Miles That Matter Walk-a-thon

The Project 

Our team sponsored a two-week challenge leveraging Tyson Foods’ Miles that Matter program to solicit protein donations to the NWA Food Bank. The challenge began on 5/15 and ended 5/30. We targeted Tyson employees, friends, and family to log their miles/exercise equivalents for two weeks. The two-week challenge is also a triple-mile event, meaning that Tyson will donate 3x the protein of our logged exercise (ex. three pounds donated for one mile walked). Our goal was to donate 10,000 pounds of protein based on 3,333 miles or exercise equivalents logged. Our goal was 10,000 pounds because this is the minimum amount needed for Tyson to cover the transportation and delivery of the donation.  Anything below that amount would require the food pantry to be responsible for donation pickup.

The Charity 

Proceeds benefited the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank (NWA Food Bank), who works to distribute food to those who are food insecure in the community while forming strong relationships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and others in the community who share the passion to end hunger in Northwest Arkansas. The NWA Food Bank is one of six Feeding America Food Banks in Arkansas, whose desire is for healthy food to reach the kitchen tables of our neighbors as quickly as possible. The NWA Food Bank currently has more than 135 partner agencies ranging from food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and many more.

Analysis of Success Measures

  • Secure 120 participants for the event.
  • 10,000 pounds target allows us to utilize the Tyson fleet to deploy the donation.
  • Solicit $100 in donations for NWA Food Bank (our primary focus was the Walk-a-thon)

Goals for Miles That Matter Walk-a-thon

Best Case:

Average of 25 participants per team member (175 participants total)

Average of 2 miles per day per participant over a 14-day period

175 participants x 14 days x 2 miles/day = 4,900 miles (14,700 LBs of protein)

Worst Case:

10 participants per team member (70 participants total)

Average of 2 miles per participant over a 14-day period

70 participants x 14 days x 2 miles/day = 1,960 miles (5,880 LBs of protein)

Most Likely:

Target 120 participants

Average of 17 participants per team member

Average of 2 miles per day per participant over a 14-day period

120 participants x 14 days x 2 miles/day = 3,360 miles (10,080 LBs of protein)

Final Mileage & Results

A total of 18,585 miles were logged that resulted in a donation of 40,000 pounds of protein valued at $103,736.  To be respectful of the Miles That Matter team and donation recipients a maximum of 40,000 pounds of protein, equivalent to one truckload (18,585 miles would have equated to 55,755 pounds of protein).

Due to the unexpected surplus protein donation, we donated to both NWA Food Bank and the West Pullman community in Chicago.

The West Pullman community on Chicago’s South Side received a donation of 20,000 pounds of protein on Saturday June 6, 2021.  Team Members were in attendance to distribute cases of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage Links and Ball Park Hot Dogs valued at $59,533.

NWA Food Bank received 10,000 pound protein donation on June 9, 2021, valued at $19,203. The remaining 10,000 pounds of protein will be donated to NWA Food Bank at a to be determined date (based on their freezer capacity) valued at approximately $25,000.

There was a total of 357 participants that averaged 52.06 miles throughout the event.

There was also a total of $120 in-kind donation to the NWA Food Bank.

Lessons Learned

  1. Set and follow targets and deadlines, employing the use of the Gannt chart and other Project Management tools.
  2. Have agendas for meetings and take minutes in a shared document.
  3. Be aware of how much can change can occur from even a small amount of scope creep.

Advice for Future Teams

  • Using templates when sending communications out saves time and creates a uniform message across different communication channels (e-mails, social networks, others).
  • Be in constant communication with the team. Do not commit to something without involving all key stakeholders.
  • Build relationships with charity and donors sponsors.

Blessings in a Backpack

Blessings in a Backpack Fundraiser


We hosted a “Virtual Packing Event” online fundraiser for Blessings in a Backpack. Our initial goal was “packing” 500 bags with an initial fundraising goal of $2,000 (a cost per bag of $4). Donations received for this online fundraiser will cover costs to provide prepacked bags of weekend food to supplement week-day meals that Chicago kids are receiving through other community resources. Blessings in a Backpack created an online donation portal for us through which donors could give and see progress towards our goal.

