Team RWB Bag Toss

Project Description
Our team decided to host a charity fundraiser Bag Toss Tournament in order to raise awareness in our local communities regarding Team Red, White, and Blue (Team RWB). The event was hosted at American Legion Post 973 in Ravenswood over the Memorial Day weekend. Entrance into the tournament was $10 per participant/ $20 per team, with the winning team receiving a $50 prize and the rest going to the charity. During the event we raised additional funds through a 50/50 raffle. Prior to the event we set up a direct link to Team RWB’s website to collect online donations.

Team Red, White, and Blue is a non-profit Veterans organization that seeks to enrich the lives of American veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Members participate in weekly/bi-weekly local events aimed to promote physical exercise as well as providing a social and support network. Some of the events include but are not limited to running, cycling and other fitness type actives.

Analysis of Success
Our goal was to raise funds for and awareness of Team RWB. Team RWB is the largest veterans organization in the United States though not many vets know about the outreach of this organization. We measured our success in term of how much monetary support we raised. Our initial goal was $500 given the short time frame in which to raise the funds and reviewing what other Team RWB teams have accomplished with previous online donations. Due to the amount of online giving we raised our goal to $1,000. We exceed our modified goal by raising $1,179. Our team is currently the highest grossing online donation team on the RWB website.

Lessons Learned
During the execution of the project, Team Geronimo concurs our primary lessons learned are ensuring the project plan had built in contingencies, delegation / accountability of tasks to meet the overall objective, and communication protocol. The following is a breakdown of each lesson learned:
● P-A-C-E. – This is a military acronym for Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. the two critical areas to focus on early in the planning process are Charity selection and the venue to host the event. As a group, we focused on one charity and as it turned out the charity was great to work with and supported us throughout the processes. If the selected charity did not work out, we would have needed to scramble to identify and coordinate another charity with little time to spare. Next, securing a venue was paramount. We had a venue picked early and were in negotiations about dates but ultimately didn’t work out. We had to restart our search for a second venue a couple weeks into the planning process. Our second attempt at finding a venue applied the PACE plan and took on a multi-prong approach with three venues to choose from. If we had to do it over, we would have approached multiple venues in parallel at on onset of the project.
● Delegation / Accountability – As a large team of seven, it was important to us to outline tasks assign owners for various major deliverables. We learned quickly, first couple of weeks, we needed a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and responsibility matrix to clearly communicate who was responsible for what. We completed the WBS and the responsibility matrix within a couple of weeks of starting the project. Both documents were refined over time and served as team tools to track accountability.
● Communication – Again, with having a large team, communication becomes very important in order to keep the plans moving forward. We operated with three forms of communication: WhatsApp group chat for day to day communications, group emails for longer conversations and attachments, and Google Docs where we kept all our deliverables. In hindsight we should have also developed a communications plan early in the process to document frequency and which channel was used. We learned quickly and that helped. We could have avoided a few miss-steps in the beginning and end of the project with communication if a comms plan was developed early.

Set realistic expectations for your project, but don’t be afraid to reach for higher goals
Networking is key, so invite everyone you know
Don’t be afraid to ask for volunteers/donations, etc. The worst they can say is no.
At times when the project becomes stressful, keep in mind that this is a learning experience and you are bringing real support to a worthy cause.




“Mulligans for Misericordia” was an event at Play 18, an indoor golf facility on Wabash in the Loop, on Saturday, May 19th from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The benefactor for this event is Misericordia House of Chicago. Our decision to host the event at Play18 was due to a variety of factors, including the venue’s offering of a space that can hold up to 200 people (note: our maximum projection is 100 attendees) as well as various additional activities including: 4 PGA Tour simulators, driving bays, pool tables and a bar. In addition to proceeds from the revenue generated by each $50 ticket sold to the event, we originally planned to have a small silent auction that we hoped would further the net contribution we were going to be able to provide to Misericordia., however we ultimately held the longest drive and closest to the pin contests to award prizes. We were able to surpass our target donation amount of $1,000 and ultimately provided a donation of $1,275. We also aimed to raise awareness for Misericordia by helping promote the organization, and our goal was to increase Facebook followers by at least 20 individuals. Over the duration of our project, Misericordia’s “Likes” increased by 63, a number that we acknowledge cannot be solely attributed to our efforts, but we are confident we were responsible for at least twenty of these.



