Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Event Progress

Greetings friends! Happy frigid Tuesday. So what's new? Well, I had a great meeting with Copley Place today to talk about our Step into Spring fashion show fundraiser on May 1. The event is months away, but I'm already excited for it. We have some great food vendors on board already along with Voli Vodka- our delicious liquor sponsor. Danielle Vollmar, who hosted our fall show, is going to host our spring show. She was very nice and did a great job. Copley has some retailers signed up to participate and they're working on getting a couple more. It is always a great event and this year's will be another good one.

In good news- we are making more progress with getting gift certificates for the Date Auction couples to use on their date. There was one restaurant that donated a gift certificate worth $250, which is excellent. I had been trying for the last 3 years to get a gift cert. donated from them, so I was happy to finally get a donation. It is so important to not give up- even if a place hasn't donated before, you never know how things can change. Of course, there are always a bunch of places that I reach out to every year and who never donate, but it is still worth trying. I think that starting in January really helps because a new calendar year has started for charitable donations for a lot of businesses.

Well friends, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat my grapefruit and watch Jay Leno. There's lots more to write about, but I'm getting tired and can't remember anything! Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Latest and Greatest

Greetings friends! It is another snowy evening here. So what's the latest? Well, our donation on Friday to DCF went well as usual. We donated over 300 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons. Here is a photo.
In other news- we're getting gift certificates already in for our Date Auction couples to use. It always feels good when we start getting auction items in. The Paint Bar donated certificates for 2 couples and The Fireplace committed to donating a certificate as well. Both places have donated for our past events. It is such a help when businesses respond quickly and even better when they send their certificates immediately. It makes my job so much easier.

Still no decision has been made with mobile marketing. There is one company that I'm leaning towards, but I'm not 100% sure. There are other companies that I like as well, but they are more expensive- some of them quite extensively. I'm not expecting to raise a ton of money in the beginning with mobile donations- it takes time for it to grow. So, I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on the service.

In good news, we received our check today from our Smiling Stiletto 2nd Annual Diamond Drop fundraiser with DeScenza Diamonds in Peabody  last month- the event raised $400 for us which I'm happy about. DeScenza donated 10% of the sales during our event. It is a terrific event- the store is on board for another event this December.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat my grapefruit and read some more of my book- some things never change! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Back on the Auction Hunt

Greetings friends! Well, we are back on the auction hunt. It was a delightful 2 month break from having to chase auction items, but we're halfway through January and it was time to get started. I started with working on getting gift certificates donated for the Date Auction couples to use. I decided to start with the easiest things first- filling out the online donation forms that a bunch of restaurants and other places use to review donation requests. It is an easy system to use and a lot easier than having to call the venue, find the right contact person and then email them directly. The downside is that there is no one to follow up with when you use this automated donation system.

I still haven't selected which company I'm going to use for mobile marketing. There is one company that I most likely will go with, but I'm waiting to hear back if they can process recurring pledges without having to purchase additional software. I was really disappointed with another company that is one of the Mobile Giving Foundation's partners. I did a demo with them last week, but the demo didn't show me part of what I wanted to see- the platform that we would use for the marketing service. We scheduled another online demo for this week- I made sure to be ready to do it at the time we discussed, but I never heard from the rep- I emailed him and he never responded. That was 2 days ago. That is not very good customer service, so I definitely won't be working with them. Maybe they think we are too small to work with- but even if that is it, one doesn't blow off a virtual meeting. 

Tomorrow morning, I'm zooming to Boston to do another donation to the Dept. of Children and Families. It's always one of my favorite donations to do. I want to do some more on getting gift certificates and start on getting items for our Anniversary Celebration. I also need to work on getting a speaker for that event.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat my grapefruit and read for a bit- my book is due back at the library next week, so I need to get it finished. Until next time friends... Happy Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chugging Along

Happy Monday friends! Can you imagine that we are almost halfway through January? It seems like New Years was just yesterday. So what's new? Well, today was a slow day. I'm still not any closer to choosing which company we're going to go with for mobile donations. A company which provides event management software did an online demo with me this morning. Their software is beautiful, but it is too expensive for us and it isn't something that we have to do. Our events, even with the Date Auction, are still on the smaller side, so there isn't a need to have expensive software. It is good to see what's available and I think that the price will eventually come down more as more developments are launched. I wish we could use it, but I don't think it is the best expense for us at this point. We need to grow more. I wish there was a software that could magically get more people to attend events. I think every event planner would spend lots of money on that!

