Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calendar Photos Underway

Well, it was a better day today. The calendar photos started today with Douglas Fire. I forget how much fun it is doing the photos- I like getting out and meeting the people who are in the calendar, catching up with families I hadn't seen in a while, setting up the photos- the whole thing is fun. Sometimes it can be hard with the young kids when they get fussy, but we can usually get a few decent photos at the worst. I did feel a little rusty today though- I forgot to bring my box of stuffed animals for the kids to hold and it took a bit longer than usual to set up my shots. The kids were so cute that participated- there was a 9 month old baby boy, a brother and sister who were 2 and 6 years old and another little boy who was about two. The youngest child we've had in the calendar was 3 days old- yes, that was not a typo! He's in this year's calendar and I think that family will be in the '09 calendar as well. I love having families in consecutive calendars- I think it is fun to see how the kids grow up.

What else happened today? We got a great new auction item for the Anniversary Celebration- two tickets to the October 25, New England Revolution soccer game. They are great seats. I wrote to the Patriots as well, I really hope we get something from them. I was also working on getting raffle items too- we sell the raffle tickets along with the calendar. Raffle items tend to be a bit smaller, but we have about 20 items usually. They are mostly gift cards to restaurants, supermarkets, stores, movie tickets- things that would appeal to a broad number of people.

Need to go to bed. My mind is going blank and I'm forgetting what else went on today- a sign that I should go to bed. So good night friends..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


What a day! I have an incredible amount of work to be done and felt so overwhelmed late today. I spent a lot of time working on reaching out to calendar participants- calling police and fire departments, calling other families to be featured in the calendar, as well as Paw Sox and Coast Guard. I did get a number of photo shoots lined up including the Paw Sox, so that was really good. I was also working on date auction planning- our event falls in with Boston Fashion Week, so we want to expand our event somewhat to encompass the fashion angle. Since our target audience is young professionals in Boston- particularly women, it would be a great fit.

Even though it was a productive day today, there was a lot of work that didn't get touched- a grant that is due this weekend, reaching potential Anniversary Event sponsors, raffle items and auction items to name just a few. It is really important to get our calendar photos lined up, so it wasn't like I was wasting my time or working on non-priority items. The problem is that there is a lot to do and I don't get enough of it accomplished during the day. We don't have the budget to hire a staff person and I can't find enough reliable volunteers to assist. I don't know how to solve this problem. I've been trying to restructure my day and really pay attention to the clock. When I'm working on a task, I tend to keep going on it and before I know it, hours have gone by and I haven't gotten to other important tasks. Perhaps by changing that and setting concrete time limits, I'll be able to get more items done on my list.

OK, well that's about it for tonight. I'm going to write my list for tomorrow and then off to bed. Our first photo shoot for the 2009 calendar is tomorrow- Douglas Fire. Until next time friends..

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Good news today- the date auction issue has almost been resolved- to the satisfaction of all parties involved (ah, what wonderful words!). Well, I shouldn't celebrate too early, since it is not a done deal, but it is finally on the right track. Probably the track it should have been on six months ago, but we all live and learn. I am really excited for the event, because it is terrific and has the capacity to become a huge fundraiser for us.

What else is new? We have a donation scheduled to an ambulance company near Boston which provides emergency ambulance service for nine Boston area towns. So I am really happy that we have reached them. It seems that quite a lot of communities have their ambulance service separate from the fire department. So instead of providing items to police and fire departments, we also need to make sure that we are reaching the ambulance companies in those communities.

Yesterday was a roller coaster day- I spoke with a number of totally unhelpful people in regards to fundraising- both auction items and event sponsorship, but then rebounded later in the day and picked up a number of gift card donations. One person was particularly annoying- a local restaurant owner. He wouldn't donate a gift card for our silent auction because I wasn't holding the event at his restaurant. He told me that I should have held it as his restaurant this year and we should hold it at his place next year and then he'd donate a gift card. Seriously- why would I ever hold an event at a location that is not even supportive of our work? Our event brings revenue to the establishment with food and drink sales. So, if I was going to hold it at a restaurant (which I'm not because the Sheraton is the best venue for our type of event), I would choose the number of other equally local (and quite nicer) restaurants that have supported us for the past few years. Anyways, all he had to say was he couldn't do it and spare me that bizarre interaction.

