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 -

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

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Can't Say Enough

Not sure if you knew this, but last week was Volunteer Appreciation Week. To follow our rules, and be 100% open and honest, we posted on our social media sites to be sure you knew we recognized it, but intentionally did not post anything big about it until after, ensuring this post would not be tied only to that special week.

We scheduled the above post for Tuesday, April 9 to show you that we did want to recognize you, our priceless volunteers, during that week—but we want you to know that we’re immensely grateful for more than just one week every year. There are some organizations that mail little handouts to say thanks; some take pictures; some send flowers; and some do nothing. Though we can’t give much, we wanted to, at least, write this post to express how thankful we really are for your continued contributions and support.

To be honest, your help has been amazing. We’ve highlighted your stellar contributions a few times, including in the following posts:
·     Love Lines
·     Flying Cape
·     Love Her More
·     Changing the Rules
·     Socially Active

We’re very grateful that—thanks to you—we’ve been able to expand and reach more children in different ways. Your contributions include making cards in many languages—ensuring we reach all our children and seniors, as well as carrying and delivering cards with you during some of your travels, #carryabitmore.

 Delivery in Brazil

Delivery in Israel

Delivery in Nigeria

So far, we’ve noted how you, our volunteers, have helped with making cards and delivering cards, but there are also some groups and individuals who’ve helped with donations that cover the cost of shipping cards, plus doing even more for our partner locations. Thankfully, we often receive these donations without asking and have been able to reward our hospitals/homes with strictly having one fundraiser a year…where we don’t usually make that much money. We just have to say thank you—most of the funds to cover the shipping costs (illustrated in the pictures below) come from people, like you, giving voluntarily and unprompted!


If that’s not enough, we’ve even had some volunteers step in and help us strike partnerships with new hospitals and homes, where we’ve delivered a total of 360 cards in the first quarter of 2019 alone!

We’re amazed by the variety of ways that you, our priceless volunteers, have stepped up and we’re continually thankful. We’re extremely thankful 365 days a year—not just during the one week dedicated to volunteers. We’ll continue to find ways to make sure you know how much you’re appreciated and the difference you’re making. But we know that even with our social media posts and quoting the families, we just CAN’T SAY ENOUGH to accurately express how thankful we are for your contributions in helping us reach more children and seniors across the globe!

#cantsayenough #upliftingspirits

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

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Love Lines

“You…complete me.” & “You had me at ‘hello.’” —Jerry Maguire
“As you wish.” —The Princess Bride
“It was always you.” —Jumper
“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” —Notting Hill

We were sitting at the airport on our way to donate a GO Kart and we started to ask some of the people sitting around us at a café what they thought was the perfect love line from a movie. The quotes listed above were some of the examples that we heard. Those were pretty good ideas, but we still didn’t think they were quite right.

Yes, we’ve expressed our love for Taylor’s dream woman before (#loverhermore), but we wanted to do it again. And this time, we wanted to express how we found someone who’s been special in a unique way. This time, it’s someone who’s not only been there around the clock but been there “around the way” as well. Okay, maybe that second phrase didn’t quite make sense, but what we mean is that she’s been helping in a variety of ways. It’s not just the diversity of her contributions, but how in-depth those contributions are that made us approach strangers and spark some giggles at the airport (FYI—it was the gentleman who was able to think of the lines first. After moving to our gate, we hit the jackpot and sat next to a woman who had a bunch quotes to share).

Now you may be wondering why we’re talking about someone being so special, so we’ll explain why Sarah from Minnesota is so special. We know we’ve written some longer blog posts in the past, so we’ll try to limit this one; “try” being the key word.

We touched on it in prior blogs, in social posts and in emails, but we’re always looking for cards in a variety of languages. Thankfully, Sarah continually steps up and contacts people to help us find out how we can get cards in the specific language(s) we need. Not just the languages that we need for her local area, but also for our hospital/homes around the world. If you visit our blog post, Nope, I’m All Set, she provided those posts in Somali and Portuguese. She takes her research and updates other people that are part of the Facebook group so they can help make these cards too.

