The Spirit of Faith Church is increasingly gaining more followers, with its leadership showing commitment to expanding the church through economic empowerment of the members of the community.
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The community surrounding the city has high levels of poverty, and the church is charged with the responsibility of not only spiritually nourishing the individuals, but also providing social and economic support. To help the church leadership achieve some of its objectives, an initiative has been developed aimed at supporting the poor children in the community.
The project is a dinner fundraiser to generate funds to buy gifts for the poor children in the locality of Temple Hills, where the church is located. The project entails preparation, planning, and executing the fundraising project. A project committee has been instituted to see the project through to completion, consisting of individuals of diverse professional and academic background.
The initiative has a number of benefits to the organization and the community. The church is in need of more followers. By providing gifts to these challenged children in the community, the church will develop a positive image that is essential for achievement of its objectives of increasing membership.
Similarly, there are children from very noble backgrounds within the community as well as those whose parents are not available. Providing Christmas gifts to such children will help improve their lifestyles. There are programs to provide aid instruments to children identified with some disabilities.
Purpose of Project
The project is an income generating initiative that will generate more funds to the church. The project entails a dinner fundraiser aimed at soliciting funds by the church to buy Christmas gifts for the poor children in the community. The church has shown commitments to promoting lives of the poor in the community in its poverty-stricken environs.
It has engaged in different community-development initiatives. Such initiatives and the continued operations of the church including its outreach ministries require funds. Depending solely on donations and grants from members of the church may not suffice to meet these needs. The project will thus provide a supplementary source of funds to the church.
The project will involve provision of gifts to poor children in the community. Thus, one of the fundamental benefits of the project is economic empowerment of individuals in the community. Indeed, the lives of the poor children who will be recipient of such gifts will be improved significantly.
Besides, the whole project will be facilitated by the youthful members of the church, who will also be provided with some stipend. It then serves as a temporary income activity that enables the youths to contribute towards other developmental initiatives in the church and in the community.
Besides, the project is to be conducted under the name of the church and operate under the principles and policies established by the church’s leadership. Thus, it will be helpful in popularizing the church in the community.
The achievements of initiative in terms of living standards of the identified poor children will be attributed to the church’s outstanding principles, enabling individuals to develop positive image of the church. This is particularly important to the leadership of the church that is interested in attracting and winning more converts to their stream.
This project is an initiative of the youth from The Spirit of Faith Christian Center (SOFCC) at Temple Hills, Maryland. The project involves a dinner fundraiser from which the church expects to obtain funds to buy Christmas gifts to present to the local poor children. As you are aware, our church is among the many different faith-based institutions in the United States.
Within Maryland, there are local churches like Repairer of The Broken Walls Nationwide End-Time Prophetic Ministry (USA Churches, para.1). Our church was established in the early 1990s by Dr. Michael Freeman (the founder) with a relatively low population of the believers (Spirit of Faith Christian Center, para.1).
The founder had a relatively humble background and for a number of years services of this church were held at Anacostia High School’s auditorium. The church has since seen various developments and currently has membership of over one thousand.
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It has been able to acquire its own premises from where the worship services are conducted (SOFFC, para.4). The increased church membership is significant owing to the fact that the church is among the many other Christian religious institutions that have been established in the country and is thus still interested in winning more converts.
The services that are held in English are some of the driving forces that have contributed to this increase. It is possible to minister to individuals from different parts of the country and different language groups. This also explains why the church has been able to extend its outreaches and currently has several ministries on the international scene.
Despite these developments, the church has to show continued commitment to serving the interest and meeting the needs of the community members. Continuing this trend requires a commitment to serving the interest of the believers not only spiritually but also socially and economically.
According to the 2008 report by the Census Bureau, 12.2% of children under the age of five in Maryland were living in situations below the required poverty line (Meyerson, para.2). Although reports indicated that the poverty rates of children under the age of five are low in Maryland compared to other states, the cost of living is relatively in this state compared to the federal poverty level and the reports should not be considered literally (Meyerson, para.13).
