Monday, January 28, 2013

Building Blocks

Well, I can't believe we are almost at the end of January- which also means that we are almost at my birthday! (Feb. 1) I get very excited for birthdays- just like a little kid. So what's new? Well, we scheduled our next donation to DCF, it will be next week. I also heard back from a local organization which has made an annual $250 donation for about the past 5 years. I had written to them in November, at my usual time, but hadn't received a response. I was disappointed and wondered what had happened. It is a relatively small amount of money, but every donation is important and it is always disappointing when someone doesn't continue their donation. This afternoon, I received an email from the current President of the organization who apologized for not getting in touch- they have a $250 donation for Project Smile and wanted me to come back and speak at their dinner. I was so happy to hear that. Ongoing donations like that are so important- they are the building blocks of our financial security. I'll be speaking at their dinner next month.

It really is funny how I can repeat the same things at the same time every year without even thinking about it. I was getting nervous that I was behind on contacting sponsors for the Date Auction, so this morning, I emailed one of our sponsors who has been supporting the Date Auction for many years. I searched through my old emails to see when I had emailed the company last year- turns out I emailed them on Jan. 30.  The marketing director wrote back immediately to let me know that they were still working on their budget for this year. That's why it is good to email companies early, so it can be on their radar as they get their budgets together.

In other news, I think we might be done with getting food/beverage vendors for the fashion show. We have 5 food vendors which are going to provide an awesome sampling of items. It would be great to have one more dessert vendor- Christine, one of our shoe club members who has helped organize our past shows, is working on that. I'm waiting to hear back from other vendors that we've reached out to, so if we get them on board, that would be great. Otherwise, I think I'm done with reaching out to new food vendors. My time is limited, so I need to focus on where my efforts are most beneficial. Obviously, I'd love to have a ton of food vendors at the show, but we have a sufficient number and now I need to focus on additional fundraising things- including getting the show posted on our website. I also need to focus on our big fall events some more.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat some leftover lemon meringue pie from my birthday party... lemon meringue pie is one of the most delicious things ever! Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving Along

Well, today was one of those days where I started out with little motivation, but thankfully I picked up the pace and things moved along. Having a list is really helpful on days like this- it keeps you focused. So what's new? Well, I finally did some grant work on a large grant that is due in early April. It is a grant that we received in 2008, but were declined last year. The grant application is the same as last year and our program hasn't changed, so I'm not sure how to change the grant. I will add the latest letters of support from the departments that participate in the program, but considering our program hasn't changed, there isn't much that I can change in the grant. I was reviewing it today to see if there were things that could be improved on, but I was happy with the grant last year when I submitted it and I'm still happy with it this year. We fit perfectly into their funding priority. I don't know why we were declined last year, but hopefully they will support us this year.

I was working on following up with police departments that we've donated to in the past- I was mostly focusing on some smaller departments today. I spoke with a few departments that still had a good supply of items and left messages with a bunch of others. We donate to 180 departments, so there are always lot of phone calls to be made to follow up and see if more items are needed for children.

Our Date Auction sponsorship packet is now done. It is so important to keep reviewing things. I thought it was done, but then I took another look at it last week and realized it was missing a few things, so Lisa updated it again. I will start working on contacting financial sponsors next week. I've started researching potential sponsors and I've even started on contacting gift bag donors.

I was also working on obtaining new food vendors for the fashion show. We still have a few more spots to fill. I contacted a number of new restaurants today, so hopefully we will have some good news. It is a great event for a restaurant to participate in, particularly a new restaurant that wants to do some marketing.

Well friends, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat some pineapple and yogurt- I've been off my nightly grapefruit routine lately! Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Good News

Greetings! So what's the latest? Well, I was a bit out of commission yesterday recovering from a stomach bug- but I'm getting back to things today. In good news, we have a host for our April 25 fashion show at Copley Place. Jackie Bruno, NECN anchor/reporter will be hosting. She responded immediately to our invitation and sounds very enthusiastic, which is great. I think she will be an excellent host! We also have our liquor sponsor on board- Voli Vodka. They participated in our fall show and their cocktails are delicious. I'm working on lining up additional appetizers/dessert vendors for the show. So far, we are off to a good start.

