Thursday, April 21, 2016

Latest and Greatest

Greetings friends! So what's new? Well, things are moving along well. This week, I've been working particularly hard on getting auction items for both of our big events. I was a little behind on outreach, but have caught up now. We are doing well with getting items. We've been getting some new items including a vineyard which is donating a wine tasting and tour. It's funny, I was looking at my donation database and there is one company that used to say in their guidelines that a charity could only apply for an item donation every 5 years. We received the donation in 2012 and I hadn't applied since. On a lark, I decided to go on the site and see if their policy might have changed. It had changed! So, I went ahead and applied for an item. I also decided to reach out to a local company that had sponsored the Anniversary event a couple of years ago, but hadn't responded to emails since then. I reached out about sponsorship or auction item donation and the person wrote back almost immediately that they would donate a nice item for the auction. It's really important to keep going back to potential donors. You never know what's changed. With the economy improving, some places can now donate again. Also,  just like sometimes helpful people leave, then sometimes unhelpful people leave too and are replaced with people that want to help your efforts. It can get tiring to keep following up, but it is really critical.

Here is a photo from our donation a couple of weeks ago to Fitchburg PD. We've been donated to Fitchburg for almost 10 years!
Tonight, I was the guest speaker at the Franklin Rotary Club. The Club has been a loyal supporter of our work. They've made an annual donation for over the past 6 years and always invite me to come back and update them. It is a small group and very friendly. I really enjoyed visiting them tonight and letting them know what we were up to. Before I spoke, they were talking about upcoming projects that they are doing. One of them is organizing a soap drive for the Franklin Food Pantry. The President was saying that the Food Pantry was telling them that there is a great need for non-food items. Food stamps only cover actual food, so people are left to struggle to pay for everything else- those are essential items too. Can you imagine not being able to buy soap, toilet paper, toothpaste or if you're a woman- pads/tampons. It must be dreadful. I would like to be able to expand in a way that provide essential items like that for families in need. Maybe I can get grants that would help with that. I'm going to figure out how to turn it into a program.

On that note, I am off to eat- not sure exactly what my snack will be- most likely an orange and a banana. I've been buying Cara oranges at Market Basket. They are super sweet and juicy- highly recommend. Until next time friends..

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Changing with the Times

Greetings friends! It has been a while since my last post. I was on an amazing 10 day vacation to San Francisco and Hawaii and had lots to catch up on when I got back. Hawaii is an incredible place, I have never seen such amazing natural beauty.

So I'm happy to announce that we're going to be launching a new fundraiser item- our own Project Smile coloring book! The color book will be designed by children, for children. We're going to sell advertising space to help cover the cost of producing the coloring book and to raise funds. We will debut it at our Anniversary Celebration on October 21. We will sell some on our website and we will donate some to the departments and organizations that participate in our program. The coloring book will be replacing the calendar. It is sad to think of the calendar disappearing, it was my very first idea for a fundraiser and marketing tool. Our first calendar was produced in 2003. We're now on our 13th calendar. However, it is time for a change. The calendar sales have been declining the last couple of years and we need to do something new. I think the coloring book would be perfect. A lot of people don't necessarily use paper calendars anymore (I do) and also it was just time for a new thing. People get bored with seeming the same type of thing, so we need to mix it up. I will miss doing the photos, that is always fun, but maybe in the future we can do something else that will incorporate photos of children. We're going to be doing a drawing contest to encourage children to submit drawings that we can use in the coloring book. I'm going to reach out to local schools and also the police/fire departments that used to participate in the calendar and see if any of their children would like to enter the contest. We will invite the children and their parents whose drawings were selected for the coloring book. I need to get a contest flyer done, then start working on advertising. I'm excited to do something new and see how it goes. I have a lot of confidence in this and I'm happy that we're changing.

There is a lot of change happening this year. We're adding a new event- the High Heel Dash. We've given the Date Auction a new design look, new webpage, new start time and now I need to move on to making some changes to the Anniversary Celebration. I also want to add a new Smiling Stiletto Chapter in Providence which will help Project Smile eventually expand in that area. Change is good!

On that note, I am off to finish the items on my to-do list. I got a  lot done today, but there are still a few more things I need to do. Until next time friends...