The urban center is worse in terms of the poor lifestyle experienced especially in the informal settlement. The following are some of the photographs that depict the level of poverty in the community. There are young boys and girls who are homeless and/or parentless, young children in orphanage homes. Some of the families that have been encountered are members of our church.
Figure 1: A street boy in the community A five-year old orphan in the community
Figure 2: A five-year old orphan in the community
Figure 3: A member of the church nursing orphaned child
As an institution in the community, the church has the responsibility of contributing to the social development in the community. Faith-based institutions need not to be confined to spiritual developments among the followers (Reese and Clamp 1). Having been brought up in settings similar to the ones depicted in the pictures, I understand what it takes to rehabilitate such people back to the mainstream in live. Proper spiritual ministry will only be achieved if the targeted audience feels a sense of belonging to the society.
They should be able to participate in the church activities to feel part of the congregation. I am a member of the committee of the Youth Ministry within the church and have views of what the youths do believe can empower them in the society. This project is an initiative in the youth ministry developed on the youth empowerment agenda.
Discussion of Findings
Objectives and goals
The main aim of the project is to obtain funds to buy Christmas gifts for poor children in the community. The project aims at improving the life standards of the poor individuals in the community through economic empowerment and providing donations towards development projects in the community. The project is also aimed at increasing the membership of the church through developing a positive image among the members of the community.
The dinner fundraiser is not an economic activity but rather an initiative to generate funds for development in the community. Before deciding on the kind of contribution that a faith-based organization can make towards the development in a given community, there is need to examine what the community needs and the resources that are available to achieve this (Reese and Clamp 7).
Apparently, the needs of the members of the community around us are wanting and they cannot be met by a single initiative. We settled on the initiative of presenting gifts to children due the positive image that the move is likely to create of our church. Due to the changing lifestyles and the high costs of living, individuals get to be inclined towards organizations that give more incentives to them.
The gifts to be provided
The project consists of planning and scheduling for the event, facilitation of the fundraiser, procurement of the material gifts to be presented, and subsequent provision of these gifts. The fundraiser will be conducted in the church’s compound.
The Christmas gifts to be presented to the needy children include modern products like Ugg Boots, Perplexus 3-D Puzzle Ball, Christmas Rag Dolls, Jewelry, Gaming Chairs, Gravity Defying Gear, Toy Fireworks, and melodious instruments like Shoenhut Melodica among many others. The individuals to receive these gifts are identified prior to the fundraiser and the purchase of the gifts is done a day after the fundraising.
The targeted group
The fundraiser will benefit the poor members of the community around our church establishment. The Christmas gifts are intended for young children in the community, both boys and girls. The gifts will be available for children aged between 4 and 10 years.
The children to benefit from the program are chosen on the grounds of their family economic background. Greater advantages will be given to orphaned children and those living with disabilities. In fact, a special pack of gifts like reading or walking aids will be provided to the identified children with disabilities.
The potential benefits of the project
The initiative is carried out at the Spirit of Faith Christian Center at Temple Hills, Maryland. This is where the church was first established before it spread to other parts of the world. The gift is to be directed to the poor children in the community around Temple Hills.
Our church is in the process of attracting more souls from the community. This can be achieved when we express concern for the welfare of the community around us.
The initiative will enable the community to develop a positive attitude towards our church and the services we provide. The initiative is expected to improve membership by attracting over 500 souls and winning a large fraction of converts. It will promote our community outreach, as we will be interacting with individuals from different sections of the community.
Some spirit-building session will be incorporated in the events to bond the individuals who have attended the occasions. Besides, the poor children will literally benefit through the gifts provided. This will improve their lives in some way. For instance, an individual who will have some disability is supposed to be provided with the appropriate aids.
Some players in the field
This is initiative is not unique one and neither is it the first of its kind. A number of other organizations also conduct and initiative of this form to buy Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children in the community.
