Thursday, July 19, 2018

Inspirational Service

Do you know the impact you’re having? We promise you we’re trying to show you the best we can, but it’s tough. If you look on our social sites you’ll see they’re flooded with pictures of cards. That’s because we made an official “pinky promise” to post pictures of all the cards that we receive - #solemnlyswear. That way, you know your package has been received, your hardwork is appreciated, and you’ll have an idea of when your cards may be going out. That’s why you’ll see a lot of pictures like the ones below.

We have spoken about it once before, but it’s worth noting that we have to respect the children’s privacy and triple check before we share any of the pictures - #intheroom. Therefore, it’s more likely that we’ll receive pics of the staff than we do pictures of the patients.

Although those pictures and quotes of the kids and staff with your cards is inspiring, we don’t think that’s the best way to measure the difference you’re making.

Let’s think about it - when there’s something that’s amazing for you that you’ve received from someone that touches you deeply, what do you want to do? Share it. That ranges from telling someone to passing it along and doing that same positive thing for others. We’re amazed that so far we’ve had kids in Europe who were going through challenging health conditions ask their parents if they could make cards in return and send us a package of cards. Then we were updated by our Ronald McDonald House in New Zealand that those kids were going to start consistently making cards for our kids here in the states since they LOVED their first package. Here’s a quote from that first email:

One child named Kohen (9-10), was super inspired to make cards after I gave him an excellent card, which was in the shape of a PlayStation controller. He made about 12 cards with his sister Solae (8), and requested that we send the get well cards back to you, in Chicago! I was thinking about getting some more kids to make cards, until we have a good number to send back to you. The only question is, where should we send these cards? Do you often have young people sending cards back to you?

It’s clear that you have some INSPIRATIONAL SERVICE since you’re not only uplifting spirits, but making kids and families so happy that they want to spread that joy on to others across the globe.
Please keep up the good work! We promise we’ll continue to try to find ways to fully express the difference you’re making.

#inspirationalservice #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!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amateur's Impact

Here’s a common response we get when we ask people to make cards: “No, I really can’t. I’m not artistic at all.” We immediately respond with the shortened story about how the patient at Lurie Children’s Hospital interrupted us trying to explain why the card we gave him looked so bad and said, “I can tell he tried really hard.” Even with those explanations, some people still decline. Let’s try this way…. again. Let’s make fun of ourselves.

We’ve said this before, but when describing the history of this non-profit we always say, “We accidentally started it on purpose.”
  • On Purpose – meant to reach as many kids as possible by delivering personally valuable handmade cards.
  • Accidentally – did not plan to start a 501(c)3 certified non-profit that would have several of the largest corporations joining in and helping send packages to kids in 20+ different countries.

A lot of the work for Cardz for Kidz! is done relatively late at night. That ranges from scheduling social posts to responding to emails. Because of this late-night work, there are often mistakes in what’s written, whether it’s using the same hashtag twice or some sentences simply not making sense. To give you proof, here’s a post a friend saw and alerted us about:

It was supposed to be “It’s official we’re NOW…” instead of “Not”. Thankfully a friend noticed that.

Even with all those mishaps there are still positive results from the recipients, groups, and hospitals.

When it comes to our social posts, we often make mistakes, but still we’re getting fans and likes. People still enjoy seeing their cards on social media and kids still love receiving those cards. Therefore, if you try your best to make a card and sign your name and city the kids who receive it will LOVE it.

Is our encouragement still not working? Ok, we’ll keep making fun of ourselves!

So recently we’ve been driving more people to our website. It used to be all the attention and participation was coming from social media, but now based on connections via other sites, we’re starting to get more people coming to – thanks Goods Giving Back! Since visitation is increasing, we do our best to keep our site as updated as possible, but we learned our lesson and here’s proof…

That’s a screenshot from a few weeks ago. We tried to update the text on the About Us page independently. As you can see, everything got messed up and even after trying VERY hard to fix things, we still couldn’t get things to line up. The takeaway was yeah, we can check a box that shows if a group is Silver, Gold or Platinum on the Participants tab, but no, we can’t even try to modify that text anymore. We’re not qualified enough. How it worked out is there was an URGENT email sent to three people who volunteer to help with the site and thankfully one of them was able to fix it.