Charity Name Misericordia Home


Founded originally in1921, as a maternity hospital for women of meager means. In1954, Misericordia transitioned and began recognizing an even greater need in society—helping young children with developmental and physical disabilities. Misericordia now offers a spectrum of residential options on its 31-acre Chicago campus and in the community for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities Misericordia currently serves more than 600 children and adults from diverse racial, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

Misericordia’s mission statement:

“The mission of Misericordia Heart of Mercy is to support children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who choose our community by providing the highest quality residential, training, and employment services. We provide the full continuum of care designed to meet each person’s changing needs and maximize his or her independence, self-determination, interpersonal relationships, and engagement in the community. Through our dedicated families, employees, volunteers, supporters and community networks, we offer an environment that fosters each person’s spirituality, dignity, respect, and quality of life.”


Our team had two goals at the beginning of the project. First, we wanted to raise awareness about Misericordia and the work they do in the community. Secondly, our team aimed to raise $1,000 to donate to Misericordia. To spread the word about our charity we created a Facebook page and an Eventbrite page that had information about Misericordia and our event. During the actual event, we were provided with several informational pamphlets that we place around the venue. We also were fortunate enough to have a few current residents at Misericordia come to our event and one of them, Christopher, gave a fantastic speech about his experiences with Misericordia. While it is difficult to quantify the impact Christopher’s speech had, we felt it was very impactful and truly left a positive impression for those who were in attendance.

Financially, our only expense was the $1,000 to rent out Play 18. To hit our goal, we needed to raise $2,000. We planned to sell tickets initially at a $50 price and then reduce the price to $25 the day of the event to attract the maximum amount of attendees. Originally we planned to host a silent auction to diversify our revenue streams, but the logistics did not work out, so we pivoted. Instead of auctioning off the items provided by Misericordia we designed a long drive and closest to the pin challenge. These contest offered a fun incentive for people to come and increase our ticket sales. Our team was able to sell enough tickets in the weeks before our event date of May 19th to break-even, so we knew heading into the week of the event that any additional sales would go directly to our charity. The final tally on tickets sold came in at 30 for a total of $1,125 raised. We received a handful of generous donations as well for an additional $1,150 to make our grand total $2,275. That meant we had achieved our goal and raised $1,275 in contributions for Misericordia.



  1. Maintain active communication: One useful project management activity we implemented was regular weekly meetings. There were many moving parts to the project, so meeting weekly was an excellent method to avoid any surprises and to keep up to date. We also had a group email that allowed us to be in constant communication with each other.


  1. Planning: An area of improvement was planning. We set our event date relatively early in the quarter, which only left a few weeks to confirm a location, market, and generate sales for the event. We confirmed the reservation at Play18 on May 7th, which gave us a little less than two weeks to raise at minimum $1,000. While we were successful, we acknowledge that if possible we should utilize longer planning periods.



The first piece of advice our team has for future teams is to use your time wisely. With only two months to plan, sell, and host the event you need to make sure to regularly meet with your team to make sure you are on the right track. It can be tempting to relax the first few weeks, but that is really the time your team needs to flush out the idea. Next, always be communicating. Figure out what method works best for the team and go with it. Our team found an email thread to be a quick and efficient way to keep up to date.

Another piece of advice is to have contingency plans. As the event date approaches things can fall through. Having even the most basic backup plan can make things go much smoother as opposed to trying to figure it out on the spot. Another thing to consider is staying organized.  There were contracts, ticket sales, and donations that were very important to keep track of. Lastly, be positive and have fun. This is especially important because you are part of a team. Maintaining an optimistic and enthusiastic attitude can help you get the most out of the project.



Happy Hour for Charity!- Mercy Home for Boys and Girls

Project Description and Charity:

Our team conducted a Happy Hour for Charity event to benefit Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Our group formed largely due to the fact that we all were interested in conducting a similar type of event. Based on our reviews of previous projects, we felt that holding a happy hour event would be fun and productive way to raise funds and spread awareness for a charity. For this event we had a $40 Wristband that included unlimited wine, beer, & appetizers for 2 hours at Liqrbox in Rivernorth. Once we figured out our venue, we then needed to pick a charity for our project. After briefly discussing a few options, we quickly decided to pick Mercy Home as our charity because one of our members already had a connection to the charity and a relationship with their volunteer coordinator. We felt that this would be a huge benefit to our project. Founded in 1887 and located at 1140 West Jackson in Chicago, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls helps youth escape poverty, abuse, and neglect.

