Thursday, December 11, 2014

Right Results

Potential quotes:
  • (Sigh of relief) “Excellent! 10 hours all set!”
  • (Huge Smile) “Yes! And I didn’t even have to leave my house or break a sweat!”


OR

Actual quotes:
  • “Thanks for sharing.  This is fantastic stuff and I’ll use this in my blog next week.  Great team effort and thanks for creating meaningful impact in the community!” – Title: Global CEO
  •  “This is FANTASTIC to see.  How exciting!!!  Love all the wonderful cards and well wishes and to see the pent-up creative flare our team members have!  Thanks….You have made a real impact on many people.” – Title: CEO North America
  • “Nothing makes me happier than knowing we have made a meaningful difference for our community and our employees. Thanks so much for bringing this initiative…and driving the vision! And, thank you…for leading the effort!” – Title: Executive Vice President


Have you considered starting Cardz for Kidz! at your office or school recently? If so, why?

There are some folks who simply believe in what we do and love our 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.

That’s great! For example, one member of the royal family (see blog post Runs In the Family), Jen Kouba, loves how Cardz for Kidz! combines her passion for art work and impacting her community, by helping DePaul produce nearly 900 cards as of 11/13/2014.

Then there are other “artists” who love the fact that we’re working to not only impact kids in the United States, but connecting with kids outside of this country as well. Currently we’ve sent a total of 348 cards to children outside the continental USA. Also, we are looking to form ongoing partnerships with hospitals, similar to our connection in Haiti, with a couple hospitals in Canada.

Finally, there are other IMPORTANT contributors who are doing it for, what some may say, are the non-spirited reasons – the two R’s: Requirement or Recognition.

  • Requirement: We learned there are several schools, ranging from Grade Schools to Universities, who require their students to participate in a certain amount of community service hours. Those requirements may spark some people to ‘take the easy way out’ and start making cards in school which could leave to the first two set of quotes listed above.
  • Recognition: Now there are others who are looking for a way to distinguish themselves and to be recognized for their impact on their office and community. One contributor sent us the above quotes above from several high ranking officials at his company. Although he was shocked by how quickly he was recognized, it is true; companies love it when employees start something that increases the “chemistry” and teamwork for employees.
We included the quotes above since that may help inspire some people who are considering hosting an event for either of those two reasons. (*fingers crossed*) Hopefully it works!

Now some may say it’s incorrect if folks are strictly doing it to either meet a REQUIREMENT or to receive RECOGNITION, we are focused on the fact that it’s bringing the RIGHT RESULTS, smiles on kids’ faces! No matter what the motivation, you’re help is appreciated. Please keep it up! Thank you!

Thankful even if it’s the "non-spirited" 2 R’s it leads to the correct 2 R’s – Right Results! 

 
 

#RightResults #UpliftingSpirits

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


Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Artists" - So Do We

Whenever you look through any of our socials posts you’ll always see that we use the word “artists” to describe anyone who’s made a card. Now some folks may think, ‘I AM NOT ARTISTIC AT ALL. I shouldn’t be called an “artist”.’ But based on our experience….we disagree.

We connected with someone who actually delivered cards to patients. He highlighted how there’s often a BIG difference in the ‘level of creativity’ between some of the cards! Based on that distinction he created a creative and polite way to explain to the children why some of the cards were, to put it politely, less than perfect. He would update the kids that the cards were made by people at large companies. These companies had some people who real artistic and other analytics or ops members who were not as creative. Then he would politely tell the children that it was an ops member who made their custom card. While using that approach he didn’t get any negative comments or kids requesting new cards.

Then there was one time when he was giving his explanation and was cut off. Before he even opened the card the young patient said “it’s okay. I can tell they tried really hard.” After that comment, and seeing some artistic analytic employees, he’ll have to find a new “creative and positive” way to explain some of the cards! :)

So if the most important people, the disheartened children, think you’re SUPER artistic and/or true “ARTISTS” - SO DO WE. Please keep making cards.

#ArtistsSoDoWe #UpliftingSpirits


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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Interest and Intent to Action!

We often put up several points highlighting the amount of cards that come from each group. Although our last participation video on YouTube only included some of our Top Participants, we believe each card is important. This ranges from the hundreds that were made by DePaul University to the 12 cards made by a major fashion retailer’s employees. That’s why we have one of our hash tags, #everycardcounts.

One reason we’re so thankful for every card we receive is because we actually received it! :) Now that may seem like a simple task, but you’d be surprised how rare it is! Here’s a definition of our “conversion rate” – the amount of groups who have heard about Cardz for Kidz! and have made cards in consecutive quarters.