So, over here you have a team learning about nonprofit leadership on the fly and are simply doing our best to keep the website and social sites up to date to make kids smile. As you can see in the picture above, we’re not qualified to make changes to the website. As mentioned before, there was no experience nor preparation in setting up this certified non-profit. Now, please just read the messages below and you can get an idea of what an AMATEUR’S IMPACT can be. That ranges from starting a small nonprofit to trying your best while making your next card! #everycardcounts 

#upliftingspirits #amateursimpact

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, July 5, 2018

Who Do You Know?

It’s interesting. You may think to yourself, “I’m not artistic so I can’t help Cardz for Kidz! at all.” However, like we’ve said many, many times—that’s not true! Not only can you make cards these children, their families, and staff will love, but your connections are valuable as well.

Regarding connections, have you heard of the concept called six degrees of separation? It’s interesting to think that with the billions of people on the earth, there’s only six degrees of separation between you and everyone else. Which means you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that could connect you to just about anyone on the planet.

It’s a concept that’s been questioned a lot; still, while reviewing it we also found some studies that seem to prove it really is true—case in point, this Microsoft article.

Connections and/or networking have been helpful for us, too.

One example in support of this concept is the impact of Brett—a former coworker of our founder, Ike. One day, the two of them talked about Cardz for Kidz! and Brett then spoke with people at the Google Chicago office about Cardz for Kidz!; Google soon agreed to have some employees make cards. Brett soon connected us to Sally at Google. Sally encouraged the Chicago office to join in more and requested that we register on a financial platform so they’d be able to donate. Now, Google has had various offices join in to make over 500 cards. In addition, through that registration we’ve been able to partner with multiple groups—including our Secret Admirer, who has helped fund the purchase of multiple GO Karts. In addition, Sally’s family has been passionate about Cardz for Kidz!—ranging from her children making cards to her mother being a part of the executive board. Reviewing our history, we’ve been able to get creative advice, monetary donations from all types of companies, and thousands of cards from a variety of corporations, all sparked from our first connection, Brett at Google.

Here are some additional connection testimonials sparked by our registration on the donation platform.

  • ·       One of our key participants is a special Sarah in Minnesota. She learned about our organization due to our registration at the request of Sally and Brett. Sarah’s made multiple cards and, thankfully, her time and donations have been matched by her company. What’s even more impressive is that she’s taken the time to research how to make cards in multiple languages, enabling us to fulfill our promises to our hospitals across the United States and the globe. Finally, she helped us secure our partnership with our hospital in South Dakota and is working on setting up another partnership in Minnesota.

  • Another connection we have is with the AAA in Utah. It’s very impressive that when we had our record-setting quarter, four of the OVERALL Top 10 cards came from the AAA in Utah! What’s equally impressive is that our main contact at AAA, Sara, has been working on connecting us to all the different artists within AAA so they can fly out to Chicago and attend our upcoming Cardz WITH Kidz event. In addition, she’s working to help us expand our presence in Utah.

We’ve been using these types of connections to successfully expand and receive more quality cards. With these new participants, we’ve been able to steadily grow and have raised thousands of dollars to be able to fulfill card requests here in the United States, as well as send consistent shipments across the globe. Based on these donations, we recently purchased our fourth GO Kart—which brings us to $14,000 donated by a non-profit that doesn’t charge anyone anything and has high shipping costs due to sending cards around the world.

Another way we’d love to use your connections is to help reach more contacts at hospitals, homes and shelters. As mentioned in the beginning, we’re looking for locations with small to mid-size pediatric departments that may often get overlooked by other non-profits or organizations looking to make big donations—#toosmallnosuchthing. As listed above, we’ve had some people do some amazing things with their six degrees of separation, resulting in us gaining a bunch of new participants. But right now our question is: WHO DO YOU KNOW at locations with disheartened children who could use some smiles? Please reach out to them and let us know if they’re interested in receiving cards.