Analysis of Success:

Our goal was to spread awareness and raise money for Mercy Home Boys and Girls. We decided to set the following goals for our project- raise $600 from our happy hour event, raise $500 from our online donation link, have at least 5 of our event guests fill out volunteer forms for Mercy, and spread awareness for the work done by Mercy. We fell a little short on our first two goals by only raising $500 and $300 respectively, but we were able to meet and exceed our other two goals by effectively spreading awareness for Mercy as well as obtaining 15 completed volunteer forms. We may have slightly overestimated our fundraising goals given the early timing of our event and the fact that our team only had four members. It was still rewarding to be able to donate these funds and volunteer forms to Mercy as well as inform them of the awareness we had spread for their cause.

Lessons Learned:

Organization:  Luckily our group was able to coordinate and plan everything without any issues, with that being said it was because we were very organized. Our team was in constant contact through texting, emails, and google docs. It was very easy to have a successful event because we had open communication.

Time: Since our event was early in the quarter it was important for us to communicate and make sure everything was done in a timely manner. Finding a venue and selecting which one we liked had to be done very fast. Everything that we did was time sensitive so it was a good way for us to learn how to manage our time and gets things done efficiently. 


  • Work effectively!
  • Make a timeline
  • Set deadlines
  • Communicate efficiently
  • Have a good time!


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.



Barcade Benefit for Heartland Housing

The Project

For our fundraiser, we held an event at Emporium, an adult arcade located in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. To raise funds, Emporium donated tokens free of charge and allowed us to sell them to bar patrons. At the end of the night, the agreement was to take the proceeds from sales and close out the drink ticket tab; we also paid a 15% gratuity to the bar staff.

We structured our prices as follows, with our take from bags sold being $4:

  • $10 – 1 drink ticket worth $6 and $5 worth of arcade game tokens
  • $4 – $5 worth of arcade game tokens

In addition to selling tokens and drink tickets, Emporium allowed us to bring food into the venue to sell to patrons. We secured 2 20-inch pizzas as donations from Dante’s and sold slices for $5 per piece.

We purchased a Square card reader for a nominal charge, so we were able to accept cash, cards, and VenMo at the event (note for future teams:  Square charges a small percentage fee per transaction).

With this project, we were able to create value for everyone involved, with patrons saving $1 per bag and donating to charity, our team making $4 per bag to donate to our charity, and Emporium benefiting from the sale of drinks to patrons who likely would not otherwise be there on a Thursday night.

Prior to and during the event, we also accepted donations online through a page set up by Heartland Alliance.

The Charity

We chose to work with Heartland Housing, a division of Heartland Alliance, as the benefactor of our event. Heartland Housing was established in 1988 and develops and manages sustainable, innovative and high-quality affordable housing so that the most vulnerable can live with dignity. They house seniors, veterans, people with AIDS, homeless and near-homeless single people and families, ex-offenders, and workers, all who need an affordable, stable place to call home. Safe, decent, and affordable housing is key to a person’s economic security, and unstable housing can catalyze poverty and homelessness.

As a member of Heartland Alliance, Heartland Housing comes from a rich history of social service. Heartland Alliance was formed in Chicago in 1888 by Jane Addams, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and widely recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. The Alliance is active in over 100 communities in 12 countries, directly helps 400,000, and impacts over 7 million through advocacy and policy change. In 2016 alone the Alliance housed over 30,000 people.

Analysis of our success

Our goals for this event were to raise funds and awareness for Heartland Housing. We estimated our total proceeds as follows:

  • $300 on the low end
  • $1000 on the high end
  • $600 as a realistic donation

At the event itself, we raised $433.39 after expenses (gratuities and payment for drink tickets). We also raised $210 in the form of online donations, for a total just above our realistic expectations, $643.39.

Project Management Lessons Learned

Scope Creep is real – When our event was planned, each member of the team continued to think of ideas to make it more effective. Some of these were a net positive and fit with the mission (e.g. selling bags of tokens without drink tickets for those who either want drinks that cost more than $6 or do not drink; providing food for sale to patrons who might enjoy it with their beverages), while some did not (e.g. inviting patrons to bring their dogs to the event; having a silent auction taking place throughout the event).

