Creating a Successful Project


28 Jul Creating a Successful Project

“We’ll raise over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society!” shouted one 9th grader! It all started as an energetic goal for a small group of students in a leadership class. It didn’t matter that they came from a small school or only had a month until the Relay for Life. Many of the students have had a family member experience the effects of cancer and as a result their commitment to the project was strong. An inspirational idea was formulated into a plan and positive results happened! The “keys to their success” can be applied to any fundraiser, school project or class activity.


  1. Theme, Focus and Desired Outcomes – Students brainstormed and decided on a theme. Quite often students will combine a variety of ideas to create the final theme. It is important to have a creative session to establish a unified commitment before establishing “accomplishment dates” and listing specific “tasks” to be done.
  2. Networking – each student wrote down 10 groups of people that they knew, near or far. They thought of activities in school and outside of school that they were involved with. Then, they listed 3 people in each group that they could ask to become involved. As a result, they generated a list of prospective donors, volunteers, and participants. E-mailing family members also helped with the fundraising efforts as it created a ripple effect of contributions.
  3. Multi-Stream Fundraising – Have a variety of fundraisers available for students insuring increased success. Ideas such as kid’s carnivals, faculty-student basketball games, coin drives, “wear a hat” to school day, and other creative ideas will attract many different people to support your cause.
  4. Luminaries – Students sold decorated bags that were lit around the track. Individuals paid $5 to honor or remember a loved one. Individuals put special requests on the order form that were then designed by students. Ex., Irish symbols, Big Bird, loons, butterflies (whatever was important to the person). The bags were displayed with their loved ones name and significant symbol. Photos of the bags were taken and sent with a thank you and receipt to the donor.
  5. “Step by Step” Planning – Break down the major projects into smaller pieces and have deadlines for each task including clear and specific responsibilities for each student. Be sure to include students with different talents on each team. For example, a creative person will be great at design and advertising while a logistical person will see all the little details that are needed to insure success. Together, they can balance each other and orchestrate a smooth project.
  6. Advertising – Think of innovative ways to capture people’s attentions such as “walking billboards,” tshirts with designs, contests, unique posters over drinking fountains and other key locations, and flyers sent home in elementary school book bags! You may also find that TV and radio will offer “community spotlights” so you can advertise for free!
  7. E + R = O (Event+my Response=desired Outcome) – Remember that it is “my response” to an event that creates the outcome you desire. Teach teens that they can learn from even the most challenging situations and apply the lessons to the next opportunity. “Obstacles” are only “opportunities in work clothes.” By having a proactive attitude, you can remain focused on your goal and can envision results even if there are challenges along the way.

Was the $10,000 goal reached? With visible enthusiasm, strong determination, and a conviction of the heart, students generated many creative strategies and encouraged others to join in their cause. In total, what began as a dream of a small group of students has grown into 100s of students, teachers, parents, and neighbors walking for 24 hours, believing that one day the cure for cancer will be found! In total, over $35,000 was raised and the vision of a few became the passion of many. Together, we can find the cure!

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