Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Busy Days

So what's the latest? Busy days over here! We got our Date Auction photos- they came out great. Our photographers, David Fox and Walter Smith, did an awesome job. Above is one of my favorites- BSSC was giving away sunglasses at their sponsor table. Here is one of my favorites from the crowd and a photo of some our bachelors and one of our bachelorettes.
 Here is the link to the rest of our photos.

Things are shaping up well with the Anniversary event. I've mailed all the invitations that needed to get sent out and I've posted it in the Meet Up groups that I'm involved with. I've been considering doing some paid online marketing for the event. There is a well known website that can target an email blast to 10,000 members in the greater Milford area for a very reasonable rate, so I think I will go with that. We need to reach as many people as possible for this event and since this advertising is affordable, I think it will be a good idea.

I picked up a beautiful Pandora bracelet for the live auction today. It is even prettier than the one they donated last year. The Legacy Place store has been very supportive of Project Smile for the past couple of years. I've also been working on following up with people that promised auction items. I've scheduled some pick-ups and still have more people that I'm trying to reach.

It is so important to have a good subject line in your email blasts. I try to make an effort with mine and I think I do a pretty good job, but there are always ways to improve. I received an email today from an organization which does shopping events for women. I've been to their events and similar ones in the past which have been helpful for finding sponsors. I hadn't been planning to attend their latest event, but I got an email today with such a catchy subject line: "We Want You Back at (name of event). The line really caught my attention, so I opened it. They were also doing a really good promo, so I decided to buy the ticket. It inspired me to work on a new subject line for our Smiling Stiletto fashion show fundraiser which is happening next week. We sent the email invitation a few times already and I was planning on sending it again tomorrow anyways, so tonight I spent some time working on a new subject line to grab people's attention even more.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to read for a bit- I'm reading a good mystery by Ian Rankin. I also have to catch up with some emails. I should spend some time organizing my office which is looking like a small tornado touched down. It has improved though- yesterday, it was resembling a much larger tornado. Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moving Along

Well, we are moving right along to our next event which is exactly one month away! Our 9th Anniversary Celebration! I mailed a lot of invitations yesterday and today, I still have more to do. I've also been reaching out to people to help spread the word- that is a huge way to get people to attend. One lady who attended last year and also donated a lovely gift basket for the auction, bought 6 tickets which was awesome. We still have a long way to go, but we're making progress. I've also been following up with people who have promised auction items but haven't sent them in yet- there are quite a few that I have to connect with again.

There are some great photos on Boston.Com from the Date Auction. They were taken by photographer Bill Brett who is really well known for his photos. Here is the link- it is so exciting that he photographed our event:

The calendar is ready to be officially printed. Last week, the printer sent over the proof, but I didn't have a chance to really look at it carefully. Yesterday, the website that they sent file through (YouSendIt) wasn't loading properly, so I waited until today to really look at the files. The goal with this proof is to make sure that all the ads and photos are in their proper positions and the calendar is properly formatted. There was one ad that wasn't formatted properly- half the ad was missing. This would have been horrendous if it hadn't been caught. They fixed that and sent me a new proof for that month. I did one more look through the entire calendar and then gave the printer the go-ahead. I'm so excited to see the printed calendar. The little girl on the cover is so beautiful- you want to give her a hug through the photo! Her parents are coming to the event- I'm really looking forward to showing them the calendar.

Well, that's the latest- I'm really tired. I think I've forgotten about a lot of the things that I wanted to write about! Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Date Auction Success!

Well friends, it was another terrific night for the Date Auction! The months of effort, the stress and anxiety- it was all worth it. We had another awesome attendance and we raised $14,000 for PS. That is less money than last year, but I'm happy with it. We were featured in the Names section of the Boston Globe today which was excellent. This is our second time in a week to be in the Globe. Here is the link to the photo/write-up:

I had a ton of great feedback from the people who were guests and also the bachelors/ettes. It's always great to hear the feedback. We had some awesome staffers that were sent from a staffing agency that has been supporting our event. They worked with the volunteers and did a great job ensuring that the event ran smoothly. There were so many people that helped make the event possible- our sponsors, hosts, Gypsy Bar, donors, participants, guests, volunteers. Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraiser. I couldn't have done it without you and I appreciate everyone's help.

There is always so much work to do after an event- it is funny how I forget that. I spent time following up with people who bid on our silent auction items, contacting the winners for the Sofft shoes gift cards (they were so happy) and thanking people who were involved. I got most of it done today, but there are a few more things that need to get done. I can't wait to see event pictures. That is one of the best things after an event.

Now that the Date Auction is over it is full force onto our next big event, our 9th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 19. The paper invitations came out beautifully. I had a volunteer in today who was working on addressing the invites. We still have a lot more left to do. The goal is to get them out over the next couple of days. Then we start with the email blasts and reaching out to other people to help bring guests. This event is equally important as the Date Auction and needs to be another big fundraiser.

We also have our fall fashion show fundraiser at Copley Place on October 4. The event is part of Boston Fashion Week. It is shaping up to be another lovely night. The email blast about that will go out tomorrow to our Smiling Stiletto members.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm really tired. The pressure from the Date Auction is over, but now it is all about the Anniversary Celebration. It does feel funny not to keep checking my email every 10 minutes to check on ticket sales- I was rather obsessed. Thank you again to everyone who helped make our event a success. Your support means so much to me! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Night Before

Well friends, here we are- the night before our 6th Annual Project Smile Charity Date Auction.  This morning, I was walking around with a permanent knot in my stomach, but that has dispersed and now I feel peaceful. Things are right where they need to be for tomorrow. We have done really well in advanced ticket sales which is always a huge relief. Our stage and rental items are all waiting at Gypsy Bar. I have a couple of small things to do tonight, but everything else is done. I did another test with my credit card machine earlier today and it worked fine.