In addition, she’s gotten some of her friends and coworkers to join in and make encouraging homemade cards for our children. Since we’re not spending any money on advertising, this type of word-of-mouth advertising is essential.

Next, we’re grateful for how faithfully she helps us out. She’s been using some of her different contacts in Minnesota to connect with different hospitals and/or Ronald McDonald Houses to see if they would like to receive cards.

Sorry—we can’t really tell you about the other ways she’s helping. It’s a secret; but know that we admire her and we’re extremely thankful for her.

Based on Sarah’s overall participation, it’s clear that she’s making an impact and we’re very grateful. We can try to express our gratitude, but unfortunately even the best/most well-known LOVE LINES from classic movies can’t even convey how thankful we are and how much of an impact she’s been making on our organization and the children we reach around the world.

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Investing for Good

“Whoa!!!” *Heavy breathing and gasping for breath.* “I must be dreaming.” Our founder, Ike, sits up thinking to himself, “Where am I?”

He glances to the right and thinks to himself, “Okay, that looks right.” There’s the framed and signed newspaper article he received right before his surgery, #PieceofPaper. Right below that there’s the picture made by Paige, #AllDone that he used as encouragement throughout his most difficult times.* Sunsets, 2006 Coca Cola… Everything seems normal.

But the wild thoughts are still racing through his head, so he assumes he’s still dreaming. In that dream he saw the most surprising thing. It wasn’t negative necessarily, but just shocking. He saw The Capital One logo…everywhere. This renowned company was running engaging ads on TV.

Then the next day, while getting off the train, he saw this company’s ads on a billboard.

Then there were the effective letters in the mail addressed to Cardz for Kidz

Coming from a marketing analytics background, this all seemed realistic. Reaching a target audieince with a strong frequency using a variety of media channels is familiar. The question would be though, how do you measure which media channel led to the conversion? But that’s another story.
The oddest part of the dream was that he dreamt Capital One was COMPLETELY involved in

Cardz for Kidz!. So yes, they’ve made cards for a few years in the past. For example, looking into 2017 as a whole, Capital One made a total of 1,725 cards. Then before that in Q4 2016, one quarter alone, they made a total of 2,076 and had a total of SIX different cities join in. It’s just… this dream was too good too be true. In order to provide more information on the dream, here’s what the chart on our donation page used to look like.

If you do the math for 2018, that’s 3 quarters where we average about 7,672 cards per quarter amongst all of our groups and independent artists from around the world.

Now back to this dream. Our founder was first tossing and turning because he was running out of space in the cherished Excel chart. He wanted to keep track of all the different Capital One locations who made cards, but he was running out of space and data was overlapping. It looked something like this. 

Wow. Something like receiving packages with addresses from 107 different cities. Maybe that’s believable and you don’t think anything special of it, but let’s add this. In that dream, this renowned company worked with all those different branches to make a total of 9,192 cards in a quarter. Capital One alone broke the record for our prior top cards per quarter by over 1,000 cards, (Q2 2018 – 8,078). They’ve been quality cards too!

As of March 2019, Capital One is our top participating group and they’re leading by a long shot!

Some people may look at the chart and see that Capital One isn’t number one, but actually Capital Two. In our opinion that’s comparing them to families and artists from around the world who have been making cards for much longer. That includes Carmen in Taiwan, Karen in Australia, Diane and Karen in the USA and many more - #beyondthankful.

