Thursday, October 24, 2019

You're the One


Here are some actual reactions to Cardz for Kidz!:
  • "OMG, that sounds so fun.”
  • “Yeah, we should definitely do it some time.”  “Yes, let’s get together and plan this some time.”
  • “This would be great for the team. We should definitely think about doing this.”
  • “Oh, everyone would love that. We should definitely look into that.”
  • “That’s great. And we wouldn’t have to leave the building. We should see if we can get more info.”


You can uplift the spirits of disheartened children and solemn seniors around the world while using some fun art supplies and you can do it from anywhere you want to. Doesn’t that sound fun? Ideal? Enchanting? We agree. In fact, most people who hear about this opportunity get very excited. After all, it’s not every day you get to use glitter glue. Not only is it fun, but with the impact you’re making it seems like everyone would take immediate action, right? You’d be surprised that that’s not the case.

Just to ensure we’re on the same page, we do understand that there have been tragic situations where some groups who host events never end up sending their cards. That was the main reason we wrote the prior blog post, #sealthedeal. Even while removing the groups who do all the work to create the artwork, but don’t have the outcome of encouraging kids, there are still others – ones who don’t get past step one of creating the event. And unfortunately, we’re not sure why that happens so often.

With some groups, the responsibility gets passed around until it gets passed on. People often think it’s not their job, but since this is something new people may not be sure who to contact.



We recall back in 2011 when our founder created the first corporate event. He approached his boss who told him to talk to HR, and they went and talked to the head of the office where he got approval. That’s how the detailed Excel sheet was created that keeps track of all the backend details, including cards - #everycardcounts. Going above and beyond the event HR approved, he put together an Excel chart to track the number of cards that were being made, which partners were sponsoring the event, and how much he spent.


Collage from a later event

Since Cardz for Kidz! events involve purchasing art supplies and shipping packages, we understand you’ll likely need to check with someone to get approval. Still, we think YOU’RE THE ONE who should take the initiative to host the first event that will lead to encouraging kids across the globe. We know this isn’t nearly as important, but it could be something that you put on your resume/LinkedIn profile since your leadership is making a big difference #ontheirresume #impressivetitle. 😊


#youretheone #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Not Strictly Giving


What would you prefer: a gift or a reward? For the nice woman sitting behind us on the Amtrak, her response was, “A reward because maybe I did something great.” It’s interesting because the result is essentially same thing. The outcome, let’s say, is $100. If it’s a gift it means it’s just because someone is being nice, but a reward means the giver knows the recipient did something great to receive it.

Let’s look at the definitions:
  • Gift: a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.
  • Reward: a thing given in recognition of one's service, effort, or achievement.

A gift also means that there are no strings attached and the giver is not wanting something in return. It means that the recipient didn’t necessarily work for it, yet they are still receiving the prize. With a reward, the recipient put in some type of effort that was appreciated by others.

From a Cardz for Kidz!  perspective we’re trying to reward the children and tell them we’re impressed by their strength by giving them this gift of handmade cards, video game systems, and other toys. While some people may be saying, “So sorry, get well soon,” we’re a bit different. Thanks to your cards we’re saying things like, “You’re one in a minion.” Instead of wallowing in their situation, with the help of your cards, we’re reaching out and rewarding them for their strength. Here are some of the hashtags families we’ve sent cards to directly have used:
  •  #specialneedskids
  • #musculardystrophy
  • #autismspectrumdisorder
  • #adhdkids
  • #disabilityawareness
  • #downsyndrome
  • #seizuressuck
  • #medicallycomplexkids



Even with those kinds of key themes in their posts, the kids have been smiling and thankful for their cards and recognition.


 


While we’re rewarding these kids, we’re hoping people are giving us gifts; making cards and not wanting something in return. Since everyone volunteers their time, we do not have to ask for any monetary donations to go alongside the card donations. That just means that, at times, it may take a bit longer for us to recognize receiving your cards across our social sites.

Based on how the kids and staff have been responding, we know the kids are grateful and that people are doing more than simply having fun with markers and glue. We know that you’re NOT STRICTLY GIVING, but instead rewarding these children and families for what they’re overcoming. From what we’ve seen, they’re thankful for the rewards we’ve been providing!


