Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday's Tales

I was almost not going to blog tonight, I have a headache and I'm really tired. I rarely ever get headaches, but this one has been going on and off since mid afternoon. I was going to go straight to bed, but it didn't feel right not to blog. I don't even having anything special to say though! One of the best things that happened today was that I reconnected with a lady who was a manager at a Boston jewelry store. I had met her through a Shoe Club event and then she became involved in Project Smile and was so helpful. The store closed a couple of years ago and I lost touch with her. A few days ago, I was wearing a necklace that my sister bought me from the store and I was thinking about what a nice store that was and wondering what happened to the people that worked there. This afternoon, I was working on auction items. I was going through Boston Magazine, looking at the companies that advertised- I do that to get ideas for places to contact for donations. I saw an ad for a jewelry store near Boston and decided to call them. It turned out the manager was the same lady who managed the Boston jewelery store. She came on the phone and I was so happy to talk to her. We're going to meet on Monday to talk about working together on an event. It was so great to reconnect with her.

I did some more research for new auction item donors and found some really good potential donors that I reached out to. I got commitments from two businesses for auction items. One of them is a well known Boston dance studio and the other is a vineyard. I was mostly focused on the date auction today. I was also reaching out to date auction sponsors. I contacted some new companies that would be a good fit for our event. I don't have any news yet obviously, but hopefully will have some soon- especially with our revamped date auction sponsor packet! Tomorrow, I want to get back to working on the anniversary event sponsors and I need to get a speaker for the event. I need to focus on that more so we can get that out of the way.

Well, that's it for tonight. My headache is actually getting a little better, so I'm definitely glad that I blogged. I am off to write my list and go to sleep- no more eating tonight. I already snacked on left overs, cheese and a bit of chocolate! Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Muddles

Well, I titled this blog Monday Muddles, I think I just made up the word Muddles- I took it from muddling. I had one of those days where I was super tired and not exactly sure what happened. Last week was mostly lost in terms of productivity. I had the flu and did practically nothing until Friday. I have a really hard time working when I'm sick. I really admire people that have chronic illness/pain and work through it. When I get sick, I am a lost cause in terms of productivity. All I want to do is curl up in bed, sleep and watch tv- and eat when I can. I haven't had the flu since I was 18, so my luck was bound to run out eventually.

Anyways, I'm back to work mode and trying to catch up on everything that I didn't get done last week. I finished a $3,000 grant application and submitted it online, so that was an accomplishment. This is a local foundation grant from a huge company. They have supported us for the past 6 years, but they changed their grant application process recently- the good thing is that it opened the door for us to ask for more money, but the bad thing is that the application process is brand new and I have no idea how the review process works. It was a simple grant application, so that was a good thing. We probably won't know for a few months, so keep your fingers crossed for us please! I feel that I did a good job with my application and answered the questions well.

I also reached out to some of our anniversary celebration sponsors from last year to invite them to participate again. I had our designer do a brand new anniversary celebration sponsor packet- it looks fantastic. I didn't have an official one before for this event, but I felt inspired based on the new date auction sponsor packet which looks absolutely awesome.

I need to speak with the woman that I met who helps non profits grow. I really liked her and I think we could work well together. She sent over a proposal of ways we could work together, but the cost is too high for us now. We have communicated since then and are trying to work out something that is more affordable for us. I want to talk to her tomorrow on the phone instead of emailing back and forth, some times it is just easier to pick up the phone and talk.

Tomorrow, I need to work on date auction sponsors, reaching out to the fire department to help recruit bachelors, submitting some more updates for our website and organizing my office. I don't like to spend time during the day to clean my office, but it is looking like a bomb hit it and it is getting rather distracting. I have a lot of little things that I need to take care of- those are piling up around my desk and the whole place is looking a little out of control. So tomorrow morning, I am going to commit to spending my first 45 minutes organizing and finishing up the little things so I can get them out of the way. I also have phone calls to return and emails to send. I need to go over to Bellingham to drop off stuffed animals and books too. I was supposed to go there last week, but was sick.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I almost didn't blog tonight because I was so tired, but I haven't blogged for a while and it is a really nice way to unwind at night. I like taking some time and thinking and writing about my day, even when I can't remember what I actually did! I'm off to watch Jay Leno's headlines, eat some more yogurt and orange juice (great combo), write my list and go to sleep- before my self imposed bed time of 12:15 (I need to get to sleep early tonight). Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Busy Days

Greetings! So what is the latest? Well, these have been busy days. Today, I met with a group called Marketers Make a Difference- it is a panel of marketing professionals who meet monthly with a non profit organization and help them with a marketing challenge. I met with them to talk about finding sponsors for the date auction. They looked at our sponsorship package and gave some good feedback. They suggested changes that I had never thought of. They also made other recommendations for reaching out to new supporters. I'm really glad that I met with them. I started working on some changes when I got back and left a message with Lisa, our designer who put together our original packet. I need her help to make the changes and also need her suggestions on incorporating some of the panel's ideas. I don't have a marketing background, so it is always helpful to hear from people who have experience in particular areas.

Good news- Jet Blue donated 2 round trip ticket vouchers for our date auction's silent auction. I'm really happy about that. The airline tickets are always a really popular auction item. We are also getting in other auction items for our anniversary celebration. White water rafting trip, bus tour, US flag from the Capitol, restaurant gift certificates, Imax tickets and the WEEI Producer for a Day certificate have all arrived. I've been spending a lot of time on our auction item hunt. I do need to reach out to new companies as well.

