th. Participants could either donate via Facebook fundraiser, a direct link set up by the organization, or they could purchase items from the Orphans of the Storm Amazon wish list. We primarily used Facebook to market this fundraiser, but also used email and word of mouth to drive awareness and participation.

Brief Description of the Charity:

The mission of Orphans of the Storm is to take responsibility for each and every orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected dog and cat which reaches their doors; to take them in and shelter them; to provide the best medical and physical care possible for them; to nurture them back to health if need be; and finally to place them into warm, loving, adoptive homes where they can enjoy the lives they deserve. Since its founding, Orphans of the Storm has had a long history of humane service to the community. The vision began with Irene Castle in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by the leadership of animal welfare activist Thelma Zwirner in the 1970s and 1980s and continuing today with Thelma’s son, current volunteer President Richard Zwirner. For literally hundreds of thousands of homeless animals, Orphans has been the refuge of last resort.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives:

Goal Accomplished/Result
Raise Funds:

–       Best Case: $800

–       Most Likely: $500

–       Worst Case: $300

Yes, we raised over $1300! $1295 raised via monetary donation and $15 in Amazon items donated (plus several company matches, including Allstate)
If we do not reach out $800 milestone, we are able to collect enough funds to cover 50%+ of the supplies and/or funds needed for the project (will be defined by the organization up front) Yes, funds needed for the project were $0 so we had nothing to cover.
On time delivery of objectives, including communications and posting Yes, all objectives were accomplished on time.
Organization receives funds to purchase and help dogs in need (and potentially has adoption as a result of campaign) Yes, they received both money and items for the dogs and cats in need. We were able to promote a special needs adoptable dog who has applicants but no official adoption yet.
Successfully deliver money / gifts and volunteer our time with the shelter Yes, we partnered with Orphans to make sure all money and wish list items were sent directly to them because of COVID. All $ and items were in their hands almost immediately.
Have fun! Yes, our team had a blast planning and executing. We found ways to have fun and be competitive with what we were raising to keep us going during a less conventional event.

 

Two or three lessons learned about managing projects:

  • Be flexible. Due to COVID-19, we were unable to host a live event which really constrained our options. However, we turned that into an opportunity and a virtual event meant we could extend the opportunity to friends and family that are not in the area!
  • Engage your stakeholders early on. The partners we worked with at Orphans of the Storm were incredible and had a lot of marketing materials already created. If we had waited to engage them, we would have spent time on communications and marketing material when it was already done for us.
  • Communication and follow-ups. As with any group project, communication is key, but particularly when you are planning and executing an event. Clear communication standards and frequent touchbases (especially near the event date) are critical.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects:

  • Facebook’s fundraising functionality is super easy to use and reaches a wide audience depending on your social media presence. While we supplemented our Facebook posts with emails to target more people, we found that most people used the Facebook functionality to donate because of how easy it was. And it made it easy to remind people as the end date got closer!

 

  • Have a strong purpose. Our group member’s tie to Orphans of the Storm had a huge impact both in how we were able to partner with them, but also people’s willingness to donate due to her story
  • Have fun! Our group was constantly texting with updates as we saw the donations roll in and it was fun to have a little friendly competition. After all, it’s all for a good cause!

Camp One Step

Brief description of the project

Our team raised money by taking lump sum donations or by a dollar per mile by the group.  Our virtual event ran from August 1st– 15th.  One Step provided the team with a website that we used to track all funds. We provided awareness to our friends and family through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and email.  We also be used a tracking application as a team called Strava, which One Step has had great success using to track activity and miles. This application can be used with any cell phone device and can be linked to an Apple iWatch, Fitbit, or Garmen.  

Brief description of the charity

Camp OneStep, by Children’s Oncology Services, the goal is to empower children ranging in ages 5-19 who have been diagnosed with cancer to find new hope and to believe they have a brighter future. Camp OneStep has programs ranging from overnight camps, Chicago Day Camps, Ski Program trips, Washington DC Trip, sibling camp, and camps for Families to attend as well. The goal of the camps and adventures is to help a child find new hope as well as forgetting about their cancer diagnosis. 

 Camp One Step is run by Children’s Oncology Services.  Children’s Oncology Services is a local organization in Chicago and pride themselves on being the leader in providing empowering, supportive, educational, and fun experiences to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  They offer 11 different programs throughout the year serving children and families who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, and throughout the Midwest.  Thanks to the numerous volunteers and medical professionals, OneStep can provide medical care and treatment to their campers even away from home.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Camp OneStep was unable to hold its away camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this year.  Instead, they have been hosting online camps for the first time with great success. They have been able to offer camp events from the comfort of the camper’s home. Robin, on our team, has a personal friend that attended camp when they were in 7th grade.  Colleen was 13 years old when she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She beat her diagnoses and is now an advocate for raising awareness for OneStep and the work that they do. 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

  •       Financial goal: $2,000
    • Actual: $2,073
  •       Mileage goal: 100
    • Actual: 75

 

