Thursday, October 25, 2012

Glamour Debut!

Well friends, I am very happy and proud to announce that Project Smile will be featured in Glamour magazine's December issue! The issue hits newsstands November 6 and we will be in the charitable giving section. Glamour reached out to me over a month ago about being included in their charitable giving article. We emailed back and forth, but I wasn't completely sure that we would actually make it into the magazine. This afternoon it was confirmed!

The funny thing is that I've been subscribing to the magazine since I was 16 years old. It was the very first magazine that I had subscribed to and I was so proud to do it- I thought that I was becoming a grown up with my glossy women's magazine subscription! I used to love reading YM magazine when I was a young teen, but my parents would never had allowed me to subscribe to it. When I moved to NYC and was alone for the first time, it was one of my first moves of independence. I can still remember sitting at the dining table in the apartment that I lived and filling out my address on the subscription card- oh, I felt so happy! I used to read the magazine as soon as it arrived every month and then when I moved to Hopedale, the magazine followed me. My younger sisters started to read it, my mom would flip through it. Over the years, magazine subscriptions have come and gone- I've grown up, become interested in other things- developed a love of cooking magazines, but through it all Glamour has always been renewed. I've always been a dreamer, so yes, I did imagine how awesome it would be to actually be in the magazine, but who would have imagined that it would come true? That my little idea has grown so much over the last nine years that it has now made it into a national magazine- amazing! To keep it all in perspective, it is a small mention in the magazine- not a feature article, but that doesn't matter- we are still in Glamour! I couldn't have made it this far without all the generous people that support my work with Project Smile- I hope you know that I share the happiness of this moment with you. Thank you!

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to watch some more of the World Series and continue on my office organizing mission. Until next time friends...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Polly Progress

Well, today was busy day. I zoomed over to Braintree to return the sports memorabilia items that didn't sell and then I zoomed up to Boston to drop off our donation of stuffed animals, books, coloring books and toys for the Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries annual children's holiday party. We've been donating items for their holiday party for the past few years. We donated a little over 200 items this time. We got some lovely book donations in recently, so I included a bunch of those. I also stockpiled some of the large boxes of crayons that have been donated over the year because those are perfect for events like this. We give out the smaller crayon packets in our regular donations. Here is a photo from today's donation.
I was able to finish a grant today and got it in the mail which I was really happy about. I hadn't actually planned on mailing it, but when I was driving home, I decided that I would just get it done and mailed today. It was almost done anyways. I struggled through grant writing yesterday. I've decided that grant writing is like exercise- if you haven't done it in a while, it hurts. The good news is that the grant is safely in the mail and now I can start working on the next one which is also due soon.

I've also been working on reaching out to the police and fire associations who usually make annual donations. I've contacted a number of them- some of them already donated at our Anniversary Celebration and I still have some more to do. I also need to write to the local Foundation about our Operation Elder Care program- where we donate stuffed animals for residents in nursing homes at holiday time. We did it last year at Christmas and it was a hit, so I definitely want to do it again this year.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to read this new mystery that I'm really enjoying and watch some more of the World Series. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Event Success!

Well friends- we had a success! We raised $10,000 which was actually a bit more than last year if I remember correctly and had a great turnout. I was so happy that things went well and relieved. There was so much pressure, so much anxiety and it all worked out. Thank you so much to everyone who attended, who sponsored, volunteered and donated auction items. We had some great event volunteers who did an awesome job. I was so happy with their help. Dick Ferrucci, our host, did another fabulous job. Joe Kennedy, who is running for Congress, attended the event. He gave a nice speech about Project Smile and our efforts- it was very touching. He also bought one of the live auction items- a handmade birdhouse that my friend Brian makes. Our guest speaker, Richard Lodge, Metro West Daily News editor, did a really nice job as well. My friend Michael took photos. I posted them on our FB page today. Here is a nice one of Joe Kennedy and our board member Arthur and his wife- and me of course! The photo below that is with Miss Teen Mass, Joe Kennedy and Danielle and Caitlin who did a wonderful job helping at the event.
Saturday and today, I followed up with people who left bids on auction items but left before the event ended. I was able to reach most people and got payment for a bunch of items. I still have a few more items to get to people. There were a bunch of items that didn't sell, but that is OK. I can use most of them in our silent auction at Wine Fest next month.

It feels funny not to have to do any event work- I definitely don't miss it, but I haven't adjusted yet to not having to do any: event sponsorship search, auction item hunt, event marketing or my quest to get people to attend our events. What ever will I do with my time?? Just kidding! There is plenty of other things that need work. I also have to do two grants- one of which needs to get done this week. I like having this two month break before I need to start working on our next big events. It gives me time to forget about what a challenge event planning is. Next year will be really exciting since it will be our 10th Anniversary!

