Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Year So Far

Well, here we are- 16 minutes until this year has officially reached the half way mark. I can't believe how quickly 2008 is going by- it seems like these last few years absolutely fly by. I was thinking tonight- as I was intensly cleaning my office- about the highlights and lowlights of this year so far:

Operation Elder Care program- working with the nursing homes is definitely a good expansion.
Reaching more police and fire departments
The TJX Foundation and Boston Bruins grants
Speaking at the MassStar Conference in May- I spoke to 100 students about entrepeneurship and Project Smile.
The auction items donated for our 5th Anniversary Celebration
Jen's event in Rockland
Our date auction shaping up to be a great event
My list book
Calendar photos
Our new web host
Amy and Leni- two new volunteers
The fact that we are celebrating 5 years in October!

The struggle in getting the calendar ads sold
Donation cutbacks
Lack of reliable volunteers
Difficulty in obtaining gift certificates for date auction
The struggles that went into getting the date auction to where it is now
Amount of time that fundraising takes.
Increased expenses- GAS
The fact that I need more help so that Project Smile can grow the way it needs to.

As you can probably tell, this has been a good year so far. It is far from perfect, but as long as we're growing, we're doing OK. Fundraising is of course a constant struggle and we are nowhere near where we need to be financially.

So what else is new? Today, I was working on scheduling more photo shoots, working on auction items, date auction things and working on obtaining a special guest for our anniversary celebration. There were some things that came up this afternoon, so I didn't get everything done. Also, this week can be a pretty difficult week to reach people because of 4th July vacation.

Well, I'm going to go back and keep cleaning my office and send some emails. I'm starting to get a little tired, but there is still a lot that I want to get done. So until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Today was a good day. It was really busy- I did three photo shoots, they all went well. I've never actually had a photo shoot that went badly (keep my fingers crossed). Then I was working on following up with other photo shoots that need scheduled and a lot of work on the date auction, which is actually progressing pretty well. I was doing some internet research and I think I found a new media contact that can help promote the event- it is not a definite yet, but it does look promising.

I also got some good news for auction items, we will be receiving a pearl necklace as an auction item! How great is that? I am so happy with our auction items so far- I've worked really hard since January to get good items and it has really paid off. I'm still working on getting more items, this is going to the best silent auction ever. Now the most important thing is to get people to the event- one can have the best auction items in the world, but if there is no one there to bid on them, then it's all for nothing.

What else happened today? I can't remember now- I'm pretty tired. Isn't is awful how I forget stuff when I get tired? Anyways, I know this is a short blog, but wanted to say that things went well today. It is such a good feeling when one actually gets through to people and things get accomplished- or at least are on the right track to getting accomplished. I wish every day could be like this- very busy, with steady progress and a general feeling of accomplishment.
Well, off to bed- have to write my list for tomorrow- I've been slipping a little with my list writing. Until tomorrow...

Monday, June 23, 2008


Happy Monday! So what's new? Well, last night I worked until 4:30am and it was terrific. I got a ton of things accomplished and was so happy. Of course, I was feeling it this morning, but it was definitely worth it. I am completely a night owl. I was out for a bit last night- got home at midnight and wanted to get some things organized for tonight's Board Meeting, I didn't intend to work for so long, but once I got started one thing led to another and before I knew it, it was 4:30. I wish I could work that late more often. One thing I love about working at night is that I feel no pressure- I don't have to go anywhere, no phone calls to make, no distractions- I can work on emails, letters, grants, internet research, without feeling like there are other things that I should be doing. I would like to do it again tonight, because there were a lot of things that I didn't get to, but I do need to be up relatively early tomorrow for a photo shoot and if I don't get enough sleep, I start to feel like a zombie. Maybe I can start alternating nights- work really late one night, go to bed earlier the next time- I wonder if that would work. I think I might try it. This may seem like a silly topic to write about, but it is important to come up with a good work schedule that makes me the most productive. I am lucky that I do have the power to set my own hours for the most part. I do try to stick to traditional work hours, simply because I feel like that's the schedule most people are on, but I do know that those hours really aren't the best for me.

Our board meeting went well tonight. We welcomed a new member, Jennifer, to our board. I think she is going to do a great job and I'm happy that she decided to join. I have a lot of things to follow up on that we talked about.