Well, that's about it for today. Off to bed- have to write my list first. Until next time friends..

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Generous People

Generous people- how wonderful they are! I had such a nice, surprising moment today, I have to share it. As everyone knows who's been reading my blog- I've been working on obtaining sponsors for our Anniversary Celebration. My goal is to contact 4 new businesses each day, the same way I do with auction items. I called a business today- a payroll company in Milford- I was transferred to the owner and I gave him my speech and asked for a $50 donation in support of our event. It wasn't even that good a speech that I gave, I wasn't feeling well today, so was struggling especially this morning to be coherent. Anyways, he agreed to the $50, then paused and asked me the words that every fundraiser dreams of hearing- "is that all you need, $50?" Well, no, that's nowhere near all I need. So I explained the rest of the sponsor levels and he committed to a $250 sponsorship. I was so happy, it made my day. I've never had that happen before, who knows if it will happen again (I hope so). It was wonderful. I picked up the check this afternoon.

So what else is new? I also got commitments from 2 more sponsors for the Anniversary event- these are smaller sponsorships, but I like I said before- every donation is important and really helps.

Well, that is about it for today. I'm trying to go to bed earlier, I didn't get to a lot of things today (not an unusual occurrence), mostly because I was feeling lousy and felt like I was getting things done in slow motion. Now off to write my shockingly long list for tomorrow- fell asleep last night before I could write today's list.

P.S. Special congratulations to my sister Cordelia Pisacane. She graduated summa cum laude from Suffolk University, Boston on Sunday!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday's News

So what's new? Well, it was an up and down day today. On the up side- Benjamin Moore Paints is back on board as a sponsor for the 5th Anniversary Celebration. We also added two new sponsors (they are both smaller sponsors, but every dollar is important, so that was really good). On the down side- two weeks ago, I spoke with someone who had sponsored the event last year, he said he would definitely sponsor, but wasn't sure what level. He told me to send him the info and call him if I didn't hear from him. So I called this morning and he told me he won't be sponsoring- at any level. He's not even interested in coming to the event. He had come on board last year through someone who was helping me with the event. So that was really annoying and disappointing. I don't know what happened, all I know is there was nothing that I did wrong.

On the other down side is the anxiety filled date auction. There is still no conclusion with the issue that I wrote about last week. If I had a dollar for every minute spent worrying about this event, I would have enough money to sponsor five date auctions. I'll keep you posted when the issue gets resolved- it does need to be this week, so we can move forward on what needs to be done.

So that's the latest for today. What's in store for tomorrow? More of the usual- contacting police/fire, reaching new anniversary sponsors, auction items, date auction stuff, have a grant to work on- I think there is more, but I'm forgetting. Now off to write my list for tomorrow, then a bit of the Tonight Show and bed. There was a lot of work that I didn't get to today- so I have a lot to catch up on tomorrow. So until next time friends- and hopefully I'll be able to report on all the productive things that happen tomorrow!

I was thinking today about inspiration. I'm always inspired by people

Friday, May 16, 2008

Phone Calls

Just a quick post for tonight- it is pretty late. There was a nice thing that happened today. I have a list of potential new sponsors for our Anniversary Celebration that I've been working from- there is a person on the list who works locally as a CPA. Now, I've been working on this list for almost two weeks and have kept hesitating about calling her. I thought I had met her at a Chamber event, but wasn't completely sure. Calling small businesses for financial donations is difficult- it's way more difficult than asking for gift certificates or auction items. Even though I have been doing this for a little while, the fear of rejection always lies close to the surface. Obviously, one just gets over that and makes the phone calls, but it still is far from easy. Anyways, so I finally picked up the phone and made the call this afternoon. I was so glad I did! It turns out she knew me and was familiar with Project Smile. She remembered me from when I went door to door selling our calendars a few years ago. I had no recollection of meeting her then. She had experience with her child receiving a stuffed animal from a fire fighter, so she was very understanding of our work. She happily agreed to help sponsor our event with a $50 donation. I was so happy! I was also a little annoyed with myself for wasting time getting up the nerve to make the calls- but the end result is the most important. It is also motivating me to keep going with the phone calls and reach as many businesses as possible.

Well, I know that was a short posting, but I'm getting really tired- I'm working on getting to bed earlier during the week, but that isn't going too well. Have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow- as well as cleaning up my office which looks like a bomb was detonated underneath it. So until next time friends..

