Preparing, Planning, and Bowling

So we had more than a busy weekend preparing for our event, hammering out the details, and finally throwing the First Annual Bowling for Wishes event.  Our day started at about 1 o’clock on Saturday when we started our drive down to Warwick.  We met up with Chris at his house and began putting together the gift baskets which we wanted to give away as raffle prizes.  We organized the prizes in a manner that we thought would make the most sense to be put together and gave the baskets creative names, but we weren’t even close to done yet.  Then we went to the dollar store with Chris to pick out decorations, another couple baskets, along with glow sticks and other essentials for the event.  We also went on a mission to find stamps, raffle tickets, and cellophane to wrap the baskets which was actually harder to find than anyone expected.  After we got all of the essentials we went to Chris’s shop to use his supplies and tools to put together the sponsorship boards and the raffle prizes board.  We each had our own tasks such as typing what needed to be printed, cutting the pieces of paper, gluing the pieces to the poster board, and laminating flyers.  Everything ended up looking great, but once again we were amazed by how much time was consumed.  Through all of this we made jokes, talked about the event, and generally had a good time.  When we finished at the shop, we went to Chris’s house again, put the finishing touches on the baskets and then ordered a feast of pizzas from one of our sponsors.  All in all, a good, fun, and productive day.

The next day we left for Warwick at 10:45 to pick up balloons for the event and gift cards for Chris and Dana.  We then went to Chris’s house to pick up the rest of the decorations and gift baskets we needed.  We then went to bowling alley and put up those decorations.  This included putting paper up on the glass doors to block the daylight, making a few last minute signs, hanging balloons at the entrances, setting up tables for the raffle and DJ, and speaking with the employees of the bowling alley so we could have the entire operation run smoothly.

Once the event started, time really began to fly.  People seemed to show up all at once buying their lanes and raffle tickets.  This time went by like a blur.  We did give away prizes for certain bowling competitions, we did an interview with a local newspaper, took pictures, attempted to video tape the important parts of the event and everyone seemed to have a fun time.  We did the raffle towards the end of the event and I think the prizes we had were definitely something the people at the event wanted.  After the raffle we had about another half hour of bowling and then cleaned up all the decorations we had put up and went out with our group for a Rhode Island specialty.  Hot wieners all the way, mousetraps, and coffee milk.  We went with Chris, his family, and some of the guys he works with at Tech 911 and had a good time with them.

Finishing the event has a bittersweet feeling.  We worked really hard and put a lot hours into this event so we are all delighted that it was a success, but at the same time now its over.  We all agreed to keep in touch and I look forward to seeing everyone again in the future.  It’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you later.

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10 Hours of Planning & Hanging Out Together in Warwick

Mike, Pat, and I just returned from a ten hour, all-day outing to put everything together for our event tomorrow. Since we already have done all of the hardest work of getting the sponsors and raffle items, we thought today might be a few hours, but it ended up turning into the whole day. Yet, we got so much done and had a lot of fun hanging out together with Chris.

We went to Chris’s house and organized all of our raffle prizes to be grouped together to see how many more raffle baskets, clear wrap, and ribbons to buy. We typed up what each basket includes, typed up all of our sponsors (Platinum, Gold, and Silver), and typed up all of our sponsors’ logos for the table.

We piled in Chris’s truck and went store to store getting raffle tickets, decorations, presentation boards, raffle baskets, cellophane, ribbon, stamps, etc. After our shopping was done, we went to Chris’s office to use his printer and set up our boards. We had a blast taking turns printing, using the paper-cutter, and the laminator to make some amazing sponsor’s boards and a board that had a list of all 8 of our raffle baskets. We spent several hours there.

Then we went to pick up our last raffle item, which was a gift card to Chill-out-Loud, a frozen yogurt place. Of course, we also had to try out the flavors and toppings ourselves while we were there too ;). Then, we went back to Chris’s house to assemble all of our baskets and sit down for a nice meal of pizza and wings with he and his family.

I think I can speak for the entire group when I say that after all of the time and work we have put into the event, it is going to be bittersweet to see it end. We have become really close to each other and to Chris throughout this whole process. However, we also will be excited to have the stress and nerves of it behind us because we hope that after everything we have done, we have a full house tomorrow and bring Children’s Wishes lots and lots of money! Fingers crossed.

After a long day today, we only have another 12 hours before we get back together tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. to pick up balloons, some gifts that we want to buy Dana and Chris, and then head over to Chris’s to fill up the car with all the raffle items, decorations, and boards. Then we are going to be at the alley early to start setting up for our event, which starts at 3 and lasts until 7.

Busy weekend, we can only hope this work pays off!

