Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chugging Along

Do you ever have one of those days were you worked really hard, but by the time midnight rolls around, you can't remember what you did? Well, that's how I feel right now. I was just thinking about what I did today and my mind is blank- I know I did a lot of things, but can really think of exactly what it was. The primary focus was the date auction, I was also working on the anniversary event. I emailed Lisa all the info for the invitation, she sent me back a draft tonight. The invite is very similar to last year's, which was beautiful. We did a red color theme and I kind of wanted to change the color, but we might go back to red because it really pops and looks beautiful. Lisa sent me the invitation in purple which I thought would look good, but it doesn't quite work. The purple looks a little deadly.

I am super stressed about date auction ticket sales. I know it must be very boring to hearing me harp on about tix sales, but there is a lot of anxiety going on. We're doing promotions in so many places, I don't know what else we can do. I know that I go through this every year and it always works out fine, but it is hard to keep that in mind. Search Boston just featured us in their newsletter that went out today and we are in Professionals in the City newsletter and Boston Event Guide this week too. I emailed the lady at the Boston Globe, she did a nice promo about our date auction last year and it would be awesome to have that again.

I didn't get all the bachelor/ettes profiles organized today, I ran out of time. We do finally have everyone's profiles complete, so I need to get cracking on getting everything to the designer so she can work her magic. I am still waiting on 2 more program ads.

Well, I am tired and I'm off to bed. There is lots more to write about, but I can't remember too much. Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to Blogging!

I have been such a dreadful blogger lately- I am so sorry! We are getting back on track this week. I don't even have a legitimate excuse for not blogging, I wasn't sick, I wasn't on vacation. Anyways, so what's happening? Well, this is crunch time- the date auction is only 2 1/2 weeks away and the anniversary event is a month and a day- nine months of work and we are just a few weeks away. I have been getting really anxious about date auction tix sales- it gets very stressful to wait for sales to come in. The good news is that we had good sales yesterday and today, so we are on track- I need to keep reminding myself of that fact. The majority of our promotion comes out after Labor Day, but the word is definitely spreading in advance. Tomorrow, I'm going to send another email to the auction participants and ask them to encourage their friends/coworkers to attend the event and get their tickets in advance. Word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get people to attend. There are a million little things that need to be done for the date auction- the major priority is to get the program finished. I'm still waiting for some of the bachelors to send me their info and I'm waiting for one more bachelorette to send her info. I need to finalize the order for all the bachelors/ettes- it is actually quite a process, then I need to organize all the profiles/photos and send them to the graphic designer who is donating her time to put the program together. I'm really grateful for her help because I need to keep the events costs down and it is time consuming to do our date auction program.

In other news- our 2011 calendar is somewhere between Maryland and Rockland, MA- Maryland is where our primary designer lives and Rockland is home to our printer. I am so excited to see the final version. The printer usually takes about ten days, but I get to see a blue line proof within a few days. This will be our 8th Project Smile calendar- isn't that amazing? It seems like yesterday that I was taking our first photos and struggling like heck to get calendar sponsors.

My office is looking like a bomb hit it- it needs to get organized, but it is also home to a sea of beautiful purple PS tote bags- our date auction gift bags. Today was our first day with stuffing the bags. I'm still waiting for a couple of other gift bags items, but I needed to get the stuffing started.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I should go back to work, but I am really tired. I also really want to finish the book that I started reading in FL, I'm really enjoying the book, but it is hard to find the time to read. Anyways friends, until tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Busy Day

Today was a good day- I had a million small things that needed attention and I got a lot accomplished. I worked on our date auction program, followed up with gift bag donors, reached out to sponsors to get their ads for the program, followed up with auction items, sent in website updates, contacted more potential bachelors for the date auction and did some more marketing work. In other good news, one of the guys that is in the police academy that I recruited bachelors from sent me an email asking if he and a friend could participate in the date auction. Of course! I've been working hard to get the remaining few guys that we need, so it is excellent when bachelors sign up on their own. I also spoke with a fire fighter who participated in another date auction last month and he seems interested in participating in ours, he needs to check his schedule. Our Pop Chips donation also arrived for the date auction gift bags. I need to contact Fed Ex tomorrow though- we are missing 3 boxes. I never would have counted the cases on my own, but the delivery man told me that label said there were supposed to be 18 cases, but he only had 15.