Well friends, that's all for tonight. I'm blogging super early tonight- it isn't event 9:30 yet! I'm off to watch more of the Giants/Cardinals game 7- my Yankees lost so I don't have much of a stake in the games anymore, but these games are still fun to watch. Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Counting Down

2 Days to go friends- only 2 days to go! I am a mixture of really excited and really nervous. Excited because we have some fabulous auction items all ready to be bid on, our calendar looks terrific and things are looking good for the event. I'm nervous about event attendance. It is always a challenge and having a good attendance is a huge part of the success of any event. The good thing is that I've reached out to as many people as possible to invite them and asked for their help in bringing people. I've heard from a bunch that can't make it, which is disappointing, but I've also heard from a good amount that are coming. I sent a press release to the Milford Daily News today and they said they would get it into tomorrow's paper.

Yesterday, as we were plowing through our bid sheets, I suddenly felt so excited as I looked at all our auction items. I've worked really hard to get these items donated over the last 9 months and there have been a lot of great things that people have donated. I really appreciate everyone who has donated items and helped get others to donate.

I spent some time today working the first of two grants that I have to do. It is for a Foundation that has supported us for the past few years. Last year, I missed the grant deadline by a couple of days, but they graciously allowed us to still apply. I made sure to download the application early this year. The application has changed a little from last year, but it is fairly straight forward. I was struggling with it a little though. I think it was because I'm distracted with our event.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm going to go back into my office and do a couple of more event related things, then head to bed. You should see the office- it has such a funny collection of items stacked around the place- cases of beer, sports memorabilia, gift baskets, gift bags, boxes of bid sheets, tote bags, banners, display items, purses, American Girl Doll and more! I have so many bid sheets that I have used every single folder and paperclip in my office. This is going to be one heck of an auction!

Tomorrow, I have an appt. in Boston, then I'm picking up our delicious cake at Konditor Meister in Braintree, then dropping it off at the hotel. I also have to pick up our very last auction item in Bellingham. I think I'll zoom over there in the morning before heading to Boston. I'm going to keep working on last minute reach out to people. Well, that's the latest. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Days Away

Well friends, here we are- our 9th Anniversary Celebration is only 4 days away! After all this work- all the calls, emails and trips to get auction items, sponsorship search, guest speaker hunt, etc. we are in the home stretch. Things are in a good place. However, I am filled with anxiety as usual. I have a headache that keeps coming and going and I don't get headaches very often and I've been having anxiety dreams. My biggest concern is event turnout- it is always an issue. You can have the best auction items in the world, but if you don't have many people there to bid on them, then it doesn't help. Last year, we raised $9,000, so hopefully we will meet that again. I've been working on following up with everyone I invited and posting the event in different places. I've also been asking people who are attending to bring friends, coworkers, etc. The weather is looking decent for Friday which is good. I'm doing everything I can and I'll keep working on getting people to show up. We are almost done with bid sheets. I was up until 3:30am last night working on them and some other things related to the event. Tonight, I did the slideshow of calendar photos that we play during the event. A friend of mine borrows a projector from his office and we use that to play the slideshow. He has helped do that for the past few years and it is always a big help. The guests love to see the slideshow. I added a few photos from our donations this year to the slideshow as well.

I picked up 3 more auction items today. I have two more to pick up this week- one on Wednesday in Providence and the other, hopefully tomorrow in Milford. Tomorrow, one of our board members who has done an awesome job in getting items, will be dropping off items here. I've given up on chasing down anymore auction items. There are a number of people who promised items that I'm having major difficulty getting a hold of. Since we are only 4 days away, I need to stop trying to get the items. It always happens this way. The good thing is that I can rest assured that I did everything possible to try to actually get the items.

I have two grants that I need to work on, but I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to spend this week on them. I will spend some time on it,but the major focus of the week is getting ready for Friday and following up with people to get them to attend. I also got word that Patrick Kennedy who is running for Congress will be stopping by our event, which is great news!

Well, that's the latest for tonight. Tomorrow, the goal is to get all the bid sheets finished, test the credit card machine and get a bunch of the other small details taken care of for the event. (live auction signs, stuffed animal decorations and other items to display at event) I also need to write my speech for the event and of course work on event attendance. I think I'll head to bed early- this headache is coming back. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday's Happenings

Well, I'm not sure where today went. I did get through most of the items on my list which was good, but we still have a lot to do and now I'm too tired to do anymore. My focus is following up with people that have been invited to the Anniversary event. Having all these fabulous auction items doesn't mean anything unless we have people there who are going to bid on them. I always have those nightmare images of an entire ballroom filled with great auction items and only 12 people there pretending to have a bidding war- not good! I've also been spending time following up on the last load of auction items that have been promised. I've been doing pretty well on the follow ups, but there comes a time when I have to stop doing that and let those ones go. I need to spend the time focusing on getting people to the event. However, I am also very determined and I hate to let go without getting the items that people have been promised. If I give up, then it was a waste of the time that I already invested in following up and then it is also potentially missing revenue.

