Below is the September Thrift Newsletter that we emailed out on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Formatting wise, I promise it looked better in email inboxes, than it does here.
I’m proud of the copy in the opening paragraphs and the blog posts. I wrote the first and third blog posts. I wrote the blog post about upcyling fall decorations last year and the blog post about the truths of a thrift store on Monday.
It’s Debbie, your trusty guide for all things thrift!
It’s a bummer to see the summer months leave but at the same time, who doesn’t love the early signs of fall? Falling leaves, falling temperatures and the regular falling prices you’ll find only at one of our thrift stores.
You’re sure to find autumnal fashions your whole family will love, like jeans, scarves, vests or sweaters. And because our prices are so low, you’re able to buy fall clothing and accessories with money left over. But more importantly, shopping at Volunteers of America helps uplift homeless veterans, families and individuals across Ohio.
As the leaves begin to change color here in Ohio, the holiday decorating season looms ahead. Thrift stores are full of so many things you can use to decorate with around the house. With a little upcycling you can give all your thrifted finds a new life. Learn how to spice up your pumpkin a latte so that you’ll wow all of the trick-or-treaters.
When was the last time you cleaned out your closet? How about your whole home? As the seasons change, fall is the perfect time to finally tackle that overstuffed closet or clear out your cluttered garage. And with Christmas right around the corner, Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio thrift stores are in huge need of donations to fill their shelves.
It shouldn’t be a big secret how thrift stores operate, sort donations and how much they value the clothes and household items donated by community members like you. The proceeds of Volunteers of America thrift stores support life-saving programs for community members in need.
Save 50% on everything next week!
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, everything inside all of our thrift stores will be half-off! This includes furniture, showcase items, new products and miscellaneous items. It’s all 50 percent off!
I went to my third Women in Digital conference last Thursday and Friday. My favorite part is always meeting new women who are total bosses at what they do. They inspire me to be more confident and a better digital marketer. I also like staying up to date on trends, best practices and hearing what other companies are doing.
I wanted to take a moment to share some of my notes and photos from the conference.
These are the notes I took during the Power Hours. My strategy at the conference was to go to the Power Hours because those would not be recorded. I will watch the recorded main stage presentations later.
When working with influencers, have an influencer agreement with dates, goals of impressions or engagement, clarification about content ownership, requirements to see proofs ahead of time and spell out a set number of edits allowed.
Pay to boost the influencer’s post. Win-win for them and you.
SMS is the new email
Personally, I have hesitations about this intrusive form of communication but I recognize it has benefits when used sparingly.
To track in-store success of online efforts, use offers and codes
Okay, not ground-breaking advice but useful to remember
Let your followers define your hashtag. Ask them
“I #VoaThrift because…” or “I’m #aeriereal because I love my freckles”
Weekly use of the hashtag
Aerie did a campaign in the summer where when followers used #aeriereal they would donate $1 to National Eating Disorder Awareness non-profit
Love this idea because it allows brands to give back while encouraging social engagement.
Aerie put sticky notes in dressing rooms and encouraged folks to write down encouraging body positive messages
I went to the Aerie store at Polaris today and yep, there were green and yellow sticky notes around the mirror. My favorite one said Yassss Queen.
Ask questions of your followers to increase engagement
Twitter is best for sharing news, asking questions and getting feedback
Using user-generated content leads to a higher conversion rate
I’ve seen this personally from VOA: Regrams outperform photos that I take. I find regrams from when people tag the thrift store’s location. Be sure to give the original user credit for the photo.
I was quoted in a press release for a campaign we did for Operation Backpack.
See it online: http://www.carwash.com/market-focus-dubois-chemicals-purchases-prowash-australia/
Moo Moo Express Car Wash raises $6,945 for Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack® Campaign
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Moo Moo Express Car Wash announced the donation of $6,945 to the Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio’s Operation Backpack Campaign, according to a press release.
Monetary donations were collected at all 13 Central Ohio Moo locations from Aug. 10-12, 2018, and customers donating $5 received a coupon for a free “Whole Plus” carwash on their next visit, a $13 value, the release continued.
“Through the hard work and dedication of our staff and the extreme generosity of our customers, we were able to more than triple last year’s Operation Backpack Campaign donation,” said John Roush, CEO of Express Wash Concepts and founding partner of Moo Moo Express Car Wash.