We want to compare our “conversion rate” with some other statistics that were pulled on 11/9/14:


Although we don’t have the exact stats, we think we’re “beating” Rich Media for a lower “conversion rate”. While looking into groups who made a card in Q3 2014, only 9% of the total participants made a card in Q2 2014 as well.


But the way we note a “conversion” is people who’ve heard of our organization and actually convert – send us their completed cards.

First, the decline is sparked by folks who heard about us, loved the idea, got folks together to make cards, but did not send us their completed artwork. :( We try to check in with groups who’ve expressed interest to see if they can send updated cards and sometimes it works. Recently we were excited when we got the following two quotes:
  • Monday, October 27th: “…let me check our collection.  We did make some during our XX event in June.  We kept the station open, so I need to see how many are created”
  • Tuesday, October 28th: “I'm actually glad you emailed me. A few months ago some of us here in the office got together to make cards and I have been holding on to them to send them to you.”

Good thing we checked! We probably would not have received those cards. Unfortunately we’re not able to contact all participants. When we include people who’ve made cards, but didn’t send them, our 9% conversion rate will definitely decline.

Then if we look a bit farther we’ve heard so many people say things such as “that sounds great, I’ll have to check with XX to see if we can do that.”  Regrettably we rarely hear back from those individuals and they never make cards. :(

So we don’t have the exact numbers, but here’s our assumption:

(9% of groups who made cards in back to back quarters) X (the percentage of people who’ve made cards, but didn’t send them) X (the percentage of people who would LOVE to make cards, but haven’t had a chance to) 

Although 100% of the people who participate have fun, we think our overall “Conversion Rate” is less than the other stats provided above.

If you could help us SEAL THE DEAL and convert INTEREST AND INTENT TO ACTION that’d be truly appreciated!!

#InterestAndIntentToAction #UpliftingSpirits


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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

No More Changes


Although it’s listed on our website (www.cardzforkidz.org/about-us) we wanted to provide you a brief ‘history lesson’ on our organization.

When the founder first started making cards for kids in 2010 it was simply for fun. He had kids from church make cards for patients at the hospital he volunteered at. Then later he took it to work. After it started to grow he decided to reach out to some of his connections to make this an official non-profit. But, first things first, he needed to create a Facebook page. He looked into different combinations of Cards (for or 4) Kids. Those were taken by a variety of different groups who did stuff ranging from playing cards (i.e. poker) to raising money for children. Next guess, Cardz for Kidz!  – completely open!

Okay so after the Facebook page was created he needed to think of a mission statement. There have been a couple and we’d like to let you know why.

Original.
There was probably a bit of assistance, but the founder originally thought of this mission statement:
Cardz for Kidz!  is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of pediatric patients by delivering inspiring homemade cards.

Perfect! Since at the time we were only sending cards to Children’s Memorial Hospital (now known as Ann and Robert H. LurieChildren’s Hospital), using the words “pediatric patients” was fine. As more groups decided to participate the founder learned two classmates worked at other children’s hospitals, Advocate Children’s and La Rabida in Illinois. Those were the next two hospitals to receive cards.

Revision 1.
When he started running the first events in the office he worked with representatives from various websites to purchase lunch and/or crafts for the employees. Since there were so many companies volunteering to provide lunch and gift cards he had to decline some offers. One gentleman who offered to sponsor, but couldn’t, decided to have his son’s elementary school in Connecticut make cards in class. (Side note: they actually were the first group outside of Chicago to make cards!)

  

   
All of this happened the same year the Sandy Hook school shooting took place. We soon learned that the cousins of the little boy who made cards at his school went to Sandy Hook Elementary School. After connecting with the mother of those children we sent a total of 235 cards to those kids. That led to our first revision:

Cardz for Kidz! is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of HOSPITALIZED AND/OR TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN by delivering inspiring homemade cards.



All set. That modification covers the fact we sent cards to children impacted by the Boston Marathon bombing, a school shooting in New Mexico, as well as, a shelter for abused children in California.

Revision 2.
Later we connected with an old classmate who runs the non-profit organization titled Dagbé. They provide opportunity to children affected by extreme poverty in rural Benin. That delivery led to our next modification.
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.

,   






Covered. So when we made a couple special shipments to other destinations in West Africa (pull the Google Map on our homepage over and you can see all the destinations). Also, our official partnership with Bernard Mevs in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti is covered in that statement as well.