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Auction Item

Greetings! Sorry for not blogging yesterday- I didn't get home until late (out to dinner with my Meet Up group). So what's new? It's been a funky week- on the good side, we got an awesome auction item yesterday. It's a package from the Worcester Sharks (minor league hockey team for the San Jose Sharks). It includes a game used autographed hockey stick, 4 tickets to a game, commemorative inaugural season program, locker room tour (hopefully when players are there!) and warm up bench visit (again- hopefully when players are there!). It is a really cool auction item and goes into the category of ones that I wish I could bid on. We also got another good item today- it's a skydiving jump from a school in Pepperell. The only restriction is that the person has to buy one jump (cost $225), then gets a free jump which is transferable to another person. It is still a good deal because I can't imagine that most people go skydiving by themselves. That item goes into the category of items that I would never bid on- I have enough trouble getting into a jet.

In other good news- we have some new sponsors on board for the Anniversary Celebration which is great. Now, in the not good category falls the date auction. Issues that I thought were resolved in January, are apparently totally unresolved. The event is definitely happening, so that is not an issue, but there are other major issues relative to sponsorship. What's the lesson to be learned here? When a contract is not signed immediately- that means there are issues and those issues need to be addressed promptly. Now, this is basic and I already knew it- but things happened (or didn't happen), and now a lot of time has progressed and I'm basically back to almost the same position we were in 4 months ago. Except it's a lot worse because there is a lot less time. Anyways, we can't turn back the clock and do things differently, but my goal is to get this outstanding issue resolved this week. Because the more it drags on, the larger the problem gets.

Well, that's it for tonight. I just finished my grapefruit- so good! Now off to write my list (I've been slipping a little with my list writing this week), then off to bed. Until next time..

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday's News

So what's new? Well, the day started off pretty sluggishly- actually, to be honest- it was very sluggish. Things got better- on mornings like that I usually start with really simple things- letters that need to be sent, emails, etc. That helps get me going and then I can move onto the more difficult things. There are so many things going on, it is really difficult to get everything accomplished. This year is even busier than previous ones- because of the date auction and the Anniversary Event being even bigger and requiring quite a bit of attention, as well as the nursing home program and the regular stuff- calendar, police/fire, grants, Halloween event, ec.

There are still unresolved issues with date auction which is very unsettling. I can't really go into the details, but issues that I thought were resolved months ago are back in play. I still need to find financial sponsors- it doesn't seem like it should be so difficult, it is an awesome event that directly targets the young professional market in Boston- which is a group that so many businesses target. So if anyone has suggestions for event sponsors, please let me know.

Good news- a calendar sponsor that I was concerned about losing is back on board! I was so happy about that and really relieved. We still need more sponsors though, so if anyone knows of a business or individual who would like to help support our work by advertising in our calendar- let me know!

I need to get back working on anniversary auction items- I've been switching gears to work on getting financial sponsors, which is important of course, but I still ned more items. I was working on contacting on 4 places each day, but recently I've slipped with that. I also need to keep working on date items.

OK- need to go to bed- I'm starting to get that overwhelmed feeling again, thinking of everything that needs to be done. Baby steps- it's all about the baby steps! Now off to eat grapefruit, write my list and go to bed. I have an important meeting in Worcester tomorrow, can't go into details, but keep your fingers crossed for me!
Until next time..

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Daily News

So what happened today? Nothing! Just kidding of course. I'm so tired and honestly can't think of what actually was accomplished today. Another calendar sponsor has fallen by the wayside which was very disappointing. It is a small business and the owner called me today and explained that because the market is to tight he has had to cut all non necessity expenses- so unfourtunatly that includes our calendar. He has been very supportive, so I hope that things pick up for him soon, because he is a very nice person. I'm trying to reach as many people as possible to help get these ads sold in the calendar- I really need the help to get this done.

What else happened today? More work on anniversary auction items which is going pretty well and I was working on reaching new sponsors for the event. I made some calls today, didn't get any commitments, but did have some positive response. I always get a little nervous when I start making the calls for sponsorship. Calling for gift certificates isn't that big a deal, but cold calling for dollars is a lot more difficult and one has to dig deeper to even pick up the phone- particularly when calling small businesses. However, I always think of the fact that if I don't call there's no way I'll be getting anything, so it's always worth it to try. And of course, one just needs to keep their mind on the bottom line and that's a pretty good motivator.