In other good news- Sofft Shoes is continuing their support and is back to sponsor our 8th Annual Date Auction on Sept. 19. They are donating 10 pairs of shoes for the ladies with the 10 highest bids on our handsome bachelors. That is an awesome promotion and I'm so happy that they are on board again. We're also doing our usual partnership with Yelp and will be the featured event in their weekly newsletter during the week before our event.

On Friday, we're doing another donation of stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons to the Dept. of Children of Families. I'm going to follow up with other departments to tomorrow to make some more donations. Tomorrow, I also have another online demo with one of the mobile donation companies that I spoke with last week. Hopefully, this will make it easier to make a decision. I'd like to get this done soon so I can stop thinking about it and get it launched.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to read for a bit and find something good to snack on- grapefruit or cheese/crackers? Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lets Get Mobile

Greetings friends! So what's new? Well, the quest for choosing a good mobile marketing partner continues. I spoke with a company yesterday that provides text-to-pledge and other mobile marketing services. They are more affordable than the other company that I spoke with. This company did a text demo with me which was beautiful. We do our email marketing through Constant Contact, so this morning I went on their website to see if they had any partners they worked with that offer mobile marketing. I found one company that I spoke with briefly- I'm going to go through a demo with them tomorrow. This one is cheaper than the company that did the demo, but I don't know if their service is as good. It is so exciting to be launching a mobile giving platform. Fundraising via texting is only going to grow and if we're not on it, we are missing out. I'd like to choose a mobile marketing company this week, so we can get launched soon.

In other news, I submitted the updates for our Help Us page on our website. Those were the updates that I had been struggling with doing on Monday. I revisited it today and was able to write some good text that really reflects all our volunteer opportunities and I submitted some photographs to include on our page to help make it pop. Our web host is really good with updating our site, so I'm confident that he is going to make the page look good.

I also updated our Volunteer Match profile so we can recruit some new volunteers. Two of our very best interns found us through Volunteer Match. This is such a good time of the year to get things like this done.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to read for a bit- one of my goals this year is to read more. My sister keeps recommending really good books to me and I enjoy reading, so I want to make time to read more. Until tomorrow friends...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Greetings friends! It is the first blog post of 2014! I always feel excited at the start of a new year. There is lots of potential for more growth and development and I'm excited to get started. One of things that I want to work on is getting Project Smile started with receiving donations via text message. Everyone is on their phone and we're missing out on potential financial donations by not having that capability. I spent a good portion of the afternoon researching text donations options. Charities that raised under $500K per year were not eligible to participate originally, but it looks like that rule which was put into place by cell phone companies, no longer applies. There is one foundation that processes all applications, but you can sign up with a variety of different companies that offer mobile donation services. I reached out to a couple of companies today that are listed on the Foundation's website. I'm going to have a phone call tomorrow with one of them to discuss their services in detail. I want to find the option that has the best price and service for what we need.

I was also working on our January email newsletter. Constant Contact- our email marketing service- was having a glitch with images, so I needed to keep logging in and out to get the images for the newsletter to load properly- that made the whole task much longer than it should have taken. I also haven't done a newsletter in a few months, so I was a little rusty with my newsletter writing skills. I need to get back to writing a newsletter every month. There is always stuff to write about, so it's not like I don't have anything to share. I used to do a monthly newsletter, but fell out of the habit.

Tomorrow, I'm going to update our profile on Volunteer Match. I also need to update our Help Us? page on our website. It hasn't had much changes over the year and it could do with a revamp. I tried working on that today as well, but I got stuck with figuring out exactly how I would reorganize it.

The start of the new year is a good time to work on all these things- we're getting everything organized so we can have a productive year. On that note, I'm off to eat some more delicious Toblerone chocolate and read for a bit. Until tomorrow friends...