Reaching 40% – The Girls Love Mail Give Away

Last night, I watched Monday night’s episode of “How I Met Your Mother” and it focused on time. How quickly we think it’s moving and how slow it really is moving. It left me thinking about how I perceive time and how time is  moving. The philosopher in me could spend hours thinking about this topic, but the reality, or at least my reality, is that I don’t have the hours to spend thinking about this topic. As I’ve always felt, I have to DO what I can with the time I’ve got.

Which brings me to this great project that I’ve been working- a partnership with the non-profit organization, Girls Love Mail. This morning, I woke up, put on the Matt & Kim album, “Sidewalks”, and finished signing, tying and sealing the remaining 20 gifts I didn’t finish last night.

So where does time play into all of this? Well, I’ve been busy. And I had to make all of these cards. By hand.

The original offer, which still stands until the last day, December 1st, is for 100 gifts to be given out to the first writers of letters to Girls Love Mail. I detailed all of the program and S2’s involvement in this partnership in a post back in September, on the 15th of September to be exact. We didn’t officially launch the program until October 1st, hoping that Breast Cancer Awareness Month would help push the effort and with my complete awareness that I didn’t have as much time as I had hoped to dedicate to promoting this awesome offer, but tons of optimism that I would and could get it all done.

Focusing on using tools already established in the S2 Stationery arsenal-I stuck with tweeting the offer, writing about the offer on Facebook, using emails I sent to friends and family about my marathon fundraising,  contacting the English department at my alma mater, The George Washington University, to include it in their e-blast, including the information in my own newsletter, and the great word-of-mouth technique. Could I have done more, most definitely, and yet in all of the tools I did use, I got tons of responses from friends who had forwarded the initiative to their friends via email, or boards they frequent. They also reposted my Facebook posts and tweets. They were incredibly supportive.

Please know that I am not at all being critical of myself or my promotion above. I’m simply thinking out loud of how I’ve thus far worked on this project. I think it’s great that out of 100 free gifts that I am offering, we have 40 to send out. Granted it’s only 40%, but it’s still something!  It’s  incredible, rather!

Which brings me to the production and completion of the 40 thank you gifts to send to some lovely volunteers. This afternoon, I will be taking them to the post office to ship to Gina Mulligan, the founder and administrator of Girls Love Mail. On her end, she’ll mail out the gifts to each of the 40 writers and we’ll be done with this first batch. Hooray!

This morning as I sat on my floor, signing each note that I typed and printed yesterday, I sighed contentedly. Two months after contacting Gina and talking about the project I’ve managed to complete the first round. Two months of being annoyed at myself for not having my life and time together enough to work on my commitment, I tied bakers twine around each little note and gift of thanks and then sealed each envelope with an S2 label and felt my connection to time more than ever.

See, I like seeing my projects completed. I like knowing that I’ve finished something and met my commitment (explains why I like marathons, right?).  I enjoy knowing that my two hands put together something awesome, cute, and most importantly that will make someone’s day a bit brighter. Brighter because they got something that made them feel happy or loved, or any other sentiment that letters, notes, gifts, and small tokens of appreciation provide.

I debated this morning whether I should post pictures of the gifts ahead of them being sent out, but I decided that I don’t focus enough on the products that I do on this blog and so I wanted to share (I need to work on this and I intend to and it is part of my strategic planning for 2012). My sense of pride in this project is bigger than usual because I’m not getting anything other than a feeling of doing something good. I’m proud to say that I am offering these gifts as a way to thank others for being good citizens.

I am not receiving a dime for this project, nor do I expect to, that was never my goal or intention. Instead, I wanted others to feel happy that they did something good and aware that their time and efforts are appreciated. I am not one to ever believe that volunteerism should ever be rewarded, but I’m not naive enough to think that people do not want to feel appreciated. That’s why even with the time I lost in the two months between launching the partnership and now, I knew that I could not send ill-crafted items or dedicate the proper time to the production of these cards. They are cards like the ones that I sell in sets on Etsy and therefore had to send them the same way I would to a paying customer.The photos below do not show how I created the fortune cookie cards, but they do show how I sealed them up and sent them to Gina for distribution. I think they’re really cute and I wish I could mail myself one of these and be surprised!

When I contacted Gina initially to discuss how S2 could partner with Girls Love Mail, I really had no clue what I was doing. I initially thought that I’d create a new card specifically for these volunteers in addition to the stationery sheet you can download when you sign up. With my lack of time, I realized I could not afford to do that, and instead opted for sending an existing product (although not a full set as I sell) in the S2 repertoire.

I also didn’t know how I was going to package them or send them out to the volunteers.  I just knew that I was awed by Gina and her organization and I wanted to help. I’m glad that I was able to put my skills together to create the packages you see above. I really hope that the volunteers love them upon receiving them (I’m also hoping none of them read this blog before they get them in the mail).  I am incredibly proud to have my hand and stamp on all 40 of these packages!

I mention to my friends all the time to never underestimate how powerful your help can be to someone else; this is the simple rule I follow, even when I’m not being my best. When I learned about Gina all I knew was that her and Girls Love Mail to be as successful as S2 Stationery. She’s providing hope, I’m providing hope and when you give hope, you give the greatest gift of all. 

Gina has said that I’m doing all the work, but really SHE is doing all the work. She’s doing something positive and I’m just someone helping her get her voice across a bit stronger.  That is what I want S2 Stationery and Design to be and mean. When someone thinks of my company, I want them to know that yes, I am a for-profit business with huge goals, with the biggest being to help the many out there get their voice and thoughts across through standard written and spoken communication. While that means I can’t help every person like Gina, I hope it helps millions and billions all the same accomplish a lot of positive things.

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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