Two or three lessons learned about managing projects

  •       Planning improved execution- helped call out obstacles, leverage team members strengths
  •       Communicate frequently- had weekly zoom meetings and weekly summary email
  •       Immerse yourself and have conviction in your project- having ability to experience the camp first hand allowed the team to convey our passion for helping kids who need a positive empowering experience the most

 

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

Our advice for other groups is:

  •       Start early- there is a lot of planning that goes into an event, even a virtual fundraiser. Understand that because of the pandemic, people may not have normal schedules, discretionary income to donate, so teams need to be flexible  
  •       Hold each other accountable and communicate- We had a large group and many tasks assigned to each individual person. By making sure team members held others accountable, we were able to smooth out dependency road bumps and successfully implement our plan. We met weekly and was a great way to touch base
  •       Enjoy the experience and have fun! You are here to make a difference in the lives of others and if you have a positive attitude about it, others will be excited as well and will be willing to help with your fundraising goals.

5k MBA – Group 4

Final project description 

We hosted a virtual 5K run to raise money for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Multiple group members have fundraised and participated in their events and most team members have loved ones that have been impacted by rare cancers. All proceeds will be donated to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to aid in research for a cure for rare cancers. The event was held over August 3-9, 2020. We set a distance of 5 kilometers for registrants to participate in any way they wanted: walk, run, bike, dance, treadmill, etc. Attendees pre-registered for the event and received an email with event information such as a race-day bib and a great playlist to listen to while they run.

Brief Description of the Charity: We hosted our event through a charity called Cycle for Survival where 100% of funds raised are donated to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to directly fund clinical trials and research. About 50% of people with cancer have been diagnosed with a rare cancer (all pediatric, brain, pancreatic, ovarian) and Cycle for Survival helps raise awareness and funds for MSK. 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives:

  • Goals:
    • 15 Participants
    • $1,000 raised
  • Actual Success:
    • 24 Participants
    • $3,030 raised

Two or three lessons learned about managing projects:

  1. Be conscious of social and political climate when planning your event. We had the challenge of planning an event during a pandemic and ultimately decided a virtual event was the safest option, though we knew it would likely impact overall turnout and the amount of money we could raise. 
  2. Plan ahead! Most of the work is completed before the project is implemented so you need to make sure you are working on the project before it’s too late to be able to successfully implement. 
  3. Divvy up responsibilities and deliverables so that individual team members understand what they are accountable and responsible for.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects:

  • If you work at a corporation, try to find out if there is a company match or grant that you can apply for. Putting in that time and effort to research really paid off for our project!
  • If you’re hosting an event during a pandemic, we’d recommend having your project related to helping fight the pandemic. We found it difficult to raise funds for something not related to COVID-19 during these unprecedented times.
  • Have fun! At the end of the day, any funds raised are going to a great cause and that’s something to be celebrated!

Photos

 

Dodge for A Cause – Team 5

Project Description – 

Dodge ball Tournament – Team 5 hosted a co-ed dodge ball tournament on October 19th 2019 from 4:30-6:30pm at DePaul’s Ray Meyer Recreation Center. Team 5 will raised funds by charging an entry fee per team ($60.00) or individual fee ($10.00) for those that want to participate but do not have a team. In addition to entry fees, we sold raffle tickets for additional prizes and create a Facebook event to solicit donations from friends and family members who were not able to attend the event but still wanted to donate.

Description of Charity – 

Maestro Cares Foundation (MCF) is a non-profit organization that supports underprivileged youth, more specifically boys, by providing them with necessary resources, as stated above. The organization was founded by Zaidy Cardenas, her father, and Marc Anthony (a well-known musical artist). After volunteering at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, Zaidy noticed that the all-girl orphanages were well taken care of compared to the all-boy orphanages. The boy’s orphanages lacked the most necessary things such as education and sufficient sleeping space for all.

As stated above, Zaidy knew that these young boys needed help and was determined to make a change, not only in the Dominican Republic, but all of Latin America and the U.S. Zaidy approached her father about the idea and her father introduced Marc Anthony to the idea. In 2012, Maestro Cares Foundation was created and has been successfully providing housing and other necessary resources to disadvantaged kids, thus providing them with a better future, which will ultimately allow these children to get out of poverty.

Final Results – 

In order to have a successful event, we needed to have a minimum of 48 participants (8 teams – 6 participants per team). The day of we had roughly 65-70 people show up to the facility. 50 of those were participants.

Initial Goal:

  • Raise $500-$1000
  • 48 participants
  • Raise awareness of Maestro Cares

Final Goal:

  • $1,065 raised
  • 50 participants (2 were subs)
  • Raised awareness about Maestro Cares

The $1,065 was a combination of participant fees and online/venmo donations along with day off raffle ticket sells.