Role Creep is also real – Our team coined this term to describe the phenomenon of one of the team members who was not the project manager taking on a large role for the planning and execution of the event. In project management, an effective project manager must keep tasks on schedule and know when (and when not to) step in and help. Since this was a passion project for one of our team members, that person had no problem serving as the main point of contact for the charity and bar, while our project manager ensured deadlines were met.

Through all the planning, life is happening – A few days before our event, our main point of contact at the bar had a family emergency arise and needed to leave town. Fortunately, we were able to get in contact with a new point of contact and confirm everything was a go. However, the lesson applies to other projects, as one cannot predict when something unforeseen will arise.

Advice for future teams

Make sure when planning your event to step outside your comfort zones and sell the event to people, not just in your immediate circle, but also people in the neighborhood, friends of friends, etc. If we had not passed out fliers at the public transportation stops in the area, our attendance turnout would have been substantially lower.

Talk to local businesses to receive donations, whether cash or other items. Just by asking, we were able to get the food for our event donated, and also did not have to pay for event space. The worst that can happen is they say no.

Team 2 – Live Like Roo

Our group organized a series of service events and fundraisers in support of the Live Like Roo Foundation. Our team participated in a service event and fundraiser to help raise awareness and monetary donations for the Live Like Roo Foundation.


The Live Like Roo Foundation was founded by president Sarah Lauch.  Sarah rescued a dog named Roosevelt (Roo) at Chicago Animal Care and Control. He was an abused dog who was having issues urinating. While getting dental work it was discovered that Roo had cancer, and it was not curable.

Sarah decided to give Roo the life he deserved and set up a bucket list for him.  Unbeknownst to her, Roo’s bucket list went viral and all across the United States people supported Sarah while taking care of Roo. People donated money and items for Roo’s last couple months of life. About five months into to Roo’s new life he sadly passed away.

Sarah saw an opportunity to help families cope with the same feelings she was experiencing.  She decided to start the Live Like Roo Foundation. The foundation provides care packages to the families of dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer.  She also provides families with financial assistance to help offset the cost of medical care for their dog.

Each care package contains a hand-tied fleece blanket, several toys, dog treats, and a McDonald’s gift card (Roo loved McDonald’s cheeseburgers and ice cream). Sarah packages and sends each box herself. Her home is her office for the Live Like Roo Foundation. With the help of the foundation’s board members, volunteer committees, and friends of the organization, Sarah holds fundraisers and service events throughout the year.

Cinco De Tie-O

Our group participated in a service event, “Cinco de Tie-O” at Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern. The event was organized as a way for the charity to quickly tie and prepare fleece blankets that the organization could use for care packages provided to families and their dogs.  Our goal was to assist the organization as volunteers and promote the event. We were tasked with tying fleece blankets, promoting the event, and assisting with “day of” logistics including greeting guests, setting up tying stations, and handing out food to those that participated.

Tennis Ball Campaign

In addition to the service event, we also organized a brand awareness campaign for the charity. We took branded tennis balls (marked with #LiveLikeRoo) and set out to local parks to hand out the tennis balls and talk about the organization.

We distributed the tennis balls at the following Chicagoland locations:

  • Harrison Park
  • Pattawattomie Park/Rogers Park
  • Pooch Park
  • Champaign Bark District
  • Logan Boulevard
  • Lincoln Park/Belmont Dog Beach

In addition to handing out tennis balls, we also ran a social media campaign to raffle off a shirt created by the organization. To win the shirt, participants had to post a picture on social media of their dog and a #LikeLikeRoo tennis ball. Once the campaign ended, we selected a winner and sent the T-Shirt to them.


We had two channels to raise money for the organization – Facebook and the charity website. Each day our group would share our fund-raising campaign asking our friends and family to donate to Live Like Roo via Facebook or on the company site.  Also, we obtained a company match from Cboe Global Markets.

Goals and Achievements:

Our goal was to raise money and awareness for Live Like Roo.   We measured our success by the amount of money we were able to raise and the amount of awareness.