An example is the Toys for Tots, an initiative by the US Marine Forces Reserve. The initiative is organized annually, covers all the states of the US with campaigns being facilitated by the marine officials. The organization relies on the local organizations like religious institutions to help in identifying the poor individuals in the community.
Unlike our dinner fundraiser, the Toy for Toy campaigns requires collection of toy gifts from the well-wishers from across the country. The foundation is also strengthened by the massive support that it receives from the local business leaders and national corporations (Destined for Greatness, para.5-6). The individuals and corporation facilitate the advertisement and marketing campaign for the exercise. The advantage that our initiative will have over such moves is in targeting a specific region, specifically the environs of Temple Hills.
Concentration in this area will help popularize our church more to the individuals and make meaningful life transformation to the community. Others foundations like the Good Samaritan foundations have similarly initiatives, although the initiatives are specific to certain nations. Meeting and overdoing the strategies laid down by these competing foundations requires a careful planning of the event as stipulated in the following section.
The operational strategy and plan of action for the dinner fundraiser
The clients for this event are the guests (donors and sponsors) invited. To accommodate all the guests, the functions will be carried out in English with possible translation to languages like Spanish, French, and Chinese for such speakers. The team also considers the cultural diversity that may affect the eating habit and hence the menu of the diner. As such, a variety of spices and snacks will be availed.
The dishes in menu list for the party include Smoked Pork Ribs, Buorbon Chicken, and Lamb Roast with Port Wine Sauce. As a religious institution, the church has only settled on the gospel band and not any other secular music band that may be favorites of many. However, this is not expected to reflect negatively on the turn out.
Proper preparation is the key to the success of any event (Kilkenny, 21). Planning ensures that the event is carried out as anticipated by identifying the different activities to be involved (Carter, 5). The successful organization of the fundraising dinner will be achieved through a number of defined steps.
First, the project team has to establish a budget list for all the requirements of the dinner and determine the estimated expenses for all the materials. The costs of these materials and services are estimated from recent figures that have been recorded elsewhere. Allowances are also provided to cater for fluctuations that may occur.
After estimating the total expenses, the team then sets the ticket prices so that the total expenses does not exceed a quarter of the total revenue expected from tickets and sponsorships. It would not be very appropriate if a larger fraction of the total revenue from the event caters for the expenses. Based on the estimated costs and the targeted revenue, the team then sets the attendance goal, that is, the number of individuals to be invited to the party.
The team develops a list of all the individuals who are likely to attend the fundraiser including their contact details. A date is then set that is convenient to all the invitees. It is appropriate to have dates that do not conflict with usual events like national holidays, community or field days, or some sporting events and tournaments (Urbanczyk, 5). The team then prepares an invitation card that has the details of the event like the venue, date, time, and the purpose for which the event is carried out.
The invitees are required to respond back to the team within a short period indicated in the card in the event that they are not able to attend the function for some reason. The invitation cards are then sent to the invitees some months before the event. The operations officer makes a follow up on the mailed letters though telephone calls to ensure that the mails were received and that the invitees are preparing to attend.
On the eve of the function, the team finalizes all the arrangements like dinner logistics, floor plan, and table arrangement for the dinner, the type of menu to be included, audio-visual equipments, decorations, and seating arrangement. Any discrepancies or fluctuations that may have occurred are identified and corrected before the point of no return.
During the event, the list of all attendees is prepared with indication of individual contributions as appropriate. When the event is over, the team then sums up all the expenses that were used in the event and as well as the total revenue, which has been received to determine the profitability of the event.
It is very important to show gratitude to the individuals who honored the request to attend and contribute in the function. Thus, the team then sends a letter of appreciation to each of the individuals who attended the function. This letter explains explicitly how the raised funds will be used and how the church will benefit from the initiative.
Finally, we also intend to hear from the donors on the nature of services that they received from the event we carried out. Each of the invitees is to be issued with an evaluation sheet to provide comment and any recommendation regarding how the function was planned ad executed. This will be useful in the planning of an event of this nature in the future.
