MBA’s for the Dogs

Project Description

MBA’s for the Dogs Virtual 5K challenge was an event intended to raise funds and awareness for One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue. 2020 has posed many challenges when it comes to hosting social events due to social gathering restrictions to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Therefore, event adaptations needed to be made away from the traditional in-person fundraising events.

Our virtual 5K allowed participants the opportunity to run for our cause on their own time and in their own safe space. The event occurred between August 7 through August 16 allowing participants to complete their 5K on their own time within that span. Whether participants chose to run in the rain or shine, in the morning, lunch or evening, on a treadmill, at a track, through the streets, or through trails, transitioning to a virtual platform helped make participation even more accessible than an in-person event.

We promoted the fundraising event through social media posts including; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. In addition to social media campaigns, we also used our individual networks to send pre-templated e-blasts to recruit additional participants. Since the event lasted for around 10 days, we requested (through social media/email) participants send pictures or posts to our social media (Facebook) event page. This interaction helped add an aspect of fun and continued to enhance our promotion of the event throughout its duration.

Charity Description

Charity Name: One Tail at a Time
Charity Website:
One Tail at a Time is a Chicago based no-kill 501 (c)3 rescue that helps hundreds of families find their new best friend through adoption each year. Their mission is to end pet homelessness by making pet ownership a joyful and accessible experience for all. They accomplish this by rescuing animals from overcrowded shelters, placing them in loving forever homes and providing support and resources to pet owners in need.

One Tail at a Time has been serving the Chicagoland area since 2007. Their growth was, and continues to be, due to the overwhelming support received from the community. In 2019 they helped over 900 dogs find loving, permanent homes.

Analysis of Success Measures

Our group had 4 objectives we sought to meet when planning the event. The four objectives were:

Background regarding estimations for monetary donations raised:
In terms of monetary donations raised, we had estimated a best case scenario of $1,220, a worst case scenario of $140, and a most likely scenario of $660 in donations. The best case estimates were made under the assumption that each team of the 7 team members would recruit 10 people to join the Facebook event, with 80% of those 77 total people (61 people) donating $20 each. In the worst case scenario, each team member was estimated to only recruit 5 people to join the Facebook event (42 total) with 16% of the 42 attendees (7 people) making an average of $20 donations. In the most likely scenario, we estimated $660 in donations from 60% of 56 attendees (33 people) making an average of $20 donations.

Below are the results of our event as it relates to our objectives:


Lessons Learned

Some of the lessons learned were:
• Ensure communication is constant and clear
• Confirm all links and sites for a virtual event are easily accessible for all participants
• Plan out team meetings far in advance to meet deliverable deadlines
• Ensure goals are realistic and can be tracked easily

Advice for Future Teams

• Have fun!
• Pick a charity the group is passionate about
• Time flies so don’t fall behind
• Set a communication schedule early on

Project Photos


Supporting The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Brief description of the project 

Virtual Food Drive

We chose to support a local food depository with a virtual food drive due to the severity of the recent COVID outbreak. We wanted to address the issue of hunger since ancillary charity gifts could be more challenging to collect during times of insecurity. Because of the pandemic risk potentials, we felt safest in espousing online collections with no expectations of physical donations or in-person fundraising. Social media channels were heavily utilized to advertise this initiative, as well as tapping into the team’s network of associates to garner full attention and contribution possibilities.


Brief description of the charity

The Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository was selected due to their assiduous commitment in helping the local needy and their long-time inception, helping the Chicagoland area since 1978. The GCFD is a well-known and respected organization, acting as a control hub for over 700 other food pantries. Millions of people donate to the pantry each year, in 2019 alone they collected over $160M, an astonishing amount of donations and indicative of their strong presence and stalwart donors. The GCFD is also actively pursuing future battles against hunger through initiates like Project Nourish, a plan which expands their cold storage areas and creates additional volunteering spaces.


Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives 

Success Metrics

We looked at funds raised and awareness generated as two measures of success. We used social media “likes”  as a proxy for awareness. We achieved our minimum fundraising goal, but fell short of our awareness target.