#notstrictlygiving #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Photo To Finish


What’s the call?! Looks like the refs will have to go to instant replay to make sure they get the correct call.




“After reviewing the play, the call on the field is confirmed.”

Some people who watch sports may know what’s being touched on above. Instant Replay is when there’s a call that’s being challenged. Referees (and fans) watch the play repeatedly to make sure everything is correct. There’s even the phrase ‘photo finish’ that refers to officials needing to revert to photographs or replays to determine the outcome.




Now what do all these sports phrases have to do with a nonprofit giving back to kids? We’d like to be able to prove one of our hashtags, #volunteeringisfun, is right even if people went back and replayed the process. We know there’s a hippo in the room, but we do our best to post pictures of how much fun the kids are having when they receive the cards, #intheroom. Here are some examples:





Even so, when we connect with new groups and they ask, “Why should we host an event?” We try to highlight how we do have partnerships with hospitals/homes around the world so they’re making a local/global impact AND they’re doing it in a fun and efficient way. They’re using glitter glue, magazines and card stock to encourage disheartened children when they need it the most. We tried to make sure when we created our videos that we included all phases of the process: People making cards, posing with the finished product, staff holding the cards, and kids/families posing with the artwork.


Now, when groups reach out can we 100% promise they’ll have fun? Not really, but almost. If you look closely, you’ll see that some of those videos have pictures that are a bit outdated. One of the reasons why is that hosting an event is a bit too much fun. Often the people who are leading the event have so much fun making the cards and connecting with other attendees, they forget to take pictures throughout the event. Understandable.

If people/potential new groups are questioning just how much fun volunteering is, we couldn’t quantify it. If you look at our Pledge Allegiance or other events when we’re there you’ll often see there’s a lot of pictures of attendees throughout the process and a lot of fun collages, #cardzWITHkidz, #pledgeallegiance. Here are some examples:


 

With all this in mind, just like professional referees who’ve been trained at their jobs for years often need a camera to make the final judgement on the big play, we’ll need your help. Whether it’s a large corporate event or simply a couple of friends getting together to make some cards, we need for your team to take several pictures throughout your event and send them to us so we can have a PHOTO TO FINISH helping us prove that volunteering is fun and new attendees should join in! Please feel free to send those pics to makecardzforkidz@gmail.com.

#phototofinish #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Helping All Around


  • “How do you do it?!”
  • “It’s hard to explain.”
  • “No, give me an immediate answer! You get thousands of cards in so many languages and get them to kids across the globe without charging anyone. How?!”
  • “Well…it’s a complicated process. It’s more of a…”
  • “Two words. TELL ME IN TWO WORDS RIGHT NOW!”
  • “Okay, okay. Ummm…Carla Neal.”
Let’s backtrack a little. We already decided our founder is no longer the nicest and lost his title (#notasnice). It’s just that now after looking into it a bit more, we think there’s new competition for that position. As we’ve been growing and changing, here are some of the ways that we’ve needed help and corresponding blog posts that back it up:

Here’s something that would impress us – Someone who tells other people about our organization (since we don’t spend on advertising) in order to get people to make cards. Who then encourages others to participate and creates some encouraging cards for our disheartened children and seniors. On top of that, someone who carries a bit more during their travels would exceed our expectations.

What’s amazing about Carla is that not only has she completed all those wish list factors, but she’s done even more than that. Regarding telling others, she handles the process from start to finish. She gives people the cards to complete and even sends them the stamps and stickers with our address. In terms of the delivery, she not only went to the Ronald McDonald House in Brazil but went there and took pictures and sent them back to us so we could include that on our social media.

Unfortunately, we did not have enough cards in French to cover our kids in Quebec, Haiti and the kids she could have helped us reach in France. 

We’ve mentioned it before, but she’s helping by getting her family involved as well. Do you remember another mother daughter duo? Thankfully Carla has helped set up her mom, Sue, so she’s been able to send us over 1,600 cards as well. 



In addition, she’s worked with her connections to get us cards in our requested languages. For example, they helped contribute to our nearly empty Spanish box.


What about our Portuguese Ziploc bags – you’ll see they nearly have their own.



Then some of their cards have been included in our English section. After we told Carla that we couldn’t help with the delivery in France she said that she’d work with some of her connections to help get us more cards in French as well!