Additionally, to coincide with the money being raised via the Virtual Packing Event, we organized a notecard drive to create positive notecards that will be attached to the bags of food for the children and will provide them with positive words of encouragement over the weekend. Our goal was to collect 250 handmade notecards.


Blessings in a Backpack is a national organization made up of seven regional chapters and more than 1,000 volunteer-driven programs. Their mission is preventing childhood hunger on the weekends for the kids who need us most. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. ”

We chose to support Blessings in a Backpack because ~18 Million kids are expected to face hunger due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Tyson Foods employees, we looked for a cause to see “how much good food can do.”

Analysis of Success

Lessons Learned

  • Find a worthy cause that everyone on the team feels passionately about. We spent extra time up front to choose the right charity and fundraiser. We felt behind in the moment, but it paid off later when we didn’t have to tweak anything while we were executing.
  • Meet early and often to keep everything on track! A team member got married during the quarter and our presentations were the week of the Memorial Day holiday. Had we not started meeting earlier on in the project we could have easily fallen behind.
  • Leverage team members individual strengths. We leaned into what our teammates were good at or volunteer to do- everyone was way more engaged, and we didn’t feel like we needed to chase anyone around to get their part done.

Advice for Future Teams

  • Don’t be afraid to aim high. Your goals should be realistic with some optimism baked in. You do not want to sandbag or express a lack of confidence in your project.
  • Don’t start your fundraiser before the Risk Plan is due/complete. It’s tempting to get a jump on the fundraiser by starting early but you don’t want to be identifying risks as you are experiencing them.
  • Take your time on the WBS, Gantt Chart and Responsibility Matrix. If you put the work in on those you will have every deliverable mapped out and protect from scope creep. Avoid emergency meetings to address a deliverable that was not accounted for. The upfront investment saved our team so much time later.

Paws for LLS

The Project

Under the current circumstances of COVID-19, the team wanted to raise funds and create awareness for a charity in a virtual setting. The team decided to create awareness through social media posts and emails as well as create a platform for raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lymphoma is the 7th most common cancer diagnosed in humans and the most common cancer diagnosed in dogs. Because of these facts, it made a common point that the team could relate to and had passion for supporting. To drive awareness of the organization we requested participants to post photos with their pets using the phrase ‘Show us your paws!’ We were also able to raise funds by sharing our link to a GoFundMe platform.

The Charity

The charity event will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS’ mission is to fight and cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. They have been around since 1949 and have funded nearly 200 research grants around the world, accounting for roughly $1.3 billion in blood cancer research. Through their research, LLS has discovered that humans and dogs are 85% genetically identical and respond to cancer similarly. Because of this, LLS puts their research for a cure towards both humans and dogs.

Analysis of Success Measures

Increase awareness for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Best case: 3,000

Most likely: 2,000

Worst Case: 1,000

Actuals: 6,325

Raise funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Best case: $2,500

Most likely: $1,600

Worst Case: $1,000

Actuals: $2,617

Lessons Learned

  • Personal Connection
    • We chose a project that had a personal connection within our group.
    • Helped to motivate our team and to reach our audience!
  • Reach vs Conversion
    • We found that many of our donations came with personal messages from the donors about the impact to them.
    • We also saw significant reach on social media posts that did not receive the same conversion rate to donations as the pet community focused posts.
  • Have Fun!
    • As we moved through the project steps, we tried to maintain a fun atmosphere within our team and to communicate to our audience.

Advice for Future Teams

  • Establishing a clear communication plan in the beginning of the project is crucial. Deciding on the cadence of team meetings and finding a time that works for everyone’s schedules will help mitigate communication and deadline issues.
  • A responsibility matrix is also critical as it will allow the team to effectively manage their time apart to complete their tasks.