Operation Backpack provides school supplies and backpacks to thousands of homeless children, the release noted.
Nationwide, the average cost to fill a backpack is $87 — an expense very few families living in shelters can afford, the release added.
This year in Central Ohio, more than 4,100 children received donated backpacks through Operation Backpack as they headed back to the classroom, the release noted.
“We are grateful to Moo Moo Express and its customers for helping put brand new backpacks filled with school supplies in the hands of more kids this year than ever before. With smiles on their faces, kids experiencing homelessness returned to the classroom with confidence and ready to learn,” said Debbie Gillum, marketing and digital communications specialist at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio.
I designed, wrote and sent this donor newsletter for September. We used to call it eSpirit but now it’s called Faces of Hope to match our annual fundraiser and because it really does showcase the faces of hope our donors are helping everyday.
I wanted this email to have a simple call to action of Watch Chaz’ video. I used language from Tom Ahern and tried to shower the donor with love and keep the tone donor-centric.
I’ve made more progress in the six months that I’ve been here than I have in the four years I’ve been out of the military. That’s astounding. It’s hard to believe the amount of progress that’s been made. -Chaz
You are the reason Chaz has made so much progress.
Donors like you are with us every day as families, veterans, and individuals rebuild their lives. Thank you!
Your gift helped Chaz, a Navy veteran, in his journey to overcome substance abuse and manage his post-traumatic stress disorder.
I think I’ve figured out a way to control what your pre header text says in your email, even when using Convio, a popular email software for non profits.
Preheader is short summary text that follows the subject line. Many mobile, desktop and web email clients show pre headers to tip readers off on what the email contains before they open it. In the attached image “This Saturday: Auto Auction” is the pre text in Outlook.
1. Login to Convio and go to Email> Stationery. Find the Stationary of the email you want to add Pre Header text to.
2. Click Edit
3. Click 3. HTML
4. Switch to HTML view (Edit HTML Source)
5. At the top, add this code
Your Pre Header Text
6. Click Save.
7. Test it out by sending yourself a test email.
This allows you to have Pre Header text that won’t affect your design because the text will be white.
If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
At work, I sent out this Thank You email today to everyone who participated in Operation Backpack this year and in previous years. I worked with Becky to revise the language and make sure the photo featured diverse kids. I’m proud of how donor-centric this email copy is. After I sent it out, Nicole replied to me saying “My favorite email!” which was a huge compliment. My mom texted me saying “Great Job” on this email and that some of the backpacks the kids are holding look like ones she and her company donated. That’s the reaction I wanted. Like hey, “That smiling kid is holding the unicorn backpack I donated. Wow, look how happy and confident he looks! I love Operation Backpack.”
From: Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:48 AM To: Subject: You deserve an A+ for your generosity!
You deserve an A+ for your generosity.
It’s a happy new school year for more children, because of you!
You’ve helped over 4,000 children across Ohio who are homeless or in-need start the new school empowered to succeed. Because of you, they’re heading back to school this year ready to learn.
The next time you see a child walking confidently to school, or a school bus of smiling faces driving by, know that you helped put smiles on some of those faces. You’ve given hope and confidence for a better tomorrow to children who need it the most. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Thank you for your support!
A special thank you to our wonderful sponsors.
You deserve an A+ for your help with Operation Backpack too!
I got a new laptop today. I’d been planning and thinking about it for several months and finally placed the order earlier in August. I got the new Macbook Pro 13inch without the touch bar. After work today, I went to the Easton Apple store and picked it up.
It’s so small and lightweight
The keyboard is loud and not as bouncy or fun to type
The trackpad is bigger
The Apple doesn’t glow
It holds a charge much longer
The charger doesn’t light up to tell me if it’s charging or complete
The charger isn’t magnetic
Doesn’t have USB ports
Speakers are on the side of the keyboard
I have so much space
It doesn’t have my Snow White decal on the front
Doesn’t have my stickers on the bottom
Doesn’t have a case
Doesn’s have Microsoft Word
Doesn’t have a keyboard cover
It doesn’t have that light on the front that showed the laptop breathing (It would glow brightly like it was inhaling then go dark almost like it was exhaling).
