Field Project Audit – Greater Chicago Food Depository Food and Fund Drive – Team 1

Project Description:

The scope of our project was to partner with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and provide donations and service to help further their cause. Established in 1979, the GCFD focuses its endeavors on serving the residents of Cook County. The GCFD is a nonprofit entity that disburses food and makes a concentrated effort to help individuals in its community become self-sufficient. With our project taking place in the summer, our group was able to provide our services during a time of great need due to summer vacation and school aged children not receiving free or reduced price lunches at schools.

The overall project was multifaceted and consisted of multiple different events:

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Food Drives, Physical and Virtual:

The food drives were the main events of the project. Each member facilitated their own food drive with one or more organization and also included networks of friends and family.

The physical food drives were managed by each group member by maintaining collection containers at their workplaces, social gatherings, or related institutions.  Each food drive location was managed from corporate approvals, to solicitation, to delivery to the GCFD receiving center. Advertisement for the food drive was completed through email blasts, social media, fliers, and other avenues.

Working with the GCFD we had access to a virtual food drive platform hosted on their website. We were able to develop our own webpage complete with the DePaul logo and member’s desired donation group to adequately track our respective contributions. Our friends and colleagues were able to enjoy a virtual shopping experience by placing virtual food items in their virtual cart and checking which deposited their monetary donations directly to our account. This created a more appealing experience than a traditional donation process.

Golf Outing Micro Event:

Through the project planning it was recognized that we had a strong network of golf fans. Leveraging this, we created a golf event complete with donations and giveaways that we were able to secure through our corporate avenues. This event allowed our supporters to enjoy the weather while supporting our cause.


Service Day Micro Event

Each of our group members spent a day off work to participate at the GCFD warehouse volunteering their time. We spent the day working with other engaged volunteers processing incoming donations. This allowed the entire project experience to come full circle.


Analysis of Success

While collecting monetary funds was critical to our project, we decided to take the opportunity to inspire other people to join the fight against hunger. Therefore, two of our success matrices are non-monetary in nature.

Our three success metrics were all met and exceeded through the course of the project.

1)     Generate $1,500 for the GCFD ($250 per team member):

We were able to more than double this goal by raising over $5175.89 in donations both monetary and physical food. We completed this by raising $4,176.69 in monetary funds and $999.2  worth of physical food donations by the conversion rate of $1 = 1.25 lbs. of food. To top this off, we can see by the conversion of $1 = 3 meals, we were able to supply 15,528 meals into the hands of those that would have otherwise gone hungry.

2)     Raise awareness to GCFD’s mission and help promote sustainable giving:

Through the project, we were able to interact with many people during the food drives at various communities. Many people expressed their support to the cause through donations and kind words and expressed interest in future involvement. Through our project we believe that we have truly brought awareness to the GCFD cause through this project. This may be the most important aspect of our success!

3)     Team members to donate one day of service at GCFD warehouse:

Each of our team members successfully took a day of absence from their respective workplaces and families to participate in a volunteer day at the GCFD. During this day we were able to assist in the sorting and repackaging of over 30,750 pounds of potatoes!

Advice for Future Teams

Choosing a partnering organization that will support you is critical. By partnering with the GCFD, we were able to take advantage of an online virtual donation platform, boxes and bins for donations, and a helpful contact. He was able to answer our questions and guide us through a successful project.

Get started early. It goes without saying that you will not have much time to complete your project. The earlier that you can get the wheels turning the more impact you will have. You will be working through corporate red tape, production schedule, and other items which all take time.

Lessons Learned:

Communication was incredibly important due to such a large amount of information to flow through multiple stakeholders. Our team made it a point to over- communicate in an attempt to ensure the proper flow of information and ideas. This proved helpful on many occasions. One issue that we experienced was not choosing the most suitable platform to complete this in however. Most of our communication was via email which quickly became cumbersome to extract information from. Utilizing alternate project management tools to collect and store information would have been beneficial.

Identifying tasks of our project in the project inception and assigning responsibilities to team members helped to streamline the project. By spreading out the workload it allowed each member to focus on specific tasks and be responsible for completion. Additionally, members assigned to tasks that they enjoy or have specific strengths in enhanced the quality of deliverables.


3 thoughts on “Field Project Audit – Greater Chicago Food Depository Food and Fund Drive – Team 1

  1. Great events and great cause.

    A couple of things that really stood out to me were your decision to have each group run their own food drive efforts and then your choice to run micro events. Your project seems to be broken up into a lot of segments, did you find it difficult to stay organized with so many moving pieces?

    Our group also had an online fundraising component plus several service events and at times their was a conflict on where we focus our time. We addressed this issue by dividing the responsibilities of the group between the two parts of our project, with certain group members focusing on social media and online outreach and other members focusing their time on organizing the service events. What challenges did you face in organizing your fundraising efforts, while also setting up your different events?

  2. With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes not having enough money to feed their families, this is a great cause for one to contribute to. I like the fact that your success metrics were not only about generating a specific amount of revenue, but how your team desired to “inspire” others to fight against hunger. I feel that this is important, because the more people you inspire, the bigger the impact you can make in the fight against hunger. I think many of us take this for granted because we have several meals a day. Reading about your field project made me think about hunger in other parts of the world. More than 10 years ago I flew to Ecuador on business. During my visit, I was taken to the city dump site; and to my surprise, I saw children searching for food. I hope the way you are “inspiring” people in the United States, people in other parts of the world can be inspired to. In addition, I like how your team members sacrificed their own personal agendas to donate one day of service at GCFD warehouse. I was reminded that I should get more involved as well. I have several opportunities thru my church to assist a local charity in Chicago that feeds the homeless. I only went once a few years ago, but maybe now is a perfect time to get involved once again.

  3. This was a great project for an amazing organization! I’ve worked with Greater Chicago Food Depository both professionally since they are one of our partner organizations and personally as a volunteer. The impact this organization has on the community is drastic. We may not realize it but so many families struggle with hunger every day. Especially in the summer when school is out of session, many children often go hungry because families can’t afford to feed their kids. Federally funded programs such as the Summer Feeding Program allows organizations such as Greater Chicago Food Depository to have the resources to feed children during the summer months. Your project could not have had occurred at a better time — not only did you all raise the funds, you helped feed hungry families!

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