The holidays are done but the spirit of love and giving lives in each and everyone of us. Inspired by the Christmas outreach program last December 15, 2012, Shopinas.com brings you this step-by-step guide to organizing an outreach program.
STEP 1. Choose the community you want to give to.
Before everything else, you must first determine why you want to do the outreach program. It should be for the right reasons—because you simply want to give back to the community—and not for the purpose of pakitang-tao. Next, you have to determine which community you think needs your team’s help and attention. The reason may be as simple as because you live near the community or because you are an advocate of children’s rights (for those thinking of organizing an outreach for kids).
In the case of Shopinas.com’s outreach program, we chose to give back to the kids of Jansenville Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal mainly because the mother of one of our pioneer employees has been helping out—assisting in the feeding programs, teaching and mentoring the kids—the said community.
For big communities, you also have to consider the age range of the participants you would be including. This would help you narrow down the number of the participants, especially during the budget planning stage.
STEP 2. Organize the team.
After choosing the community you’ll give to, you may now organize your “DREAM TEAM.” These people will take charge of leading the committees, ensuring smooth and efficient flow of the planning and execution of the outreach program. These committees include the following: 1) Overall Head / Planning; 2) Finance; 3) Food; 4) Games; and 5) Logistics (this includes manpower, packaging and distribution).
The team will also facilitate relaying of information to the respective volunteers of each committee. With this, you must also start sending out calls for volunteers. Doing this early on in the planning stage will help give you an estimate of the headcount you have to consider when you allot your budget.
STEP 3. Set the date and venue.
When choosing a date and venue for the event, always keep in mind this may still change, depending on the availability of the guests, the volunteers, the venue, etc..
It may be wise to consider doing the event on a weekend, since most people are free (no work, no school) during those times. As for the venue, it would be appropriate to hold the event near, if not at the site of the community. Going the extra mile, especially if your team and your volunteers live far from the site, would definitely make your guest feel special.
STEP 4. Draft the flow of the program.
Creating a draft of your program flow will help you determine the materials and equipment you will be needing. This draft should include the activities that you intend to do—such as the games and surprises—and the meals that you plan to serve. Also, don’t forget to give time allowance to account for delays but, consequently, be time-conscious so your guests won’t get hungry.
In the case of our outreach program, we made sure that the kids got the best treatment by including several games and surprises. At the start of the program, we planned to greet the kids with a photo booth, which served as one of their giveaways. After lunch, we prepared parlor games, such as Newspaper Dance, Calamansi Relay, Stop Dance, Open the Basket, and Bring Me, to energize them. During the latter part of the program, we also surprised them with the appearance of Santa Claus, who then gave the kids their goodie bags. As for the meals, we served pan de sal for breakfast (for the team and the volunteers only), chicken and rice for lunch (for everyone), and spaghetti for merienda (for everyone). Aside from that, we also treated the kids to ice cream.
STEP 5. Start collecting funds.
After you’ve drafted the program flow and determined the materials and equipment you’ll be needing, you may now start collecting funds and in-kind donations. Of course, you may start doing this earlier, especially if you’re planning a bigger event, which would require a larger budget.
In our case, the funds were sourced from all the hosting parties—Shopinas.com, Dun and Bradstreet Philippines (D&B PH), Fotografia United (FU), Society for Spiritual Awakening (SSA) and ALVEO Stellar Division, Team Solaris. The respective organizations / companies were asked to shell out for the transportation, food, and other miscellaneous fees of their participating employees. Employees of Shopinas.com and D&B donated both cash and in-kind gifts. FU members from all over the world contributed even auctioned a piece of art from @arthauz (Instagram username) to raise funds.
Collecting funds early on in the planning stage will help give you an estimate of how much you can spend, thus making it easier to determine the budget—which takes us to our next step…
STEP 6. Determine the budget.
First, you have to finalize the materials, supplies and equipment that you will be needing. Next, scout for and get a quote from various suppliers, and choose the one that would offer the best quality at a low price. Remember to consider the cost of delivery and the distance of the supplier from the venue, especially for sound equipment and other bulky items. You might find the list of tips below useful for your budget planning:
- Don’t forget to order extra, just in case more people show up.
- Consider the ages and diets of the guests and the volunteers as some might not eat certain kinds of food (i.e., most kids prefer eating meat than veggies, while some religious communities don’t eat meat at all).
