Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winding Down November

Well, here we are- the last night of November 2010. Honestly, I don't know where it went. It has been a good month though. I can't remember if I already shared the good news: the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation awarded us a $4,000 grant this month. We are doing the check presentation ceremony on Monday, we will do a photo with the giant check- that is always fun! We do our primary business banking with Rockland Trust. Tomorrow, I'm going to a local foundation grant awards dinner. I interviewed with them a couple of weeks ago and they invited us to their dinner- when you get invited, it is a good sign that you will be receiving a grant. It would be quite dreadful to be invited to the awards dinner and not get a grant! We're also waiting for the results from another grant- we have received this grant for the past couple of years, so hopefully that will continue too.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed- the year is almost over and there is still a lot that I wanted to get done before we start the new year- more police/fire departments to contact, more donations to request, calendars to sell, etc. It won't be long before I have to start working on our 2011 date auction and anniversary event.

Today, I had to take my car in for some work- I brought my laptop with me and spent 45 minutes catching up on email- it was great, I responded to a lot of emails. I didn't have the distractions of other work in front of me, so I focused on the emails. I wonder if that might be a solution- take my laptop into another room for 45 minutes every day and focus only on email.

What else is happening? Well, I am now going to be modeling in the fashion show at our Santa and Stilettos event next week. We had a girl who couldn't make it, so I offered to take her spot. I'm going to the dress store tomorrow to get fitted. That is one of the good things about being involved with an event- you can put yourself in the fashion show! It was a lot of fun modeling at the Hello Stiletto spring fashion and this is going to be a cool event, so I'm pretty excited to be strutting on the catwalk!

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I still haven't started my book, so I'm going to read for a few minutes and not eat anymore food. I stopped in Providence at my favorite Italian food store and bought delicious bread- I've been munching on crunchy bread, cheese and grapes for the past hour and need to stop! Until next time...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Latest and Greatest

Welcome to a new week. I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving, I definitely did. Today was a busy day, but I'm still not sure how much I actually got accomplished. I was working on promoting our Santa and Stilettos holiday party which is coming up in less than 2 weeks (Saturday, December 11, 7pm, Hyatt Regency, Boston). I don't usually design our own email blasts in Constant Contact- I usually have Lisa, our designer, put the email together. It can get a little time consuming to do it myself. I wanted to save the money, so I went into Constant Contact and used one of their templates to do our invitation. It helped that I already have the graphic to use. The result came out really well. It did take a bit of time, but it was definitely worth it to do it myself. Reggie, who is organizing most of the event, was happy with it too. If you are on our mailing list, you should have received it today. I did get a couple of emails from people who saw it and are coming to the event. In other good events news, our Santa who participated in the event last year, is coming back! He was an awesome Santa Claus last year. He wears a Santa suit that was once in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Jim, the Santa Claus, is a fire fighter and he and a friend donate their time. I'm really glad we have Santa- it makes it an official holiday event!

What else is going on? Well, I have a million emails that I need to respond to. I responded to some of them already- the most urgent ones obviously, but there are still a lot that I haven't replied to. I know I keep talking about this, but I need to get a seriously better method of replying to email. I need to pick a system and stick to it.

There are lots of other things going on, but I can't remember- I'm pretty tired right now. I was actually about to go to bed without blogging, but I couldn't let myself do that- it had already been a week since my last fascinating blog entry! I have to be out of the office tomorrow morning because I have to have some work done on my car, but I am going to bring my laptop with me and catch up on emails- that should work well, because I will have a lot less distractions around me.

Well, I am off to bed. I'm sorry this is not exactly the most interesting blog posting- I can't think of much else right now. I picked up a mystery book from the library that I'm really excited to read, I was going to start it tonight, but now my little brain can't absorb anything. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Well friends, here we are- it is Thanksgiving week. I know that technically Thanksgiving is only a day, but all the build up to it makes it feel like a week long event! Of course, I use that a justification to bake and eat lots of cookies this week and lots of other food too!

So what's new? Well, things are chugging along. Calendar sales have been picking up lately which is a good thing. I've been catching up on work- I didn't get a lot done when I had my cold. I need to send stuffed animals and other items up to Leominster tomorrow for donation to an organization that helps battered women and their children. I also have to get together a lot of coloring books to send to Boston PD. We're running low on boxes, so I need to go to CT next week and pick up some new ones.

To the nice person who commented on our blog recently- about our Santa and Stilettos event- thank you! We do have an official Facebook event page- you can forward the link to invite friends, here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169849549710591&index=1

In good news, the silent auction that we did at wine fest raised $500. I'm happy about that because all we had to do was show up at the event and display at our items. Jeff, who runs Boston Event Guide, invites us to the auction which is really nice of him. It is funny because it took a while for some of the people who won the items to get back to me and I was getting a little concerned- but they called me today and I processed their credit card payments. I'm dropping off two of the items tomorrow in Boston. One guy bought two nice sports pictures.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat- possibly a grapefruit and possibly some more delicious Italian bread and cheese- one of my favorites! Until next time friends...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Charge back

Well, today was a first- we had a credit card charge back- that is when someone disputes a credit card charge and the cc company removes the charge and takes the money back from us. However, this was a fraud- we did nothing wrong. Here's the story- at the date auction, we auctioned off a pair of round trip airline ticket vouchers. A woman bought the tickets with a winning bid of $551. I processed the credit card payment over the phone and mailed the tickets to her on Monday following the date auction. I sent them via express mail with the USPS. The woman called me a few weeks later and told me that she lost the ticket vouchers. She said she had them in her bedroom and wasn't sure if someone had stolen them from her room during a party- she had looked everywhere for them. She asked if we could contact the airline. I explained to her that the vouchers stated on them that the airline was not responsible for lost/stolen tickets. There was nothing we could do. She mentioned contacting her credit card company to remove the charges- I told her that would not be appropriate since we had mailed them to her and if she reversed the charges then Project Smile would lose $551 and we had done nothing wrong.

