Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Bias Reward


“There has to be a better way.” I’m sure that’s what some people were thinking when they saw our Facebook Live post earlier this week outlining how we’re going to start rewarding hospitals/homes for 3 quarters in a row with a GO Kart.





I figure if I’m able to make a Facebook Livepost as myself in first person then I can do a follow up blog post in first person as well - #Secretsout. First off, I agree that there was probably a better way to announce how and/or why we’re going to dedicate a large set of funds strictly to reward and entertain kids who are confined to their beds. Secondly, I understand I probably could have gotten an official vote from the board on their opinion on whether and/or how we should use the potential incoming funds. Should we save those for our When We Grow Up dreams or simply focus on the more immediate needs?

Although things have been stable, I figured that since I was going through my least favorite set of testing, EEGs, I could make an executive decision to help kids who are going through similar situations. This EEG test will always hold a negative, albeit special, place in my heart since, as touched on the Can’t Complain blog post, it was during this set of testing that I received some of the scariest news before my surgery. Then it was during another EEG test that I had my one and only grand mal seizure, which derailed my safety net that I set up for myself.

With November being epilepsy awareness month, I’ve been sending special shipments to kids whose parents used hashtags related to epilepsy, ranging from something I agree with (e.g. #seizuressuck) to something more broad (e.g. #epilepsy). As always in those letters, I tell the children they were/are a VIP (Very Important Patient/Person), so they deserve extra cards. Then I highlight how they’ll be in my prayers since us overcomers have to stick together. Here are some examples from those recent deliveries this month:







I’ve mentioned before that I’m proud that I’ve been strong enough to battle with this special (dis)ability, #purplepride, but have never shown myself at a low point.

In the past I shared the article from the University of Michigan Health System that highlights the improvement I’ve made and the connection with my doctors, but didn’t touch on the ongoing tests and/or how over the years epilepsy has impacted work and life outside of it.

With this Facebook Live, I wanted to give everyone as close up a view as possible as to what I was thinking and have been going through. One thing I could show is what it’s like not being able to leave your room because of procedure. I could try to give you that glimpse for a patients’ perspective. I’ve provided descriptive stories in the past, pictures throughout the process, and my expressed personal passion, and I hope it helps people understand how and why they should make a difference for the children who are confined to their rooms based on their medical conditions and/or testing.

Therefore, publicly overcoming this most recent EEG experience hopefully helps turn things around. I’ll use this most recent experience to explain why I’ll never be able to forget about the kids who are confined to their rooms based on their conditions. I’ve felt what some of the kids are going through EEGs and epilepsy and can’t complain since there are some kids who are going through some other more terrifying experience. Based on that knowledge, I made an executive decision. Any hospital/home who consistently responds and lets us know they’ve received the cards we sent to their children - and confirms they were handed out - will receive a GO Kart. I know all about the Hippo name HIPPA, where hospitals can’t send pictures of the kids without a more detailed process/request form, but they can send pictures of their employees so we know that they’re still our correct contacts and that the kids who are confined to their rooms are being encouraged. We’re currently partnering with nearly 100 locations and those systems are $3500 each. We’re hoping that with signing up for a Facebook non-profit where people can raise money on their birthday, our site, GoFundMe, corporate giving and other potential methods we can raise enough money to reward every hospital/home that responds with a picture.




We could raise funds for more Beanie Babies or start to raise funds for the scholarship or save up to hire some employees, but based on these EEGs and being stuck in a hospital room again, I’m setting up A BIAS REWARD and striving to make sure that each kid who’s stuck in their room can be encouraged.  


 




#abiasreward #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 Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Still in the Mood


’Tis the season. The holiday spirit. Holly jolly. We’re based in Chicago, IL and just walking along Michigan Avenue (on the way to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital), you can see how everything is already decked out for the holiday season.



Getting everyone in the seasonal mood ASAP!
We know whether it’s the songs, holiday decorations, and/or companies just providing time, we often receive an increase in cards during the holiday season. We just want to remind everyone that it’s important that you are still inspired to make cards even if it’s not strictly holiday related/themed.
We’re not sure if you recall, but a few years ago we wrote a blog post about our “Best Nightmare.” In summary, that post touches on how we received a BUNCH of holiday cards the week of Christmas. In order to stick to our hashtag—#everycardcounts, our founder drove around to hospitals, shelters, and other locations in the Atlanta, GA area in order to make sure those cards were delivered. Unfortunately, more cards still came after the holidays.
One thing has changed and one thing has remained the same since the posting of “Best Nightmare”:
  • ·       Changed: Shipping location. As touched on before, everyone who “works” with Cardz for Kidz! does so on a volunteer basis. At the time our founder was living in and having the cards shipped down to Atlanta. As you can see on our website our current delivery location is now in Chicago—323 E Wacker #11, Chicago, IL 60601.
  • ·       Remained the same: Spending the week of Christmas in the Atlanta area. How it works is that our founder collects the cards, then has volunteers come to the “card counting parties” where everyone counts them up. Since no one is available to pick up the cards the week of Christmas, we need to receive all holiday cards significantly before then.


Based on the “Remained the same” situation, we actually have a large box of holiday cards that we’re getting ready to send to some children and families (#FamiliesToo). 

 Actually, it would be great if more people followed our friend, Karen G in IL’s lead. She sends us cards for a particular holiday the holiday before. For example, around Memorial Day she’ll start sending us Fourth of July cards along with her beautiful cards that are not related to any season or holiday.

