Team SaMBA

Our team chose to host a fun day of games, food, and friendship to support the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society at Dave & Busters in Addison, IL.  Admission to the event was $30 for adults and $20 for children.  The package included unlimited soda, assorted appetizers, unlimited video games, and $5 towards ticketed games.  Prior to the event, our team collected over 40 various silent auction and raffle items including a signed Isaiah Thomas basketball, Blackhawks tickets, various gift cards, car wash coupon books, spa services, snowboards, and other household goods.  Our initial goal was to raise $750 at the door and $500 from auction and raffle items; we exceeded our goal and raised over $6,000, with online donations continuing to roll in.


To solicit donations, several group members used personal and professional connections to get silent auction and raffle items. We also went door-to-door to businesses and sent emails to others that were found online to request donations; the door-to-door method was fairly successful, though email requests were mostly denied.  By gathering approximately 50 silent auction items, our team far surpassed our original projection.


Though our actual attendance of 85 only surpassed our projection of 75 guests by about 13%, we were surprised by the generosity seen through $1,467 in online donations, $2,210 in silent auction sales, ticket sales, and additional donations given at the event. We beat our total estimated receipts by approximately 400%, and made our personal network and staff from the National MS Society take notice. Through Evite, alerts sent from the DIY fundraiser website, and personal emails, we were able to reach out to over 500 people, spread awareness about Multiple Sclerosis, our goals for the project, and solicit donations and interest for the event. We also created flyers that were posted and distributed in many arenas, but unfortunately this effort did not seem to create additional attendance. The majority of our attendees were friends and family (especially Jeff’s)!

After completing this fund raiser, out advice to future teams is to begin early in selecting an idea and choosing a charity.  Seeing as many companies require 4-6 week time frame before assigning donations, time is of the essence.  Initially delegating subject matter experts for key roles in our project helped keep our team organized and on task throughout the planning process and on the day of the event.  A key lesson we learned is that you can never be too organized:  analyzing risks, creating a detailed outline of the day’s events, and staging practice-runs is extremely important to success.

Flexibility is also of prime importance:  if people seemed bored or the event slowed down, we were prepared to move speeches into slow spots or evident gaps.  We actually took advantage of this strategy at one point when we temporarily ran out of food; we moved speeches and a video into a fifteen-minute time slow while Dave and Busters prepared more food.  Due to this prior planning, the audience was unaware of the misstep.

Lastly, we also paid attention to another unique situation for our team.  Unlike many of the groups, we had to pay for a portion of the attendance in advance, and food and beverage fees were not directly linked to attendance figures.  For this reason, it was very important to continuously reassess turnout and touch base with staff from Dave and Busters to amend the anticipated attendance figures, so we would not lose any additional profit by overpaying or over ordering food or game cards.


Overall, our team was lucky because every member was willing to work cohesively toward a common goal.  In the short time frame that we were offered, our team was able to come up with impressive results.  The most fulfilling part of this project is that all proceeds went to a charity that our team passionately supports.  What a great culmination to our MBA degree.




Team 5 Clearbrook

Description of the Project

Our group worked to raise money for the Clearbrook center.  With the limited time, that we had to complete the project we planned a project with little complexity to reduce risk.  After meeting with the event coordinator at Clearbrook we decided on doing a “dine and donate” with Berry-Yo in Arlington Heights on July 25th.  10% of all sales that day went to Clearbrook if they mentioned Clearbrook at the register. We also worked with the Clearbrook IT department to be set up an online donation page that would be open until the beginning of August.  The donation page helped eliminate fees and donations were able to go directly to Clearbrook.

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Factual Analysis

The objective of the project was to hold a profit sharing event where a certain % of the sales would be donated to the Clearbrook.  The event was a great success due to careful planning and effective completion of all the activities listed in the implementation plan.  Our group not only held a physical event at the Berry-Yo frozen yogurt restaurant but also ran an online donation campaign.  Once we met with the Clearbrook event coordinator and discussed all the potential restaurants that we could partner up with to hold the event, we decided to contact Berry-Yo, the frozen yogurt place in the suburbs.  Berry-Yo is owned by three siblings who have a strong sense of family and try to give back to their community as much as they can.

Once we locked the date for the event, we decided on an online donation host (which was done directly through Clearbrook), and started contacting our networks and publicizing the event. Berry-Yo owners were very supporting of our cause and posted an announcement of our event on their Facebook page, as well as advertised it in the local chamber of commerce newsletter.  The event went extremely well.  We had wonderful weather (a huge uncontrollable risk) and good amount of people that came (we estimated over 300 people streamed through the restaurant), bought ice cream and were willing to support our fundraiser.  During the event we passed out flyers and asked people to mention Clearbrook at the register.  We received very positive response even from strangers, as most people were very receptive and happy to help us raise money.  Our most likely prediction for raising money was $500 and our best case was $1000. We raised over $1250 thanks to all of the people that came to eat some ice cream and those that donated online.


