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.
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.
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.