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.

Charity begins at home?

After being given the task to “create, plan, and execute a fund raising project for a designated charity,” one of the first questions our group asked each other was what charity does our team want to support?  In the course of everyday life, this question remains relevant.  When a disaster occurs, numerous charities ask for donations to help rebuild a community, friends and family participate in walks or runs in order to raise money for a cause, and solicitations from third parties are abundant.  Asking yourself a few simple questions and giving donation parameters can help determine whether the cause or special project is the right place to donate funds.  An interesting article in the Washingtonian helped clarify some questions that I have had in the past while donating to a specific cause or charity.

1.      Pick a problem you care about- “Whether seasoned or first-time givers, people become consistent donors and take more pride in their gifts when they contribute to an initiative they find important” <>.  Small donations pop up throughout the year, but when it comes to a major or annual gift it is important to feel strongly about the cause you are donating to.

2.      Decide whether you’d rather invest locally or globally- Multinational charities help those in need all around the world, but the downside is that the results aren’t evident in one’s local community.  Both arenas are worthwhile, so the answer to this question depends on the individual donating.

3.      Research online- Once you have selected an organization, there are many helpful websites that can provide valuable information and help dig deeper to make sure your funds are being put to use in the most effective way.  <>  and <> are good places to start.

4.      Look for red flags- A few examples are excessive salaries, revenue or expense projections that greatly deviate from a prior year’s budget, non-diverse revenue sources, and board members who don’t participate by donating to their organization.  Non-profits should hold to the same standards as a for-profit organization.  If the charity doesn’t seem to track figures or illustrate a level of transparency about funding, it may not be the right direction to take.

5.      Call or visit your finalists- Every organization has volunteers that should be able to talk to you about the work the charity does and how it impacts those in need.  Smaller organizations may take more time responding to each request, but it is important to know what the goals are of the charity and to see whether they align with the guidelines you feel are important.

6.      Get started early- As the year winds down, many people want to donate funds for tax purposes.  Make sure to give yourself and the charity enough time to answer your questions without end-of-year pressures.

So far, our group has had an extremely difficult time actually connecting with a representative from our charity.  I am the “central region charitable contributions lead” for my corporation, and these communication issues seem to be similar for many charities that my corporation supports.  Have you encountered communication barriers while working on this group project?  Have you donated to a charity in the past and then found out that they were fraudulent?  What other items do you consider while donating funds?


DePaul KSBG Charity Project Summer 2012 – Risk Management

– Risk Management –


One of DePaul KSBG Weekend Program’s project management class’ major requirements is the management of a charity project. Boiled down, it is the creation and successful implementation of a project in which all proceeds go to a specific charity of a groups choice. In talking about Risk Management, many faced their wall early-on, when their project was considered unacceptable by our school board. Whatever planning took place in the first week was simply washed away, and the teams facing such catastrophic risks had to revise their plans from the ground-up to make the best of it.

Our team has officially labeled our project “Grace St. Tap going to the Dogs”, in which we hold a social-networking event at Grace St. Tap on July 28, from 3:00PM to 7:00PM- fun and sociable dogs welcome. Despite the initial set-back of our project possibly being cut due to not falling in line with our school’s guidelines, we were able to recieve approval and continue to work forward.

During the course of our project, we were asked to create a risk-management matrix. This is possibly one of the most difficult things aside from the actual implementation, as risks seem to spring up fromeverything. That’s right, that glass of juice you’re drinking? Melts enamel. You think that’s air you’re breathing? … probably is.

The point of this rant is that as any good risk management teacher or text will reiterate, time and again, risks must be identified, assessed, and continually evaluated. We identified several risks and evaluated them as a group- rowdy patrons, rowdy dogs, lack of donations, lack of attendance, etc. We created preventative measures as well as contingency plans for each. All members reviewed and felt the plan had responses to internal and external disturbances.

With another team-member, we went to visit our venue this past Saturday. The website says the venue is open from 11AM to 3AM on Saturdays. However, we met at 3:00PM at the venue… and the place was closed. Not closed for business, just still closed until 4PM.  Definitely NOT expected.

And for those of you who want to get technical, this spawns a whole load of questions- Is this expected to continue? If so, do we need to change our flyer information? If we expect ‘X’ amount of donations per hour that day, how much will that affect our bottom-line(or segment-leading-to-bottom-line), losing that hour?

While in the case presented, the bottom line for us happens to be a grade, such “wrenches in the gears” can be applied to any business out there- and can cost a company much more than a simple letter-grade and a 3-4 figure max monetary amount.

So I ask the other groups in our 2012 cohort and any other readers- what soft of risks have you identified for your project/for your company and what contingencies have you come up with? And if we have any career risk-analyst readers, any horror stories like ours to share? To be honest, we should have seen this coming- it is an obvious sort of risk… but we are just-now learning to think that way, and we’ll have to let you know if it does affect our bottom-line despite our current revisions to our action plan.