Total Dollars received: $1,383.54

  • Minimum amount of online donations – $500
  • Expected amount of online donations – $2,000
  • Maximum amount of online donations – $5,000

Social Medial shares/likes/views: 48 likes

  • Minimum – 50
  • Expected – 150
  • Maximum – 500


Two or three lessons learned about managing projects 

Communication is tough. Especially with virtual teams and no in-person engagement.

Effective communication turned out to be a pretty significant challenge with this project. Setting up group calls, sending emails, and posting shared documents were all done with relative ease. However, the true exchange of information was a bit more of a challenge. Internal group calls often ended up with limited exchanges of opinions or ideas. External communication attempts were less successful than imagined, with the target charity not responding to inquiries and request for donations receiving a lower than expected response.


The WBS can be a great tool. However, a tool is useful if it is used properly.

The WBS helps outline a project and can be used to assign work. However, it is only able to assign work that has been identified. While we developed a WBS at the beginning of the project, by the end of the project it became clear that many items were never really identified or assigned. Implementing the results of the risk plan would have helped the team take actions to be achieve our goal. Regular review would have helped us to understand project status and missing areas. More input from all team members at the onset would have potentially helped identified missing areas, clarify roles and responsibilities, and ultimately helps us hit our goal.


Advice for future teams doing similar projects 

Effective group communication is key.

For a project to succeed to it is greatest potential, it needs to be a collaborative effort. Virtual teams make this difficult, as the energy and engagement from an in-person experience encourage active participation and engagement more than video calls. Discussing ways at the start of the project to ensure everyone shares their opinion and is an active participant as well as making sure there is plan for making sure those who cannot participate are still involved would help with this. Similarly, making the WBS a large group discussion with a virtual whiteboard to would help people better find their true roles in the project, giving them platform to speak from in further discussions.


Project Photos 

Landing Page for our Virtual Food Drive

Virtual Food Drive Results! (We had a few more donations after this was taken)

Dishing Up Hope at Inspiration Cafe

Brief description of the project

Four DePaul Graduate School Students from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business endeavored to raise money and host a community service event in order to give back and help those less fortunate in these difficult times. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the economy and no other group of people have been hit harder than the homeless population. Partnering with a local Chicago charity known as Inspiration Corporation, we raised money to support the charity’s ongoing programs and solicited in-kind donations of food and snacks for our event.

As an additional contribution, we offered to bring in a group of volunteers to Inspiration Corporation’s program site and take on the duties of administering their nutrition assistance program on Saturday, August 15, 2020 so that their staff could take a well-earned day-off. Our duties included everything from preparing and distributing food, to cleaning and sanitizing the space.

Using the food and snacks we received as donations, our volunteers cooked a hot meal and bagged a to-go meal for the homeless population in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The event occurred at the Inspiration Cafe at 4554 N. Broadway as they have kitchen facilities and people in need are familiar with the charity as a place where they can go to get a warm meal and other services.

The Uptown neighborhood is known as a neighborhood where large numbers of people experiencing homelessness and other barriers like mental illness, substance addiction, and physical and mental disabilities reside.

Brief description of the charity

In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing. Inspiration Corporation has been providing free meals to individuals experiencing homelessness, shelters, and transitional housing for over 30 years.

The agency was founded in 1989 by Lisa Nigro, a police officer who was searching for a personal response to the people she encountered on her beat. Lisa borrowed her nephew’s red wagon, filled it with coffee and sandwiches, and pulled it around the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago offering a little dignity and respect to the people she encountered. Over time, the wagon grew into a van, bus, and eventually a full-service cafe, where men and women experiencing homelessness could sit down, order off a menu and be served.

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

The fundraising and event were a huge success! We met the project head on, exceeded our financial goals, distributed more meals than planned and helped many Chicagoans experiencing homelessness have at least one day better than they have had in recent memory. 

  • We raised more than 150% of our goal of $3,000. We ended up with $4,711 in donations raised through a variety of channels including social media, email and phone calls.
  • We received almost $1,000 ($990.84) worth of food donations, including ribs, tofu cups, and potatoes from area food producers.
  • We distributed over 150 meals to 75 people including men, women and children. 
  • Although there were only four members on our project team, we solicited support from others for the day of the event and ended up having nine volunteers help set-up, cook, pass out food, and deep clean the Inspiration Cafe.  