My laptop came with a pair of Beats headphones which so far are quite comfy. I don’t regret getting the bright purple and pink colored headphones. Purple is my favorite color!
I bought my Macbook Pro in July or August of 2010 before I started Denison. I didn’t have a laptop in high school. I would use my family’s computer at home. That laptop served me well through college, came with me on my study abroad trip to Copenhagen, helped me during my summer internships and came with me after graduation as I wrote articles for ThisWeek News. I would take it on road trips and pop in a DVD to watch. I would curl up in bed with it, watching Netflix, writing something or doing something or another online.
Now, it’s like I have this stranger in bed next to me. I love sitting in bed with my laptop perched on my lap. I know it’ll take some getting used to but I hope I learn to like this new laptop. Hey, it’s faster and lighter which is what I wanted in a new laptop. I hope this one serves me another solid 8 years.
With Nate being out of town, I found myself finally having time for myself and I wanted to take a moment to a) write in a spot that’s not on my phone or in my journal b) update my website with a fresh blog post and c) share what’s on my mind with you.
I went in early to work, toting two thermoses full of coffee. One spilled in my purse.
I sent out an external email about the Tax Free Weekend and encouraging people to buy school supplies for Operation Backpack. I was proud of myself for putting together that email so quickly and getting the team’s feedback in about 5 hours. Usually, I like to work on these external emails a week ahead of time but things have been really busy with Operation Backpack, the merger and being down a team member.
I left work at 2pm since I’d been working overtime this week and went to drop off some free Ohio State Fair tickets to my horseback riding instructor. I’d received the tickets Wednesday at our Operation Backpack station event and posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted the free tickets.
At home, I conquered the sink full of dishes and ran the dishwasher. From 4 to 6pm, I sat perched in my bed, watching Cleveland 19’s Operation Backpack Live event and sharing pictures Becky was sending my on social media. (As I was streaming, the same commercial kept playing over and over. Every commercial break, it would be 3 minutes of the same 15 sec ad for transitional lenses, a product I don’t use. Video advertising at it’s worst.) I’d been sharing and posting for these Live Nights all week so I was relieved this was the last event of the year. It’s a lot of posting and I worry I’m bombarding followers.
From 6-11pm, I was at the Dublin Irish Festival volunteering. I sold tokens, like I’ve done for the past two years. Only at the Dublin Irish Festival, do they use iPads to sell the tokens and meticulously stack the tokens in piles of 6. (What if someone orders 5 tokens? We don’t speak of that. Keep stacking.) It’s pretty much the opposite of volunteering at ComFest. This shift was incredibly busy from 7pm to 10pm. We always had a long line and the iPads were slow to process the credit cards. I found my groove by listening to the orders and placing the correct number of tokens on the counter. This helped the person on the iPad and kept things moving along.
I went to brunch with my friend Kelly. We were going to go to First Watch but the wait was too long so we went to Panera instead. I always love hearing what’s new with Kelly and enjoy her positive attitude. It was nice to catch up with her.
For the rest of my afternoon, I did laundry, read my stack of magazines (Columbus CEO, Columbus Monthly, Glamour and Real Simple), watched some YouTube videos and a little bit of the new Orange is the New Black season (this new season isn’t really my jam, but I’ll stick with it.)
Around 5:30pm, I met Emily at the Irish Fest. It was so crowded that I parked in Hilliard and walked over. Not literally, but it felt that way. I had an extra ticket from volunteering and Emily had won 2 tickets at work, so I did my good deed for the year and gave my extra ticket away to a lucky man who was about to pay for his ticket.
We got some Killians and made a beeline to the Celtic Canines. I love seeing the Irish Wolf Hounds. And I like the Irish Setters and pretty much all the show dogs. They had these adorable Irish Fest bandanas.
We got some Cornish Pasties for dinner (then Graeter’s ice cream), bought some sterling silver rings and earrings from Ireland (we buy from the same woman every year, I’m quite loyal to her. I consider her my “jeweler.” Can you have a “jeweler” if you only ever buy $20 worth of rings or earrings?). We watched some Irish Dancing and I really appreciated it when the young women danced to an Irish dance cover of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. Good song choice.
I slept in until 10am, heated up a quiche from Trader Joe’s, made coffee using this reusable pour over filter thing. I ground up the beans (from Upper Cup), put them in the filter, put the filter on top of my Patrick Star coffee mug, and then poured hot water from my Keurig over it.