Advice for Future Teams

There are many things that a team needs to think about when going through and putting together a fundraiser of this nature.  The first advice we would have is to team up with a charity that is “all in.”  We were fortunate that we found a charity in Clearbrook that was big enough to help a lot of people and have a pretty large geographic reach in the Northern Illinois community, but small enough to know how much of a help we were for them.  They wanted to help us in any way possible because they knew that by helping us we would have a better turnout for the Swirl and Care and more of a donation would go towards the charity.  Contacting Clearbrook early on to see how they can help us was something that future teams should do.  Contact them early and often.

    Another lesson is to truly think about what type of event can your team pull off in the time frame allowed.  We knew that we had a very condensed time frame and we needed to make decisions very quickly.  We had a plan on what we wanted to do, scope creep started to settle in and we reeled back everything so we can stay on time and on budget.  We knew that we wanted to team up with a restaurant in the community for a dine and donate.  If we didn’t stick to the original script, we would have faltered.

Some advice for future groups and a lesson we learned was that you need to sell A LOT of ice cream to make money.  We estimated that we drove 300 people through the shop.  The physical fundraiser money was only around 10% of the overall donation.  Think about teaming up with a restaurant with a little higher ticket item than frozen yogurt to get a higher percentage of money from the physical fundraiser.

Our last advice is to ask your network for donations and help.  And then ask again to remind them.  For many of our networks, people didn’t donate until we sent out our second and third reminders.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  People like to help other people.

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Lessons learned from managing the project

You need to have a good implementation plan to show what needs to be done, by whom, by when and with what resources. You also need to identify which activities need to be completed before others can be started and those that can be undertaken in parallel. This will give you a clear idea of the timescales you will need to work to.

Next, you need to manage the project risk by identified key risks, such as unexpected costs or technical issues, and do what you can to minimize their likelihood before they happen.  It is always recommended to have a good contingency plan if the initial plan does not work out.

Lastly, a successful project requires a team effort. It is important to have good team communication and collaboration. Periodically status report should send out to track the team project progress.  You need to work together to complete the work, resolve issues and address change requests.

Team 3: Post Project Audit

Team 3: Post Project Audit

The objective of this project was to organize a garage sale as a means to raise funds for a non-profit organization, as well as soliciting additional donations online through YouCaring. Our team coordinated the logistical details to arrange the event, solicited donations, and ran the sale on the day of the event, July 20, 2013. The proceeds went to Educational Assistance Ltd (EAL), a 501© (3) non-profit organization that creates college scholarship for needy students from donated excess inventory. Additionally, EAL collects excess inventory by placing inventory bins in accredited colleges and universities.

Our main objective was to raise as much money as possible for EAL through a successful garage sale. One of the success factors for our team was implementing such a tedious project in such a short span of time. The garage sale organized by us included items that our friends and family had donated. So, a lot of time and effort was spent on picking up items from their place and storing them in ours and eventually moving them to Lane’s place where we had the garage sale. A lot of planning and organizing and sorting work happened before the actual day of the sale. On the day of sale, we had at least 40 families that attended the garage sale and bought different items. This was accomplished through advertising on Craig’s List, the local newspaper and by putting up signs in the neighborhood. We also made sure we were always greeting our customers and answering their questions. Since our objective was to make money, we did not turn down a lot of customers if they wanted a lower price on a product. We encouraged them to negotiate and tried to make the sale as every dollar that we made was going towards tuition and expenses of a needy student.

Garage sale is a good idea in terms of raising money. We raised a total of $625, however, there is a lot of time and effort that goes into planning and having a garage successful garage sale. As a team, if we had put in the same amount of time and efforts into a different project, we would have definitely raised more money for the nonprofit organization. So, it might be better for future teams to not pick garage sale as a project for raising money.

One of our biggest takeaways was in the area of communication. While we did a good job dividing the tasks in the early going so everyone knew what they would be responsible for, there were still a number of decisions that needed to be made along the way. Given the busyness of everyone’s schedule, our primary mode of communication was e-mail. It was difficult at times to keep track of the several e-mail threads that could be going on simultaneously. Teams communicating this way in the future may be best served by limiting the number of active threads and clearly titling each subject line to help people find the information they’re looking for in a previous e-mail.