I have a busy day tomorrow- Woonsocket photos in the morning, Somerville Police donation at 2pm, Burlington photos at 3:30 and I have two auction items to pick up locally as well and a lot of phone calls to make. I'm getting pretty tired, so I should write my list and go to bed. It won't be another late night tonight- although there is a lot to do, especially since I'll be on the road tomorrow.
Anyways, I hope this wasn't a boring post. Until tomorrow friends..

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday News

Blogging on a Friday night- what gives?? Well, I was out tonight and got home relatively early, so I figured that since I didn't blog last night, I should write tonight.

So what's new? Well, I did two photo shoots today- Upton PD and Wrentham FD. I haven't seen the photos yet, but I think they came out great. The boy who was in the Wrentham photos had his yellow lab puppy with him, so we did the photos with the boy, his puppy and his dad by the fire truck. The Upton photos were good too- the kids were really cute and we had some new people in it too. I'm really looking forward to seeing the photos. I have been so happy with the way the photos have been coming out so far- particularly the Quincy photos- they were absolutely terrific!

We also got good news today witth another Anniversary event sponsor, so things are going pretty OK in regards to event sponsorship. I'm getting tired- there was so much else that I wanted to write about, I was thinking of things as I was driving home tonight, but now I can't remember. This always happens when I'm tired. I have a lot of things to do this weekend- some web things I wanted to catch up, prepare for Monday night's board of directors meeting, internet research, thank you cards to donors. I try not to work on the weekends generally, but next week I'm going to be out on the road a lot, so I need to get things taken care of.

Well, I'm off to bed. Maybe if I get home early tomorrow, I'll blog tomorrow night- and won't forget everything I wanted to write about. I was thinking this morning when I was driving home from the photo shoot about how lucky I am to have a job that I love and a job that allows me to get out and meet lots of cool people. Anyways, my eyes are hurting- need to sleep. Until next time...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Date Auction Success

So we have a date auction success story from last year! I had emailed last year's participants to invite them to participate again and I got an email tonight from a woman that we auctioned off- she actually was the winning bidder for a date with a guy who was being auctioned off. She wanted to let me know that they were still together, she sent me a photo (such a cute couple!) and said it was the best donation she ever made to charity. So now I can promote that we actually have had a successful relationship from our event! I wish I knew if there were other serious relationships that came out of it.

What else is new today? I don't remember! There wasn't actually a lot of news today- I did reach out to new potential sponsors for the Anniversary event- I got one commitment and commitments for two new auction items, which was good news. Our auction list is awesome. I was disappointed because one of last year's platinum sponsors is only able to do half the amount this year. Obviously I'm glad that they are still on board to do something, but I wish it could have been the same as last year. I'm still working on following up with calendar participants- scheduling the photo shoots is always the hardest part. It really doesn't seem like it should be so complicated. The calendar sponsorship is going very slowly- I really need help with getting the last two ads sold. We still have the back cover available and one month. We potentially have two other months available because I'm still waiting to hear back from two other businesses. If anyone knows a business or individual who would like to help sponsor the calendar through advertising, please let me know. These ads need sold and we only have a little over a month left.

Well, that's about it for tonight. I'm tired and trying to go to bed a bit earlier. I'm probably forgetting some things that I wanted to write about. Anyways. off to write my list. Good night friends...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I can't decide if I am slow or I simply underestimate the amount of time it takes to get things accomplished. Example- today I had on my list to email the recruits that signed up on Friday and email all of last year's auction participants to invite them to participate this year. I didn't want to second a blanket email to them all- it is always better to contact each person individually. Even though it was the same email being sent to each person, it took much longer than I thought it would. I also had to spend time today working on more date auction related things- it was mostly simple things to do with graphic design.

So today, I was working on contacting new businesses as anniversary sponsors- I actually spent quite a while online looking for local businesses who may be a good fit. I did get some good news tonight- I contacted a company in Hopedale and spoke with the woman who answered the phone. She was very pleasant and said she would check with the owner and get back to me. I offered to email the info to her, which I did and tonight, when I got home, there was an email from her saying the company would be making a $150 donation towards the event. So that was a happy surprise and a good example of how it important it is to keep researching to locate new potential sponsors.