It is such a great feeling when things come together- the date auction is less than a month away, but I'm feeling confident. I'm anxious as always, but the good thing is that all the ground work has been done and things are coming together the way they need to. We've been selling tickets already which is a great sign.

Calendar proofing is ongoing. Lisa sent me a new version but it needs an adjustment to the new cover photo. I also need to spend more time proofing all the months and looking at the photos some more. That is a priority for tomorrow.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I went to sleep a half hour earlier today and I think it really made a difference, I'm going to try that again tonight. I also had an extra cup of tea and ate lunch earlier and I think that helped with energy level today- it was really up there. I need every day to be like this! I'm going to read for a bit, eat some cherries and then bed. Until next time...

Monday, August 16, 2010


It is midnight and our date auction is now officially only a month away- can you believe it? I can't, it seems like yesterday I was calling Gypsy Bar to choose the date. How are we doing with it? Things are moving along- we still need more bachelors and more gift certs and auction items, but a lot of things are in place- lovely ladies signed up, 14 bachelors, awesome hosts, Sofft Shoes on board, some gift bag items already in hand, marketing is gearing up, we have gift certificates, although we do need more. I am feeling good about things, but nervous of course. There is a lot of pressure to have a successful event and this next month is crucial time for the date auction and our anniversary event.

Lisa sent me a draft of our 2011 calendar. It looks really cute, there are a lot of adorable photos in there. There are always changes that need to be made- I sent my revisions to Lisa. There will probably be more changes after she sends the new version over. I usually need to look at things for a while because it can take me a bit of time to identify things that need to be changed.

My goals for the week are to find more bachelors, work on event marketing, follow up with gift bag donors to get more items in hand and with sponsors to get their program ads, get more gift certificates for the couples and more auction items. For the anniversary event, I need to get in touch with Lisa about the invitation and work on getting more auction items. I also need to do our August newsletter and website updates. There are more things that I need to work on, but I can't remember right now.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I was going to read for a bit, but my eyes are hurting. I'm going to write my list and then bed, until tomorrow...

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Well, first of all- I'm sorry for not blogging since last Wednesday- I haven't been a very good blogger lately. So what's happening? In good news- calendar photos have been finished and Lisa, our designer, has them all. We received our last ad copy that we were waiting for today and the last half month ad spot was taken care of because one of our sponsors ended up taking a full month ad instead of a half month- good news all around. The next step is proofing the month pages that Lisa sent me today, checking the ads and then waiting for Lisa to send a final version, then send it back to her with revisions- it is always fun to do that part.

I had to send my digital camera back to Canon for repairs last week. I have been really happy with Canon's customer service. I had an older digital camera which they fixed for free a couple of years ago and paid the shipping. The camera that I got last year after my 35mm broke has been great, but then right when I started doing this year's photos, it had trouble with the focusing and a message would appear saying there was a lens error. The 1 year warranty was up on July 29, but I wasn't done with photos, so I couldn't send it in. I called Canon and they said they give a 2 month warranty grace period. I was really impressed with that. I mailed it on Friday and got an email today saying they inspected it and should be sending it back within 7 days fixed. I would definitely recommend Canon for their excellent customer service.

So what else is going on? We lost one of our date auction bachelorettes today- she is going to be out of town, but the good news is that I have a wait list of ladies who want to sign up, so I contacted one of them and she is more than happy to participate. I wish it was as easier on the bachelor side of things. I seriously need more fire fighters and I'm not sure where they are going to come from. We do have some signed up already, so that is good and we have a bunch of police and some other handsome guys, but I'm looking for 8 more bachelors. We'll get there, but it is a long process.

I've been working on getting auction items that people have promised, but we haven't received yet. It always happens that people promise donations for our silent auctions and never deliver- that is one of the worst things. A lot of times, I have to make 5 or 6 phone calls/emails to keep following up to actually get the auction item. I spend a ton of time each day just following up with people. I know that everyone is busy, but it gets frustrating to have to spend so much of my day trying to follow up, particularly with people who already said they would donate. It does boggle my mind when people say they will donate and never actually do it. I've been trying to many times to reach one of the bachelors who said he was going to be auctioned off and also donate a helicopter tour ride of Boston for our silent auction- a really cool item. He hasn't responded to any of my calls/emails. I'm not going to contact him anymore- even I have reached my limit with that one.