The importance of managing the mindset of the people attending the event was another lesson we learned. People come to a garage sale to be thrifty so while a number of people made donations to EAL at the event they were usually only a dollar or two. It’s probably better to do a “fun” event where people are in a good mood and come expecting to donate (or be charged) a larger amount of money.


Team War Dogs Making It Home


Our team’s overall project was to raise awareness and funds for a charity called “War Dogs Making It Home”. Our overall strategy was primarily focused on using an online campaign for the project where we would setup our own funding site which could be utilized for tracking of donations. Once we established our website using GOFUNDME, we began to develop multiple strategies to drive traffic to the site. Our first traffic channel was focused around social and professional networks. Our team members planned to utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, our professional employer’s distributions, and other methods of social distribution. Secondly, our team planned on developing pop up micro events where we would find locations to help develop public awareness such as pet stores and vet offices. Finally, one potential strategy was to attempt to capitalize on the parade and festival activity around the 4th of July.


Examining the successes of our various strategies to drive traffic to the fundraising website can be quite complex due to a potential mix of donors. Clear failures can be quickly identified due to complete exclusion of results through failures in execution. Some of the complete failures which were experienced revolve around employer involvement, pet suppliers, and activity around public 4th of July events. In regards to workplace involvement, there were a few barriers to success. Many employers have a non-solicitation policy which excludes individuals from any such activity on company property. Another factor is employee resistance. One of our team members contacts resource councils which would have perfectly been in alignment with the goals of the charity but experienced absolutely no returned communication from the groups contacted.

In regards to public events, our team discovered that many governmental bodies have extensive requirements to obtain a solicitation permit and thus provided barriers beyond the practical to overcome. This completely eliminated such activity from our awareness channel. Finally, some of our team members discovered that certain types of firms would be against helping in our effort if such activities conflicted with their own interests. An example of this would be pet supply stores unwilling to agree to allow us to create a pop up awareness campaign when the distribution of free Frisbees would cut into the store’s own sales of said item.

When evaluating the strategies which were successful, we were able to directly relate donors to the method of contact. An example of this would be attributing a donor to a specific social network such as Facebook. Our group kept an ongoing list of all virtual donors and was able to attribute most of them to a specific network and individual. Physical pop up events were clearly identifiable due to the physical collection of funds. In the end of the project, we found that the majority of our donations were generated through social networking with a significantly smaller portion being attributed to pop up events. More specifically, nonprofessional social networking was the primary driver of our success. A secondary success factor for our pop up fund raising efforts as well as the utilization of personal social networks was the garner of media attention from two TV stations which together reached hundreds of thousands of individuals.


Probably one of the most important pieces of advice that our group can provide is to start your planning the very second your group is developed. Many efforts take significantly longer than you can initially imagine, such as the application for solicitors permits. The added time buffer that you provide yourself will either allow for the ability to compensate for future challenges or to allow for a slower overall pace of the project once major milestones are completed. Additionally, depending upon the compensation of your team members, you may discover that some individuals travel frequently and require the extra buffer to complete their assigned tasks.

The second piece of advice is to try and develop a project and charity around events which are relatable to the population at large and somehow are able to utilize events such as a holiday to capitalize on emotional connections. Our charity dealt with animals and veterans around a national holiday. This was a perfect fit and we discovered that the closer we started our efforts to the holiday, the higher donation activity would be.

Finally, keep some sort of status update email going among the group. This will both foster accountability within the team as well as allowing the team to redevelop strategies as challenges are faced. Within our team, our employer strategy completely failed but through early recognition of this weakness, we adapted to another path.


1)      Clear lines of communication and accountability are required to keep the project on track.

2)      Clear identification of responsibilities is needed. Do not only initially plan for the first steps but plan out the whole project’s responsibilities and change as needed.

3)      Take into account resource availability. Example: do not assign an individual that travels to a task which requires in person contact. Have a comprehensive and honest discussion of each team member’s availability.



