Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange

The Project:

Our team did an event on 5/19 at Emporium Arcade Bar Wicker Park to raise money and awareness for the Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange organization. Attendees donated supplies that were needed by the organization and also made cash donations. We were initially going to raffle tickets to a Cubs game, but we ultimately decided to instead raffle off an RCA tablet and gift cards from Giordanos and Starbucks. Everyone who donated either money or supplies was included in the raffle. We had live entertainment for free (no cover to enter) and also gave away free game tokens.

The Charity:

The Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange is a non-profit organization that focuses on the creative re-use and re-distribution of school/arts supplies. The organization receives the materials mostly from local businesses and distributes them to teachers.

Teachers come from a wide variety of schools, but most are Chicago Public School teachers. The end goal of the organization or the reason they do this is to empower the mind of the youth by promoting creative use of the supplies. The organization frequently hosts swap circles in which teachers can go and get the materials they need for their classrooms.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives:

Our three main objectives were to raise money, awareness and donate supply.   We expected to raise $450 total.  We ended up raising $274 from our raffle at our event, $120 from our online donations, and $30 from the venue based on our RSVP’s.

We also wanted to raise awareness of this organization and their cause.  To promote our event, we created a Facebook event and each member of our group shared it with our networks.  Our Facebook event reached over 2000 people and had about 1000 views.  Also, we were able to raise awareness to everyone who came to emporium who might not have heard of our organization.

Our goal was to donate around 225 items of supplies and we were able to donate about 100 items from the event.  This was lower than we anticipated but we were glad to also be able to donate money.

Goals and Objectives Accomplished
Raise Money (expected $450.00) We raised about $424 from our event, online and the venue
Raise Awareness Reached over 2K people, and had 1,000 views on Facebook event page
Donate Supplies (expected 225 items) We received approximately 120 various school supplies the day of the event
Put on a fun event! About 250 -300 people attended


Lessons Learned:

Overall putting together an actual event in a short amount of time makes you put a lot of things into perspective.  Learning to manage risk in the event that one may arise, as well as having a solid contingency plan in place is a must.  Real life things are always happening an example is family emergencies that can happen in a blink of an eye and change your life as you know it.  Contingency plans help combat issues that can and will arise.

Holding regular team meetings are imperative to making sure everyone is on the same page.  Team meetings do not have to be useless.  Our meetings helped keep us on track.  If we had questions and concerns, we would make sure to voice this and either get on a call or follow up via email to make sure that we were in fact on the same page or figure out what needed to be done to get us back on the same page.  Meetings were extremely helpful and a vital part of managing projects.

Of course, there are vital skills that are needed and without them projects would never see fruition and that is Organizational skills, making sure that information is easily accessible for all to access we used google docs to help keep us organized as a team.  Communication skills are also a key component.  Making sure that we effectively communicated with each other is another skill needed for successful project management.  Furthermore, making sure we had clarity on our goals especially from the organization.  The organization that you are assisting may have a different vision, however making sure that you are able to bring things together is very important, even if the vision is different the end goal is the same, and making sure that this was expressed, and trying to tie the organizations vision with ours had its challenges, however in the end we were able to pull it off.   The biggest takeaway from managing projects is to have Fun!  At the end of the day there are a lot of little pieces that go into managing projects.  However, there is fun to be had, putting on events can also be fun, and as you can tell from our photos we were able to have fun while doing a great thing for a phenomenal organization.

Advice for future teams:

The best piece of advice for future groups to pull off a field project is to stay on top of communication. Another piece of advice would be to never underestimate your personal and professional networks. Although our group wanted to complete this field project for the sake of a grade, I highly doubt that the project wouldn’t have been as successful if we did not include outside stakeholders within our own networks to help pull of the event.