Our starting goals were the following:

  • Raise $500 via Facebook Fundraiser Campaign
  • Raise $250 via the LikeLikeRoo Website
  • Obtain a company match
  • Increase awareness by 20 people
  • Generate Donations at the Cinco de Tie-O Event
  • Attract 10 participants to volunteer at the Cinco de Tie-O Event

Our final achievements were:

  • Raised $1700 dollars via the Facebook Campaign (59 donations and 91 shares)
  • Raised $500 via the LiveLikeRoo Website
  • Obtained at $200 company match
  • Increased awareness by 160 people (Tennis Ball Event + Volunteers)
  • Distributed 250 tennis balls
  • Attracted 10 participants to volunteer at the Cinco de Tie-O Event
Event Expected Cost
(group out of pocket)
Expected Revenue Actual Cost Actual Revenue
Cinco de Tie-O $20 (per group member) $250 N/A $0
Tennis Ball Event N/A N/A N/A N/A
Facebook Fundraiser N/A $500 N/A $1,700
Live Like Roo website fundraiser N/A $250 N/A $500
Company Match N/A TBD N/A $200
GRAND TOTAL $0 $1000 $0 $2,400


Lessons Learned & Advice

Time is an integral component to any project: it defines the groups ability to establish requirements and fulfill them. Additionally, more lead time before event allows for a more organized establishment of requirements and goals and, in managing an event, can be a correlated against volunteers​ and resources you are able to pool. Ultimately, it’s important to understand early on in a project that you need time to plan, market and throw your event. Even though we met our goal, we still wish we could have brought more volunteers to the event. The class is short, but people have plans. Make sure to get marketing as soon as possible.

Risk management plan only helps for risks you think about​. You cannot plan for everything but try to think of all the possibilities before they spring up. You will want to get out in front of any potential issues and establish contingencies in the event that certain requirements for your event are not or have to be adjusted to fit what you are to attain in the initial requirement’s place. You should have a Plan B.

In addition to being able to plan ahead for potential gaps and alternatives, it is incredibly important to establish, to fruition, your set of requirements in each phase of the event. The clearer your goals and requirements for the event are established at the onset, the less likely you are to fall prey to something called scope creep, wherein your requirements begin to balloon and get out of manageable control. Establishing your goals and requirements at the start and plotting the required components to achieve those goals and requirements is very important in this way. It allows for your group to work in a controlled and comprehensible environment.

Cubs Charities – Team 4

Project overview: Our project was a fundraising event to support Cubs Charities. It was held on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Houndstooth Saloon in Wrigleyville. We hosted a happy hour event which included a wristband deal with drinks and appetizers, as well as a raffle with prizes that included Cubs tickets, an AMC movie package, personal training sessions, World Series replica rings, and more. Our goal was to raise $1000 for Cubs Charities while also spreading awareness about the organization.

Charity: Cubs Charities serves the Chicagoland community and has granted more than $20 million to non-profit organizations since 1991. It provides increased access to health and fitness to at risk populations through partnerships with demonstrated results. Some of the non-profit organizations include Big Brothers Big Sisters and Ronald McDonald House.

Factual Analysis: We set monetary and awareness goals. We set a Facebook donation page goal of $1,000.  This was a lofty goal in order to encourage more people to donate and make larger donations.  We were able to raise $650 in online donations. Although we did not meet our goal, we still considered what we raised a success. In addition, we aimed to raise an additional $500 at the event through raffle ticket sales and wristband packages. We raised $325 in ticket sales and $130 from wrist bands, thus coming very close to our goal.  For event attendance, we aimed to have at least 20 people attend our event, and we exceeded this goal with over 30 people in attendance. In total, we raised $1,180. The McCormick Foundation (who works with Cubs Charities) matched half of our proceeds, thus bringing the grand total to $1,770.

Lessons Learned:

Communication is key: Our team communicated frequently via email, Google drive, and text. We constantly kept each other updated on project details to stay on track. Make sure everyone is on the same page so that your project runs smoothly.

Stay organized: We used a work breakdown structure and responsibility matrix to work out the details of the project and keep each other accountable. Everyone had a responsibility and nothing fell threw the cracks that could potentially derail our project. Both of these tools were imperative for our success.

Advice for Future Teams: Secure a venue and charity ASAP! You will be surprised how hard it can be to get in contact with the right person. Try to think of potential risks in mind when considering venue: indoor/outdoor space and weather, “fit” with charity, location, etc.

Reach out to people directly for donations and for their attendance. If you send blast emails and invite your entire Facebook friends list, you’re less likely to get people to donate/attend as opposed to if you reach out to them directly. We wrote a form email that we could all share with our friends, family, and work networks to promote the event and request online donations. Don’t be afraid to reach out for donated items for your raffle: all of our items were donated allowing us to donate all funds we took in.

