For our Interactive Qualifying Project, we worked with the Metro West/Greater Worcester branch of the global nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity to develop virtual fundraisers and engaging virtual events to help this branch of Habitat for Humanity be successful during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, many nonprofit organizations experienced financial trouble and many were forced to shut down permanently. Without this influence of options and resources, this location of Habitat for Humanity could experience similar effects.
Our Project Sponsor
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit organization aimed at building houses, communities, and hope for local families. The location we are partnering with for our project services Worcester and many of the surrounding cities and towns. In addition to the homes they build for local families, they also operate their nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers, which they call ReStores. There are two ReStores located in the Metro West/Greater Worcester area, one in Worcester and one in Ashland. Additionally, Habitat for Humanity offers home repair programs and their Veteran Build Initiative, which supports the local veteran community.
Our Project Team
Andrew Del Vecchio: I was born in Iowa and have lived there my whole life. I knew that I wanted to work with machines from a young age, and decided to pursue a career in Robotics Engineering after coming to WPI. My favorite pastime is camping, and for the past several years several friends and I have gone on backpacking trips to national parks and wilderness areas around the country.
Andrew Salvatori: I am from Canton, MA, a small town just outside of Boston, and I have lived there my whole life. I grew up loving the outdoors and playing sports. This led to me trying lots of different things at a young age and getting experience in lots of different activities. This love of the outdoors made me want a job that allows me to get outside, which combined with my Dad owning a construction company, led to me wanting to be a civil engineer when I grew up.
Blake Audibert: Born in Nashua, NH, and having family ties in Fort Kent, ME, I have spent most of my life living in northern Maine and Southern New Hampshire. In Fort Kent, I lived and worked on a potato farm, enjoying the simple pleasures but hating the intensive labor required to run a farm. When I reached seventh grade, my family finally settled down in a small town in southern NH called Milford so my dad could work at his new job in the Nashua branch of BAE systems. I grew up around pets – dogs, cats, fish, etc. – and still, cherish them to this day. Moving to Worcester Massachusetts was a very large adjustment for me, I never saw so many cars or people in one town!
Duncan Bertetti: I was born in Delaware, but for the most part grew up in New Jersey. I have lived in Northern New Jersey, about 20 minutes away from NYC, since the age of 6. I lived in a small suburban town called Park Ridge and went to a high school that had less than 100 kids per grade. In addition to school work, I participated in Boy Scouts. While not the most athletic kid, I did partake in a few sports-namely Skiing (which I did more as a pastime than competitively) and Tae Kwon Do. I’ve always valued my free time rather highly-and so the time I spent reading stories and playing video games has left me desiring to create such stories and games myself.
Project Goal and Objectives
Our goal was to create and recommend a comprehensive virtual fundraising strategy that helps Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester bridge the gap between traditional and online fundraising. This strategy included plans for efficient, engaging virtual events that fit the Habitat for Humanity mission. This goal was further broken into four main objectives, which are as follows:
- Research various past fundraising events, both online and in-person, and evaluate the outcome of these events, as well as determining the strengths and weaknesses of running them virtually.
- Gain an understanding of Habitat for Humanity’s fundraising culture, their fundraising needs, and their past fundraisers.
- Research how fundraisers are analyzed/measured and use this information to analyze the cost effectiveness of fundraisers.
- Develop recommendations of effective virtual volunteer events and fundraisers that meet the criteria set by Habitat for Humanity.