So how are we able to reach kids around the world in our spare time for free? It’s caring people like Carla. Well, not sure if we can say “people” because we’re not sure if there’s ever been one person who’s been HELPING ALL AROUND or in as many ways as Carla has, but we’re thankful that individual contributors have picked up pieces and contributed in many ways.

#upliftingspirits #helpingallaround

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

We're Still Hopeful


You know what? Since our founder is our president and is helping to expand the board even more, we’re going to follow his rules. We’re strictly going to focus on the positive because we can’t complain, #cantcomplain. We’ll stick with our pledge that all blog posts must be 100% open and honest. Let’s see if we can somehow work the two of those together! 😊

For some background, it’s now official. On July 24th we’re having our 5th annual Pledge Allegiance event. How that works is that we’re trying to be creative and play on the July 4th Pledge of Allegiance to the flag mantra and express our loyalty to our kids. The key difference with this fundraiser is that we’re not only asking people to make set donation amounts, but we’re also asking them to make a pledge (e.g. we’ll donate $1 per card that’s made during the event). If we get enough attendees and donations, we’ll be able to reach more kids with cards and reward our hospitals/homes with something extra for being great partners. Here’s part of the flyer:

Allegiance (n): devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause
Please join us as we pledge our allegiance to disheartened children.


One thing that makes this event extra special is our dedication to kids who are stuck in their rooms. With that in mind, we’ve been reaching out to more hospitals/homes and now need over 8,000 cards for our disheartened children and solemn seniors around the world. That doesn’t even include our special one-time deliveries of over 1,000 cards. To put that in perspective, in Q2 2018 we needed just less than 5,000! With this Pledge Allegiance event we’re saying that we’re striving to get as many people to make cards as possible. With that intention, we’ll be able to reach all our recipients. As mentioned in a Facebook Live post, we made a promise and we’ll stick to it no matter what! In that promise we told any hospital/home that if they took pictures of their staff and/or children with their cards for 3 quarters in a row then we would purchase a new portable video game system for them. These systems are made to help entertain kids who are stuck in their rooms! We’ll be sure to find a way to recognize the groups who have helped us reward our locations.



Thankfully after the Facebook Live announcement we included notes to our partner hospital/homes and have already started making some donations. The number of pictures has started increasing! As the number of locations has risen, some may question how we’ll find the funds to cover the cost these units. Here are some pictures we’ve received since we included a note about those GO Karts in our letters.




Here are the details:
·       Who’s Invited: EVERYONE! J
·       What’s Happening: Cardz for Kidz! will have art supplies set up for people to make cards for children around the world. Every quality card made will help raise funds to help those children in our partner hospitals/shelters.
·       When’s the Party: Wednesday, July 24th, from 6:00–9:00pm
·       Where’s the Party: Moe’s Cantina, 155 W Kinzie, Chicago, IL
·       Why You Should Help: Our #1 goal is to deliver as many quality cards as possible. For this fundraiser we’re asking supporters to pledge a card donation. So, each card made during the party will uplift the spirit of a child AND help raise funds for children around the world!
·       How You Can Help: Attend the party and make a couple of cards and/or pledge to make a per card donation, https://go.rallyup.com/pledgeallegiance5.


Being honest, but no complaining! 😊 Here’s a Facebook Live post from a prior event – Link Here.

2014


 2015


 2017


 2018



To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Special Ability


Sorry, folks. Here’s another one of those 100% biased blog posts that’s based on our founder’s experience, #purplepride. As always with the blog post, we must be 100% open and honest so here’s some insight. Originally we started making some special deliveries to kids we connected with on Instagram since we realized that this was one way we could work around the restrictions that hospitals have with HIPAA (#intheroom). Plus we had some additional cards AND we could reach some kids who may be overlooked. As mentioned in the Facebook Live video, there was some bias in terms of the kids we were looking for, but now it’s opened up a bit more. Originally, we were looking for some of these hashtags to find our kids to send cards to:
  •  #seizuressuck
  • #epilepsysucks
  • #pediatricepilepsy
  • #specialneedskids
  • #specialneedsmom
  • #specialneedsdad
A lot of people will probably say we’re reaching many children with “special needs.” They need additional assistance based on their condition. Or one could say that they have a “disability” based on their health situation. This ranges from the children with cancer that we’ve sent cards to the kids overcoming autism.