Have fun! As a group we wanted to plan an event everyone would enjoy and work with a charity and type of event we felt connected to, making planning and the final event a fun night with new friends 🙂



Team 1: Greater Chicago Food Depository

Description of the project

We worked on a service project with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The objectives of the project were to host a virtual food drive ‘A Plate of Cheer’ and to take a group of 15 volunteers for one of their repack sessions.  The team had an initial meeting with the charity on May 4, when we also helped repack brown rice. The team repacked approximately 1,239 lbs of rice. Total volunteer hours were 17.25 hrs. This session helped us understand how the volunteer repack session operates. On May 7 we set up the virtual food drive that ended on May 28th. Our target was to raise a minimum of $500 through the virtual food drive. Each dollar contributed would provide 3 meals. The virtual food drive raised $923.67. This amount translates to 3,325 lbs of food and 2,771 meals.

In the second volunteer event on May 25, we had a target of 15 volunteers. We only managed to get 12 volunteers. We repacked a total of 1,580 lbs of pasta and the total volunteer time was 33 hrs. We raised awareness about the charity, our virtual food drive and the volunteer event by sharing details about our project on social media, putting posters on campus and by connecting with our contacts in person, through emails and calls.

Description of the charity

The Greater Chicago Food Depository has been providing food for the hungry since 1979, across Cook County. It does this in partnership with 700 agencies and programs. These include pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and responses for children, older adults and veterans. Their impact led to their recognition as one of the leading charities in Chicago. In 2017, they distributed 72 million pounds of food, an average of 164,000 meals per day. This was with the help of 22,800 volunteers who help with the repackaging of the food.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

Task Goal Achieved
Virtual Food Drive Raise $500 $923.67
25 May Volunteer Event 15 Volunteers 12 Volunteers
  1. Most of our donations came from our networks. We worked hard on promoting our project to our friends, and the result was good because our friends generously donated to the cause.
  2. Having a previous volunteer event for team members to familiarise themselves with the process of the event was helpful for when recruiting volunteers for our main event. We were better able to explain the volunteer event to prospective volunteers.
  3. Team members were willing to work together and enjoyed and worked towards making both the volunteer events and the fundraiser, a success.

Lessons learned about managing projects

  • Finalize Charity as soon as possible. We spent a couple of weeks finalizing the charity that we wanted to work with. The response from the charity we had selected previously took time and we kept on waiting for them to respond. Since this first step got delayed, all the other things like event ideas and planning kept on getting delayed too.
  • Leverage personal & professional connections. All the responses that we received whether for our volunteer event or virtual food drive was from our personal and professional contacts. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.
  • Explain expectations to the volunteers/attendees. Getting volunteers was a challenging task as the event was on a Friday morning and far from the city. A couple of volunteers signed up but couldn’t make it as they didn’t consider the time commitment and travel distance while signing up. Setting the expectations right while recruiting the volunteers could have avoided the last minute cancellations.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

  • Before finalizing which charity to work with, spend time contacting different charities and the possible events that you can do for them. Consider the amount of support that you are getting from the charity in terms of marketing support, speaker availability for the event if applicable etc. Finalize the charity once you have all these details. Don’t finalize just because a charity said they are interested in working with you too. The first charity we contacted was very interested in working with us but denied to provide any support in terms of marketing or speaker needs for the event.
  • Use your network. Reach out your personal and professional contacts, and they may surprise you.
  • Follow up the progress of the project and make sure everything is on the track.




Cradles to Crayons – Team 3

Description of Project
Our project was composed of three major aspects:

•A 2-hour volunteer event at Cradles to Crayons Chicago’s the Giving Factory. At this volunteer event, volunteers would aid the charity in cleaning and sorting of donated items that would eventually be donated to children in need.

•Donation drive to collect items from friends, family, classmates, and colleagues to support Cradles to Crayons, as well as a direct online item donation through Cradles to Crayons’ Amazon wish list.

•Monetary donation collected through a company-sponsored snack cart donation at one of the team members’ company.


Description of Charity
The charity that we chose was Cradles to Crayons, a 501(C)(3) organization that was started in Boston in 2002, expanding to Philadelphia in 2006, and then finally to Chicago in 2016. Cradles to Crayons provides children with the essentials that they need. Donated items are collected through the local community, which volunteers and staff process, clean, and package to be delivered to the children. One of the mottos on the wall at their Giving Factory in Chicago is Quality = Dignity, meaning that children are given items that are in good condition, like-new, and high quality so that they can have dignity when receiving them, despite their circumstances. The packages that are packed at the Giving Factory are then distributed to children in need through different service partners including schools, nonprofit organizations, and state agencies. The items that are most sought out include clothing, shoes, toys, diapers, bedding, towels, books, car seats, and strollers.