Well friends, there is much more to write about, but I'm getting tired. I need to get back on track with my blogging because there is a lot to update everyone on. I'm going to catch up on emails now, I have a lot of stuffed animal donation inquiries that I need to respond to. Until next time friends...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday Happenings

We are half way through the first week of August- our events are getting closer by the minute! I committed to taking out a 1/4 page ad in a Boston magazine for the date auction. They gave a discounted rate and will promote it on their Twitter and Facebook feeds and they're donating a gift certificate as well. It is still pricey and I'm a little concerned about spending the money. They used to donate an ad every year, but weren't able to donate this year. Since we've always promoted it with them, I was worried about the negative impact of not having an ad in their again. I think I've made the right decision to advertise, but a little part of me also wonders if we could get by without it and still have an awesome turn out. It is also good marketing to get the Project Smile name out there as well, so that is another positive thing about advertising. It is also important that people see the date auction in as many places as possible. Now, I need to get Lisa to send over an ad which fits their dimensions. We have to cut some of the info from the flier in order to make the ad stand out as much as possible.

The calendar photos are wrapping up. I did Uxbridge photos yesterday which came out really well. We had the most people participate than we've had from that department before. Tomorrow morning, I'm in Seekonk (it got rescheduled from last week), then another photo shoot here in the afternoon. Worcester photos are on Friday and then we are done. I'm still waiting for the ad copy from one of our sponsors and I have another ad that I'm not sure what is happening with. I can't wait to get the calendar to the printer, it is always such a relief to have it done.

I scheduled another donation next week to the Department of Children and Families, it has been a couple of months since we donated there. I need to keep reaching more departments, but it has been hard because I have to spend a lot of time working on the calendar and our two big events. Those events are so important for us financially that they deserve all the time that is put into them.

Well, that is it for tonight. I have a lot of emails that I need to catch up on, but I feel like spending a bit of time reading my book. I should probably go and work, that is more important that reading. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's August!

Well, August is here. I can't quite believe it. We are only 6 weeks away from the date auction and two months from our anniversary celebration and just a couple of weeks from sending our 2011 calendar to the printers. It is a little overwhelming about how much needs to be done. I like to work well ahead of time- partly because it takes a lot of the stress out of the situation and also because logistically it is impossible to run a business by yourself and leave things to the last minute. The problem is that in order for me to get things done- our ad copy finalized, event program put together, etc., I need a lot of information from other people and some of those people are not very responsive. Their slowness makes my job even more difficult. I spend so much of time simply following up with people. This morning, I was feeling really frustrated- particularly with trying to get our last load of calendar photos done. The good thing was that I did connect with a bunch of people and got three more photo shoots scheduled for this Friday. I'm going to end the calendar photos this week. There are some departments that usually participate that I haven't heard back from, but I can't keep following up anymore. It would be nice to have them involved again, but there does come a point when I need to move on. We have a lot of lovely photos for the calendar, so that isn't an issue. It is always good to have more people participate, but this is a time issue. I need to get the calendar put to bed so I can focus more time on the date auction and anniversary event and the other things that need to be done.

I've been working on getting the date auction gift bag items in hand. The 400 bottles of Skinny Water were delivered last week. I've been joking that I've been losing weight just by staring at the bottles! That was a really nice donation for the bags. We've also received 3 different gift certificates. Yelp and Princeton Review are going to be sending their items this week. I'm waiting for donations from at least 3 other businesses. I know that one of them won't be arriving until September, but it will be good to get the everything else here and ready to go.

Our quarterly check arrived from the AidMatrix foundation today- that is the organization that runs the Virtual Aid Drive on our website- where people make financial donations using our shopping cart. I found the site by accident 3 years ago when searching for relief organizations who could handle our donations for the children who were victims of the CA wildfires. As soon as I saw their site, I loved the page- it made me want to donate money. I know immediately that we had to use it on our site. It has worked perfectly. Our online financial donations increased dramatically since we launched our Virtual Aid Drive. It was one of the best online choices that I made and I'm really proud of it.

Well, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow, I have another calendar photo shoot scheduled, then I'm back at work on getting gift certificates for the date auction couples, auction items, more fire fighters and marketing work for the date auction. There are probably other things that I'm forgetting which need attention too. Until tomorrow friends...