Not sure if you recall, but WHEN WE GROW UP, we’re going to work harder to reward these children even more—ensuring we’re truly helping them as they’re overcoming their respective health conditions. Here’s a note from our founder:

“I recall the time I was waiting to hear back from my doctor if I’d need to have another brain surgery. It was definitely one of the top 3 most trying times that I’ve been through with my epilepsy process. They told me this was the last medicine that we could try and if it didn’t work that we’d need to do another brain surgery that could have a larger impact OR we’d need to look to insert something into my brain to control the frequency of the seizures. I was pretty shaken up and I was holding on praying that the medicine would continue to work. I couldn’t drive and that contributed to some setbacks in my career. Thankfully, to this day, the medicine has been working and that situation has inspired me to help kids who haven’t been as blessed as I was during that setback.”

Although that seems tough, we’re sure some of the families we’ve been reaching would gladly trade their situation for his. For example, the mother who sent a direct message asking for cards since her daughter just got a second bout of cancer.

In our biased opinion, we think there should be no politically correct way to describe people who have a medical condition. Whether that’s a life-threatening condition or a lifelong setback. Before we describe that please look at some of these Instagram pictures:

 



Look at those smiles! We’re not saying that all those families used the same hashtag, but in our opinion they can all be defined the same way. Instead of being defined as having special needs OR being defined as having a disability, we think they should be combined and labeled as having the SPECIAL ABILITY to overcome their situation and still smile. And we're very impressed!

#specialability #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Market Conditions

Alright, let’s stop this right now! We DO need cards in English, too! You always see us posting across our social sites asking for people to make cards in other languages and highlighting the languages that we’re missing, but to tell the truth, the only hospitals/homes that don’t want cards in English are the Ronald McDonald House in Quebec, Brazil and Portugal and Haiti’s Hope for Children. Also, Dr. Sonrisas wants cards in Spanish. All other locations want cards in English. Well, okay, Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota asked us to specialize in getting them cards in Somali and Spanish, but they will still accept cards in English.

In this post we want to highlight why we’re consistently pleading for cards in other languages and apologize if it seems like we’re not expressing our thankfulness for the cards in English. Once again, since some of the behind the scenes people have business degrees, we’ll have to use some business terms to attempt to explain everything. The first thing we can think of is Supply and Demand.

During some of the earlier business classes, we learned that supply and demand is what helps determine price. Since we’re not selling anything, we can say supply and demand is what helps determine the number of social tweets and pleas. Thanks to your contributions we’ve had an ample supply of cards in English and have an overwhelming supply of holiday cards.
Holiday cards remaining from last year, #bestnightmare.


We’ll try to think of something a bit more creative and outgoing to let people know that our supply and timing for holiday cards is making it exceed our demand and timing. Now our overall demand, or the amount of kids that we’re sending cards to, has steadily been increasing.




So far in 2019, we’re very far ahead of where we started in 2018. We just hope it keeps going.

We’ve been partnering with more locations and sending more cards, but those locations have been wanting a different breakout of cards. For example, our new location in Maine requested cards in English and Somali. One of our new partners in Illinois, Maryville Academy, requested that about 85% of their cards are in Spanish. Then there are other breakouts like one hospital that wants 75% of cards in Spanish, three want 50% Spanish and another requested a 25% Spanish composition. Then there are several of our lasting partners who have requested languages across Europe, Asia, and Africa. That’s why we created this special slide for the PowerPoint that’s supposed to play in the background during events.


Now we know that as we grow in the United States and strive to reach our goal of getting all the cities on the map, we’ll need a LOT more cards. 


With that in mind, we’ll likely need cards in even more languages based on the diversity within the USA, as well as our growth outside of this country. Therefore, we’ll consistently appreciate the cards in English – especially if they’re on lasting card stock rather than flimsy construction paper but based on the MARKET CONDITIONS and our current supply and demand, we’ll have to consistently request cards in other languages. Here’s a list of some of the languages we need the most:
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Romanian
  • Arabic
  • Somali
  • Russian
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Creole
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Polish
  • Korean
  • Kinyarwandi
This prior post has some ideas in other languages - https://cardzforkidz.blogspot.com/2013/12/nope-im-all-set.html.


To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!