The success of this initiative requires human capital as well as liquid capital facilitate the event. In terms of human capital, there is need for a lead project manager who will be the president of all operations throughout the project’s lifetime.
Just like any other business organization, this manager has to be supported by the other members of the team. Thus, two line managements are also used, that is, financial manager and operations manager. These individuals shall assume all the other roles of other line managers in a typical/large organization during the execution of the project.
All the group members are required, of course, to be the employee-stakeholders. The individuals are persuaded to take on the responsibility as a voluntary role and only some stipend may be provided to each of them at the end of the function. The liquid capital is needed to cater for the fundraiser dinner-cost including catering services, printing invitation letters, audio-visual equipment, Gospel band, decorating expenses, raffle tickets, and advertisements. These are explained in the next section on the budget for the event.
The financial budget
The project committee has purposed to invite 400 individuals to the dinner fundraiser. The venue for such a function and the requirements like tables, chairs, tents, and parking area are an important consideration (Meskauskas 12).
The function is held at the church’s compound. There are church facilities to accommodate these individuals like a hall, chairs, and tables and so these facilities need not to be hired. Various are requirements are necessary for the success of the event.
The first expense will be Catering services for the event. With the modern lifestyles, the events like this are not fully facilitated by the organizers. Most social and religious functions in the contemporary hire professionals to provide catering services during the occasion. It is believed that this is cheaper than a situation where the event organizers had provide the services alone.
Firstly, the organizers often lack the required level of expertise to provide quality services. Secondly, paying for all the services as a single entity is cheaper than outsourcing the different services separately. Thus, the team has scheduled to hire a professional caterer to facilitate the event.
The event will be graced by a gospel band that will be hired for the whole event. Apart from entertainment, the band shall also provide and operate the audio-visual equipments that are used in conducting the program. The whole cost of this service is given as a package. A team of expert decorators will also be hired to decorate the event venue.
There is also printing of the invitation letters and tickets for the dinner. These materials have to be printed in numbers slightly larger than the targeted number to absorb the fluctuations that may occur. Thus, the event team shall print 600 copies of each of the two documents. During the event, the team has also scheduled to use raffle tickets to generate more cash. About 1000 raffle tickets will also be produced.
The event is carried into the night and seeking permission from the administrative unit is essential. This will allow them to provide security at the event and be a certification that the event is held under the legal approval.
Finally, the event has to be advertised in order to attract more audience. Both electronic (television and radio) and print media (local newspapers) will be used for the advertisements. An additional value is allowed to cater for some of the fluctuations that may occur. The overall budget is condensed in the following table.
Table.1 Budget of the Dinner Fundraiser
|Service/Item description||No of units||Cost per unit (US$)||Total (US$)|
|Security services and permit||–||–||500|
The costs are estimated based on data from the events that have been carried out in the church in the past. However, these operating costs are likely to change with the unpredictable future conditions. This explains the necessity of ‘Others’ included in the budget estimate.
The project team
The success of a given project consists largely in the composition of the project management team. Teamwork is a tool that is more powerful than even the magic of modern technologies (Kilkenny, 29).
An important strength of this project is in the composition of its management as well as that of the other facilitators who are scheduled to participate during the fundraising. The team should have individuals from diverse academic backgrounds to perform the cross-functional responsibilities to be encountered (Mello, Para. 1). Each member needs to be accountable.
The management team of the project draws its professional members just from among the members of the youth ministry in the church. The team comprises the chairman/manager, the financial manager, the operations manager/chief operating officer, and a class of facilitators.
The leader has to be an individual whirs fully dedicated to the assigned role (Mello, Para. 1). The chairperson and team leader of the project is Mr. Tom Lewis.
He is charged with the overall management and presides over the development of all the operational strategies that are to be used in the project. Lewis holds a bachelor of commerce degree and an executive MBA with bias on project management. He teaches business management at a professional institute in the suburb regions of Baltimore.