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Secondary Fundraiser and More Event Progress

After talking about fundraising with a few friends, I was given a suggestion to call PF Changs to see if they would be willing to have a weeknight that they give some of their proceeds to Children’s Wishes. I have been calling over the past couple of weeks, and today I finally was able to reach the manager I needed to speak with. I explained the cause and our mission and she agreed to help out by having one night in which anyone who comes in with a voucher for Children’s Wishes will have 20% of their bill put towards the organization. She told me she had to set the date at least 4 weeks out and I pleaded that we have it earlier so that we could put our best efforts in before our final’s week and she agreed. We settled on Wednesday, April 23rd. We should be getting an email to fill out some tax forms within a day or two and then we will be able to begin talking up this night a well. We want to advertise our bowling event as we pass out vouchers for PF Changs.

EXCITING NEWS: We have had our first group contact us to reserve a lane. We are unsure how many people will opt to reserve lanes prior, but we hope that lots do. We hope that this trend continues. It has been helpful that we created our very own gmail account just for this event so that we can have a more official/universal address amongst us.

Today, Mike, Pat, and I did our weekly drive around Warwick to advertise our event and get some sponsorships. We picked up a gift card from Competitor’s Closet, a small dance and cheering uniform store. They also took some flyers to help us spread the word. We also stopped by other kid-friendly locations. One of them was a trampoline park. They were very interested in donating gift cards and they plan to even send a mascot to our event; however, the manager in charge of donations will have to contact us within the next few days. We tried at Chuck-e-Cheese, but it seems like it will be a pain to go through corporate.

After, we met with Chris, Dana, and one of Chris’s coworkers to talk more about the event and plan our next few weeks of what needs to get done. We feel like we are really in control, but there is still a lot we can do to keep spreading the word. We got a facepainter on board for donating her time to helping us at the event. We also decided it might be a good idea to incorporate both the raffle and a silent auction, in hopes of getting some more money at the event.

Dana, the director of Children’s Wishes, has her really big fundraiser, the Date Auction tomorrow. She is giving a speech and also going to have some media there. We used what we learned in Networked and asked if she could please help us by sharing our event with those there. She plans to talk up our event and have a few flyers there to hopefully gain some more interest in Bowling for Wishes.

Less than three weeks! 🙂

Today’s Update

I called some contacts that Chris had provided at our last meeting and had great success today.  The first person I spoke with told me “you caught me off guard, but email me and I’m sure we can do something to help.”  So I called the next place and received their voice mail so I will give them another call tomorrow.  The next person I called is the one I am most excited about.  I called Dave who owns a snow cone truck and asked if he was available to come to Providence College and sell snow cones to the students during the day on Saturday.  There is a large event going on off-campus this Saturday and Dave said he was available on Saturday and that he would be happy to cut his profits with our organization 20%.  He also said he would check his calendar to see if he was available on the 26th as well.  I was amazed by quickly and easily I was able to establish this contact and how ready he was to help.  I emailed both of the contacts I spoke with today and I hope to hear back from them soon and continue to keep in touch with them.  I hope everyone is craving a snow cone this weekend as much as I am.

Utilizing Contacts

At our meeting on Wednesday, Chris gave us the names of some of his clients who he thinks may be willing to help by donating raffle items for our event. We were able to write down about 15 names and we have begun to call them. It is really nice to have Chris as a reference because once we mention who told us to call them, they’re mood changes and they are eager to listen and help! So far, we’ve received a lot of voicemails, so have been taking notes to call those individuals back another day. However, from these connections so far, we’ve been able to get a few free hours from a limousine company and a gift card from a kid’s pottery shop for raffle items. We will continue trying to get in touch with the other clients Chris suggested.

I also have a connection at the aquarium in Boston and am still awaiting a response to see if free passes could possibly be arranged as another raffle item.

While we’ve been lucky to have some good connections, we can’t stop there. As Mike’s post said, we need to double our efforts to spread the word and to get sponsors and donors over the next week. Therefore, we will continue cold-calling and stopping by other locations to see if other businesses would be willing to help out our cause.

We’ve been learning how beneficial it is to keep our contacts that we have been making so far. We try to take a business card from most every place we stop by. In doing so, I have followed the pages of these businesses on Facebook and have sent messages to them, thanking them for their donation and sharing our event page. We’ve been posting on our Facebook page shout-outs to thank some local businesses. In return, a couple of these shops have shared our event on their page, so our event is being spread beyond our networks!! We plan to continue this to gain more awareness for our event and to show our appreciation to these donors.

More Sponsors!! And our plan for the next week!

