Team Management for Food

Your troops are the most important part of this operation. You'll be depending on them through the planning process and on Build Day. Learn how to make the most of your team.

Budget and timeline
Leadership tips
Progress and organization


The next step is to propose a regular schedule for Food Team meetings. This may be something to discuss when recruiting your members. How often would you like to meet? Where and for how long? Do your volunteers have potential scheduling conflicts? Do they need childcare? Does anyone have long vacations planned? Be thoughtful and considerate toward your team members' other commitments; they'll thank you for it!

Holding your first team meeting

Once you have a few loyal volunteers recruited, it's time to get down to work. A first meeting sets the tone for your entire project, so try to be professional, organized and energetic. Show up on time, prepare a clear meeting agenda, and set a time limit for each item. Oh, and don't forget about the fun! Remind your team of the joys of play and they'll carry that energy back to the community. Here are some topics that you might want to address at your first Food Team meeting:

Review the playspace project
Discuss the overall project vision, as well as the community-build model. Emphasize the potential for a spirited, broad-based effort!

Review your team's goals and strategies
How does your team fit into the big picture? When and where is food needed? What kind of food, and for how many people? Where will you get it? Discuss your team's responsibilities, timeline and budget.

Brainstorm community resources and personal connections
It's not what you know, it's who you know! Ask people on your team whether they have friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors who can offer a particular skill or food-business contact. You may be surprised at the response!

Delegate team tasks
It's a good idea to assign team members to one of your four main tasks:

  • Arranging light refreshments for planning meetings and Design Day
  • Approaching potential donors (individuals, businesses)
  • Working with potential partners (parent groups, community organizations)
  • Coordinating logistics (deliveries, volunteers, food service, clean-up) for major events and the build

Discuss solicitation methods and practice your pitch
How are you going to approach potential donors? Why should they give to your project? Before you send your team members out into the community, you'll want to arm them with strategies for success.

Set specific goals for your next meeting
How will you measure progress? Before you go, agree on a time for your next meeting and create specific deadlines for each of the four main tasks.

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Budget and Timeline

Establishing a Food Budget

How much money you spend on food is entirely up to you and your're limited only by your imagination and your ability to solicit donations! Talk to your co-chair(s) and Fundraising Captain about whether any project funds will be set aside for food, and then use the chart below to estimate your team's expenses. Check out a detailed budget worksheet here.

Setting a Food Team Timeline

KABOOM! strongly recommends setting a series of small, tangible goals at the outset of a project; it helps keep you and your team motivated and focused. If your co-chair(s) haven't confirmed build date(s) as of yet, work with the entire planning committee to agree on an ideal timeline. Then work backward to fill in Food Team tasks such as donor solicitation and fundraising activities. List due dates for the tasks below, and feel free to add additional tasks.

  • Create Solicitation Strategy
  • Food Team Meeting #1
  • Coordinate Fundraisers with Fundraising Team
  • Propose Build Day "Menu"
  • Begin Food Solicitation Process
  • Food Team Meeting #2
  • Follow Up With Potential Donors
  • Food Team Meeting #3
  • Create Schedule/System for Food Service
  • Recruit Additional Food Volunteers
  • Food Team Meeting #4
  • Complete Food Solicitation
  • Call Food Donors to Confirm
  • Send Thank You's

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Leadership Tips

Managing Large Tasks

These five checklists are designed to break your planning tasks into manageable chunks. Look them over to see what lies ahead, and use them as a guide to create more specific checklists for the members of your team.

Food team checklist #1

  1. Formed Food Team; held first team meeting.
  2. Mapped food assets in the community (individuals, restaurants, stores).
  3. Brainstormed types of food to serve on Build Day(s) along with special dietary considerations.
  4. Assigned food preparation responsibilities for upcoming meetings and Design Day.
  5. Drafted a food budget.

Food team checklist #2

  1. Started food solicitation process at local businesses.
  2. Made list of supplies needed for Build Day(s): plates, utensils, napkins, etc. Working with Fundraising Team to provide food for fundraising events (if applicable).

Food team checklist #3

  1. Solicitation process underway for Build Day snacks, drinks, meals and utensils.
  2. Identified where Build Day food will be served.
  3. Brainstormed list of volunteers for food service and clean-up.

Food team checklist #4

  1. Finalized list of food donors.
  2. Finalized schedule for meals and snacks.
  3. Arranged for food pick-up and deliveries.
  4. Food-service area planned and staffed.
  5. Established emergency sources and funds for unexpected food needs.
  6. Solicitation of supplies complete; purchase of remaining supplies underway.

Food team checklist #5: One week to go

  1. Completed confirmation calls to food donors.
  2. Purchased remaining food supplies.

More tips

As you delve further into your project, you'll realize that you simply can't do everything alone. That's why you have team members! A large part of your job will be to motivate, instruct, advise and help others as they implement your plan. Remember that delegating responsibility usually enhances a project, because jobs get done by people who have a special skill in that area. It also helps everyone practice their management skills and get more out of the project. This, in turn, will improve performance and make for a truly "community-built" playspace.

Watch the time
Being a leader also means keeping meetings on track and managing time wisely! Hone your team captain skills with these simple tips:

Delegate complete jobs (e.g. cultivate this group of donors) rather than portioning out small tasks
Team members aren't there to do your "busy work"! If you put your trust in them, they'll rise to the occasion and give you a more creative, thoughtful response.

Clarify the job before delegating
Make very clear your expectations, the job's priority, the deadline, who can help them, and how this task fits into the big picture.

Give help when requested
And not before then! It's important to step back, resist the urge to micromanage, and let your team members do their work. (But be there in a pinch.)

Repeat what you've heard to make sure you understood. Pay attention to non-verbal behavior (gestures, posture, tone of voice). Put yourself in their shoes.

Take notes
At every meeting, it's important to record what was accomplished, what new goals or deadlines were set, and who said what.

Agree upon meeting procedures
Who will speak and in what order? What topics will be discussed? Having fair and consistent procedures will keep people focused during lengthy meetings.

Set time limits
Meetings tend to go on until someone stops them. Let people know how much time they have to speak, and stick to it.

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Progress and organization

A Design Day

Monitoring progress

Check in with your team members on a regular basis to make sure that you're all moving forward. Here are a few questions to gauge your progress:

  1. Review of recent activities
    • Has your team been successful in delivering food for recent project activities? Why or why not?
    • What have you learned that will help you in the future?
  2. Food donations for the build
    • How many potential donors have been contacted (including individuals and businesses)? What has their response been?
    • How much food has been donated?
    • How many meals still need to be secured?
    • Will you have enough food for people with dietary restrictions? (vegetarian, kosher, etc. )
    • Are you keeping a master donor list with appropriate contact information?
    • Have confirmation letters been sent?
    • Is there a plan to publicly recognize donors and involve them in the build?
  3. Organizational partners
    • How many potential partners have been contacted?
    • Have any groups agreed to prepare food for an event?
    • What more can be done to get people involved?
  4. Logistics
    • Are all donors clear on pick-up and/or delivery plans?
    • How many volunteers and guests (total) are currently expected for the build?

Master Donor List

Keep track of how your donations are going with this master donor list.

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