The vlog...and a little more info

Hi everybody! Fortunately I did get power back - so I'm back to normal temperatures :)
Charity Wings voting link -

And a little more about the low card count for this month:
I do know that I had said a while back that we may be facing less contacts, since those serving in Iraq were scheduled to come home. My direction was to scale back a little - mostly those who set giant goals to make thousands, ease up a little and focus on quality cards and not only quantity. Our expectation was that we'd have fewer contacts, however, nobody was more surprised than me that we have more contacts on our list right now than we did last January. Who'd a thunk it? Our waiting list stands at 18, some waiting since mid-December; we typically cover them within at least a month of signup date, and always try for 2 weeks, but haven't been able to this year.

Through November and December, there was a small drop in cards, which was expected, and totally fine - but usually things start to pick up up more in January when the holidays wear off. Not so this year! I checked just this morning and we're at 9,633 cards as of today...which is a fraction of what normally would be coming in - to compare, last January saw 39,665 cards! 

The "goals" posted on our homepage each month are roughly based on the last year as well as current info on contacts on our list...I thought 34,000 seemed like a low, reasonable goal, but it's proving to be out of our reach for this month. We always feel like we're not getting enough in January, but that's often because we have extra heroes on our list who signed up during the holidays, and by March or so things even out a bit. So some of this is expected, but not at this level. Typically December through February we stretch the time between restocking units to 7-8 weeks rather than the usual 5-6.

What's the reason for the slowdown? It could be a number of things, here are some things I'm thinking it might be:

  • A lot of folks took my fall email to mean they can stop making cards entirely, or slow down to 2 shipments a year from their normal 6. I had hoped they'd slow down by maybe 10-20%, not quite that drastic of a cut! 
  • Some people think all wars are over and all troops are home. They didn't catch the part that we're still fighting in Afghanistan....though the loss of six Marines should hopefully catch their attention.
  • The economy is still hurting us! Ack! I can't wait til things are back on track. 
  • Santa didn't provide enough inspiring goodies in our stockings?
  • The eggnog hangover hasn't worn off yet.

So what does OWH do now? Here's the plan:

  1. First, we'll be stretching the time between restocking each of our units a little further. It could be 8-10 weeks until we get back on track. 
  2. Second, we're reaching out to more new cardmakers. CHA will be great exposure to get us in front of a lot of folks who don't know us yet. And PTI's podcast will feature OWH this weekend, and that should help too!
  3. Third, let's all get the word out to our crafty friends! Be sure to post on your blog about our heroes' needs. Make sure that folks know we're still in operation.
One more REALLY important thing!!!Keep on making GREAT cards. I don't want this shortfall in January to lead to boxloads of sneeze cards just because everyone panics. That's not what will help us. Don't beg non-cardmakers to jump in and help, just because of a shortage that we cannot send will not help us fill boxes. We simply need all our regular crafters to go back to making cards for our heroes, at their normal pace....if we all do just our part, then the burden of both time and treasure is shared among everyone, and we'll be able to meet our heroes' needs without panic.

And a final PS: As of next weekend, I'm gone to CHA for a week, and then for another week on the cruise - but my mail is being taken care of by my housesitter. Kris will be on the cruise, and her hubby is bringing in the mail. NEITHER of us will be doing reports and recording packages, so please don't expect a receipt or email acknowledgement til we get back and our feet are under us again, and that could take til Feb 18th or so. We'll have one giant Thankful Thursday and Mailroom Monday report when all the data is in.

Caro is around and will be continuing shipping as normal  - and she and our board will be keeping an eye on you ladies on Facebook! Ha! Our blog team will be all over the S&S blog, too, so no shenanigans, ya hear? *grin*

Got more questions? Leave them in a comment and I'll answer as I can!

Kristie  – (January 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM)  

You are such a trooper, Sandy. Making a Vlog for everyone, even with no power. That ice storm was waaaayyy too much for me, so glad it's all melting away now. I have another box of cards for you and will have hubby drop it off to your work next Wed.

