Thursday, 25 June 2015

How Aussie Heroes Works.

G'day all
I thought as we have so many new people following the Facebook page and receiving the Request List emails, and hopefully, reading the blog, it might be a good time for a bit of an intro, or in some cases, a reminder on how we work... at least on the Admin side of things.


IF YOU ARE A REGULAR PLEASE STILL READ THE POST, OR AT THE VERY LEAST, THE SECTIONS WITH RED HEADINGS  OR THE RED WRITING AS THIS IS INFO THAT LOTS OF REGULARS MIGHT FIND USEFUL OR I WOULD APPRECIATE YOU CHECKING OUT TO HELP ME OUT.

I am Jan-Maree and I founded and now coordinate Aussie Heroes. I have lots of wonderful volunteers but mostly the admin is done by me.  I would love to have some admin help but to do that people would need to be prepared to come and work at my home,  on my laptop, but even a couple of hours a week would be wonderful.  Any non-sewers out there, just give me a yell if you can spare some time.

I write all of the blog posts except for the Happy Mail Posts and the Block of the Month Posts that Caroline does and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that assistance.

I work on Aussie Heroes pretty  much all day every day Monday to Friday.  I often get up early to package things for the post and try to be at the Post Office three to four mornings a week before 845am.  If I go any later it is hard to get a car park nearby and I never know what parcels I will be picking up, let alone the times I have lots to carry in myself.  Always best not to call me around 9am as I will be in the queue.  

After the post is dealt witH, and any other errands that need doing are done, I head home and start to answer emails and write the blog post if needed.  

The Blog

I use the blog to get the bulk of the information circulated to everyone.  It is the most effective efficient way of doing things.  If you sew for Aussie Heroes please try to check the blog at least once a week. Just skim the posts if you wish. I try to put any "business" type info at the top of the posts so that it is the first thing you read.

Monday's and Thursday's could cover just about anything.  It depends on what is going on at the time and what information needs to be passed on.  

Tuesday's posts are our Gratitude Posts. This is when I share the thank you messages that we receive.  On average we hear back from around 50% of the parcels we send off.  That makes it very important that whatever thank you messages we receive are shared where possible.  If you receive a thank you email please forward it to me so that I can share the appropriate parts on the blog. I never share any photos without asking permission of the recipient. This is something that I prefer to do myself as it is my responsibility to make sure the recipient is in agreement.  

On Wednesday nights, most weeks, Caroline puts up the Happy Mail post and this is to recognise the people that are sending in Quilts, quilt tops, Blocks of the Month etc.  it is too time consuming for Caroline or I to send thank you messages to everyone to let them know that their parcel has arrived and it is lovely for everyone to see what is coming in.

On Friday nights I put up the Weekly Dispatches Post.  This is when I post the pics of the amazing variety of quilts and laundry bags that are sent off each week.  PLEASE if you don't see your quilt or laundry bag up there for some reason let me know.  If I think there is a chance that posting the pic will spoil the surprise I might hold the picture over till the quilt or bag has been received HOWEVER there is always a chance that for some reason I have missed saving your photo in the correct file and that is why it has been missed.

Facebook

I know not all of you have Facebook but it is a really quick way for me to share info given that we have over 4500 Facebook followers.  I am going to have another try at putting together a NON-FACEBOOK users email list in the near future and this time will see if I can get a volunteer to administer the NON-FB mailing list and to send out emails whenever I share something on Facebook. I am just finding that I do not have the time. I feel bad that some of you are missing out on lovely snippets of interesting information so, hopefully this will be rectified in the near future.  If you have already given me your details for the Non-FB Uses list I still have them.

Newsletter

This is also something new that I hope to start up.  There are often times that I want to share some new info with those that sew for us and a few regular supporters but it is not appropriate for privacy reasons or similar to put the info up on the blog.  For this reason I intend starting up a newsletter email list.  I used to use the same mailing list that I used for the request list but that has now grown too big.  This will be a separate mailing list and will also include supporters as well as those that sew for us.  If you would like to be included on this list please comment on Facebook when this post goes up, email me at FriendsofAHQ@gmail.com or PM me but make sure I have your email address please. Newsletters will only come out when needed but will contain info not shared on the blog.