In other excellent news, Sofft Shoes is returning as a sponsor for the Date Auction. I'm so happy about that. They have been a huge part of our event, almost since the beginning. Thanks to their support, the bachelors with the ten highest bids will come with a $150 Sofft Shoes gift card for the ladies with the winning bids. That's an excellent incentive to bid! We're also going to be partnering with Yelp again with a sponsorship trade.

Today, we did another donation to Boston PD. We donated over 275 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons. Here is a photo from the donation. The photo is kind of funny with the boxes in different directions

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm getting tired- don't think I've fully recovered from the bug  yet. I'm not ready to start eating my grapefruit again! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quick Update

Well, this is going to be a quick update. I turned on my laptop at 10:30, intending to blog, but then I decided that I would send one email. However, if you're anything like me, you know that it is rather difficult to just send one email and then close your email window. There is always another email that can be sent and then another, and then all of a sudden you're on a whirlwind of emailing and researching to get the correct info before you send that next email- it never ends! So now, it is 12:30 and I'm just starting to blog. I'm trying to hold to my 1am bedtime and I still need to eat my grapefruit!

So what's the latest? I spent a lot of time on our fashion show fundraiser today- reaching out to potential hosts and food/beverage vendors. We have a soda company on board which I'm really happy about. It is called GuS soda and it is delicious! I tried it for the first time at Wine Fest last fall.

I'm still working on getting our Anniversary and Date Auction sponsor packets. The images for both packets are done- I need to take one more look at it and I also need to update the copy. The packets look great- I would love to sponsor both events if I saw them! I need to submit the Anniversary image to our web host and get it on our site. Next week, I will start working on auction items and sponsors- it is never too early to start. I already feel like I'm behind and it is still early January!

There is one item on my daily list that has been creeping along all week, but I haven't made any progress on- grant writing! There is a large grant that I need to get started on. It isn't due until April, but I want to get it done this month. Things are going to get a lot busier as the year progresses, so there is no reason to wait.

In other news, I went to the monthly WSN (Women's Success Network) meeting tonight. I particularly enjoyed this meeting because it was very interactive and everybody got to move around and chat with each other while playing a networking game. I love interactive events- sometimes, it can be so difficult to sit and listen to a speaker- especially right after having dinner.

Well, that's the latest. I'm off to enjoy this grapefruit and write my list. Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Happenings

Greetings! Well, what's the latest? Today was a funny day- last night, I wrote my daily list, but I ended up doing things that were completely not on my list and left half on my actual list undone. The good thing was that it was a productive day, but I do need to keep on track with following my list. Things are actually pretty exciting right now because we're laying the foundation for the year. Our new Date Auction image looks great- I've posted the event on our FB page and we're working on getting it on our website. I've started work on recruiting hosts for the event. Our new Anniversary Celebration image looks wonderful. I may want to make one more change to it, I need to take another look at it in the morning.

In other news, we've booked our Step into Spring Fashion Show fundraiser at Copley Place- Thursday, April 25, 6:30pm. We're only going to be doing one fashion show this year at Copley. I started work today on obtaining a host and food/beverage vendors. I'm really excited for the show. They are a lot of fun and they're popular events.

Boston Event Guide invited us to be there charity partner again for their spring wine festival in April. We've held silent auctions at their wine fests for the past few years and it has always worked out great. They are having a beer festival the day after the wine fest this year and invited us to have an auction at that event too. It is great to be included in their events and especially to have an additional event to raise funds at that this spring.

