Community Outreach: An Easy Guide for Your Company!

By Michelle Lentz on September 28, 2018

Community Outreach: An Easy Guide for Your Company!
Our team realized that it’s actually easier to plan a community outreach event than you would think. From a time and cost factor, the impact is surprisingly low and the benefit is huge! We ran an amazingly successful event last quarter in April, and through that process, discovered a few unique ways to run the event even more efficiently going forward. Which I’m happily sharing with you below in the hopes that your company, or maybe even your group of friends, can take this information and make your own positive impacts! 

But first ...

Why is this important to us?

The short answer is that helping others has always been in BizStream’s DNA. We’ve always said that we do whatever it takes for our clients, our team, our family, and our community. You can find a lot of our team members out in the community helping out in some way; teaching kids how to code, encouraging women to start a career in tech, spending their weekend helping a non-profit to get their site running  … it’s a big list! You can check out more of our community involvement here

The goal of this particular initiative was to take our commitment a step further and get the whole BizStream team involved in an event (every quarter) that helps out our local community.  To step away from our desks, have fun together, and do something that has a positive impact on others. So we started looking into programs around our area. 

Kid’s Food Basket

We quickly found the Kid’s Food Basket (KFB) Supper Packs program through a local company that we admire, Disher (you can read their Healthy Competition blog post), and it seemed perfect for us! There are three locations, Grand Rapids (where we delivered the first time), Holland (our drop off location for this event) and Muskegon (we’ll make our way to you Muskegon, we promise). The program does a great job giving you the ability to scale your event to whatever size works with your specific company. KFB also doesa great job of laying out all the supplies needed, the time commitment, and the costs. It’s also a really easy task for the kiddos to join in on, which is a big bonus for us! 

Here’s a little more info on KFB before we take a dive into the logistics:
 


For approximately 8,000 kids in our community, the Sack Supper means lunch doesn’t have to be their last meal of the day. You can be a part of bringing the essential pieces of a Sack Supper together by creating Supper Packs from the comfort of your own space.
Supper Packs represent the non-perishable items that are put into each Sack Supper.  In addition to a Supper Pack, a fresh vegetable is included in each Sack Supper.  This is an easy project for groups of all ages and you can make any quantity you like.
 


Implementation

As I mentioned before, our first event was a huge success! It was fun and we were able to pack over 1,000 Supper Packs! However, we learned somethings in our experience. Here are some details and tips to help you implement your event.

Costs

We found this event to have a low impact on us as a company. Here’s the rundown of things to consider:
  1. Financial Costs. Each Supper Pack runs about $1.00 - $1.50 each (the Supply Lists change every so often, so be sure to check back if your running more than one event). For our goal of assembling 1,000 Supper Packs, we spent about $1,250. The costs are easily adjustable depending on how many bags you plan to assemble. Do whatever works well for your company! Start off small if you need to because every little bit helps!
  2. Time. We set everything out on big tables, in rows of three, and created an assembly line. We’re naturally a competitive crew, so we made it a friendly competition. Overall, it took us about 45 minutes with assembly, packing and clean up. With more planning (see below) that time could easily be cut shorter.  

Other Tips

Although we had a largely successful event, here are my tips for planning a successful Kid’s Food Basket event:
  1. Utilize the web. For the first event, a few of our team members made multiple trips to multiple stores. Honestly, we really didn’t take into account how much 1,000 of something, times 5, adds up. That’s 5,000 items! Needless to say, it was a lot of trips to different stores with REALLY full cars. This time we utilized Amazon and Costco Delivery. With quick shipping and bulk pricing, it was a very easy decision to make!
  2. Collect Boxes. So yeah, 5,000 items! Last quarter we didn’t think through how we were going to store 1,000 Ziplock bags full of goodies. Oops. We scrambled to find boxes in the office and resorted to having to utilize trash bags. This time we planned ahead! We started setting aside boxes about a month in advance. Oh, and another perk of using delivery services, free boxes!! Just be sure to not use overly large boxes, it will make loading and unload difficult for yourself and for the people at KFB.
  3. Partner Up. Delivery was another thing that could have been done more efficiently last quarter. Some of our team members made a couple of different deliveries over the following week. For this event, we reached out to our friends at Countryside Greenhouse. Luckily, they have huge vans and trucks which will allow us to load everything up and deliver in one trip!

Other Opportunities

This is one program that has worked really well for us, but there are so many more! Grand Valley State University has an amazingly comprehensive list of local Community Engagement Opportunities. Anything from park cleanups and event assistance, to food pantry stocking, and so much more! There seems to be something for everyone in the Greater Grand Rapids area! In fact, I’d love to get our team involved in some other types of events in the future!

Share your Stories!

So there you have it, a guide to running a quick and inexpensive community event!

Are you planning on implementing something like this at your workspace? Is your company already doing amazing community outreach? I’d love to hear about it! Drop your comments below! If you have any questions, drop those down there too! 

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About the author

Marketing communications manager/office manager, Michelle, is really our office extraordinaire. She keeps the team on track and manages office operations with ease and efficiency. As if keeping the team in line wasn't enough, she also takes on our marketing efforts. Michelle is mother of two adorable girls, Elliott Sage and Harper Willow. In addition to her office and mom duties, Michelle is our peace-loving hippie with an affinity for sustainable practices, vegetarianism, and organic living.

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