HomeAway Competition Feeds Charitable Giving
First Company Food Drive Delivers Nearly Seven Tons of Food to Capital Area Food Bank
AUSTIN, TX, November 29, 2007 — As local food banks across the country face food shortages, employees at an Austin start-up has put its entrepreneurial spirit in overdrive during its first food drive, ultimately providing 41,156 meals for hungry Central Texans in need.
Focusing on the Food Bank's most-needed items, including rice, pinto beans, canned vegetables and baby food, HomeAway employees collected more than 13,350 pounds of food for the Capital Area Food Bank - or nearly 125 pounds per employee. The company also donated $5,000 and two dozen turkeys in support of its employees' efforts. In total, with individual cash donations, HomeAway gave nearly $6,100 in cash to the Food Bank.
"HomeAway employees went over and beyond expectations for this first-ever food drive," said CEO Brian Sharples. "Their impressive and inspiring effort was big-thinking at its finest."
The two-week food drive started out as a fun-spirited competition among work groups to raise the most pounds per employee. Soon, however, the 104 employees of this highly competitive start-up got energized and put their talents to work. Setting the bar from the get-go was the Product Group, which donated 730 pounds of food (or 73 pounds per person) within the first week.
"What the other teams didn't know is that our goal really wasn't to win, but to motivate them to give more," said Aaron Upshaw, a web designer at HomeAway. "It was a sort of reverse psychology and it worked."
Soon, the teams were consumed with statistical analyses, strategic maneuvering, secret meetings, creative problem-solving, and of course, smack talking, to figure out how to collect the most pounds per person and win the coveted "most giving" group.
Not to be outsmarted, the Development Group (AKA "The Uber Competitive Group") did a cost-weight-benefit analysis to figure out the final numbers to win. Declaring an early victory, the Development team collected more than 8,600 pounds of food - or 430 pounds per person, requiring two rented moving trucks to deliver all the food to the Food Bank.
"While we won the competition by donating 600 pounds per developer, the real winner was the Capital Area Food Bank," says Jack Yang, whom, along with Tim Tischler led the Development Group's effort.
"Personally, I can't think of a better way to kick-off the holidays," added Yang.
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