“…groups ranging from Google’s global headquarters to local Girl Scouts troops send us uplifting handmade cards…”
Yes. That’s in quotes. On purpose. If you’re wondering who said it, we can tell you. If you want to know why, we know that too. If you want to know when, where, how many times, etc., sorry we can’t help there. The reason why is because that’s a quote our founder says ALL the time when he’s reaching out to new hospitals/homes and talking to them about receiving new cards. The goal is to use two well-known organizations that show how we get all ages joining in, plus both start with a ‘G’ so they sound good together. More importantly, the aim is to impress potential recipients that Google is joining in and making cards.
Often people are impressed and ask for a bit more detail on Google. We highlight how they were one of our early participants and say Google has participated all the way from, “Maine to Mountainview and right here in Chicago on Morgan St.” Usually that’s all they need to hear and the hospitals/homes begin to talk about the amount of cards they want, the languages they need, and follow through with the “pinky promise” to deliver the cards room to room.
This blog post is going to try to focus on some of the things Google has done for us behind-the-scenes that you may not know about by simply reviewing our website and/or hearing one story. In addition, based on their contributions, we should have told you ALL that they have done for Cardz for Kidz! a long time ago!
Currently, we’ve had over 350 groups host events, plus have received cards from Independent Artists from across the globe. No matter how much we grow, Google will always be one of our first groups. Our partnership started with the Google Chicago office. Our founder connected with a former coworker, Brett G. who was working at Google and talked to him about potentially hosting an event. Soon after, we heard back from Sally A. inquiring about the next steps for Google to host events for their Chicago office. We discussed some of the brief official nonprofit details (e.g. EIN, certification) and our goals. Then she mentioned that Google would host an event.
In Q4 2012, Google made their first set of cards. At the time we were only receiving cards from our founders’ past and current companies and Huron Consulting (the Vice President of Cardz for Kidz!’s wife started an event). At first, they just made cards to help us reach our pediatric patients, but do you recall what else happened in Q4 2012? We won’t forget because with the help of Google we were able to make one of our first changes, #nomorechanges. The first group outside of Chicago to make cards was an elementary school in Connecticut. It turns out the cousins of the child who led the event at that school went to Sandy Hook. We connected with the mother of the children who went to Sandy Hook Elementary. She requested that we send them as many cards and snowflakes as possible. Since we were still pretty small at the time and didn’t have many packages coming in, we checked back with Google to see if they could make a couple more that quarter and they stepped in!
Thankfully we were able to send a total of 235 cards to Sandy Hook elementary and we’ll keep the quote from the thankful mother up on our website.
Based on that feedback we realized the impact of your cards and have been able to send cards to multiple kids impacted by violence and/or unexpected discouragement at school.
After Google initially assisted us, one of our main contacts reached out to us and told us we needed to fill out a template/register on a site called Benevity so they could donate and check that we were an actual nonprofit. Originally, our team thought that was simply something Google used to so they could make donations, so in the background we included all kind of direct details about their impact and how they helped us reach kids at Sandy Hook. It was very direct. Soon after, more companies started to reach out to us telling us they found us via that site and that they’d like to start hosting events. Oops! The site wasn’t strictly for Google employees! Soon after, we updated the wording and thankfully have been receiving more inquiries and donations via Benevity. If it wasn’t for Sally, we would have never heard of that site and wouldn’t have been able to connect with a lot of the groups who have joined in to make cards. Now the main way we get in touch with groups (e.g. our Secret Admirer) is via that website. To put it in perspective, we have a GoFundMe, a donate page on our site, Amazon Smile, some companies make direct deposits, we receive checks in the mail, and are certified via Facebook. In addition, Q3 2019 was our annual fundraiser. Even with all those ways people could contribute, we still received 2/3 of our donations in Q3 2019 via Benevity. We’re thankful that our Google contact told us about that platform.
In addition, they’re a bit different from some of our other partners. For example, if you look at the blog post about our Secret Admirer you’ll see it’s all about how we’re not allowed to say their name at all. Therefore, not only are we not allowed to recognize/thank them on our website, but we can’t even tell you guys how helpful they’ve been. It’s different with Google. Although everyone agrees they’re one of the most valuable corporations in the world (CNBC Article – we believe it’s credible since it was at the top of the Google search results 😉), they proudly agree to be represented in our Participants page, //cardzforkidz.org/participants. We’re working with our main contact at Google to use their logo on plaque when we donate a portable video game system in their name since they’ve donated so much to us.
Before we conclude this blog post, we wanted to bring up one more example of how this partnership has been special and always gets more ideal for us. In Q3 2019, we heard from Michelle A. at Google that they were having an event at Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears football team), where they would have management from across the Americas come in for training. Part of the event is that they wanted people to do some type of community involvement and she asked if Cardz for Kidz! could be one of their nonprofits. Of course, we agreed and assumed it was thanks to Sally A. in Chicago who set this up. We never heard exactly how she learned about us, but both parties confirmed they didn’t connect. We guess it’s just a Google thing to look for emerging nonprofits that are looking to impact kids, families, and seniors across the globe. Overall, the event was a success and they made a total of 325 cards for us. A lot of the attendees were asking about how they could make cards in in their local offices. The timing of the event was extremely helpful since we were short on cards in Spanish and they had several attendees who were able to make cards in Spanish and Portuguese, so we were able to fulfill our partner location’s current requested amount.
Another beneficial aspect of the event was what happened during the setup process. We learned that Google wanted to give their employees options of what type of community service they could do during the conference. Turns out, out of ALL the other nonprofits in the Chicagoland area they selected us and the Special Olympics IL. Before the attendees came over to the area, our teams connected, and we decided that we could help reward their hardworking athletes with some of our handmade cards. It was a perfect fit since we’ve been telling our kids that they are not simply Special need and they do not have a disability, but instead they have the Special Ability to overcome their situation. Thanks to Google inviting both us AND the Special Olympics IL to their event, we’ve been able to reward kids with Special Abilities with a total of 600 encouraging cards.
We’re thankful Google has contributed in a variety of ways to help what originally started off as a small group who helped kids in Illinois grow to a nonprofit impacting disheartened children, solemn seniors, faithful families, and wounded warriors across the globe. Also, not sure if you clicked on the word ‘Google’ at all in this blog, but that was all intentionally linking back to Google.org! 😊 We’re simply trying to highlight how the employees giving back to the community have made such an impact on us. If we wanted, we could touch on the impact of “Google.com.” For example, how being able to have a YouTube page has been helpful in explaining our organization to others, how we’ve been able to use Google Analytics to find out that people were learning about our site via bradaronson.com, or how hospitals/homes and groups joining in have been finding our website using Google.com. If you look at it, whether it’s how we’ve received cards and made new connections to locations OR how we’ve seen an increase in traffic to our site and more participation, you can JUST GOOGLE IT and we’ll see the results. We’re thankful for everything Google has done.
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 LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!