Lessons learned about project management

  • Do not put off the work! Make sure to get your team together to start planning early, and make sure you are meeting deadlines, handing in deliverables, and staying accountable to your team. There is no way we could have done all of this work if we had put off until the actual event. There is a lot to do, but if you take it one day at a time and delegate properly, you should have no problem hitting your milestones. 
  • In the very beginning, set up a recurring day and time for everyone to be on a Zoom or conference call. It is imperative to have regular check-ins to keep your project moving forward.
  • Be thorough with your risk assessment and contingency plans. Several of our risks presented themselves including increased COVID-19 restrictions, a project team member’s first baby, and even rioting in Chicago.
  • Make sure your Work Breakdown Structure is comprehensive and clear, and that it logically connects to your other project planning tools like the Gantt Chart and Risk Matrix.

Advice for future teams doing similar projects

  • Be less concerned with the number of donors you need to reach out and more concerned with the average donation amount. We overestimated the number of donors we’d need and underestimated the amount of each donation. Pick a financial goal and don’t get bogged down with how many people invest. 
  • Don’t over-invest on securing in-kind contributions. We spent too much time tracking down food donations, finding that the logistics around soliciting and handling those contributions was more time intensive than we expected. If we had spent that time soliciting monetary donations, we could probably have made more money than the amount of money the food cost.
  • If your event involves food preparation, make sure to start early on the day of. You can always put things on the warmer for a while, but you can’t serve raw chicken.
  • Schedule all baby births after the event!
  • Try not to do your project during a global pandemic! 
  • Have fun! We had a great time and will remember this project forever!

Camp One Step

Brief description of the project

Our team raised money by taking lump sum donations or by a dollar per mile by the group.  Our virtual event ran from August 1st– 15th.  One Step provided the team with a website that we used to track all funds. We provided awareness to our friends and family through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and email.  We also be used a tracking application as a team called Strava, which One Step has had great success using to track activity and miles. This application can be used with any cell phone device and can be linked to an Apple iWatch, Fitbit, or Garmen.  

Brief description of the charity

Camp OneStep, by Children’s Oncology Services, the goal is to empower children ranging in ages 5-19 who have been diagnosed with cancer to find new hope and to believe they have a brighter future. Camp OneStep has programs ranging from overnight camps, Chicago Day Camps, Ski Program trips, Washington DC Trip, sibling camp, and camps for Families to attend as well. The goal of the camps and adventures is to help a child find new hope as well as forgetting about their cancer diagnosis. 

 Camp One Step is run by Children’s Oncology Services.  Children’s Oncology Services is a local organization in Chicago and pride themselves on being the leader in providing empowering, supportive, educational, and fun experiences to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  They offer 11 different programs throughout the year serving children and families who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, and throughout the Midwest.  Thanks to the numerous volunteers and medical professionals, OneStep can provide medical care and treatment to their campers even away from home.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Camp OneStep was unable to hold its away camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this year.  Instead, they have been hosting online camps for the first time with great success. They have been able to offer camp events from the comfort of the camper’s home. Robin, on our team, has a personal friend that attended camp when they were in 7th grade.  Colleen was 13 years old when she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She beat her diagnoses and is now an advocate for raising awareness for OneStep and the work that they do. 

Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

  •       Financial goal: $2,000
    • Actual: $2,073
  •       Mileage goal: 100
    • Actual: 75


Two or three lessons learned about managing projects

  •       Planning improved execution- helped call out obstacles, leverage team members strengths
  •       Communicate frequently- had weekly zoom meetings and weekly summary email
  •       Immerse yourself and have conviction in your project- having ability to experience the camp first hand allowed the team to convey our passion for helping kids who need a positive empowering experience the most


Advice for future teams doing similar projects

Our advice for other groups is:

  •       Start early- there is a lot of planning that goes into an event, even a virtual fundraiser. Understand that because of the pandemic, people may not have normal schedules, discretionary income to donate, so teams need to be flexible  
  •       Hold each other accountable and communicate- We had a large group and many tasks assigned to each individual person. By making sure team members held others accountable, we were able to smooth out dependency road bumps and successfully implement our plan. We met weekly and was a great way to touch base
  •       Enjoy the experience and have fun! You are here to make a difference in the lives of others and if you have a positive attitude about it, others will be excited as well and will be willing to help with your fundraising goals.