Our team has shifted its focus from sitting in our weekly meetings and planning our event to really get involved and getting things done. We’ve spent a lot of hours in the car driving between Warwick, East Providence and Cranston utilizing connections we’ve made. Being that none of us are from this area this initially seemed like to would be difficult, but if you read the previous posts, to our surprise we have found a lot of success!

Besides the list of sponsors from last week we are happy to announce a few more to our list!

 

Salon Valente                                     donated $25 gift card to our raffle.

Hooters                                                 donated 4 t-shirts, 4 coupons, 4 playing cards to our raffle

Character’s Café                                     donated $20 gift card to our raffle

Cameo Cakes                                     donated $25 gift card to our raffle

True Sent Candles                         donated a basket of candles to our raffle

Picasso’s Pizza Pub                         donated $50 gift card as well as a lane. They put up our table tents!

Faray Nails                                    donated $20 donation

Larry’s Liquors                                     donated a wine basket to our raffle.

Meadow Brook Lanes                        donated fountain soda and their facility as well

LDC                                                 donated $100 for sponsorship and possibly some jewelry

 

These are the places that we went to and immediately sponsored! There were many others that we went to that said they would give the proposal to their manager and get back to us! We are planning on returning to each of these places within the next week.

 

As Pat mentioned in the previous post, we met with Chris to get more flyers and deliver our donated items to his place. We were very excited to give him the fruits of our labor and get his feedback. He said we were doing a great job and he was impressed. As we were all sitting in the room feeling proud of ourselves for getting out there and securing all these sponsorships to my surprise Chris then told us we needed to double our efforts. His attitude reminded me of Tom. Never settle. Chris said over the next week we are going to have to meet many more times as well as doubling the results of sponsorship. I think his mindset comes from doing this before and understanding what’s involved with putting on an event of this magnitude. He knows just how to motivate us and always keeps our egos in balance by never letting us settle for anything. That’s not to say we don’t know how to motivate ourselves, Chris just knows how to play devils advocate by always finding a way to give us more motivation to better ourselves. So we are set up to “double down” our efforts and get way more sponsors. We always seem to find a new level of motivation after meeting with Chris.

 

I think for our team this is a really important step in the process because getting raffle items is really the only variable left in this process. Next week, our mindset will shift from getting sponsorship and raffle items to setting up logistics of how this event will be happening on that day. Who will be delivering the sponsor board and when? When will Sofia’s deliver the food and set up? How will the balloons be getting there and who will be there to receive them? There are so many of these types of questions that still needs to be worked out. All of our items are being donated and our expenses for this event are still $0!! That being said, it’s our reasonability to make sure all the donated items make their way to the bowling alley by April 27. All of these sorts of questions still need to be worked out and this is where we are headed next week after we secure our sponsorships.

We are also planning on doubling the amount of advertising we have been doing. We are printing hundreds of flyers and getting to local schools to get the word out there even more!

 

Getting more and more flyers and table tents!

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Getting our flyers on as many surfaces as possible! Keep going and never stop until you can’t walk anymore!

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Today’s Update

As a team, we have recently been focusing on finding businesses that will sponsor or donate to our cause so we can raise more funds at our event.  We have been targeting small businesses so we do not have to deal with the nightmare of corporate bureaucracy and I think we have been pretty successful.  Today was no exception so we met up and went to Cranston to find some businesses that we thought could help us.  We went to a bunch of businesses and today I think we were a little more successful than we were the other day.  Most of the stores and shops that we went into today were happy to help us, but also the process was made a little easier because most of the owners were already there or working behind the counter.  After hearing about the organization of Children’s Wishes, the advertising we would provide them in return, and that we were happy to accept anything they were willing to provide most of the owners were quick to donate to our cause.  Also if the owner was not present the person working was generally very friendly offered us the owner’s contact information and allowed us to hang up a flyer in the store. We spent a few hours doing this today in addition to picking up a check from a sponsor, revisiting a restaurant/bar that we went to the other day, and we also had a meeting with Chris.  The restaurant/bar we revisited today gave as another gift card and allowed us to drop off some table tents that we made up that so we could advertise our event to their customers.  The lady we have been speaking to there is incredibly nice and it seems like she wants to do more to help, but needs to talk about it more with the owner.  Our meeting with Chris was also very productive and we discussed more people/businesses that we should get in touch with that would be likely to help our cause.  We also gave the majority of the raffle items to Chris for safe keeping and discussed how much time we have before the event.  We came to the agreement that pretty soon we are going to have to shift our mindset from our contributors to the planning of the event itself.  We still have work to do in the department of sponsors and donations, but in the near future we do have to shift and make sure we put on the best event we can.  Lastly, at the end of our meeting with Chris we were just shooting the breeze with him for a while and some of the conversation was related to our event and we did get some ideas, but some of it wasn’t.  Either way I think it helps all of us work together as a team and he really cracks me up.  I believe I speak for the team when I say we really scored when we became partners with Chris.