In addition, we need to remember that although many of us celebrate the holidays there are many children and families in these hospitals who do not. Therefore, our partner hospitals may be getting one-time donations from other groups or individuals who strictly make cards around the holidays. 
With that in mind, we need to make sure that all of our partners have the right combination of all types of cards. Also, we want to make sure they have some flexibility to hold on to our card supply a bit longer just in case they get a bunch of holiday cards from other places.

We know this may not be as exciting and that during your parties and/or when you sit down to make cards in your free time, this month and in December, people will be focused on the holiday season; still, please remember that children are STILL IN THE MOOD to receive your cards even if they don’t specifically say, “Happy Holidays!” or “Seasons’ Greetings!” 


We updated our website to have a little reminder. 


#stillinthemood #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 Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Intent to Action, Please


Cardz for Kidz! is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of disheartened children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards. That’s our mission statement, but as we’ve mentioned before that doesn’t encompass everything we do - #nomorechanges. For example, we’re purchasing GO Karts for some of our primary partner hospitals/homes.

In addition, if you see some of our full social posts on Instagram you’ll see a lot of hashtags. Those range from some that have a double meaning (#everycardcounts) to ones that show how we’re thankful for all types of cards that we receive (#graciasportodo) - (Our Hashtag is Calling). 

We’ve been doing our absolute best to show your cards on our social sites and even more importantly, although there’s a hippo in the room, doing our best to show pictures of where those cards are going and the impact they’re having - #intheroom.

It seems that with the description of our background, our goals, and our impact, most people LOVE what we’re doing, but don’t necessarily follow through. Please understand, we know that things pop up that complicate situations and make it difficult to complete additional tasks. One reason why joining in with Cardz for Kidz! is so important is that you’re having an impact on children AND their families; you’re brightening up multiple lives when they need it the most.







We’ve highlighted before how we’re all nice over here, but we have special request. When you hear about making a difference on these children and their families’ lives, please make sure that it’s NOT something that you’re simply interested in doing. Please make sure that it’s NOT simply something you plan on doing some day. Please set a date to start! We can’t imagine how much more of an impact we’d be able to have if more volunteers were able to switch their original INTENT TO ACTION; action of making handmade cards and uplifting more spirits across the globe.

#intenttoaction #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 Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Overall Value


Dual. It’s an interesting word that’s commonly used. For example, with the football season in full swing you’ll hear comments about a “dual threat quarterback,” one who’s able to effectively throw and run the ball down the field. Then you have something like a “dual cultural event.” With this, you’re combining different groups in order to celebrate their different heritages all at once.

With Cardz for Kidz! our overall goal is to have a dual objective with an equal focus on both. Here’s an explanation of how both our artists and the hospitals/shelters have multiple objectives:
We want to make hosting an event as efficient and low-cost as possible, but for our artists to still feel rewarded and have fun. Then we want to make sure the hospitals feel that receiving the cards was easy, but also have an extremely high return and impact on their kids. With both parties, there are dual focuses.

We’ll use our media minds to explain a little bit more. It’s pretty easy to measure the overall cost to host a Cardz for Kidz! event. Participants don’t have to pay us anything in order to join in. We recommend they use our Amazon Smile link to purchase our supplies, but really you can find them anywhere. Then you simply purchase the amount you need for your group and even  use a bunch of those supplies for future events.

For example, for us we can simply look at the fact that as of 10/22/2018 we’ve received and tracked over 70,000 cards. Then, when looking into our total expenses which ranges from purchasing GO Karts to shipping cards around the world, we’ve only had a $0.65 Cost Per Card or, for simplicity reasons, Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

Artists.
We try to promote our low CPA via our social sites and in prior blog posts, but in our opinion it’s not necessarily the key, yet still important. We know with the Hippo named HIPPA in the room it’ll be a bit harder to get all of the artists to feel the true value of their cards. Hospitals aren’t allowed to simply take pictures of children who are overcoming medical conditions. We have to ask for their permission to share them on social media since patient privacy is important to everyone. Although we’re not able to send you confirmation emails, we do Solemly Swear to help make the process efficient for everyone and post pictures of your cards on our social sites so everyone can get ideas for what to make for their next card, as well as to understand that we’ve received their cards.

What we really think is more important is the Return on Investment. Since we can’t post pictures of all the children in the hospital, we do check with the parents and families we send cards to in the special deliveries and ask them if we can post pictures. We feel that can be pretty rewarding to our artist. By simply posting these pictures, our artists can feel rewarded knowing that people around the world are seeing their artwork.

Hospitals.
After following up with some of our connections at a variety of locations we learned there’s a combination of low CPA and high ROI at the delivery points as well. We partner with hospitals/homes of all sizes, but we’ve noticed that since we’re reaching places around the world and specialize in reaching small to midsize locations, they’re extremely grateful. Often when we first start connecting with new locations, it takes a couple phones calls, tweets, and/or emails to explain our organization and highlight that we intentionally reached out to them even if they do have a smaller pediatric department. Once we get in touch with them, we just highlight how it’s EASY to receive cards (low CPA), but it’s very rewarding for their staff and their kids; everyone loves it (high ROI). Once we finalize the process, everyone is usually extremely thankful.






Based on some of the conversations, connections and social posts we’ve had with hospitals/homes and kids/families who’ve received cards directly, we KNOW for sure your cards are making a big difference. Looking at some of the pictures and seeing the smiles from everyone involved in the Cardz WITH Kidz events, we know that’s rewarding as well. Then again, if you look at the pics of people smiling during their events at the office and knowing how the only costs are the supplies and shipping we know there’s a low CPA. Therefore, we feel the OVERALL VALUE of impacting children’s lives has been accomplished very efficiently and, thankfully, very significantly!





#upliftingspirits #overallvalue

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 Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!