Team 2 Recap Post: The Jackson Chance Foundation

Sample eBay posting

The parents that founded the Jackson Chance Foundation, here pictured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune.
The parents that founded the Jackson Chance Foundation, here pictured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune.
The Jackson Chance Foundation was started by Carrie Meghie, a mother that lost her son Jackson last year due to a terminal illness. During Jackson’s stay at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, Carrie noticed her most expensive out-of-pocket cost was parking. Because doctors cited the presence of parents and family as a crucial step in development, the high parking cost was a necessary expense the family had to overcome. In order to help families with children in the NICU at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Meghie started a nonprofit organization aimed at helping these families with a focus on parking and transportation costs.
Our group rallied around this foundation with a plan centered around four main objectives: a social media campaign, an e-bay donation drive where all proceeds would go to the foundation, a PayPal one-time donation page link, and attempting to link up the organization with expectant mothers through The Bump Club. Out of the four initial targets, three proved to be successful, while one others stalled out due to varying factors.
We decided on these targets due to the opportunity to raise a large sum without risking investment in overhead like venues, supplies, special auction items, or food for an event. Because we had no overhead, we settled on an initial goal of $900, which would cover 2 months of parking through a 24-7 parking pass the Jackson Chance Foundation supports. After one week, we were already at $600 raised for the project!
At the end, our group tallied $1,750 in donations. These donations mostly came from our eBay donations and individual donations on PayPal, which seemed to be very successful. Our efforts in tying the Jackson Chance Foundation to The Bump Club are not represented in the $1,700 in donations, but we found out late in the project that The Bump Club had set a date for their own event to benefit this organization. Although not represented in our financial results, we believe that this connection will be a residual victory for the Jackson Chance Foundation.
Conversely, the social media campaign was a missed opportunity. We tried numerous Facebook strategies such as wall posts, status updates, and even an event invitation, but didn’t seem to get any hits off of this strategy. Our posts may have been a little long and wordy, but we believed early on that we would have more success than we did in this category. If we were to start the project over again, we probably would have made this interaction with our networks more visual-based, so that it would be more attention-grabbing and more of a call-to-action.
In the end, we felt as though our project was a success. We nearly doubled our donation goal to the Jackson Chance Foundation, and we hope that we helped touch the lives of several families with our efforts. In addition, an anonymous donor matches any donation up to $45,000 given to the Jackson Chance Foundation. Due to this, our $1,750 will now double, and we feel that because of this and the Bump Club connection, our project’s net effect will be over $5,000.

PAWS Chicago Fundraiser Audit (Team 1)

IMG_0698IMG_0683IMG_0685IMG_0681IMG_0682IMG_0700IMG_0691Team 1 is thrilled to announce the success of our fundraising project. The goal of our project was to organize a “Sunday Funday” brunch in an effort to raise money for PAWS Chicago. Thanks to some great friends, we were able to secure a location for our event at State Bar & Grill, located in Lincoln Park. The bar owner presented us with a great menu consisting of food and beverages. Our cost to the bar would be $20 per person. The agreement with the bar owner indicated that we could charge the attendees any amount, and the proceeds would be ours to donate to our respective charity. Therefore, we had decided to charge $35 for individual attendees or $65 for couples. In addition, team members worked with their employers to obtain items to be auctioned off, including tickets to a White Sox game, an overnight stay at various hotels in the city and suburbs, a bottle of Crown Royal and a wine set. Later added to our fundraising efforts was a website where individuals could donate to the charity without having to be present at the event. Overall, this project was a great success with our team raising nearly $2500 for PAWS Chicago.
The success of this fundraiser is attributed to the timely and effective completion of all project objectives including securing a location, menu, and financial obligations to the hosting facility, corresponding with the charity officials and obtaining marketing materials, initiating an online donation website and Facebook page, obtaining auction prizes, and most importantly advertising the event. Other deliverables included finalizing event logistics, mitigating liability, setting up prior to the event, collecting funds at the door, promoting auction items, and making sure everyone was having a great time. Our team was able to accomplish all of these objectives in an effective and efficient manner. Our original revenue projections indicated that our goal would be to raise $1,650, with a worst case scenario of $700. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and families, we were able to accumulate a revenue of approximately $2,500.
The only advice our team could give for future teams hosting similar fundraising events is to start advertising earlier. Our initial expectation was that we would collect funds from attendees prior to the event, in order to have an approximate idea of how many people to expect and eliminate the risk of people backing out at the last minute. Also, we would advise future teams to get more involved with the charity and reach out to them for help in promoting the event.
Upon completion of this project, we learned that teamwork and constant communication are essential to the success of a project. As team members asked more questions to each other, we were able to better prepare for unknown obstacles that could have transpired during the event and eliminate the majority of the risk associated with this project. In addition, we also learned that the project plan is never set in stone and adjustments could be made, if necessary, in order to increase the success of the project or mitigate certain known risks. Our final lesson learned is relative to our budget or financial obligation. When making the revenue projections, we failed to include a gratuity for the servers, bartenders and bar owner. Thanks to a few quick adjustments, we were able to overcome that and still be able to achieve a greater revenue than was projected.

Thank you all who helped make this event such a success!