Kathryn  – (January 21, 2012 at 11:33 AM)  

Thanks for letting us know about the need OWH has. We don't want to let our heroes down. I'm steadily making cards and have a big stack of hero mail from my students which I'll send as soon as my box is stuffed full.

Unknown  – (January 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM)  

I am new to this and have not sent my cards in yet. Do I wait til I get a certain number made? Or send them every couple of months? I'm not sure how many cards is "enough" to send to you. Please help. Thanks

Cynthia T  – (January 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM)  

Thanks for the pep talk. My card-making has slowed, but for personal reasons (vacation, ill health). As of now, I am pumped and ready to roll!
God Bless, and have a ball at CHA and especially on the cruise :)

Operation Write Home  – (January 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM)  

Ellen, any number of cards is great! Just think, for each one, you get to make a hero AND the recipient don't stress about a number. Just do nice cards and send 'em on in. Thanks!

Cindy O  – (January 21, 2012 at 2:36 PM)  

Thanks Sandy for the encouragement and inspiration! I'm still making cards!

Candy –   – (January 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM)  

I know when i do not see you on OWH TV i begin to lose my Mojo. I do not come up with ideas as quickly taking longer to make cards.
With the holidays and now your power out. I am struggling to get inspired.


i will get some more
out soon

Bernardine Cuttino  – (January 21, 2012 at 7:30 PM)  

Thanks for the update. Will continue to focus on quanlity vs quanties.

Rufus  – (January 21, 2012 at 7:45 PM)  

I've been stressing to my friends that OWH still needs cards, ALL our Heroes are NOT home!! But that OWH wants quality not quantity. I should have a box for Caro soon. Just participated in a card making session where we created 95 gorgeous cards that have been sent. Glad that you've got your power back. That's what you get for wishing for snow! Enjoy CHA and the cruise (sigh) We'll expect lots of info when you get back, lol!

Ann Marie  – (January 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM)  

Hi I have been making cards to send to OWH but now I am afraid that they are "not good enough" by OWH standards. This blog post just reinforced my doubts. If you don't send my cards to the heroes that I am thinking of while crafting them - then what do you do with them? Throw them away??? Is there a "judging" process? I thought that just creating them from the heart was enough....I am not a newbie crafter either. I've been sewing/card-making/paper crafting for over twenty years. I would hate to think that newbies are also being frightened away......

Sandy  – (January 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM)  

Ann Marie, I would bet your cards are perfectly fine! The ones that we're trying to get help in improving are often made by newbies who don't know anything about making cards - they are falling apart, made with computer paper, digis blown up from clip art and fuzzy. I am sure if you've been doing this for 20 years you're more than great at making cards, so please don't stress out over it. Just make your best :)

When we do get cards that need help, we repair/reglue as much as we can, and use them as AnyHero letters whenever possible. We know people have put their love into them no matter how they came out, and want them to go to our heroes.

Does that help?

Ann Marie  – (January 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM)  

Thanks Sandy it DOES help! I am a "nervous Nellie" when it comes to my crafting! I have sold and gifted many sets of cards so I will send you guys a big batch!

Karen Howard  – (January 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM)  

I really seem to struggle with only SOME lumpiness on my cards and would love some tips and techniques for making elegant yet clean & simple cards. Hugs, Karen

Margaret  – (January 22, 2012 at 3:20 PM)  

I have been talking OWH up among my cardmaking friends. I think I talked two into starting cards for OWH yesterday.

CARO  – (January 24, 2012 at 6:50 AM)  

Thank you for "talking up" cardmaking with your friends! We do need more cards and when I was a new cardmaker 2 years ago I always felt like mine weren't up to the quality of my very crafty friends. But with heart and just a little talent you can go a long way. So many tips and sketches here on OWH to get your started. The thing that I see most often that just doesn't work is glitter! And we can send you an OWH stamp if you like!

Unknown  – (January 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM)  

How do you get into the bloggers circle?

Anonymous –   – (January 25, 2012 at 1:51 PM)  

Sandy - I now understand the need on the westcoast. I will put a bit more effort into getting a box ready and send it there. Thanks for all the love and support you give. I'm sure this vlog will make a difference. xoxo AUDRA Richmond, TX

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