He also has over five years experience providing business consultancy services. He has shown commitment to research and developments through business engineering techniques that have seen many of his client organizations beat their competitors in the job market. These factors are unquestionable assets for this particular position.
The financial manager is Ms Ann Lee, who shall see the overall management of inflow and outflow of funds for the project. She is responsible for the development of the budget of the project and providing the forecasts on expected returns from organizing the fundraiser event. Ann holds a graduate diploma in Banking and Finance. She also has a professional certification in Accounting.
The operation manager is Mr. Zack Singh. Singh holds a degree in business administration (sales and marketing) and a postgraduate qualification in public administration. The operations manager acts as operating officer for the project team. He is responsible for the coordination of all the activities like connecting to the clients and arranging for the service operations.
The operations manager schedules for various meetings of the management team. He arranges for the variety of guests to be included to the fundraising schedule and ensures proper coordination with them. Some of the guests may be unwilling to participate or they may be unable to attend for some specified reasons.
The operations manager examines and evaluates the responses that are received from these guests and advises the management on the appropriate adjustments to be made. During the fundraising, the operations manager will be the master of ceremony, providing directions and guidance for the event.
The facilitators consist of individuals with varied academic and professional qualifications in the hospitality industry as well as business. There are qualifications in hotel and institutional management and public relations that are particularly essential for an event of this nature that brings together dignitaries and professionals.
The catering service is dedicated fully to qualified catering organization with high reputations in the community. The members of this service provider have had extensive experience and have served at different hotel institutions in the region.
The event team has invitations for over 400 hundred individuals. Before the event day, the team expects to sell over 400 tickets. Each of these tickets is sold for $25 summing up to $10,000. A relatively larger sum is expected from sponsorships. From the list of potential invitees, the team expects a total of $12,000 from donors and well-wishers.
The raffle draw is also expected to generate revenue. Individuals may also wish to give material donations during the event. The invitees are allowed to present material gifts that they may wish to bring to the occasion. In the draw, the participants will be required to buy the raffle tickets that have four random digits indicated on their back. The tickets are sold at $8. The objective of the participant is to match the four digits to the digits in a separate sheet for the draw.
Both these numbers have been computer-generated. A participant who correctly matches two of the four digits irrespective of the order wins $50 whereas the individual who matches three of the four digits wins $200. The jackpot for this draw entails matching all the four digits and the grand price is $1000.
Due to the little chances of cracking the jackpot (it is expected that one or no individual will match the four digits), the draw is expected to generate about $4000. Thus, the expected returns are the sum of all these revenues that amounts to $26,000 together with the list of all the material gifts that the guests might bring to the occasion.
The benefits of this business project and its likely success are evident. Despite the seemingly large initial operating costs, the project is profitable. The total estimated expenses including possible fluctuations in service prices amounted to $5400 while the total expected revenue amounts to $26,000 alongside other material gifts.
The revenue is more than four times the expenses. The composition of the team that is to manage the project leaves no doubt that it is bound to succeed. The operational strategies of the project are developed with a consideration of the needs of the clients. The purpose of the project is in line with the church’s commitment to improving the living standards of the neighboring poor community.
The initiative popularizes the church among the members of the community around Temple Hills. Even though the church has been in the region for almost two decades, there is still need to attract more followers. Carrying out the project enables the church to interact with, and reach out for, more individuals who were not members of the congregation.
As the project is likely to succeed and provide its evident benefits, the management of the church should consider its approval. The church should put more emphasis on similar development initiatives to ensure that the locals are not only spiritually nourished but are also economically empowered. Similarly, the church leadership should focus more on helping the needy than on the expansion of the business.
There are several parentless and homeless children in the community. Even though a committee has been set up that carries out the planning and execution of the event, the event will be successful if every individual volunteers to serve in whatever capacity that may be necessary.
The members of the church have to be in the forefront in order to persuade the other guests to donate generously. Providing a close watch on its operations and giving appropriate guidance will see the project sail through the fluctuation in the prices of services and products that may occur while the preparations are underway.
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