This past quarter, our team planned a virtual trivia night supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository on May 26th, 2021. Our goal was to raise awareness and funding for the Food Depository to support their efforts in the local community. We also wanted to host a Covid friendly event that would be enjoyable for participants without any potential impacts from closures or restrictions put in place for Chicago due to the pandemic.
We partnered with the organization Baig of Tricks Entertainment to facilitate our event. We chose to transfer the task of running the event itself because of their experience running virtual trivia nights over the past year during the pandemic. Baig of Tricks provided a platform for the event through YouTube Live, provided most of the trivia questions, and even emceed the event. Passing along these tasks to their organization allowed our group to focus on marketing the event itself and fundraising for our charity. We wrote two trivia questions for our virtual event about the great work being provided by the Greater Chicago Food Depository to tie in our mission of raising awareness to the trivia event itself. The team marketed our event to friends and family through email communication, social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and through direct messages to individuals in our networks we thought may be interested in participating. Through these marketing efforts, we were able to raise well over our initial goal, which we outline below.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository partners with 700+ food pantries within Cook County and is the largest network of food banks supporting Chicago. Food is obtained through individual donations or purchased through government programs. There is also the option to give money rather than food, as the bank gets a discount when they buy the goods themselves.
The organization aids the Chicago community in three main ways:
- Soup kitchens to offer fresh meals
- Food pantries to offer non-perishable goods, fresh produce, and nutritional items
- Mobile food sites to reach more people
Analysis of Team Success
After working for several weeks to generate donations, our event took place without any issues and was very successful. We generated donations of almost $2,000 with minimal expenses as outlined below through donors who either participated in our trivia event or those who wanted to support the cause but could not attend virtually. This total donation amount exceeded our expected revenue by over $1,200. 17 individuals participated in the trivia night itself, which was lower than our goal of 30 participants we set during our project proposal; however, our event also received positive feedback from all friends and family who attended. Please see the full details of our financial overview outlined below. Our total expenses for the event were only $100.43 to hire Baig of Tricks and for shipping costs of the prizes we handed out (which were donated from our team).
Some of lessons learned from the event included:
- Simplicity is key when asking for donations – A few of our participants had trouble following the directions of our donation page which caused two of our donations to be made to the charity through their main website and not our donation portal. We were able to receive confirmation of their donations to include in our totals, but it shows that we could have simplified the process to make this clearer.
- More people are willing to contribute than you expect – We found that it was worth reaching out to a wider audience to solicit donations as more connections were willing to add donations than we had planned for. Specifically, many connections who we reached through our social media campaigns were unexpected and lead to our overall donations received exceeding our initial expectations
Advice for Future Teams
- One owner per task helps with decision making – Early on in our project, we had not yet assigned one main owner to each task which lead to slower decision making and unnecessary meetings that could have been eliminated with better foresight. Once we assigned one main owner to have the decision-making capabilities for different components of the project, it improved the efficiency of decisions and improved our overall process workstream.
- Communication is critical. Utilizing Microsoft Team really help our team stay informed and aligned. We also had a text thread for the week of the event which helped ensure we could be notified immediately if anything unexpected were to occur.
Photographs of the event