I scheduled a donation to a local fire department for next week- this is our first donation to them, so I'm glad that they're on board. I also picked up a donation of karate gift certificates from a Milford martial arts studio- the owner is so nice. He even offered to do some free classes for children that we work with if that was something that we needed.

I need to get back to sponsor spreadsheet for our anniversary event- I was working from one, but for some unknown reason these last two days I haven't been using it and instead reverting back to that horrendous habit of writing my notes on slips of paper and backs of envelopes- bad! Very bad! So tomorrow, I need to spend a few minutes and update my list and then get back on track.
OK, need to go to bed- my eyes are hurting- need to write my list and go to sleep.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Roller Coaster Day

Today was one of those roller coaster days. It started off a little rocky- I was working on auction items (as I do everyday) and encountered an absolutely obnoxious woman- I had called a local small bakery and I didn't even get to say who I was or what we needed the gift certificate for, when the woman yells down the phone, "I'm the owner and I'm not donating anything" and hangs up the phone. Her rudeness was jarring, particularly since that was my first call of the day. While I don't expect a gift certificate donation from every business I call and heck knows we don't get them- I do expect a level of professional courtesy from one business to another. The thing that also amazed me with this woman was here was a small business- I had never heard of it before researching more local businesses to contact- so it is a marketing opportunity for her to reach people that also may have never known her company. For $15 or $20, she can reach over a hundred people at the event, plus all the people who will be checking out our auction list online before the event. She'll have a new client when the auction winner visits her bakery- and if the bidder likes her items, she'll get new customers through word of mouth. Anyways, enough on that issue. Safe to say, I will not be spending money at her establishment.

After that interaction, it took a minute or two before I got back on the horse and made another phone call. My next call to another local business- Milford Curves- was successful and I picked up a gift certificate for a 2 month membership. Things went downhill again on the calendar front when I found out that Polar won't be on board for our 2009 calendar- they had sponsored for the last two years. So that was really disappointing. I kept making my calls and was able to line up more calendar sponsors which made things somewhat better, although we are no where near done with the calendar ads.

The day ended on an upnote with our newest platinum sponsor for the Anniversary Celebration- we don't have the check yet, so I don't want to say who it is, but it was a relief to have them on board. Also, another small business in Milford said they would do a $50 donation and a local jewelry store that I had been debating about calling said they'd donate an item. I also called a few other local businesses and did get a positive response. So things got better today which was great, especially since it wasn't much of a start. I need to keep working on reaching small local businesses for $50 donations for our anniversary event. I think that if I work on reaching 4 businesses a day, like I do with our auction items, we can actually do really great raising sponsorship money for the event. Since we are off with grant money, we need to make it up with this event, particularly since it is a milestone for us.

I need to get back reaching out to police and fire departments tomorrow, I've been so focused on calendar and anniversary event sponsors, I ran out of time to make those calls. Also, need to sort out details for the date auction- there are still some out standing issues that need to be resolved. That should get taken care of this week, I'll let you know.

Well, that's the story for tonight. I was a little annoyed with myself tonight because I got home early from a meeting and there was a ton of stuff that I could have done tonight- work stuff, office clean up or even do some reading or a few other things- but instead I felt tired, watched tv and fell asleep for an hour- woke up and was annoyed at wasting the evening. But anyways, I also need to figure out what's going on with my laptop. It's networked with my desktop- so I can access my PS stuff, but then I noticed tonight that if the desktop is switched off, I can't access the Project Smile files on my laptop. Need to call tech support tomorrow to get that one straightened out.

Now off to write my list and back to sleep. Until tomorrow..

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Millions of Letters and stuffed animals

So what's new? I sent a million letters today- OK, I exaggerate, but it felt like a million letters- even though I still have a lot more to send. And what are these letters? To potential anniversary event sponsors. I have contacted almost all of last year's sponsors and I'm reaching out to new sponsors as well. There's not a ton of news to report yet- we have one platinum sponsor confirmed and another sponsor I spoke today said he is definitely on board- he's just not sure what sponsorship level yet. The anniversary event sponsors and calendar sponsors are priority #1 this week. Next week, I need to start reaching out to the police and fire departments for calendar participants- I can't believe how fast the year goes and we are already almost at photo time.

