Checking For Charity recently closed out our books for 2011 and in our third year of existence we continued our upward trend in charitable distributions and in the size and professionalism of our tournament. I am very proud to announce that the 3rd Annual Checking For Charity Tournament distributed nearly $28,000.00 to 20 unique charities! Below are the distributions and charities that were involved in our tournament back in August.
|Team Badski's Warriors||Homes For Our Troops||$1,008.00|
|Selects Hockey||Ed Snyder Youth Hockey Foundation||$1,303.40|
|Lubers||Children's Make A Wish Foundation||$1,008.00|
|RAI - Team Orner||Alicia Rose "Victorious" Foundation||$1,121.00|
|Macho Madness||Angels On Earth Foundation||$1,121.00|
|Pirates||M.A.B. Memorial Foundation||$1,008.00|
|Dunphy A||Cole McFarland Scholarship||$1,008.00|
|Dunphy B||The United Way of Camden County||$1,303.40|
|Sunday Danglers||Preeclampsia Foundation||$1,121.00|
|Mt. Laurel Moose||Alicia Rose "Victorious Foundation||$1,008.00|
|Snyder Hockey Loungers||Ed Snyder Youth Hockey Foundation||$1,008.00|
|Ice-O-Topes||Greg T Dalesio Memorial Foundation||$1,008.00|
|Team M.S.||National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation||$1,008.00|
|Dangle Pies||American Cancer Society||$1,419.20|
|L.V.I.||Ed Snyder Youth Hockey Foundation||$1,121.00|
|Toad Slam||Breastfest Philly||$1,121.00|
|N.C. Chiefs||American Heart Association||$1,008.00|
|Charros||Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation||$1,303.40|
|Aqua Corp||Aqua Corps||$818.00*|
|The Boogeymen||Defending The Blueline||$1,008.00|
|Tele-Q||Children's Cancer Research Center||$1,121.00|
|NFCA||National Foundation For Celiac Awareness||$1,008.00|
I couldn't be happier with how our tournament turned out and with our amazing board. Our continued growth is a testament to their efforts. Our growth has ushered in some new challenges as well and has renewed my focus on making Checking For Charity the best it can be. Below are some thoughts and lessons learned from our third and best event ever.
1. Leadership Still Matters - As you can tell from the content and the frequency of my posts over the last year, my life has been through a lot of ups and downs. The adversity and transitions I endured over the past year undoubted impacted my ability to effectively lead the Checking For Charity movement. When I look at the areas of our tournament that did not go well it is very easy for me to trace those struggles back to a lack of leadership on my part. Not an easy pill to swallow but one that has ultimately renewed my commitment to optimizing and growing Checking For Charity.
2. We Raised The Bar On Everything.....Including Expenses - Growth comes with a cost, and in the last year our cost......was costs! Our tournament was bigger and better in every way. We grew and improved every major metric we track from charitable distributions to teams and divisions in the tournament. Unfortunately our expenses began to increase at a greater rate than the money we raised for charity. That fact tells me two things. First off, it tells me that our model has reached a plateau in terms of the size we can make a single event. Secondly, it tells me that we need to focus less on growing an individual event and more on optimizing what we do well. In short we need to find our sweet spot and work on getting better results with less effort invested.
3. Ethos - Our group thrives on an open and collaborative team environment. We rely on unsolicited innovative ideas from our board and more importantly on the ingenuity of the board to bring those ideas to life. While that culture is great for continuous growth and empowering everyone to come up with great ideas, it can send the efforts of the organization in a lot of different directions. The last year made me realize that we need to focus in on who we are, what we are all about, and exactly who we are serving as an organization. We need to focus on our ethos.
4. Great Ideas Need Great Execution - As I discussed briefly above, we have a culture where all ideas are welcome. Our entire concept has been formed by individuals that have brought forth great ideas that the team ultimately rallied around. This year was no exception. Our tourney was bigger and better than ever, but there were some aspects that did not go as smoothly as we all would have liked. An idea, no matter how great it is, is just an idea until it actually gets executed. That is where the value of great idea is realized.
5. Cost Benefit Analysis, Money & Effort - Next year I would really like to take a hard look at cost benefit analysis for each proposed idea. Our tournaments are centered on two main principles. We raise as much money and awareness for charity as possible while putting on the most competitive and professional hockey events. These pillars of our success are not always pulling in the same direction and we must keep focus on balancing the two. In order to do that we need to take a harder look at the impact that each part of our business model is providing towards both those goals. We could put on the best tournament in the world and use up all the funds that we raised or we could put on a bare bones event and distribute a bit more in charitable donations. Neither end state is what we are about. We need to analyze the money, and more importantly the effort, that must be invested to carry out our team's great ideas to see if those ideas are worth pursuing or not.
6. Project Centric Approach - In order to continually improve, grow, and carry out our mission we need to transition to a project centric approach to managing the implementation of our tournament. This last year our board put in more time and effort than ever before. That effort resulted in a better tournament and increased proceeds to our represented charities. However, I am not sure that the increased efforts of the board resulted in the same magnitude of returns as in years past. The numbers don't lie and our time invested and tournament expenses have started to rise at a quicker rate than the size and proceeds of our tournament. We are all volunteers and I do not view that trajectory as sustainable. I need every one of the board members we have and I want them to want to be a part of our organization for the long haul. This is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and I would hate to have anyone burn out. We need to engage more volunteers and in order to do that we must give them a tangible project to carry out, lead, and make their own. The board will then seek to take on more of an advisory role. A work breakdown of what really makes up our tournament will enable us to do that and will allow us to more effectively manage the planning and execution of the event. It will also lay out a scalable model for us to expand to the west coast and beyond. This will be my focus over the coming months.
Please continue to check out www.checkingforcharity.com as we will be launching a new and much improved website shortly. If you would like to get involved please do not hesitate to contact me or reach out to us on our Facebook page.