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Helping hands Featured

6:16pm EDT July 29, 2006
Forest City Enterprises Inc. has a lot of resources to help put on its annual Community Day, but it’s still a large undertaking to coordinate 1,400 employees going out to help at 35 to 40 nonprofit organizations.

There are many not-so-obvious issues — such as parking and feeding employees — that have to be worked out in advance.

Allan Krulak, vice president and director of community affairs, offers some tips for planning a successful philanthropic event. He says the first piece to making organizing the event as stress-free as possible is eliciting volunteers and delegating. It’s simply too big an undertaking for one individual.

While Krulak is responsible for the overall management of Community Day, he coordinates his efforts with an employee in each market who becomes the local chairman or project manager. That person assists in identifying which charities the company will be involved with and gathering employees within the office to participate.

“You have to have a balance from the number of employees who will participate with the scope of the project we are doing and in the time that we can complete it,” Krulak says.

“We’re only going to be there for six to eight hours, and we want to make sure that when we leave we have accomplished a whole lot and that the charity can see a significant difference in what we’ve done.”

Lunch and transportation are handled centrally. In some cases, buses are needed due to a lack of parking at the site.

The bottom line, Krulak says, is you must plan well in advance and have lots of communication.

“We have a telephone conference call every two weeks preparing for this and talking to every market at the same time,” he says. “It gets kind of hairy, (but) it always seems to work out fine.”