I watched the movie “The Pretty One.” I’d rented it from the library because I loved “Ruby Sparks” so much and wanted to see more of Zoe Kazan. “The Pretty One” is about a set of twins. One lives in the big city and has become quite the fashionista and the other twin still lives at home and feels inadequate in comparison to her twin. Together, the homebody twin goes to the salon and gets her hair cut just like the stylish twin. Driving back, they get into a car crash and the stylish twin dies. But, with her new haircut, her dad thinks the homebody twin has died. The girl has amnesia and doesn’t fully realize the mix up until a few days later when she’s attending her own funeral and no one says any parting remarks about her. She goes on to move into her twin’s apartment, take her job, meet her friends. Eventually, she comes clean and admits who she is, and her friends and family are upset. But, they forgive her, move on, and she’s a better person after this experience. Solid movie, a bit long. Would watch again.
I researched what Macbook I want to buy some more because I’m still so unsure if I want the new Macbook Pro. I’m worried about only having the 2 ports. I researched adapters on Amazon and they seem reasonably priced.
I wanted to take a bath and continue reading “The Myth of the Nice Girl” but ran out of bath bombs. Luckily, I live next to The North Market so I swung in and bought a lavender bath bomb from Better Earth. I adore reading books in a warm bath.
Nate called me and said he’s busy on his work trip and misses me. I miss him too. I told him about my Lazy Sunday and he pointed out that it sounded like quite a productive Sunday to him. We have different definitions of lazy.
I watched some more YouTube. I watched a few episodes of Girl Starter because it had Claire Coder (who is so amazing) and reminded me of The Apprentice, minus Trump.
Then I watched old Vines on YouTube and missed Vine.
Oh yeah, I also walked over to Jeni’s and got some rainbow sherbert.
I really do like volunteering around Columbus. I get a kick out of volunteering at festivals around town and helping out.
This weekend, I’m volunteering with the Libations committee of ComFest. I volunteered Friday night and Saturday night, checking IDs and pouring beer. This is my second time volunteering at ComFest. I like the laid back atmosphere, the people watching, helping out such a historic and grassroots festival, and feeling like I’m needed. Some shifts they don’t have a ton of volunteers so I stay busy serving customers my whole shift.
Over the years, I’ve also volunteered at the Columbus Arts Festival, BeerFest, Dublin Irish Festival, Highball, Ohio Wine Festival, North Market Festival for Good, and the Food Truck Festival.
Why I like to volunteer:
Meeting new people. After studying abroad and having several jobs where I had to interact with the public, I kind of became an extrovert. I like striking up a conversation and getting to know new people. I mean this not in a sense of “what do they have that I can gain?” or trying to network with them. I mean this in a “talking to strangers can be fun” sense. I just find volunteering is a great way to make new friends and new connections. At Highball, I volunteered with a girl that was really down to earth and we hung out after our shift and have been friends ever since.
Helping out. Festivals, especially ones like ComFest, can’t happen without volunteers. They need the help and hey, I have the time. They give us this amazing festival with lots of neat stuff to do, the least I can do is donate a few hours of my time. I may not have a lot of money to give, but I can give you my time.
T-shirt and swag. I can’t lie that one of the reasons I volunteer is for that sweet exclusive volunteer T-shirt. These have become some of my favorite t-shirts because they bring back good memories and are so unique. I also volunteer for the free beer tokens or North Market Fiver. No shame.
If you’re interested in volunteering, hit up Experience Columbus.
That’s where I find most of my volunteers shifts and they have a time-tested organized volunteer system.
My mom’s side of the family met up in Destin, Flordia for a nice beach vacation. We’d gone here 5 years ago and so it was fun to revisit and compare how the town had changed. Generally, it had grown more tourist-y and become a beachy Pigeon Forge.
I went jet-skiing, para sailing, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, night time walk on the beach, and didn’t get a sunburn. Success!
I went para sailing at Disney World a few years ago by myself and thought it was fun. It was even more fun to do it with Nate. It’s so quiet way up there. I never fully relaxed or stopped being terrified while I was all the way up. I secretly wanted to get down but it was still really neat and I’m glad I did it even it it was scary.