Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Countdown to Show Day

Greetings friends! So what's new? Well, we're counting down until our Step into Spring fashion show on Thursday at Copley Place. The best news is that we only have 2 tickets left until we are sold out! That is always so awesome. I always get nervous that tickets aren't going to sell and we're going to be left with 20 models, lots of food and drinks and 10 people in the audience- yikes! The event has always been a success- we've continually sold out, so I shouldn't worry so much, but I can't help it. Ticket sales were moving kind of slowly until the last few days and then they just took off. Boston TweetUp put our event into their email newsletter and I think that really helped because their posting got a lot of retweets. I offered the founder a comp tix to come to the event. He has been really supportive of our efforts and I thought he might like to join us. In other news, the publicist for Copley Place helped get us into the G section for Thursday's Boston Globe which is great. We also have some well known bloggers that are planning to come, so that will help spread the word about Smiling Stiletto Shoe Club which in turn helps promote Project Smile!  I picked up the vodka today, so that is all set. We had a model drop out today, so tomorrow evening, I need to go to a fitting with one of the models who is going to be wearing an additional outfit. Wednesday, I will be picking up the cookies that were generously donated from LaCascia's Bakery in Medford, then I'm heading over to Copley to drop off the items and do a walk-thru. Hopefully, tomorrow we will officially sell out and then we can finalize the guest list.

Well friends, there's lots more to write about, but it's after 1am and I'm off to bed. I already ate my grapefruit! Until tomorrow friends!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping Up

Greetings friends! I hope everyone had a good weekend. It is finally feeling like spring around here which makes me very happy. So what's the latest? Well, I'm trying to work on keeping current with fundraising technology and it is a little challenging. The Virtual Aid Drive that we've been using for online donations for years is not mobile friendly. We have a mobile app being designed for us which is rather awesome- I'm super excited about that. I need  to have a mobile donation platform which can be easily used. PayPal is mobile friendly, so our app can link to that, but it is not visually impressive. The Virtual Aid Drive looks awesome- it is a shopping cart style design and it just makes you want to donate. I called them today to inquire about a mobile version and they said they are working on it, but don't have any idea when it will be ready. That was rather disappointing. Today, I was researching different fundraising platforms which are mobile friendly. I didn't see any that would work for us. There were some sites that don't have any set-up or monthly charges, but I didn't like how they looked. There was one site that looked really good, but it cost $50 per month plus set-up. I want a site that looks as smart at the VAD and is mobile friendly and affordable- it doesn't seem like it should be that difficult. This is the same problem that I had with trying to find a platform for text message donations/outreach. I ended up not going with any company because I couldn't find one that I liked and was a good price for it. I imagine that there must be a lot of non profits that are in the same position. We want to have all the latest in marketing and fundraising, but the cost is prohibitive. As mobile marketing becomes more popular, hopefully the competition will increase and the prices will lower. I wish that Constant Contact which we used for our email and shoe club event promotions would launch a mobile product that we could use for donations. There email sign-up form is mobile friendly which is good. I don't want to sit around and wait until the VAD becomes mobile friendly. Before we had our VAD on our website, the number of online donations we processed was small. After, we launched the shopping cart the online donations increased more than 100%- it was really something. It is important that we have a version that is mobile friendly. So many people are looking at things on their smart phones and if we're not competitive that way, we are missing the boat.

On that note- I'm off to go back and research some more... and eat my grapefruit! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Donation Days

Greetings friends. I hope everyone is enjoying this return to cold weather! So what's new? Well, today I was up in Fitchburg for another donation of stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons to the police department. They are always happy to have our items for children. Here is a photo from today's donation.
Next week, we are donating again to Somerville PD. I received an email today from a small police department in northwest Pennsylvania asking for a donation of stuffed animals and other items for the children they encounter. I'm going to mail a couple of boxes to them tomorrow. I'm always happy to send donations to departments outside of New England. It's awesome when they reach out to us. It's easier too if they are smaller departments, because mailing gets rather expensive.

In other news, things are moving along well for our Smiling Stiletto Step into Spring fashion show fundraiser on Thurs., May 1 at Copley Place. Ticket sales are chugging along and fittings have been booked for our models and vendors are in place, so we are in a good position. Miss Massachusetts USA and Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilwoman will be special guests and judges for the Best-in-Shoe competition which is one of the highlights of the event. It's going to be a really fun night. It's the type of event that if I heard about it, I would want to attend. Want to join us? Here is the link for details and tix:

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to catch up on some emails. I also have a grant that I want to work on, but I think I'm getting a little tired. Until next time friends...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Monday

Greetings friends! It is finally starting to feel like spring and I am happy! So what's new? Well, today we did another donation of stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons to the Dept. of Children and Families. I dropped them off at the Boston location as usual and they mail them out to the different offices. I already dropped off a bunch a couple of weeks ago to the Worcester office for their Easter baskets for children. Here is a photo from today's donation.

I finally decided on a new work computer to buy. I've been researching and looking at desktops for the past few weeks and found it really hard to make a decision. My current work computer is a Dell which runs on XP. It is getting really slow and now with XP updates no longer being available, I should get a new computer. I had an HP for many years and replaced it with a refurbished Dell which I really liked. I was online with a Dell rep tonight who was very helpful. I'm going to get a Dell XPS 8700 for $699. I need to call them tomorrow with our PS tax exempt info, then I can place the order. The computer got excellent reviews and is the price range that I wanted. I'll take one more look at things tomorrow just to make sure that is the best one to go with, but I'm feeling good about it. I'm excited to get a new fast computer. I'll need some help in transferring documents over and I also need some time to learn the new 8.1 operating system, but once that gets all figured out, we should be good to go.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I feel like I'm fighting off a bit of a cold, so I'm trying to get to bed early. I already had my grapefruit. Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcome April

Greetings- I'm thrilled to announce that we received a $1 million grant today..... happy April Fool's Day! How I wish that could be true! So what's new?  Today, I did another donation to Boston Police. We donated over 250 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons. We've been donating to BPD for many years now. It is one of the largest departments that we donate to. We usually donate there every few months. It is hard to keep up with all the departments that participate in our program, especially when you have to make time for fundraising, which takes up a lot of time. Here is a photo from today's donation.
We've been receiving a number of financial donations in honor of David Yates from New Jersey who died recently. He was an avid collector of teddy bears and his family chose Project Smile to receive financial donations in his honor. It is really touching when we receive donations like that. We received a call from a company last week that David used to work with. They are collecting financial donations from employees and will be sending us a check. They asked if we could send stuffed animals to the local police department. I will definitely be reaching out to them. We've had a few memorial donations like this in the past and it always feel like such a honor to receive donations like that.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. There's more to write about, but I'm getting tired and heading to bed early. I seem to jinx myself when I say that- since every time I try to intentionally go to bed early, I usually get energized and go to bed at 2am- which is fine until you attempt to roll out of bed at a decent hour. Off I go to eat my grapefruit. Until tomorrow friends...