The Request List 

Every Monday I put out a request list of the quilts and laundry bags that people are asking for.  Many of my quilters like to have a starting point so that they know that what they are making will fit the recipient's taste. The recipients are asked to give me their favourite colours, hobbies and interests.  They will ask for every sort of theme you have ever imagined and a few you had never even considered. Often they list several things.  You do not have to try and include every thing they ask for.  Sometimes they do not know what to ask for so they are just telling you about themselves.  Some requests are very specific.  Don’t let that put you off.  If they don’t appeal to you, move on to one that does.   You are under no obligation to make a quilt or laundry bag from the list each week but it will show you what people are asking for.   

If you would like to be included on the Request List Mailing List then send me an email but please include your address and phone number as I will not hand out the recipient's details if I do not have yours.

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION 

If you would like to take on one of the quilts or laundry bags on the list then send me an email including the entire line that describes the request.  I am going to repeat this one. Please include the ENTIRE LINE OF THE REQUEST.  

For example...(and this is a current request that really needs a quilter if you are interested)


flying, he is also enjoys golf and cricket. I know he will be happy with whatever he receives.
B
5

If you want to take on this request I need ALL the info that is included above word for word. That is how I find the request in order to allocate it to you.  If you only send me the number 5 I am compelled to reply to you and confirm that you want this request with these details.   On more than one occasion either , or the quilter, has mis-read or mis-typed the number and someone who has wanted a Sydney Swans quilt nearly received a pink and purple fairy quilt etc.   Regardless of your opinion of most AFL players (sorry just kidding!) you can see that would not work.   Having to come back and clarify that this is actually the request that you want is extra work for me on what is my busiest day of the week.  Please please please just send me all the details.  Hopefully you can cut and paste but if you can't and the request is a bit long please take the time to type it out.   

At the end of a Monday night I have often responded to anywhere from 150 - 300 emails. If you can stick to the above procedure you will really help me out.

Similarly if you have quilts or laundry bags that have been sent if you could please wait till Tuesday to let me know that would be wonderful.
But back to requests.

If you are not really quick of the mark, it might be a good idea to send me two or three and telling me you want to do one of them.   You then have 5-6 weeks to make a quilt and/or bag and get it in the mail. 


When you tell me you are ready to post I will send you the posting instructions.   

When you have posted...

Please please please.... when you have sent off your quilt or laundry bag can you send me an email with the recipient's name AND PM Keys and a photo of the item.  
Name alone is not enough as from time to time the names are miss-spelt and I waste time looking for them.  Sometimes the PM keys is copied incorrectly but rarely both are wrong.

I let them know their quilt/bag is on the way and they start to haunt the PO. 
You have about a 50% chance of hearing back from them depending on their circumstances etc.  If you do hear back I ask that you forward their email or a copy of their letter. I remove all personal/identifying details and share on the blog which encourages not only the other quilters but also the defence members and their families.
Weekends
I am available all the time but I do try to take a little time off on Saturdays and Sundays.

Saturdays I often spend time with my husband (my boys are 19 and would not be seen dead with their mother)  and Sundays are the one day of the week (usually) that I am able to sew.  
If you need me, then email me, but if it can wait till a week day that would be great. I do know though, that some of you get more done on the weekends as you work during the week so please go ahead and send me whatever you need to send me whenever you can.  Also to our wonderful deployed peeps, you just email, call or whatever whenever you can.  
Odds and Sodds.


If I send you an email, particularly with a question... can you please reply to my email continuing the email chain so that I can see what I asked you. I have, at times, spent a whole night checking on details and firing off emails, only to have people email me replies on new emails saying things like "no problem" or "yep, can do" or something similar that does not refer to the question I asked.  Please remember that I am dealing with LOTS of people and lots of stories and situations. You will need to remind me what I asked you or what recipient we are talking about.  That would be a big help.


Text messages and Facebook Private Messages

Some of you text or message me photos. That is fine if that works for you but please also follow up with an email.  Text messages are fine but chances are, if I receive your text while I am out, I will not remember to action it when I get home.  The same with PMs. If you can send me an email to confirm that you have texted me a photo and include the recipient's details in the email that makes like a lot easier for me. In future weeks I can search on a recipient's name and find your email..... I cannot do that with text messages or PMs.

Well, sorry this is such a business post tonight but hopefully lots of you will read it and that will be really helpful.   I love what I do but sometimes I need a little help to make everything work smoothly.

Till next time.......................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree  xx

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