I actually felt a child like sense of wonder tonight when I was thinking about the Date Auction. It is pretty amazing when you think back to the beginning- our first date auction was 2007 and we've grown so much since then. Every January, I start all over at the beginning- getting hosts, sponsors, auction items, gift certificates, participants, marketing- there are so many pieces that have to come together for this event, it really is something. It is a lot of work and I'm really grateful for everyone who has donated, who has given their time, who has bought tickets, who is participating, who has helped spread the word- I couldn't have done this alone and I really appreciate all the support. However things turn out tomorrow night, the least that I can say is that I'm proud of what I've done and I know that I've done everything I could to ensure a successful event. I've walked through the event a million times in my head, trying to solve every problem before it comes up and of course- we've been there before, so I do know what to expect for the most part. If certain problems do arise, I've thought of ways they could be solved. Naturally, something could happen tomorrow night that I totally didn't expect, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. This time tomorrow night, hopefully I will be able to rejoice in the success of a great event.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. Please wish us much success tomorrow night. This is a huge fundraiser for us and hopefully, all the effort over the last 9 months will lead to another great night. Until next time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Track

Well, we are only 3 days until the big night. I can't believe it is almost here. All of this work and it is now in the home stretch. So how are things looking? We are looking good. I get nervous when I say that because I think that I'm going to jinx things, but we are in the right place. Ticket sales are exactly on track for where they need to be. Our program is headed to the printer- we did our last update today. I've been holding it in case of any other last minute bachelor/ette drop-outs. I finished our silent auction bid sheets, bought the table covers and I'm getting all the other small, but important things together. I use battery powered lamps at some of our silent auction, registration and vendor tables because Gypsy Bar's lighting is rather dim. Three of the lamps that I've had for a while weren't working anymore, so I went to Walmart today to pick up some new lamps. They're technically camping lamps, but they are perfect for what I need. I was checking out and the cashier asked me what Project Smile was. I told him and then I mentioned we were having a big fundraiser on Friday. He asked if it was a camping event- which would make sense given I was buying 3 camping lights. I laughed and told him it was in a club.

 We have 4 staffers coming on Friday from a staffing agency which has been a huge support for us. The company is paying for them to be there. It is great to have that help for the event. I keep walking through the event in my head- thinking of anything that can go wrong and making sure everything flows smoothly. Obviously, we've done this 5 times before, but you still need to keep mentally running through the event. I did a walk-thru yesterday at Gypsy Bar and everything is looking good. The Cabot Cheese arrived for the Date Auction today. Right now, we have about 24 blocks of cheese in the fridge just waiting to get cut up. If I get a cheese craving, I know where to turn (just kidding!).

Well, that's the latest. I'm back to work on Date Auction things. I've updated our volunteer duties and now I'm going to work on writing a list of duties for our staffers. It really helps everyone involved to have things written down. Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What If...

What if you give it your all and that isn't enough? What if you put 100% and still fall short? It happens all the time. I was thinking about that when I was driving home from a Smiling Stiletto event tonight. When I started working on PS full time 8 years ago, I don't remember that it ever crossed my mind that I couldn't do it. I don't think I ever thought that far ahead- it was all about focusing on the small steps which let the bigger pieces fall into place. I suppose that the idea of failure must have crossed my mind, but I was 24 years old at the time and it didn't matter. And for eight years, my all has been enough- with the help of many others of course.

 So what's the problem? Event anxiety is the problem. I've put my all into the Date Auction and I'm anxious about ensuring it is another success. It is shaping up to be a wonderful event, but that doesn't lessen the concern. I've done everything that I can with the marketing, outside of having a huge marketing budget. We have some fabulous people being auctioned off and great hosts and sponsors. We're not in the hole for any money due to the sponsorship dollars raised- the event is 100% profit.  I am trying to relax but there is a lot of pressure on this event- there is pressure to raise money, create a good buzz, make our sponsors happy, have a positive experience for our guests so they want to come back and justify the time and effort that was spent on the event. I've been sick with a cold for the past few days, so of course that doesn't help with feeling anxious about the Date Auction. The good news is that I am feeling better tonight. I'm going to work on relaxing and keep chugging along with the things that need to get done for both events and following up on marketing outreach.

In other good news- I am done staring at the PS calendar proof. I went through it 3 times this morning before I gave Lisa the go-ahead to start finalizing the calendar for the printer. This morning, I looked at first for spelling and make sure the photo captions were in order. Then, I looked at the dates and ad placements. Then I looked at it again for both things. I've done this a bunch of times. Proofing is so important, you need to keep looking at things- you never know what mistakes you could have missed or you see an improvement that can be made.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. Tomorrow, I'm picking up table covers and name-tags for the auction and doing our bid sheets for the silent auction portion of the event. I'm also working on promotion and our Anniversary Celebration. I have a potential volunteer coming in for a meeting in the morning. It would be great to have a regular office volunteer, so hopefully it will be a good meeting. I'm now off to munch on some honeydew melon- the first one that I've had this summer and it is delicious! Before I go- a special Happy Birthday shout- out to my sister Cordelia!
Until next time friends...