I was thinking recently about stuffed animals (go figure!) and my relationship to them as a child. People say to me occasionally- 'oh you must have loved stuffed animals as a kid.' I always respond, 'not really'- but that isn't necessarily true, I did have a few favorites. As a child I loved my little farm animals, toy cars, building blocks, tea set, dollhouse and barbies. I don't remember my first stuffed animal. I do remember my parents (mom actually) buying me a oversized brown teddy bear for Christmas when I was about 5 years old, it was almost as big as me and I had never owned anything that large. It had a bright green ribbon with silver stars on it- I named it Maples and I was very fond of it. We still have it in the attic today.

When I was little I used to be scared of the dark. I don't remember how old I was- maybe 4 years old- I was sleeping in a room that had extra furniture in it that was covered by sheets, it scared me a lot. Someone had given me a small toy soldier with dangling arms and legs and I remember clutching it as tight as possible as I lay in bed, thinking that it would keep me safe.

What else do I remember about stuffed animals? I had a stuffed animal cat- named Pisacane Kitten- even though it is a full grown cat. I had a fox that used to scare me, so I would have mom lock it away. We still have them both in the attic. I still have a small stuffed animal on my bookshelf that I've had since I was about 12 years old or so- it is a sheep. I remember the night that my grandfather died when I was 14and I went to my bed, absolutely devastated. Even though it was expected, it was still terrible. I remember curling up in bed and I held the little sheep close to me and sobbed. It didn't make me feel any better, but I was alone and just needed something to hold.

Anyways, I need to go and catch up on a few things- emails to be specific, write my list for tomorrow and I do want to read for a bit, I'm still on that book that my sis gave me for Christmas. It's not that I'm a horrendously slow reader- just that I don't set aside the time. I do have a few more stuffed animal stories from childhood, talk about that next time. For those who read my blog- thank you! I always think it's awesome when people actually read it! So until next time..

Monday, May 5, 2008

Good News

5 days without blogging- how does that happen?? I was getting pretty tired at night last week and busy too. It felt strange not to be blogging as well.

So finally some good news on the Halloween Event front- we have our first official platinum sponsor on board for this year's event. That is a major relief because it has been really slow lining up the sponsors for that event. It is such an incredible event too, it doesn't seem right that it should be so difficult to raise money for it. Last year we had over 850 children and parents attend. For those who aren't familiar with the event- it is our annual Halloween and Child Safety Extravaganza, held in Worcester on the Saturday before Halloween. The goal of the event is to offer safe, fun, low cost Halloween activities for Worcester children and valuable safety information for children and parents. We have a lot of great safety participants- State Police, Worcester Police, Worcester Fire, Worc. County Sheriff's Office, Red Cross, the Mass. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the CHIPS program and more. The children all come in their Halloween outfits and it is the cutest thing ever. We do pumpkin decorating, games and face painting. There is also live music, a dance performance and food/drinks. Paul Davis Restoration is the presenting sponsor for the event, we use their warehouse space and they are incredibly supportive of the event. This year will be our 4th event. However, besides the fact that it is a great event, I really need it to be a fundraiser as well as so far this year, we're not raising too many funds with it. So this was really good, unexpected news today. And how is this platinum sponsor? AAA New England. They were involved last year but in a smaller capacity- so it is great that they will be more involved this year.

What else is new? I'm working on lining up our 2009 calendar sponsors. So far, we have 3 months confirmed- that leaves 10 more ads (months and the back cover). There are a couple of months that I am particularly concerned about because I'm not sure if those sponsors will be returning. I am working on reaching new sponsors as well. I've also been working a lot on lining up the Anniversary Event sponsors- I have sent out quite a few mailings to last year's sponsors. One platinum sponsor has already confirmed. However, there are a lot more businesses to reach.

OK, I need to take a break from the sponsorship stuff- it can get a little overwhelming at times, particularly when I start thinking about everything that needs to be done. When you line up all the sponsors we need- between the calendar, date auction, anniversary event, Halloween event and regular sponsors and grants- cripes- it's a ton. But, that is the big picture and the best way- pretty much the only way- to succeed is to keep it in small pieces and work that way.
Well, that's about it for tonight- I should now go and respond to a bunch of emails and finish up some letters that need to go out. Feel a need to motivate myself with raspberry sherbert..until next time friends..