What's on track for tomorrow? I have two photo shoots scheduled and I need to keep working on things that I didn't get to today (which was quite a bit). On a separate note- congratulations to the Boston Celtics for winning the championship! I am so happy for them. Personally, watching the games, I can't help but remember the night I stood on that floor. If I didn't have the photos to prove it, I would think it was a dream. I'll say good night with a quote from Celtics Kevin Garnett, "anything is possible." Oh, you know I believe that one!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A New Week

Welcome to Monday! I did a lousy job blogging last week- I don't even remember why. I was out a lot at night last week and by the time I got home, I was pretty tired. I feel like I've been on a bit of a roller coaster recently- both personally and work wise. Of course, I try to keep any personal issues from affecting work, but it isn't always easy. Today was a bit of a low day with some personal news I received.

Things have been a little slow with work lately- not slow in terms of me not having enough things to do- that is definitely not the case, but slow in terms of reaching people (potential sponors, police/fire departments for donations, etc) as well as slow in setting up some of the photo shoots for the calendar. However, the date auction is shaping up well. I was at the police academy on Friday and signed up nine very eligibile singles and did photos of the recruits for the calendar- they were even holding stuffed animals in the photos! I also did photos at another Boston area department and got to ride on the police boat again which was of course, an awesome time! I haven't seen the photos yet, the photo store is having trouble with their printer. Hopefully, they will be ready tomorrow. I'm always anxious to see the photos.

I'm having difficulty in finding new sponsors for the Anniversary Celebration. I was doing pretty well, but some to have reached a road block in terms of locating new potential donors. My goal this week is to find 5 new financial sponsors. I also need some more recommendations for auction items, because I'm starting to run out of places to contact.

Well, that's about it for tonight. I'm off to eat blueberry ice cream (it used to be my favorite ice cream as a kid, orange sherbert is my favorite now), but I decided to buy some when I was in Market Basket today. And I have to write my list for tomorrow. I was a little off my game today in terms of phone calls, so I focused on doing more simple things today instead (catching up on emails, letters and thank you cards that needed to be sent), so tomorrow I have a lot of phone calls to make. So until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday News

So what's new? I didn't blog last night- I was so tired last night when I got home. I went to a great networking event last night at the Downtown Women's Club. The DWC is a national group that has local chapters in various regions. I went to the Providence Chapter meeting. I have been getting their emails for quite a while, I think I signed up well over 6 months ago. I finally decided to go yesterday- partly because I didn't have anything else planned and wanted to get out and meet new people. It was a great event! I was really impressed with how outgoing and friendly all the women were. I think I made some good connections and definitely am looking forward to attending more meetings.

So far this week I have been spending a lot of time organizing photo shoots for the calendar. I have quite a few scheduled, but there are still a lot of people that I have to keep following up with to set up photo times. I absolutely love doing the photos- I love photography anyways and I love meeting new people- so it is a perfect fit. So far, the photos have been coming out really well.

I had a conference call this morning with a Boston area social/outdoor activities organization. It went really well and they are on board to help promote our event and donate some auction items. The woman I was speaking with was very suppportive, so I think it is going to be a really good partnership.

Not too much else new today- besides photo shoots, I was working on auction items, catching up on letters that needed to be sent out and trying to find new sponsors for the Anniversary event (that didn't go very well). We did get a new auction item in- a $60 gift certificate to Foxwoods, which is nice.

Well, I'm getting tired, my eyes are starting to hurt. I don't want to go to bed yet because I have a lot of things that I wanted to finish up tonight. I'm going to be out most of the day tomorrow- I'm meeting with the guy who's mixing our PS song, then I have photos later in Needham. I don't want to go home in between because I'm trying to cut back on driving. Anyways, I might just go to bed instead of working. So until next time friends...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ups and Downs

Today was an interesting day- filled with some good things and some disappointing news. On the lousy side was that we received notice that we will not be receiving the $25,000 grant we applied for. I saw the envelope when I flipped through the mail at the post office and I knew it was bad news before I opened it. With grants of that size, they call first with good news. That grant would have been so helpful and would let us grow the way we need to. The bank only chooses one recipient and I don't know who they chose, I'm sure they are deserving. It still is disappointing though, because we were an absolutely perfect fit for that grant and it would have made a huge difference.

So on the other side- the date auction issue is finally resolved, so that in itself was an accomplishment. We also received that restaurant gift card that I've been after for about two months- I think they might have done it because I nagged (very nicely) so much! We also received a $100 check from a local insurance company as a sponsor for the Anniversary event- they helped sponsor last year, so it was good to have them on board again.