Lessons Learned – 

One of the biggest lessons learned was how to communicate. We did not set a clear communication plan at first and several times our ideas and opinions got lost in endless text messages threads. There were times two team members were having a conversation about an idea/thought and the other two members were in meetings or not close to their phone and by the time they got to the phone a whole new conversation had already started. The second lesson is to be ready for the worst to happen no matter how prepared you are. The day of the event, we realized that we should have toured the facility the day before in order to have a better idea of what was going to happen the day after. It did not help that we were only allowed to arrive 15 minutes before the event started. Those 15 minutes felt more like 5 minutes because people started arriving and we had to just deal with it and start the registration process.

Advice to Future Teams – 

The biggest advice we can give to all future teams is to communicate at all times! It is very important to voice your thoughts and opinions, the last thing you want is to be planning for an event you are not fully on board with. After deciding on what you want to do, have fun! Our team had a really good time planning and hosting the dodge ball tournament.

Pictures of the Event –

 

Be The Match

Be The Match ® – Team 4

Project Description:

The project management class gave us the opportunity to partner with Be the Match ®  organization to apply our class concepts and make an impact in the lives of blood cancer patients and families. Be The Match®  organization was selected as it shares our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The project focused on increasing the ethnic diversity of the bone marrow donor registry to help more historically underserved patients find their match. Moreover, the project included an online donation campaign and a motive to raise awareness about the organization and high demand to correct health care disparities.

To carry forward growing the registry objective, two events were planned :

In-person Donor Drive: This event took place at the Commercial Club Park District’s annual Halloween party. The event was tactfully chosen to provide free access to hundreds of attendants from surrounding neighborhoods. We felt we had a compelling story with these potential donors of various ethnicities. At the event, interested people registered by creating an account online and swapping their cheek on-site or requesting a free toolkit to their home.

Formal Presentation to our MBA Cohort: With a similar strategy, a formal presentation was scheduled with our MBA colleagues to present the importance of supporting the Be The Match ®  mission to increase donor diversity. We provided every student with a QR code to easily connect to the registry and request a free swab kit to be mailed to their home.

To raise donations and awareness, a customized link to Be The Match ® was created. This direct link was shared in our marketing campaign message through different social media channels, email, and direct messaging to our networks. Additionally, a QR code was printed in business cards to distribute at the events and our social network events throughout the campaign.

Charity Description:

Be The Match ®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program ® (NMDP), is a national

organization that manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. Be the Match® is at the forefront of the war on blood cancers and other diseases. Their research brings new technology and innovative medical techniques to the patients that need it the most. They help save lives by supporting and matching patients with life-saving transplant donors, growing the registry, and raising funds and awareness.

Every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia. For many, their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Of those patients, 70% don’t have a fully matched donor in their family. They will have to look to strangers, people who know nothing about their situation nor have any connection to them, to provide a cure. Only 1 in 430 of the U.S. registration members will go on to donate.

Success Metrics:

The Be The Match ® project focused on three distinct objectives:

  1. Grow the Registry

Growing the registry was the primary objective with the aspiration to increase diversity in the underrepresented ethnic segments of the organization. The campaign efforts resulted in 17 new registrants with 35% of the total being of Hispanic descent, three times the ratio of the current Be The Match ® registry. Although the initial goal of 25 registrants was not met, the diversity of the individual donors was a success and as important.

  1. Raise Awareness

Raising awareness outreach was primarily through social media channels. The goal was to capture a minimum of 120 “Likes” which was surpassed with a total of 771 combined “Likes” and “Views” . As supplementary, over 100 flyers were distributed within the community during the event.

  1. Fundraise for Be The Match ®

Raising funds was an important part of the campaign. The funds would be valuable for extended research as well as helping to grow the registry. The goal was to raise a minimum of $200 and the actual campaign results were $400 through our online campaign. This amount translates to four registrants!

Lessons Learned:

Communication plays a critical role in the success of the project across all stakeholders. Regular cadence amongst members and stakeholders keeps the status and deliverables honest to prevent project delays. Furthermore, maintaining the message consistent within all channels improves the outreach response.

Optimism Bias can taint the view of the overall project planning. Prepare well thought out risk responses and contingency plans for all possible scenarios. Success is the goal of every project but being over optimistic can diverge from preparing mitigation steps for possible risks. In the Be The Match project event, unforeseen rainy weather and prospect donor concerns regarding medical privacy was a challenge that was not anticipated to reach the goals.

Advice for Future Teams:

Test Technology. In advance of an event, plan a dry run to ensure technology will work as expected. The Be the Match® event relied on technology for the donor registry. Having back up devices, connectivity access and configuration set up in advance prevents delays on the day of the event.

Prepare a Contingency Plan. This is key especially for events that are planned outdoors like the primary Be the Match® event. On the day of the event, rain was unavoidable all day. The event could not have taken place without having tents prepared to set up as contingency for weather inconveniences.

Know Your Organization. Be prepared to answer questions as if you were a representative of the organization. In the instance of Be the Match® event, people were concerned of medical privacy. The team members trained and studied Q&A in advance which eased the apprehension to register.

Have Fun! Sunshine or rain didn’t matter.  Enjoying time with the team for a priceless cause to save a life is irreplaceable.

Pictures from Be The Match ® Event: