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!

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