#upliftingspirits #whodoyouknow

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, June 28, 2018

Locally Grown

If you follow our social media, you’ll see all types of posts that talk about some of our international deliveries. This ranges from mailing special packages to Europe to having volunteers carry packages with them to various countries in Africa.

 Map showing our delivery locations across Australia

Map showing our delivery locations across Europe

Kids with their English cards in South Africa

Kids with their French cards in Benin

We’re living up to our #AcrossTheGlobe portion of our mission statement and utilizing that hashtag we love! But just like we always do in our blog posts, it’s time for us to be 100% open and honest.
Yes, we have made deliveries to 20+ countries. Yes, we are striving for ways to increase our partnerships with more countries so we can ship cards on a consistent basis. And no, South America we have not forgotten about you. We pinky promise when we get more cards in Spanish and a steady way to ship the cards we’ll start adding some smiles to that portion of our map. If you don’t believe us, please ask Dell EMC and University of Florida’s modern language department. They’ll tell you how we’re working on the Brazilian Portuguese cards!

South America Map as of 6/3/2018

We’re highlighting all that global delivery today, but we understand that the vast majority of the cards we receive are coming from individuals here in the USA. That ranges from corporation events to independent artists making cards in their free time. Based on those contributions, we can say that we’ll never forget about kids here in the United States of America. Even though we have steady partnerships in Mexico, Canada, Portugal, Australia, and Haiti, over 90% of our cards have been delivered to kids in the USA.

We’re expanding across the globe and consistently finding ways for people to #carryabitmore and #hadtosaysomething since some groups are helping us ship more across the globe, but we won’t forget that we were LOCALLY GROWN and we do need to continue to take care of the kids in North America! Thanks for your cards!

#locallygrown #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!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Their Own Size

Here we go again (sorry!), we have to start another blog post off by being “100% open and honest.” We’ve had multiple Fortune 500 corporations pitch in with multiple locations to uplift the spirits of the disheartened children we reach. We’ve also had various groups pitch in, and within their first couple of quarters make over 500 cards. But we need to provide some background on some firsts ‑ and one reason why one of our key team members officially gave up.

Do you recall the blog post we wrote a few years ago where we were trying to provide some potential ideas of what people could write on their resumes? If not, here’s a link - #ontheirresume. For a quick recap, we were saying we know sprucing up resumes isn’t the reason people hosts events, but it definitely looks nice! One thing that’s different is for corporations. Hosting a Cardz for Kidz! event may look nice on an individual’s resume, but is not as relevant for a corporation. So intead, a lot of companies have an About Us or Community Involvement page. They often list out some of the WORLD RENOWNED nonprofits they’ve been supporting and the THOUSANDS of dollars they’ve donated. Anyone who glances at those pages can immediately notice that that company has made a significant difference on impactful organizations with high brand equity.

We’re thankful that’s not the reason some corporations are selecting which non-profit they want to volunteer with! If that was the case, we wouldn’t get very much attention from corporations. We did some quick research and found that corporations may consider nonprofits that bring in a lot of donations, according to Forbes, for credibility reasons.

Or maybe they do a bit more research and use combined analytics to find the top non-profits that are renowned; that’s one way to reach children. If you look at us, although we use all types of hashtags, post daily and tag groups, we have an average of less than 700 fans between our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sites so we wouldn’t fit there either.

One thing we ARE amazed by is how there’s one company that we’ve all heard of who is making a difference on the kids, families, and staff. That’s Dell – Dell EMC to be specific.

When you think of Dell, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? We asked a couple people on the train and the responses ranged from the overall quality of computers to prior commericals. One thing that wasn’t mentioned was how this global corporation helps small nonprofits reach kids in hard to reach places. With that in mind, we realized it’s up to us to spread the word on just how impressive they have been.