Factual Analysis
Our team had set four major objectives to measure the success of our project. These goals were:

5 Volunteers
•We surpassed this goal by recruiting a total of 11 volunteers for our volunteer event.

25 Kid Packs packed
We surpassed this goal by 200, for a total of 225 Kid Packs packed. This was the result of several other volunteer groups being present on the day of the volunteer event.

$200 in monetary donations from the snack cart
We surpassed this goal by raising a total of $300 from the snack cart.

100 items donated to Cradles to Crayons
We surpassed this goal with a total of 482 items donated to Cradles to Crayons.


Lessons Learned
Our team learned several lessons:

Select a Charity that has support.
Local charities have more favorable support from local venues.
•Find a cause & charity that potential volunteers would be willing to support with time and/or money.

Have a risk management plan from the beginning
There are many potential obstacles that can come up when trying to plan an event to support a charity.
•Be prepared for the unexpected and have a contingency plan or two.

Have a responsibility matrix and communicate within team.
A responsibility matrix ensures the team knows who is responsible for specific tasks that must be done and holds the team members accountable.
•Finding a method of communication that works efficiently for the team can resolve any issues that may come up. Without communication, the team cannot make progress and precious time is lost.

The project manager needs to lead and guide.
The project manager needs to keep everyone on track and accountable for tasks that need to be complete, coordinates different aspects of the project, and most importantly communicates with the team about what needs to get done next in order for the project to progress on schedule.


Advice for Future Teams
Don’t fall in love with the team’s first idea, be flexible and open to change because not everything goes the way you want them to.
•Find charities and causes that the entire team can rally around because this will allow the team to put a more active effort in doing the best for the organization by sharing a common goal.
•Manage time well because ten weeks may seem like a long time, but time flies by when you are organizing your project.
•Make sure the team is always communicating and make sure everyone knows what tasks need to be completed and who is responsible for them.
•Have fun and enjoy the process as much as the event.



Team 5 WINGS Fundraiser

Project Details

The charity we choose was WINGS Program Incorporated. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting individuals and families affected by domestic violence in the Chicagoland Metropolitan area. They currently have 47 houses and apartments throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area. WINGS provide resources such as emergency safe housing, transitional housing, food, and clothing as well as counseling and planning services to families. For a client to stay one night at one of the safe houses, it costs $75 per day, per client. WINGS operate two emergency shelters, one which recently opened in the Southwest Chicago area called “WINGS Metro” which is one of the first safe houses to open in Chicago within a decade; we decided to focus on raising funds for this location. To raise money and awareness for WINGS Metro, we decided to hold an event at Hawkeyes Bar & Grill. At the event, we held a raffle where people could win Apple Products and Sox VIP tickets. Representatives from the organization attended the event to advise everyone about the organization. Two weeks prior to the event, we started a GoFundMe page where we accumulated over $1,900. In total, we raised $2,690, which includes 10% of sales made at Hawkeyes Bar & Grill during the event. Our overall goal was to raise $1,200, which we doubled.

Lessons Learned:

Pick a Charity you Buy into: This is a project you will be working on for the next 8-10 weeks and there is nothing better than to contribute to a charity that you’re emotionally invested in! If you pick a charity and quickly find out you and your team are not necessarily invested in it, it is worth it to take extra time to truly figure out what charity will work better.
Communication: It is very important that early on your team figures out the best way of communication and frequency for everyone. Clearly communicate tasks and initiatives so each member is on the same page.

Positivity: This is probably the first time that you and many of your teammates are doing an event of such nature. In all honesty, how you approach this project will either make the group or break it. Yes, you will have disagreements and yes you will all hit walls, but how you approach this situation is what matters. I can’t highlight how important it is to have a positive attitude throughout this project.

Be Open: You enter this project with preset ideas in terms of how you communicate, execute and plan. Be open to new ideas. You will be surprised how much resources your team has, and this could be a learning opportunity for everyone involved.

● Have fun!
● You can never have too many contingencies
● Communicate with your team regularly
● If raising money, really communicate with your charity and be very clear on why people should contribute to your charity- talking points help