Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fingers Crossed

Well friends, I have my fingers crossed that I will be getting some positive grant news. We applied for a 5K grant from a local foundation a few months ago. We received a grant from them in 2008, but we were declined last year. We fit perfectly into what they fund, so I applied again this year and have been waiting to hear. The last time, they called with the great news, so I've been rather dreading getting a letter or email from them. This afternoon, I saw an email from the Foundation and my heart sunk. I opened the email and they said they were reviewing applications and requested our W-9 form- which is a request for our tax payer ID number. I emailed it over immediately and got a response that they received it. I'm not sure what, if anything, that means. If you weren't going to fund a grant, there is no reason to ask for our W9- also you wouldn't waste time asking for every grant applicant's W-9 form- particularly since the grants were due months ago. However, if you were going to fund the grant, wouldn't you just say that and then ask for the W-9? I don't want to get my hopes up and then find out we didn't get funded, so I'm really trying to not think about it. However, we really need this money. We're on the downside for fundraising- which is typical for this time of year, so this grant would put us back where we should be. Oh, the anxiety! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are deciding to fund us.

In other news- I did calendar photos at Hopedale FD today, that is always a fun one to do. Tomorrow morning, I'm off to Foxboro to photograph two boys who were in the calendar last year. Their mom is in the women's networking group with me. It will be nice to see how the kids have grown. I have another 1 1/2 months in the calendar confirmed for ads which is a relief. We're making progress folks! It feels like I'm moving at a slower pace than a turtle, but that is OK- as long as we keep making progress, that's all that I need.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to catch up on a few more emails. Send happy thoughts my way for some good grant news please! Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Happenings

Happy Monday friends! I hope everyone had a good weekend. It finally feels like summer is in full swing. So what's the latest? Well, today I was in Wrentham doing calendar photos with two adorable boys. They were in the calendar last year. I know their mom from the women's networking group. They are a really nice family and the kids are a pleasure to be around. They had a bunch of their own stuffed animals to hold for their photos. I did pictures with the children next to a rose bush a flowering dogwood tree and they look beautiful. I wish we could print in color because the colors of the flowers are so rich and vibrant.

I did more photos last week with the children of one of our board members Kelly, and the other families that she recruited to participate. They came out really well too. I did photos of a little brother and sister and I think it could possibly be our cover photo. The children are so beautiful and the photo is really lovely. We're still in the beginning stages of photos, so it is too early to make that call, but this is definitely a strong contender for the cover. I always forget how much fun I have meeting the kids and taking photographs.

Last week, we did another donation of 250 stuffed animals to the State Police. Here is a photo from the donation.  The State Police always make an effort to do a nice photo. Most of the stuffed animals were also from the Build-a-Bear donation. I'm going to email it to the lady at Build-a-Bear this week.
In other news- Danielle Vollmar, the new on-air personality at News Channel 5, Boston will be hosting our fall fashion show at the Harborside Inn during Boston Fashion Week. She sounds very enthusiastic and I'm really happy that she is on board. We've always had great hosts for our show. Finale is also back to be a dessert vendor and we have two other dessert vendors that are interested in participating.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I've already loaded up on cantaloupe, red grapes and cottage cheese, so I think I'm doing eating for tonight (finally!). Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Latest and Greatest

Ah, how did a whole week go by already? I'm a little scared at how fast this summer is going. It has been pretty rainy here lately, so that hasn't helped with the feeling of long summer days to enjoy. So, what's new? Well last week, we did another donation to Boston Police of over 250 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons. Boston is one of my favorite departments to donate to. The Sgt. was going to drop a box of stuffed animals off that day with the homicide unit so that they had some to give to the children who were relatives of victims. Almost all of the stuffed animals were from Build-a-Bear's recent donation. I emailed my contact at Build-a-Bear who had organized the donation and shared the photo with her. She was happy to see it. Here is a photo.
Tomorrow, I'm doing another donation to the State Police. Almost all of those teddy bears will be from Build-a-Bear as well. Their donation has been one of the best that we've ever received. You can't imagine how much I wish that it could be a regular donation- that would be absolutely amazing.

Tomorrow, I'm also doing some more calendar photos- this one will be with 2 boys from a local family. They were in the calendar last year. I haven't seen them since last summer so it will be nice to see how much they've grown. They were adorable last year and one of the easiest photo shoots that I did. I have some more photo shoots lined up which is good. I have another returning calendar & anniversary event sponsor confirmed today which was also good. We're making slow but steady progress with getting our calendar sponsors finalized.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to tidy up my office for a bit- once again, it is looking rather like a disaster zone. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Donation Day

Well friends, I'm happy to say that we donated to our 187th department today- the West Glocester Fire District which is located in the northwest part of Rhode Island. The Lt. at the department called last week and asked if we could help with donating stuffed animals- they had recently given out their very last one to a child. Of course, I was happy to help and I brought two boxes to them this afternoon. I hadn't been to that part of Rhode Island before- it is pretty and rural. There is something special about doing to fire departments- I've noticed that a lot of them have a family feeling, particularly the smaller departments. I felt that way when I walked in there today. Here is a photo from the donation.

