“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.



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 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.




Junior Council Book Drive – Team 5

Project Description

Our group coordinated a book drive to benefit the patients at the Special Infectious Disease Clinic at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital through the Junior Council. We had two goals when we embarked on our mission. First, to raise as many books as possible for the kids in the Special Infectious Disease clinic of the children’s hospital, ranging from ages 1 to 25, and secondly raising as much awareness as possible for the Junior Council and Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Charity Description

The Junior Council is a 501(c)3 organization comprised of young Chicago-area professionals (75 active members) dedicated to supporting The Special Infectious Disease Clinic at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.  The Junior Council was originally founded in 1988, following the establishment by Dr. Ram Yogev and Dr. Ellen Gould Chadwick of The Children’s Memorial Hospital’s multidisciplinary HIV program (1987).  The Junior Council supports the hospital’s patient care mission of providing high quality healthcare to every child who needs it, regardless their family’s ability to pay.  To date, The Junior Council has raised over one million dollars for Lurie Children’s Hospital. Patients of the Special Infectious Disease Clinic range in age anywhere from newborns up to 25 years old. Typically, they come from underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds, and many lack strong familial guidance. The Junior Council provide these patients with funds for medical treatments and an Adolescent Outreach Coordinator, as well as a Scholarship program and a volunteer Mentorship Program to help guide the patients through their teenage years and beyond.

Analysis of Success

We initially set a benchmark of 150 books. No one in our group had ever coordinated a book drive, and we did not have an idea of what to expect in donations. We ended up with 300 being the target goal, and a high-end goal of 450 we have collected nearly 360 books to date, with about 50 books that are yet to be collected.

We also raised awareness was raised through a Junior Council official letter being placed on boxes in apartment buildings, and every group member sharing the mission of the Junior Council when they received book donations.

Lessons Learned

  • ALWAYS have a backup plan… if your project experiences a challenge, it can be delayed weeks without a pre-planned alternative.
  • To the greatest extent possible, try to eliminate intermediaries in communication channels – three-way communication can take twice as long.
  • Think carefully about tasks: be specific and detailed, and consider the sub-deliverables involved with each broad deliverable. Considering these items beforehand will save you time.


  • Agree on a date and time early, and verify that date works for your charity
  • Think through all logistical hoops you may encounter
  • Rely on your own personal networks, they are willing to help more than you think


Beauty Is In the Eye Of the Bear-Holder!

Project Description

Our group hosted a fundraising event for our partner organization, Bear Necessities, to support their cause to discover a cure for pediatric cancer. Our team utilized our networks to encourage small businesses, corporations, and private donors to “sponsor” a bear for $250. The sponsors were then encouraged to dress up their bear. Utilizing a Facebook event page, we also had a social media campaign that encouraged those not able to donate $250 to donate smaller monetary amounts through the organization’s website.

Sponsors were then invited to display their bears at the celebration event at Bridget McNeill’s Bar & Kitchen on Thursday, May 17th. The evening consisted of a keynote presentation from the charity’s organization representative, Katie Craig and voting for Best Dressed and Crowd Favorite Bear. Winners received certificates of appreciation from Bear Necessities as a thank you for their contribution.





Bear Necessities is a Chicago-based non-profit named in memory of the founder’s son, Barret Krupa, who died after a courageous five and a half year battle with Wilms Tumor, a pediatric cancer. Today, Bear Necessities helps fund research to end pediatric cancer and provides immediate support for children and their families battling the disease.

Analysis of Success

Lessons Learned

Planning Is Key

Our team did not want to rely on the reveal event in order to meet our financial goal. So, we decided to implement two campaigns: sponsorship and online fundraising. The bear sponsorship helped us find donors who would commit early and make up a majority of the funds that were raised. And through social media, we were able to reach friends and family that were not able to donate as much but still wanted to contribute towards our campaign.

Keep It Fun

Our team strove to maintain a positive outlook throughout the entire project. The moment one member felt burdened by the work, other members stepped in to relieve some of the stress and burden. We had some members that were more established in the Chicago community who were able to leverage their personal networks, but we had some members who were more willing to contribute towards writing up the deliverables. The responsibility matrix was extremely helpful when trying to allocate the duties amongst us.

Always Be Prepared

Fortunately for us, our contact representative for our charity was easy to reach and transparent about all activity. There were no miscommunications in terms of what the event was for or what we needed from the charity and vice versa. However, if our team needed confirmation on a task that was time sensitive, we made sure to have a backup contact within the organization just in case and a backup plan if we were not granted that confirmation.


  • Prioritize securing a venue in the beginning
  • Don’t be afraid to leverage personal connections
  • Assign tasks to team members early on
  • Don’t rely on the day-of event for the majority of the fundraising
  • Always have a contingency plan