Now for people who follow our blog posts you know what we’re supposed to say. You know what’s missing. Here it is. It’s time. We need to be 100% Open and Honest. Cardz for Kidz! originally started off by strictly delivering cards to hospitals. From the beginning, we made it clear that we wanted to focus on small hospitals, #toosmallnosuchthing. Then we expanded past that and started to reach kids impacted by tragedies at school, #SandyHook. Those are situations people often hear about and are willing to make cards for. Next, when we began to expand, it was slightly bias and we looked into Ronald McDonald Houses since we believe it’s not only the children, but the families who are impacted as well, #familiestoo. What about the children who aren’t in a condition to rely on that type of support? Children who are either orphans, protected care and/or foster care? They could use some uplifting of spirits as well. With these locations it’s a bit hard to reach out and contact them directly when everyone has a 9-5 job, but thanks to Capital One’s increased card making in Q4 2018 we’ve been able to send over 1,000 cards to Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, as well as over 3,000 cards to different orphanages and foster homes across the country. There’s still time left, but so far in Q1 2019 here are new places that have agreed that they’d like to start receiving cards for their kids on a quartely basis based on these test shipments:
  • Ronald McDonald House Lurie
  • Ronald McDonald House Cleveland
  • Bethany Christian Services, MI
  • Bethany Christian Services, TN
  • Baptist Homes for Girls
  • Maryville Academy
  • Edgewood Center for Children and Families
  • Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund
  • Free Will Baptist Children's Home of Alabama
  • Albuquerque Christian Children's Home
  • Methodist Children's Home Society, MI

We’re sure the list will keep growing. These locations were VERY grateful and we understand there’s no way we would have been able to test and try to expand if we didn’t have Capital One’s support in Q4 2018.

“Ok, it’s official. I’m awake.” After looking into things a bit closer, we received confirmation that they donated money to cover the shipping costs since they knew they made so many cards. It’s above and beyond in so many ways. A dream come true, but unlike in the beginning of the blog post, we’re believing that everyone’s awake and this is REALLY happening. The Capital One team has made time to work together to uplift the spirits of the children we connect with. It’s clear they’re not simply a company dedicated to promoting their cafés and credit cards, but Capital One has been INVESTING FOR GOOD causes.

#investingforgood #upliftingspirits

*she’s old enough now, but still checked with her and her mom to see if it’s okay to use her real name rather than Penelope.

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

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Still Awake

Sorry. That’s how we’re going to have to start off this blog post. A lot of these blog posts seem to be encouraging, and like our cards have strictly uplifting messages, based on some of the recent trends we thought we’d write a more stern blog post to make sure everyone was on the same page. Sorry.

We know that everyone is taking a bunch of time to make these cards now matter how detailed it is OR how the final product turns out. Time is time. If you think about it, whether or not your card turns out in the OVERALL Top 10 or not OR if you spend 5 minutes or 5 hours on a card, that’s time you could have spent doing 1,000,000+ other things, so we are thankful. Even with that gratefulness, we want to make sure everyone understands one of our ultimate baselines and one of the reasons we have this saved as one of the stories on our instagram page.

Not sure if you recall, but throughout the years we’ve told you a lot about our goals down the line and how that directly relates to our personal past. For example, When We Grow Up we’d love to be able to start a scholarship for kids who have been inpatients for a week or longer or have a lasting health condition. We’d love to be able to give back and make sure we’re helping remind these kids they’re special. Then we touched on it before that we’re currently mailing cards around the globe to places like Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom, but it’d be great if other people stepped up in other areas where we weren’t able to securely ship packages from the USA to start Cardz for Kidz! extensions. Next, we also talked about how we’re working with Gamers Outreach and working on rewarding our hospitals who are taking pictures of their patients with the cards.

This way you can see where you cards are going and we can get confirmation that we still have the correct contacts. We’re starting this, but we’ll need to discuss this with the board since it’s got a long way to go before it fully grows.

One thing we’ve touched on a bit, but haven’t fully gotten into is how it would be a dream to have a partnership with Hallmark, American Greetings or another large card manufacturer. What we’re anticipating is that we’d set something up where at the end of the quarter we’d work with the judges to select the OVERALL Top 10. Then, as usual, we’d open up the poll and have people vote for their favorite three cards. The only difference would be that this time one of those large card manufacturers would then have the option to select the #1 card to produce and begin to sell and distribute around the world. Then they’d return the favor and donate some of that money back to Cardz for Kidz! and that would help us pay our future employees, scholarships and also purchase some GO Karts.