Here is a photo of our donation yesterday to Boston PD. I think this might be one of the only donation photos with just me in it- I usually have someone from the department in the photo. We donated over 350 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons. I've been making a lot more frequent donations to Boston PD which I'm really happy about.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I was going to work on bid sheets, but I'm tired and I'm going to head to bed early. Tomorrow, I'm picking up an auction item, then I have a meeting in my office which is always better than having to travel. In between, I'm working on reaching out to event guests and working on bid sheets for the auction and doing my last load of follow ups. Wish me luck! Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Latest and Greatest

I hope everyone had a happy Columbus Day weekend. So what's the latest? Well, you may have seen the Boston Globe magazine on Sunday and you may have noticed a photo from the Project Smile Date Auction! We were in the Boston Uncommon section which features photos from events in Boston. I read that section every week and I've always hoped that one day we would be in there. Imagine my surprise as I stood at the kitchen table, sipping my tea, looking at the event photos.The funny thing is that although our photo was on the top, I saw my picture and caption last. I was so excited to see it in the magazine! That means the Date Auction has been in the Globe 3 times this year!

So what else is going on. Today we did another large donation to Boston PD. On Friday, we donated to Natick Police. The Lt. that I met there is a woman- it is always nice to meet women officers. We don't see very many of them. Here is a photo from Friday's donation.

I'm not sure why I keep wearing the same dress in so many of my donations this year. If you looked at my pictures all together from the year, you would think that either I did all these donations on the same day, I have no other clothes or I'm obsessed with that dress! The good news is that I did not wear the same dress for today's Boston donation.

We're getting closer to the Anniversary Celebration. Tomorrow, I'm going to be calling all the people that I've sent invitations to. I'm also going to keep working on reaching out to people and asking them to help by bringing friends to the event. I'll also send another email blast to our database. I picked up a load of awesome autographed sports memorabilia today along with Sam Adams beer. I've been following up with the last load of people that I still have to get auction items from. It has been hard to reach some people, but I'm confident that I'll be able to get the items from most people. There are always some people that promise items, but we never receive them. That is always frustrating. I'm not sure why people do that- it is much worse than just saying no. I spend a lot of time following up with people, particularly those who have promised to help, so when those people fall through it is a major waste of time. Thankfully, most people come through with their items, which is great.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I went to bed significantly earlier last night- OK, well actually it was 12:30, but that is significantly early for me. I felt a lot more energetic this morning and got a lot done before I zoomed off to Boston. I think I'm going to try that again tonight. I don't know how long I can keep that up- I usually get a burst of late night energy but then it takes me a long time to get going in the morning. Anyways, I'm going to have some more clementines- (another sign that summer is over- clementines are back!). Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome October

Ah, how did it become October already? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was working on the Date Auction? And the day before that I was taking calendar pictures? Now we are only 2 1/2 weeks away from our large fundraiser and last big event of the year.

The calendar is taking a very long time at the printers. I had received the initial proof in a timely manner and it was finalized early in the week following the Date Auction. I emailed the printer yesterday to check on it and it won't be ready until next week. I told them that I absolutely must pick it up by Oct. 12 and they said it would be ready. I don't know why it is taking so long. With the printer that I used to work with, the entire process took ten days. Now we will be going on 5 weeks to get it printed. I'm going to check in with the printer on Friday or Monday to make sure that things are on track. Obviously the calendar is a huge part of the Anniversary Celebration.

So what else is going on? Well, our Smiling Stiletto fashion show fundraiser is Thursday at Copley Place. I'm really excited for the event. It is only a small fundraiser, but Copley does most of the work for the event so that is perfect. Small fundraisers where we don't have to do a lot of work are awesome. The fashion shows are a lot of fun and it also helps with exposure for Project Smile. We get some great food and beverage vendors on board and there are lots of cool fashions. A member of Smiling Stiletto has been awesome in getting prizes donated for the shoe walk-off. He got a bunch of gift cards and a purse for us. It is wonderful when people make such an effort to help. Since he was so helpful, I asked him if he wanted to help judge the shoe walk-off along with our host Emily Riemer from News Channel 5 and stylist Tricia Cromwell.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to watch some more highlights from the Yankees win tonight- I missed watching most of the game, but I listened to it while driving home and the rushed in the door to turn on the TV and watch the last few extra innings. What a great ending for my Yankees! Until tomorrow friends....