If you look at the chart on our Donate page, you’ll see that the amount of cards per quarter has been consistently growing.

What that chart does not show is that a lot of that growth has been sparked by the participation of the Dell EMC department. We touched on it earlier in this blog post, but what’s different with Dell is that it’s not simply offices across the USA that have been joining in to reach kids across the globe, but instead this is the first group who has had multiple locations outside of the USA join in. What’s equally impressive is that one office told us they weren’t able to send us their cards based on mailing restrictions, but would still contribute and send cards to kids in their immediate communities. There were more made in other countries, but here are the cards that we’ve received so far:

We’ve sent cards to some special locations in China, but this was one of our first times receiving a package from China so we were excited! Also, thanks to the cards from the office in Brazil, we were able to send cards to a Ronald McDonald House in Brazil and potentially start a partnership like the one we have in Portugal! This time we can send all the cards in Portuguese. 

They’re already helping us reach our New Year’s Resolutons. One of the goals we had was that we wanted to start partnerships with at least two more international locations. As mentioned before, we’re getting cards in other languages which is helpful. Then the Dell EMC team in Romania directly handled EVERYTHING (e.g. made it so we could ship the cards to their office, took the cards to the hospitals, returned the pictures from the event) so we could start a partnership with another global destination.

It’s amazing that this company is not strictly dedicated to making cards, but they’re focused on giving back in all types of ways as well.

If that’s not enough, it’s been a combination of quality and quantity! In Q1 2018, we had a record setting amount of 7,645 cards. Just in case that doesn’t mean much to you, let’s put things in perspective. We typically receive significantly more cards in Q4 since more groups make cards around the holidays. That’s why we’ve written blog posts and include a sheet in our PowerPoint to leaders who are hosting an event asking their artists not to strictly make holiday cards.

Even still with the expected increase in Q4 2017, the 7,645 cards in Q1 2018 was 28% more than ANY OTHER QUARTER! Including the prior record setting quarter – Q4 2017. Even with that increased competition, Dell EMC still had TWO cards in the OVERALL Top 10 and those came from artists in two separate countries, United States of America and Japan. The artist from the USA was voted as one of the Top 3 artists and is being invited to come hand deliver her card during our upcoming Cardz WITH Kidz event! #quantityANDquality

We’ve never shared this before, but let’s talk about why our founder gave up. Usually when groups reach out they highlight how they learned about our small organization that’s hard to find via search engines. For example, our Google partnership was started via a direct connection. Our “Secret Admirer”, Microsoft, AAA, and many others learned about us through Benevity. Several independent artists found us through our social media posts. All of those were through something WE did. When our contact, Heather M, from Dell EMC reached out, we checked in on how she heard about us. She told us about how she did her own independent research and found an article we had never heard of that mentioned us. We’re sure there are several other people who read this article as well, but so far no one has made a global difference. Just too good to be true! 

In summary, we’re amazed. #jawdropped

Here’s a global corporation that really could work with any non-profit they wanted. They could work with nonprofits that have huge staff and MUCH better websites/social sites. Dell EMC could have chosen to partner with an organization that would have improved their SEO and something that would have improved their brand image. Instead they didn’t pick on someone THEIR OWN SIZE, they partnered with a small non-profit that’s working to impact small children across the globe. As you can see by some of the smiles, it’s been working!

Artists in Ireland

Artists in Japan

Artists in Romania

Artists in USA

Cardz for Kidz!’s Mission Statement: Cardz for Kidz! is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards.

Dell EMC’s Impact: Dell EMC is a company that has helped uplift the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children by getting different offices worldwide to make uplifting homemade cards in multiple languages so Cardz for Kidz! can send handmade cards to children across the globe.

#theirownsize #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!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Stepping Outside

We’re not so sure. We’ve heard some people say they love supporting Cardz for Kidz! because it’s a way everyone can get involved without leaving their rooms, offices or classrooms. Then other people say they like it because they know there are some local hospitals/shelters receiving these handmade cards.