There is so much else going on, but my little mind is going blank. I'm going to have my grapefruit and head to bed early. I was going to catch up on some emails tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow morning. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Polly Productive

Well, Polly Productive was back at it in full force today. Once again, sifting through thousands of Istock images, this time searching for the perfect teddy bear image for the Anniversary Celebration. This only too 25 pages before I found the right one. It is a multiple bear image, rather similar to last year's image. I need Lisa to add a 10th Anniversary banner to the image and we need to play around with the background colors and see what works best. I've usually gone with a red background, but I want to see what else would look good.  It takes time to find the right image- the image has to be aligned with our work obviously and it needs to be fun, elegant, appealing and not childish. There were a lot of cute stuffed animal images, but they were too juvenile for the image we want to project for our event. I spoke with Dick Ferrucci who has always hosted our event and he is back on board to host our 10th Anniversary. I'm really happy about that because he does a fabulous job, especially with the live auction. My goal is to really increase our attendance for this event- it is a milestone for us and I want to have an awesome turnout.

For the first time in a while, I got our monthly newsletter done ahead of time! It was on my task list for today, but I wasn't really in the mood to work on it. However, I decided that I didn't want to put it on my list for Friday, so I might as well get it done today. I'm using the Constant Contact newsletter template that I started using for our newsletters in November. I used to just type the newsletter in Word and then Lisa would format it for me and then I'd send it to our web host and he would send it out through Constant Contact for me. It takes more time for me to do it all myself, but I'm copying the same template from November, so it is less work this time around. It takes time to write the copy as well. I scheduled it to go out next Tuesday morning to our database. I don't like to send emails on Friday or Monday- those aren't the best days to get your email read.

In other news, a company in Illinois sent us a large box filled entirely with brand new small Build-a-Bear teddy bears. We've had a lot of stuffed animals come in the mail over the last few months- even more than usual. This afternoon, I was sorting through some of the most recent donations and opened this box. We don't usually get a box of brand new stuffed animals like this, so that was really great.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to organize a few things in my office and then watch one of my favorite shoes- "What Not to Wear." I'm home tonight, so I've been blogging a lot earlier than I usually do! Until next time friends...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome 2013

Goodbye 2012- you were a wonderful year and welcome 2013! I hit the ground running today with getting things organized for the year. One of the first things was booking the venue for our next Date Auction. We are keeping it at Gypsy Bar, but moving it one week back to Friday, Sept. 20. It is a week later than we usually do because the previous Friday is Yom Kippur and I didn't want to conflict with that. I sifted through literally 97 pages of IStock images to choose the new image for Date Auction promotional material. Istock has thousands of images to select from, but it is still hard to find the perfect image. I had a couple that were possibilities, but when I saw this image, I knew it was the one.  I did keep going for another 10 pages just in case there was another perfect image, but I'm happy with the one I chose. It takes a while because you have to be sure that you're sending the right message with the image- it has to look engaging to both men and women, upbeat, sexy without being overt. It sounds simple, but it definitely takes time. I sent the image to Lisa, our designer, so she can download it and we can get the website updated with the new info. Tomorrow, I'll start working on updating the sponsorship packet and contacting potential hosts.

I also need to work on getting a new Anniversary Celebration image. I was going to do that today, but after staring at over a hundred pages of images for the Date Auction, I had had enough of graphic images! I love the multiple teddy bear image that we used last year- that was my favorite. I want to get an awesome image for this year's event, especially since it is our 10th Anniversary- that doesn't happen every day!

In good news- we are going to be getting a donation of 100 teddy bears from Build-a-Bear this month. I'm really happy about that. I've been doing so many donations recently that our supply of stuffed animals is actually getting a little low, so this is coming at a great time.

Copley Place reached out this morning to set up a meeting for our Smiling Stiletto fashion show fundraisers this year. I really like our fashion shows. They are small fundraisers, but they are also great for marketing exposure. I'm meeting with the marketing director on Monday.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm planning for another day of being Polly Productive tomorrow! I'm now off to eat my grapefruit (some things never change in the new year!) and read some more of a mystery that I'm enjoying more and more. Until tomorrow friends...