Revision _
We recently thought about it, the mission statement is leaving out A LOT of the stuff we do. For example, our name AND mission statement are outdated. We ensure each hospital we partner with has at least a DVD player for kids in their playroom. If not, we are looking to provide that resource. That’s more than a “homemade card”. Then what about Cardz FROM Kidz? That’s reaching lonely seniors rather than simply “hospitalized and/or traumatized children”! That could lead to some tweaks. Then there’s Cardz WITH Kidz – that’s uplifting the spirits by directly connecting with kids, not just “delivering” those cards.

Hmmmm….okay we could definitely make several more ‘revisions’ to our mission statement. But similar to how we work behind-the-scenes to connect groups to disheartened children, our other work will remain behind-the-scenes and not expressed in our mission statement! :)

Now we’re debating if we should encourage people to use the “!” as a part of our name since it’s included in our logo. That debate will continue, but one thing we know for sure, there will be NO MORE CHANGES to our mission statement….we think! :)

#NoMoreChanges #UpliftingSpirits


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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tell A Friend

Once again we’re starting off another blog post with some honest insight! Since we’re not running advertising campaigns or PR initiatives to promote ourselves we’re counting on you. One reason we encourage groups to host “events” is that we know one of the most effective forms of advertising is word-of-mouth. We’re hoping if we inspire one person to get a couple of folks together to make cards, it’ll continue to grow. For example, we learned that an “artist” who made QUALITY cards at St Ambrose University’s Alumni Association event, heard about us through an “artist” who made cards during a fooda event. If we don’t have an insider, you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get new hospitals and/or groups to participate and start making cards; a reason we’re thankful for our website.

There have been a couple times we’ve wondered, ‘how did they hear about us’? We remember what it was like when we heard from Harley Davidson. After some “research” we learned they saw a flyer we posted in a Starbucks store in Chicago. Then there’s the comment we saw from CNN’s Impact Your World’s Twitter account….to be honest we’re still not sure how they heard about us. Do you know?

Like with CNN, we’re always shocked if there’s a new participant we didn’t connect to directly. But we wish we were shocked more often!! J So if you’ve had fun making cards and uplifting spirits please TELL A FRIEND about us and we can impact kids together! Thanks!


#TellAFriend #UpliftingSpirits



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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Their Own

Being stats guys we’d like to provide you with a breakout of some of our top contributors as of November 2, 2014:
  1.  
  2. DePaul University – 842 card
  3. Kforce – 675 cards
  4. Instituto Cervantes – 561 cards
  5. Mindshare – 478 cards
  6. Quicken Loans – 448 cards

Now one may look at the list and be a bit confused. Don’t worry; we intentionally started at #2.

What’s most impressive is that our top “contributors" are Independent Artists. Those are folks who simply make cards in their free time. That means it wasn’t necessarily a large corporation, but maybe a book club making a couple cards here or there. Overall people who’ve made cards in their free time have produced 1,556 CARDS (as of 11/2/2014).

We’ve had a variety of independent contributors (i.e. Beth Kouba), but two staples are Darcy Giovanni and Diane Kalata. Those two are some of our most valuable participants (MVPs), but unfortunately hospitals or groups don’t know them….yet! It’s really impressive that they both have made 50+ quality cards in a quarter at least once. All in all, Darcy has made 150 quality cards and Diane has made 145 quality cards; QUALITY being the key word.

In fact, one time Darcy drove to our “office” (aka old apartment!) to drop off a large stack of cards!


So she went out of her way to deliver the cards, and out of her way to create quality! Based on her ability she actually made it into one of the first Top 10s, Q2 2012


Red Card with Yellow Heart
REAL THANKFUL!

Then there’s our other artist – Diane Kalata. What’s really impressive is that she has made it to the Top 10 the last 4 quarters! AND if that’s not enough she’s had a great time with patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital!

Flower Basket - lower left

Fishbowl - center
Blue Galaxy - middle left

Swimming Bear - middle left AND Lady Bug Hello Kitty - middle

Also, just saw one of her cards this quarter......wouldn't be surprised if she keeps her streak going! Based on those contributions we’ve invited her to come make cards with patients and everyone had a good time!


In summary, we just wanted to remind you that although we highlight the top companies, groups or universities who’ve made cards, independent artists are vital to our success. So  when you look at the participants tab on our website (http://www.cardzforkidz.org/participants) you won’t see their names, we truly appreciate everyone who make cards ON THEIR OWN...even if you don’t make 100+ like Darcy and Diane!



