The first part of any group project is defining the project; I settled on giving food to the homeless, and set about building the group that would accomplish this. I was vague in determining what type of food since I was not sure at this point what the group itself would decide on and I did not want to be perceived as dictating the entire project. Instead, I felt that the group members would get more out of the project if they contributed ideas and suggestions along the way since this would enhance their own sense of participation in the project. In this way, the distribution project would be "ours," not "mine," even though I originated the idea.
Once I had the project in mind, I set out to find eight other people to participate. I approached 10 friends; nine of these agreed that this was a good idea and wanted to participate. I was unable to determine exactly why the tenth was not interested, but saw no reason to push someone into this project if they were not in agreement with it. Each of the participants knew me well; some knew other members of the group. There were two participants who knew only me and no other members. All of us are students.
As I spoke with the participants to talk about the idea, I also talked with them about their schedules, and had each give me several dates and times when they would be available to do this. In addition to actually distributing the food, we would have to purchase it and, if we were making it ourselves, prepare it as well. This would require several hours of commitment on each participant's part.
Funding the project was one of the more difficult aspects since each of the participants has a different income level and all of us have demands on our resources. I made it clear to each that there was no minimum contribution; this was so that no participant would feel pressured to put in any given amount. The first two people who agreed both suggested that $20 was an appropriate...