- Consider serving merienda especially if your guests will be engaging in strenuous activities during the afternoon.
- Some companies provide discounts for bulk orders (so don’t be afraid to try and haggle your way into getting 50% off!)
- Ask your contact if the fee already includes gas, driver’s meal allowance, etc., and if there are additional charges, especially if they’ll be coming from a different city.
3. Sound System
- This includes your mic, stereo and speakers.
- As mentioned earlier, consider the cost of delivery and the distance of the supplier from the venue. We opted for the services of a sound system provider that’s around the Cainta area so that delivery and set-up won’t be a hassle.
- Don’t forget to do a sound check in the venue to know if you’ll be needing additional mic and speakers.
- Make sure there’s Gangnam Style on your playlist!
- Make sure the venue is covered to protect the attendees from rain and heat. If none is available, consider renting a tent
- We opted to rent a Parachute Tent, since it can cover a larger space; but we also borrowed tents from the baranggay.
- Remember to ask your contact how long it will take them to set-up the tent.
5. Chairs and Tables
- You can save up on these especially if the place already has its own chairs and tables (i.e., schools, community centers, etc.)
- Inquire if the venue has a restroom. If none is available, you should consider renting a portalet.
- Have a stock of toiletries-toilet paper, soap- ready.
7. Prizes and Giveaways
- Should be uniform (i.e., give all the kids the same quantity and brand of candies; all the girls get Barbie dolls while all the boys get toy cars)
STEP 7. Plan the layout
Planning the layout will help you provide your guests and your volunteers an organized venue. This will prevent crowding in certain areas of the site. You do this by creating a floor plan in which you will label the areas according to how you will be using them during the day of the event. Among the areas that you may consider putting in the layout are the following: 1) Dining area; 2) Activity area; and 3) Rest area—for the volunteers and for storing the food and supplies.
You should also include planning for the physical arrangement of the venue. This includes making your place pretty and lively using balloons, colorful streamers, and, as in the case of our Christmas outreach, using Christmas decors.
STEP 8. Finalize all the details.
A day or two before the event, gather your team and have a sit down pre-event meeting where you’ll run down all the details with them, making sure everything is covered. Review the day’s sequence of events and call times. Don’t forget to discuss contingency plans (i.e., where to order more food, where to buy ice, etc.) so that you’re prepared in case unfortunate events happen. Also, re-confirm your dealings with the suppliers—this includes paying the down payments and dues.
STEP 9. Set-up.
Some suppliers, particularly those lending sound equipment and other “hard-to-assemble” items, may require set-up a day prior to the event. Confirm this with your contacts so that you can give them enough time to set-up before the guests start coming in.
Aside from that, don’t forget to utilize your manpower / volunteers during set-up time. If your logistics committee isn’t enough to put together the tent, you can ask the games committee (or whoever is free) to help out.
Yes, this santa was an on-the-day volunteer from Fotografia United!
Lastly, always remember to keep the site free of unnecessary clutter. Put trashcans all over the place to remind the guests and volunteers where they are supposed to put their trash. You can also use the volunteers’ rest area as a stock room for your equipment, prizes and gifts so that it is safe from theft.
STEP 10. Have fun!
Bring the right attitude! Be sensitive with your comments and gestures so as to prevent offending the community. Unpleasant remarks and complaints should be discouraged. Keep in mind that today is dedicated to your special guests (may it be kids, disabled people, the elderly, etc.) and instill in your team the sense of love and giving. And finally, get into the spirit of it—think of it as your thanksgiving for God’s graces.
- Emphasize teamwork amongst your volunteers.
- It would be nice to partner the volunteers with the guests (in the case of our outreach, the volunteers acted as ates / kuyas-for-the-day to the kids)
- Based from our experience, distributing food via an assembly line is effective. It will save time and effort, giving the volunteers more time to interact with the guests.
Remember, nothing is too big nor too small for a giving heart. Happy helping!
Photos courtesy of Shopinas.com Media Production and Fotografia United. More photos will be available at the following pages: 1. Shopinas.com’s Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/shopinas) 2. SSA’s Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ChristianEsotericMysticism); 3. and FU’s Instagram Account (@fotografiaunited).
Also, watch out for the video coverage!