Tomorrow, we're donating stuffed animals, books, coloring books/crayons to Boston Police and a homeless shelter in Boston. In the afternoon, I have a meeting with a woman that I met last week at a networking event. She has a company which helps non profits develop their board of directors. I'm looking forward to meeting with her and seeing if we can work together. I was supposed to meet with her today, but had to reschedule.

I still haven't started work on one of our new grants. I'm not sure if I will have time to work on it tomorrow. Ah, there is so much to be done!! I am off to clean up my disaster zone of an office, send a few more emails, write my list, then head to bed at a relatively decent hour- and of course eat my grapefruit! Until tomorrow friends..

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Latest and Greatest

What a busy week it has been so far and it is only Wednesday. I was searching for an email that I needed to respond to (one of many), I could have sworn that it was sent to me last week and I kept looking for it- only to realize that it was sent on Monday afternoon. It doesn't seem right that we are already past the first full week of March- I feel so behind on all the things I should be working on. I was going to come home tonight after networking and get back to work, but instead I came home, ate leftover pasts and vegged out in front of my TV. I enjoy going to networking events and I've been going to a lot more of them lately, the downside is that they are rather tiring. When I come home, I'm usually too tired to start working again. Tomorrow, I need to follow up with connections and also get back to quite a few other people. I'm still not improving with my email system. There are a lot of emails that I need to catch up on. I need to find an email system that works for me.

Today, I was primarily focused on getting auction items donated for both our events. I have a long list to work through and I need to start making more progress. I also need to find new donors so that we don't always have the same items at our events. It is important to check with the business to make sure that the contact person is still there before I email/fax a donation request over. It is amazing how many people are no longer in the same job. I hate it when I have a really good contact and then that person leaves- helpful people need to stay in their same job forever!

I scheduled two more police department donations for next week- Boston and Quincy. I also sent an email to the DCF coordinator to see if they needed more crayon donations for the Easter baskets that they do for children. We donated 200 packets of crayons last year to DCF. I also need to follow up with some area homeless shelters to schedule donations. There is also a grant that I need to start working on- we are really well suited for this grant. It doesn't seem like a particularly complicated grant either which is good.

There is so much to do, I wish I had an assistant. That is a bit of a pipe dream though since I can't afford to hire anyone. I wish I could find someone who wouldn't mind working for free, at least part time, but it is hard to find reliable, committed people who would like to help.

Anyways, enough on that topic. I'm going to write my list and head to bed. I went to bed a little earlier last night and I felt more energetic this morning, so I'm going to try that again. I have so many things that I need to do tomorrow, especially since I didn't finish up anything tonight. Until tomorrow friends..

Friday, March 4, 2011


Good news to report- we have a new financial sponsor for the date auction. It is a returning sponsor from last year. I'm very happy to have them back on board again. It is a really good company and it has been great to work with them. This puts us 25% of the way towards our fundraising goal for event sponsorship. I've been reaching out to some more local companies, so hopefully we will have some more good news soon. It is a great sponsorship opportunity for a company that wants to reach hundreds of young professionals. I'm meeting with an organization called Marketers Making a Difference in a couple of weeks. They get together monthly and help a charity with marketing advice, free of charge. I'm going to meet with them to talk about date auction marketing and get their opinion.

I've decided to go with blue tote bags this year. It is an electric blue shade and looks really good. Actually, it looks really good online, I haven't seen the actual bag. I'm going to call tomorrow and see if they can send me a sample. The runner up is red, but I would prefer to go with the blue bag. They have royal blue as well, but that looks too dark. I wish they did a hot pink bag- that would be awesome- or at least, I think it would be awesome.

There is a lot going on, but I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I should just stop and go to bed. I know that is rather lame since I haven't written very much, but I can't seem to remember much of anything. I am going to sleep- I'm sorry for the short blog, just too tired to keep going. Until tomorrow friends..

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome March

Well, here we are- enjoying the first day of March 2011. I am ready for spring to be here, but things are moving so quickly and I feel totally behind on everything. That's hardly anything new though. The day got away from me today and I didn't get half the things accomplished that I wanted to. I went to a networking lunch for the Metro West women's networking group that I organize. It was a good lunch and it was a very nice group, but it took up such a big chunk of the afternoon. I shouldn't complain though because the lunches are only a couple of times a month and it is good networking for Project Smile. I just feel frustrated when there is so much that I want to accomplish and I can't get it all done. I don't always work as efficiently as I should, I need to find a better time management system. I get caught up with working on one task and I'll work on it for much longer than I intended to and I don't get other things accomplished.

Anyways, enough griping. Good news, I mailed the massive grant via overnight mail yesterday. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It was a very complicated grant. I did the best job that I could, I definitely feel that we are aligned with what they fund, but I have no idea what they will think. I'm glad it is over, now I need to turn my attention to other grants, thankfully these ones are a little less complicated.

Auction items are starting to come in- we have our first donations for both events. It always feels good when we start getting items in. The first item we received a flag from Congressman Neal which flew over the US Capitol for our anniversary event, that's always a popular item. We have a long way to go to get to our 100 auction items.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I'm so tired. I need to write my list and head to bed. I have a dentist appointment in the morning, so unfortunately that will be more time out of the office tomorrow- can't avoid that though- need to look after the chompers! Until tomorrow friends...