I had a great time today doing the photos of the Paw Sox players (minor league team for the Red Sox). That is one of my favorite photo shoots- who wouldn't have fun spending time with a bunch of pro baseball players?? I think I got a lot of good photos- I haven't seen them yet. I also took some photos of the opposing team- Buffalo- they are the minor league team for the Cleveland Indians. I must say, they are one of the best looking teams I have ever seen!

There was a funny thing that happened today- a few weeks ago, I spoke with the manager at a local steakhouse (it is a chain restaurant) in regards to a gift card donation. The manager was really nice and told me to come in today and he'd have a gift card waiting for me (why can't it always be that simple?). So, I was working from my excel list and wrote his contact info under the wrong restaurant (another local steakhouse chain). So last week, I called the other restaurant and ended up speaking with the same manager. He was still really nice and told me he'd already spoken with me. Of course I was somewhat embarrassed, but it was OK. I corrected the excel info, tried calling the correct restaurant without any success and that was the end of that mistake- or so I thought. So today, I was in a rush to get out the door, I printed out my letter, went to do Paw Sox photos and stopped at the local restaurant on the way home. I went in and asked for Jason. A manager came over- a very pleasant guy- shook hands with me and said there was no Jason working here. I started talking about Project Smile and the gift card and how I'd spoken with Jason, when all of a sudden, I realized I was in the wrong restaurant! I was a little mortified. I apologized to the manager, explained that I'd gotten the restaurants mixed up and told that we did still need a gift card to his restaurant. He asked me what they donated last year. I told him- $25 gift certificate. He went in the back and came out a few minutes later with two $25 gift certificates! So that was one of the rare times that confusion actually paid off! I was really impressed with how helpful that manager was. I hope that pleasant and helpful people know how much they brighten the world- it really is great.

Anyways, so that's most of the highlights for today- there were other things going on of course, but I'm tired and can't remember too much. Now off to eat another peach (love them), write my list (I've been slipping with my list writing a bit), then bed, trying to get there earlier, but it hasn't been happening. So until next time friends..

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Awesome News

What a day! It was a strange day for the most part- work wise, it was going relatively OK- there was some good news on the auction front. We have commitments for some more cool auction items, including a "Producer for the Day" from a sports radio station, which is great and a restaurant gift certificate that I've been trying to get for about 2 months now. I was also speaking with a local lawyer in regards to helping sponsor our event. I was also doing a lot of following up with police departments and other sponsors and emails- all the usual stuff. I was making a lot of calls, but didn't seem to be getting through to many people.

There was a personal issue that was bothering me most of the day and by the end of the day, I was feeling really sad. So there it was- almost 6pm, I was multi tasking to take my mind of how blue I felt- writing thank you notes to people that have donated auction items, cleaning my office, sending emails- all stuff that needed to be done. Then the phone rang- it was the Boston Bruins Foundation calling with the most awesome news....we are receiving a $5,000 grant! How great is that?? I was so happy and relieved. This afternoon, I had been thinking about fundraising issues and how we really need to reach out to more potential funding sources in order to grow properly. Although we are getting a good number of small donations recently, it is nowhere near enough. Anyways, that was the best phone call I could have hoped for. We applied for a Boston Bruins Foundation grant last month. So needless to say, I felt amazingly better after that phone call! I wish every day could end with phone calls like that.

Well, that's my news for today- pretty great news! Off to bed now (must write my list first)- I'm doing photos tomorrow morning at Mendon FD, then back to the office and following up with lots of people- particularly calendar participants and I still need more calendar sponsors. Until next time...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Better Day

Today was a better day. The meeting that I had this morning went really well, we have a good partnership established with a Boston area company to help promote our date auction. I was really happy that it went well. It really does make a difference to get out and meet people whenever possible. Then I decided that instead of zooming back to the office and getting back to work, I'd take a brief detour and stop by to visit a friend who works in Needham. I'm glad I did- it is really important to take a bit of a break and do something spontaneous.