Today, I got a letter from the credit card processing company's charge back department stating that the charges had been reversed because she claimed she never received the tickets. The company gives us an opportunity to provide a rebuttal. I immediately went searching for the post office receipt- it took me a few minutes to find the receipt which had the tracking number on it. Thankfully, I found it- called the local post office and they promptly printed out a copy of the receipt showing her signature for the envelope. I wrote a letter and attached the USPS receipt with her signature. Hopefully, we will get the money back- I can't imagine why we wouldn't since I have proof that she received the tickets. I feel badly that she lost the tickets since she spent quite a bit of money, but it was not our fault and it is a really crappy thing to do to pretend that you never received them. She had the tickets and it was her responsibility to look after them- you can't do what she is trying to do and get her money back from us. I don't know how she thought she would get away with it- especially since she clearly signed for the envelope.

So that was the mini drama for today. It was annoying that I had to take time out of my work day to address the situation, but it was important to take care of it immediately- that is a lot of money to risk losing. In other news, I have a cold and didn't get a lot of work done yesterday and today. It isn't even that bad a cold, but it is making me take a lot longer to get work done- I'm working at less than half pace. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better.

Well, I'm off to eat grapefruit- I'm also trying not to eat anymore sour patch kids candy- they are part of my cold remedy food plan- even though they really are not providing any real help! Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Latest and Greatest

Greetings! So what is the latest and greatest? Well, in very good news- we are receiving a $4,000 grant from the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation and they are also donating 200 coloring books! Isn't that great? The Rockland Trust is where I do all my Project Smile banking. We had applied in the spring, but our application was held until the fall for review. This is our first donation from Rockland Trust. I am really happy- it is always such a relief to get a grant award. We will do a check presentation ceremony with them and photo later this month.

Tonight, I had an interview with a local Foundation that has supported us for the past couple of years. It is a very quick interview with their board, I think there were about 8 board members there. They already have our grant application, but they like to meet as well. I think it went really well. I enjoy talking about Project Smile- I feel like I could always go on forever. The board members seemed very receptive. Hopefully, they will choose to keep supporting our work. It really means a lot to have continued support like that.

I still haven't done our November newsletter- I haven't sent an official newsletter since September. I used to do them every month and I don't know what happened that I stopped doing that. I keep saying I'm going to get back to the monthly newsletter, but then I end up skipping months. There is always stuff to write about, so it isn't like there is a shortage of news. Tomorrow, I'm going to make sure to get our newsletter done. I don't want to send it out too close to Thanksgiving when people might not pay attention to it because they are wrapped up in holiday stuff.

Tomorrow, I also have to pick up sports auction items for our silent auction at Wine Fest on Saturday. I'm also planning on going to a networking event in the evening, then I have a fun masquerade party later that I'm going to with my boyfriend- really looking forward to it. I just found out about it today, it looks like a lot of fun.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm feeling pretty tired. I don't think I've adjusted to the hour change yet. I've already been raiding left over Halloween candy tonight and I'm holding off the urge to get more- I'm also craving cheese- we have a ton of good cheese in the fridge. I should just go to bed though, don't really need to do anymore munching! Until next time friends...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Welcome November

November is here! Well, it has been here for 3 days, but this is my first November posting. First of all, thank you to the person who left that nice comment on my blog- I really appreciate it. I've been blogging for almost 2 years and I still can't believe that I actually have readers!

So what's new? Well, our donation to Boston Police went great. It had been a while since we donated to them. They are very receptive and we got a great photo that I put on Facebook. It will be on our website too, but that takes a bit longer. We will be doing a lot more donations there in the near future since it is such a large department. I have to buy more coloring books and send them over next week, there was a community officer from one precinct that was particularly in need of them. I need to set up donations with some of the other departments that we haven't donated to in a while. It is hard to stay in touch with everyone when we work with 162 departments.

I was also working on the 2nd Annual Santa and Stilettos event that is coming up (Saturday, December 11). The Hello Stiletto Shoe Club and Reggie B productions are putting the event together and we are the benefiting charity. Melissa sent me some contacts of people who may like to donate for our silent auction at the event. It will be a really fun event- fashion show, complimentary Grey Goose cocktails, live music, performances- and only $20 in advance. I already contacted so many Boston businesses for the date auction, I didn't have too many more that I hadn't already reached out to, so I really needed Melissa's help with fresh contacts. This will be a small silent auction, but that is OK. We don't have to do a ton of work for this event which is great.

Calendar sales are slow- I need to work hard on moving them. Tomorrow, I seriously need to spend significant time responding to emails. I have had a lot of stuffed animal donation emails that I haven't responded to yet. I need to improve my email response system- I know this is an ongoing problem, but I have yet to find a system that works for me. It is a problem that I need to solve because it isn't professional to not respond in a timely manner. There are some emails that I do respond to quickly, but other ones that I look at and because they aren't urgent, I don't respond immediately- I intend to go back, but sometimes that doesn't happen.

Well friends, I am off to write my list for tomorrow- with email being #1. I also want to write our November newsletter- I intended to do that last week and submit a few more web updates. I will make sure and blog tomorrow just so I can report on my email success! I'm also off to eat another mini Snickers (Halloween left over candy- the 2nd best thing about Halloween! Costumes are the best). Until tomorrow friends...