Most of the stuffed animals were from the recent Build-a-Bear donation. I emailed the lady who had organized the Build-a-Bear donation the photo. She wrote back quickly saying that she was happy to see the bears in action. I have to pick up our next case of teddy bears from our storage space- I need some more to include in our donation Thursday to Boston PD.

So what else is new? Well, I need to get cracking on grants- I feel like I'm falling behind on finding new grants to apply for and I need to reapply for at least one more grant soon. There are a couple of other grants that I will apply for this year, but it is too early now to apply. Grants are an important source of funding for us and I need to keep it up. I read an article this afternoon about how high unemployment levels still are and it was really unnerving.  It is so important that we stay on solid financial footing- even though the economy is getting better, it still isn't that great and that has a definite impact on our fundraising. I also read another article a few weeks ago about how much time congressmen/women are required to spend fundraising by their national committee- an average of 4 hours a day. That is close to the amount of time that I have to spend on it. It cuts into program work, but it absolutely has to be done. Fundraising is the most time consuming thing, but I've learned to embrace it!

Well friends, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat some more of the delicious cantaloupe that's in the fridge. I love summer fruit! Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Latest and Greatest

Well, it's almost 1am and I should be in bed, but I didn't want to go sleep without blogging. So what's new? Well, yesterday I stopped by the local company who stores our boxes and picked up a box of the beautiful Build-a-Bear teddy bears that were donated to us from the Boston area stores. They are absolutely gorgeous! I'm looking forward to including them in all of our upcoming donations. I received a phone call today from a Rhode Island fire department that was in need of stuffed animals. I'm heading out there on Monday to make the donation and do a photo with them. The Lt. said he had given out his last stuffed animal to a child this week and had been searching for a business or organization that would donate them. He found us online. It is always great to add a new department.

Today, I returned some of the autographed sports pictures that didn't sell at the silent auction that we did during Beer Fest. We raised almost $500 with the auction which was good. It is only a small auction and we don't have to do much work, so it is an easy fundraiser. I then zoomed up Rt. 93 to Dorchester and dropped off a large box of books, coloring books/crayons and small toys to a Boston shelter that we've been donating to for the past few years. The shelter is part of Catholic Charities and is home to 16 children. The staff and director are so nice- they always give me little gifts to take back. Today, they gave me some of their tote bags and frisbees. They've given me their tote bags before and they always come in handy.

In other good news, 2014 calendar photos  have officially started! I was at Douglas FD early this evening doing photos. Douglas has been in our calendar for quite a few years now. They are a very friendly department and I love going there to do photos. It was great to see the little boy who was only a few weeks old last year when I did the photos. He was one of the tiniest newborns that we've ever had in the calendar and now he is walking around and as happy as all can be.

Well friends, I am off to bed. I've been trying, once again, to go to bed relatively early, but failing miserably (what a surprise!). Until tomorrow...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Welcome June!

Welcome to June friends- the start of summer and the lead-in to our big fall events. We are at the half way point of the year and I'm happy to say that we are in a good place on all fronts. Of course, there is always much more that needs to get done, but we are on track with our Date Auction and Anniversary Celebration. We're also in a good place with keeping up with our donations to the departments- it is virtually impossible to keep up with them all, but I do my best. We're donating again to Revere PD and a Boston shelter on Wednesday. I'm going to be using some of the new teddy bears from Build-a-Bear that were donated recently. I've almost run out of coloring books, so I need to make a trip to Family Dollar tomorrow to stock up.

I've been making some progress with the calendar, but need to make it a priority this week- particularly reaching out to departments to get participation from their officers and also other families that might like to participate. It always takes a little while to get the photo shoots scheduled. I get anxious about it and always feel that I'll never get anyone to participate, but that doesn't happen! I'm doing our first calendar photos on Wednesday at Douglas Fire. They are usually the first calendar photos that we do each year. I also need to keep moving with calendar ads so we can get that wrapped up soon. I get rather obsessed with getting things wrapped up well before they are due. I absolutely hate leaving things until the last minute. I don't like pressure and the earlier you get things done, the less pressure there is. Also, things have a tendency to come up that you didn't anticipate, so when you're ahead of your game it is easier to deal with unexpected issues.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. The blogger website doesn't seem to be working properly right now- it keeps popping up that I need to log-in again, so I'm going to sign off and catch up on some emails. Until tomorrow friends...