Wow. That’s one of our visions. That’s beyond what we want to be when we grow up, but that type of partnership would be a dream come true. Realistically though, all of that is still far down the road and for now we’re STILL AWAKE. Therefore, we’re going to politely remind people not to send us cards that were made by any card manufacturer since those will have to be discarded. All of our cards need to be handmade. 

#stillawake #upliftingspirits

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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Shipped All Around

We’ve highlighted a couple of times when someone, or a particular group, has done something that’s never been done before. For example, we created a new verb and highlighted when another group was approaching it. We then let everyone know when a group changed our minds about being perfect, #perfectionschecklist. Schneider is one of these groups who’s done something a bit different. Something arguably even more spectacular.

What’s the keyword here: arguably or spectacular? They both play a major role. It’s not 100% agreed upon, but it’s also important that it’s spectacular. While we’re not huge into baseball, we think it’d be something like, what’s more spectacular – an in-the-park home run OR a grand slam? To do some research, we asked a few people on the train where it was quickly debated.

“Well, you have to be very fast.”
“First you’d have to get everyone on base.”

The overall skills vs. the amount of points. In our opinion, what Schneider has done is as valuable and rare as getting an ‘in-the-park grand slam.’ If there even is such a thing.

First Base. Coming to the Chicago Volunteer Expo and making cards. Although there were hundreds of nonprofits at the Chicago Volunteer Expo (CVE), many stopped by to make some cards for our kids. We’re sure the CVE team is thankful too since Schneider is helping them move up a level on our site!

Second Base. Hosting an event. These days this is a bit more common, but still we’re impressed that they stepped up and held multiple events. There are many times when people hear about our organization and plan to make cards, but don’t necessarily follow through. With Schneider we received 9 different packages within 6 months. Also, they’ve been quality cards since one of them made it into the OVERALL Top 10 and was selected by a family.

(You Are Clawsome Card)

Third Base. Coming to the hospital. A triple is very impressive in baseball, just like taking the time to travel to Lurie Children’s Hospital. Since Schneider is now a diamond participant, we set up a Cardz WITH Kidz event up for them at Lurie Children’s Hospital. They sent a team of volunteers and were able to fully engage the patients, families and staff.

Rounding the Base/Making it Home. What no group has done, Volunteering Behind the Scenes. The fun parts of Cardz for Kidz! are using the markers and glitter to make the encouraging cards AND potentially handing out the cards to children. The not so fun part, the behind the scenes section, is sorting through the packages and helping us count the cards that come in, proofing to make sure they’re appropriate for our kids, taking the pictures, and packaging them up. Thankfully Schneider left from their full days at work and helped us with the entire process. We were so impressed on this side, so we even had to brag about it to some of the other volunteers and board members!

(screenshot of the text so you know it’s authentic!)
Grand Slam. In-Depth Contributions. We’ve touched on all the steps they’ve done, but did not highlight how they’ve gone above and beyond during each one of those steps. For example, during one of the volunteer shifts some of their team members made a video about why they liked the Chicago Volunteer Expo. That’s never been done before. Another example is how they reached out asking all the languages we need and are going to put something together to make it easier for their team to make cards for kids in multiple languages.

In-the-Park. Speed. Like the debate about baseball on the train, we’re impressed with the speed of our volunteers at Schneider. There are some groups who take a year or more to get to the diamond level on our site. With Schneider they were able to get multiple offices to join in and get up to the diamond level within 6 months. Based on this speed and participation we’re sure they could get around the bases!

We’ll forever be impressed with how Schneider contributed in 2018 and how we feel they’re now a permanent partner. When we asked some of their volunteers about participating here’s what she said,

“I love Cardz for Kidz! I have been creating cards since it was brought to our organization. I find joy in getting creative with the creation of the cards but, I LOVE knowing that it will bring a smile to a child!”
-Hillary Hubertz!

No matter how the debate ended up on the train in terms of what’s the most impressive act in baseball, Schneider has it covered in our terms since they successfully did both. It’s no surprise, but with Schneider’s help we can say that their assistance has been SHIPPED ALL AROUND since they’ve covered all parts of our organization and are helping us grow. 

#shippedallaround #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!