What else happened today? I was working on organizing photo shoots for the calendar, it is going pretty well. Every year, before I start working, I worry that I won't get anyone to be in the calendar. Actually before I worry about that, I worry that no one will advertise in it. But, things have worked out with the calendar for the past 4 years, so there isn't really reason to worry so much. We still need more calendar sponsors though. The back cover and two months are still available and I'm waiting to hear back from one sponsor who has advertised for the past two years. So I'm hoping that they will be back on board.

OK, heading off to bed. I'm working in the office all day tomorrow and have about a thousand things to accomplish. An exaggeration- I know- but sometimes it feels like it might as well be a thousand things. I do like days where I don't have to go anywhere, that way I can get more accomplished. Off to write my list first- I've been slipping a bit with list writing recently (mostly because I've been so tired at night, I fall asleep before i start writing.), but list writing is so helpful and really keeps me focused during the day. Until next time..
P.S. Thank you to those who take the time to read my blog- it is so great to know I actually have readers! Please keep leaving comments, I love to hear feedback!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Latest and Not So Greatest

Today was a frustrating day. It started out OK, a little slowly, because I was really tired this morning. Then I received a phone call around lunch time which was frustrating to put it mildly. I can't really go into the details of it, but basically a person who had agreed to participate in our Anniversary Celebration on October 3, has now decided that she wants to be paid for her participation in the event- "just a few hundred dollars" to quote accurately. Now, we had arranged back in January when she first responded to my posting, that she would donate her time and services and would participate in our event. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and was so angry. The idea that someone wants to change what we agreed to six months ago AND charge a few hundred dollars to participate in the fundraiser (her participation in the event is only a few minutes in duration) for a small non profit that needs absolutely every penny we get it- it was enough to made me want to scream. To make matters worse, a few minutes before she called, I was paying bills and working on financial things, so our financial struggles were already on my mind. I did remain relatively calm on the phone and explained that we had already agreed on the terms of her involvement in the event and to suddenly want to change things now, six months later, was not right. Furthermore, we don't have the budget to throw around hundreds of dollars as if we were talking about pennies (I didn't say it like that). So by the time I got off the phone, I was pretty angry and that unfourtunately derailed a good part of the afternoon. This type of anger is such a useless emotion- anger can be helpful when it motivates one to do something productive, but this type of anger is tiring and useless.

Things did rebound later in the day somewhat, I made contact with some police departments for calendar photos and I spoke with my favorite Lt. at a Boston area police department. I've known him for about 4 years and he is always so pleasant and helpful. I told him today that I wished everyone could be as helpful as him- he said, "no, they should all be like you, then the world would be a much better place." That was such a nice thing for him to say and especially since I was having a lousy day, it made me feel a lot better.

I was planning on coming home tonight and catching up on some work things- I have a lot of thank you cards to send, emails to catch up on, lists to write and more. It's just now I'm really tired. I have an important meeting in the morning, so I should go to bed- that would probably be the best plan. So here's hoping that tomorrow will bring lots of good news. Good night friends...

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's Monday

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Wednesday! So what's new? I did a big donation today to an ambulance company based near Boston. They provide primary ambulance service for nine Boston area towns, so it is was really great that we did this donation. I've found it difficult sometimes to figure out which fire departments have their own ambulance service and which ones rely on an outside service. It was kind of funny the experience I had trying to find their office today. Their building is located on Rt. 1 in Saugus, but it has a street address which is a street which runs over Rt. 1, so I took the street exit and was driving up and down looking for the place. Then I asked a fire fighter who was on a call at a shopping plaza and he gave me some directions which I didn't understand. So then I called the company and the guy told me where to go, so I had to go back down Rt. 1 and turn around- Rt. 1 is dreadful because you have to go at least a mile before there is anywhere to change direction. So then, I see the ambulance company, but the entrance was right off an exit ramp, so I got confused and drove past their entrance and turned into the next parking lot, thinking I oould cut across- which would have been great if it wasn't for the huge stones and fence. So, that meant another mile or so up Rt 1 to turn around and then another mile back. But anyways, besides wasting 20 minutes and way too much gas, it worked out well and it is great that we're now providing stuffed animals for paramedics in so many new communities.

There are a lot of other things going on, but I'm having trouble remembering. I had to drive to New Haven late this afternoon, just got home an hour ago and all of a sudden I'm so tired. I did want to talk about the students that I spoke with on Friday- it was a great experience. I promise I'll write about it tomorrow.
I'm falling asleep now. So until next time friends..