Here is one direct quote: “It was a great way to be able to ‘volunteer [my] time’ while not leaving the office.”

We’re not so sure if we agree with the last part—not leaving the office. Yes, we understand that most groups do not leave their rooms, offices or classrooms to make their cards at a hospital, park or some other location. Also, we know some groups simply integrate their card-making activities throughout the work day. That means people can take a break from their work and slip out to make a card. With that in mind, some people may think that it’s “not leaving the office,” but we must look at the bigger picture.

While you may not physically leave your office, know that your impact spans the globe! We have another blog post coming up that will touch on how most of our cards have, and will be, delivered here in the United States since this is where we’re based and receive most of the cards. Still over 5,000 cards have been sent to uplift the spirts of children outside the United States—and that number will drastically increase.

Therefore, although you may not be leaving your rooms, offices or classrooms—you’ve been STEPPING OUTSIDE your normal day-to-day activities and brightening the days of children (and their families) around the world.

#steppingoutside #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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

In The Room

We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s an elephant in the room,” but do you know exactly what it means? We personally thought that it relates to something people want to touch on, but to be 100% sure we needed to do some in-depth research (ahem, look it up on Wikipedia). It turns out it means:

“An English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink that no one wants to challenge.”

Now that’s not exactly what we were looking for, but we do think it is a very close fit for what we’re trying to discuss: Something so big that it needs to be touched on, but is often overlooked.

We can probably all agree that if after spending so much time working so hard to make cards/artwork/masterpieces as beautiful as possible, it would be IDEAL to be able to see the final result – a smile on a child AND family’s face. Unfortunately, there’s a big barrier that prevents us from doing things exactly the way we’d love to. Here’s a clue:

Can you tell what that is? Ask most people who work in the health industry and they should be able to tell you about our elephant in the room, or should we say hippo - the hippo named HIPAA.

We linked the HIPAA to the Wikipedia page that provides all types of details. If you look it up online, you can find some government sites that provide additional details as well. Although there’s all that information, we’ll summarize what it means for us and you. In summary, patient privacy is very important, and thanks to HIPAA, privacy is a law.

Recently, we saw another non-profit post something reminding their recipients that if they wanted to receive cards they needed to post pictures of themselves with the cards! We’ll never be like that and here are two key reasons why:

  1. We figure if it took our founder nearly a decade to move from talking about his epilepsy/surgery in the past tense to being proud about it, it’s definitely okay for families to not want us to share their pictures.
  2. We know about the hippo and will stick to it whether the recipients are in the hospital or not. Therefore, any time we repost a picture of a child holding the cards, we wait for their parents to confirm that it’s OK. If they don’t reply to the usual response, “Can we share this pic too?”, that’s not a problem. If there’s a smile, we’re all set.

We’re even over the top. If you follow us on any of our social sites you’ve probably seen that our partnership with Lifetime Wellness has been growing. Since some of those seniors are in assisted living facilities and can be considered patients, we follow up with the staff before we post any of the pictures they send us. Originally, they asked if we had a patient privacy form, so we shared the form below and now we refuse to share any of the pictures unless they confirm that their residents have signed the form and agreed that it is OK for us to share their pictures.

Yes, there could be legal jargon on the form, but we want to make it as simple as possible for everyone involved! Thankfully, several of them have been agreeing recently. If you check out their Facebook album, it’s a combination of artwork and artists!

In summary, our decades of being connected to hospitals has us updated on all the details and background for patients. While that’s good for the kids and their families, it does leave our artists a bit short. We promise we’ll stick to our promised procedure. We won’t post the “Quick Update” posts that show a bunch of packages and lists where they’re going until after we’ve posted pictures of the cards we’ve received. Also, we’ll continue to encourage staff at hospitals to at least have their employees pose with the cards so you can see where they ended up.

With all that being said, we’ll continue to find ways to give you an update, but one thing we will continue to remember is that there’s a hippo named HIPAA IN THE ROOM and we’ll always respect the children’s and family’s privacy.

#intheroom #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!