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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Work Together

Thankfully more and more companies are encouraging their employees to get involved in the community. Multiple corporations go as far as having each office dedicate a day or afternoon to do some type of community service.

Actually that’s how we were able to pay for our website. PHD Chicago had their PHD Big Hug day where attendees had to pay a registration fee AND make a certain amount of cards in order to participate. #thankful

But something we’ve seen a couple times is companies getting multiple offices to simultaneously work “together.” One of the first companies to do this was Isobar. They had 3 or 4 different offices make cards. Then they used video conferencing so  they could connect. 



Turns out they had quality and quantity. Here's a pic of the Top 10 cards from each office that made cards! 



They actually had 4 of the Overall Top 10 cards that quarter (2 from New York and 2 from Chicago)!

Overall Top 10 Cards in Q4
Clifford, Dynamite, Owl and Elmo



Another company to do this was Millward Brown in Q3 2014. This research firm had 6 different offices (including 3 using video conferencing) make cards together. It wasn’t the same day, but their Atlanta office made cards a week later. 

Lisle, Chicago and Detroit offices

All in all they made nearly 200 cards. Not sure how many will make it to the Top 10 yet!! 


Although their offices were separated by hundreds of miles, these companies were able to WORK TOGETHER to impact kids across the globe.

#upliftingspirits #worktogether

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org, like us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our new videos on Youtube!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Runs In The Family


A couple of us were chatting and we got into a BIG “debate” (some may say argument, but we’re too nice for that)! What sparked the disagreement? We wanted the truth! Who’s the most well-known and/or “important” family of ALL time?. Before you read the rest of this post, what’s your response? Feel free to comment below!

Here are some of the responses!

THE JACKSONS!!! They’re clearly the most entertaining!



Pic doesn’t even include the influential ladies!!!


THE KENNEDYS!!! That’s a power packed family!


The power of politics!

THE MANNINGS! A winning combination!

3 rings between two of the athletes!


THE ROCKEFELLERS! They’ve got a permanent presence!

Building it up

THE KOUBAS! They consistently create smiles!

Jennifer and Beth Kouba

So yes the Koubas aren’t known around the world like some of the other families we mentioned. And yes they never lived in a white house while working in a building named after them with platinum plaques and huge rings on the walls, BUT they’ve worked together to impact 465 kids (as of 9/16/14)!

Here’s how it happened. Jen Kouba first learned about Cardz for Kidz! through a fellow DePaul Alum. As of September 13th DePaul has made a total of 822 cards; over 50% of those were made by DePaul Alum. Thanks to Jen they are our number one participant!


Jen has made a mix of quality and quantity so she’s been in the OVERALL TOP 10 twice!


Pony Card



Popcorn card

Another interesting factor is that we know EXACTLY where Jen gets her creativity from; her mother. Thankfully Jen introduced her mom, Beth, to our organization and Beth has made nearly 50 cards in her free time (48 to be exact). The first time we ever produced more than 1,000 cards in a quarter was in Q1 2013. Amongst the 1,051 cards, Beth Kouba had one of the Top 10.


Egg card down at the bottom.

Only once before have two members of the same family made it into the OVERALL Top 10 (Montenegros Q4 2012 & Q1 2013).

While discussing their impact on our organization we asked them, what inspires you to make cards? Here are their responses:
  • Beth Kouba: I'm a retired early childhood teacher with an art background, so helping to cheer up kids in the hospital and do something creative is a treat. My favorite Cardz for Kidz! experience was getting to go to Lurie Children's  Hospital to hang out with the kids. One little girl made Valentines for her family, and a Valentine mailbox with two very talented card makers. When it was time to go she showed us some of her favorite places in the hospital. She couldn't wait to show her Mom what she made. Her sweet smile will always be a special memory for me.


(If you make it into the Top 10 you can participate in Cardz WITH Kidz! too)
  • Jen Kouba: I enjoy participating in Cardz for Kidz! for many reasons. First, I have witnessed the impact a handmade card has on the children that receive them. I love that something so simple brightens their day so much. Second, not only do I feel passionate about volunteering, I also love to be creative and do crafts, so Cardz for Kidz! is the perfect combination.


(If you make it into the Top 10 you can participate in Cardz WITH Kidz! too)

Since they consistently produce AMAZING cards we think it’s true. Just like talent for entertainment, politics, athletics or business – ability to make quality cards…..RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

#upliftingspirits #runsinthefamily

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org, like us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our new videos on Youtube!