Sunday’s Meeting

At our meeting on Sunday, we just briefly went through what our goals and ideas to follow up through the week.  Our team had decided to implement Kristie’s idea of reaching out and extending our network through LinkedIn.  We are attempting to connect with Providence College alumni for donations, but specifically we are going out of our way to get in touch with alumni associated Alex and Ani (the bracelet company) and Hasboro Children’s hospital.  We think these two companies would be happy to help our cause so we will see how it works out in the coming week.  Also, we completed our group assessments together on Google Docs.  Mike and Liz were able to complete their individual assessments as well.  I cannot get the system to work for me.  It continually signs me out after thirty seconds and then will not allow me to sign back in.  I will discuss the issue with my team later and attempt to figure out why I am having such difficulty.  At first I thought it was an internet connection issue at my house, but it has become clear that is not the issue.  Lastly, I went back to one of the liquor stores in Warwick yesterday that said they would give us a donation and picked up a few bottles of wine and liquor from them so we can raffle them together at our event.  They were so nice and generous with their donations and they also said they would be happy to help give more in the future as well.  Both the owner and the manager would like to continue to give to causes such as ours in future semesters of Organizational Theory.

Today’s Adventures

Mike, Pat, and I just returned from over two hours of “sponsor hunting.” After printing out flyers, sponsorship paperwork, and tax exemption forms, we drove around Warwick searching for small businesses, asking for sponsors or raffle items. If neither of these options were possible, we asked to at least hang a flyer so that more people know about our event.

In the car before our first stop, Mike brought up a good point. We needed to emphasize that we are going to advertise their company in return for their donations. We expect over 200 people at our event and expect our flyers to reach MANY more, so sponsoring us would be helpful to Children’s Wishes as well as their business. With this in mind, we went from store to store, restaurant to restaurant asking for people interested in helping out.

Chris had suggested to go to Hooters because they had hosted a wing night for Children’s Wishes in the past. There, we were given 4 wing coupons, 4 t-shirts, and playing cards. This valued out to be roughly $100. The manager on duty took our information and told us he would speak with his boss about possible gift cards.

A pizza shop, Picasso’s, gave us a $25 gift card and promised us another if we came back the following week. We asked if we could use their busy establishment to advertise with our flyers on tables and she agreed if we came back next week with the table tents. She also told us that she would talk to her boss about possibly sponsoring a lane. A nail salon gave us $20 cash donation. A few liquor stores seemed that they were happy to help, but needed us to return back when the boss was there. They may give us gift cards or bottles of wine when we go back next week.

We were also suggested to call the owner of LDC to donate jewelry or possibly sponsor the event. He seems on board with helping, but wanted us to e-mail him with the papers first! Fingers crossed!

The truth is, we did receive many “NO’s.” However, we also ended up with a few small donations, flyers up around local venues, and some promising conversations to follow up on. What was there to lose?

Facing Fear of Asking for Donations

Today, I ventured to the Providence Place Mall to speak with a few stores about possibly giving gift certificates or donation items to help with our raffle that we will be having at the bowling event.

Overall, the day was a little disappointing. I figured that since the three of us are not very well connected in Warwick (where we will be having our event), it would be good to get some big-names that people anywhere would recognize as part of our raffle. However, big names generally correlated to inability to donate items without going through corporate. The following summarizes my encounters with different establishments:

Panera Bread: Requested that we fill out an online donation form. (I just did this and after registering and filling out requests, the automated response was “Thank you for thinking of Panera Bread® for your donation needs. At this time, this online system is not set up to accommodate donation requests for this particular Franchise-operated bakery-cafe…”

Old Navy: They were very friendly and helpful! I spoke with a manager and gave my information and I should be hearing back within a few days after they talk to the district manager.

Sur la Table: They said no because corporate is in Seattle and only works with local organizations there.

Apple: They gave me an e-mail address to get in touch with someone.

SmartToys: They gave me an e-mail address.

Yankee Candle: They gave me an e-mail address.

Godiva: They do not donate.

Cinema: Took my information and will let me know this week. The woman I spoke with was extremely friendly and helpful.

Sports & More: I spoke with a very helpful manager who seemed more than willing to donate at least one small item, but he will be getting back to me this week.

I sent all the e-mails I could with more information about the event and then sent Dana of Children’s Wishes an e-mail to ask her if she had official documents to hand out when we ask for donations.

So it was not exactly the most fun, easiest experience today, but amid so many “NOs,” if we end up at least with one or two yeses, I suppose it was worth the trip!