Good morning to all our wonderful crafters, and our recipient charities,
It’s been a while since my last blog and email out to you all, and we’ve had lots going on, and not much going on at the same time. And we have quite a bit to keep us busy in this final part of the year.
Purposely slowing down
Crafty Volunteers has seen significant growth since I launched it in 2015, and particularly during 2018 following the Womans Weekly article and the creation of the Charity Yarn Stash, which saw us more than triple in size. Rather than being based in Wellington with a smattering of crafters around the rest of the country sending crafted items to us, we now have a strong regional spread, which is amazing!
With rapid growth and no financial ability to purchase decent software and systems, we have been doing things the hard way. The consequence of that is huge amounts of time spent in keeping people connected and trying to function as a communication conduit with poor systems – meaning we have had no ability to actually focus on what we need to do to grow as an organisation.
Unfortunately, it also resulted in a reasonably significant health event for me at the beginning of the year, which forced me to stop the exhaustive hours I was putting to Crafty Volunteers (over and above a very busy full-time job).
I’m eternally grateful for the Regional Coordinators who have kept things ticking over in the regions, and for continuing to manage and grow the Charity Yarn Stash Facebook Group. I do feel guilty that I haven’t been as contactable for you as I would like to have been over the first half of the year.
During my purposeful slowdown and recovery, I’ve had some time to reflect on what we have managed to achieve since all of you amazing crafters have joined us on this crazy journey, and what we need to do to keep going. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to people about what they would like to see from the organisation, and we have started putting together a fantastic little team of people to help (both the organisation and me personally) regain our equilibrium.
National Operational Working Group
Because I am extremely passionate about what Crafty Volunteers does, and how as a group of crafters who love to make beautiful items for complete strangers, we have the ability to make a very real difference to our communities, I knew I couldn’t walk away and let the organisation fade away. Therefore, I needed people to help on an operational level.
The National Operational Working Group (NOW) has been created to focus on getting the organisation operating at a national level, so that we could provide a platform and guidance to the regions, and work on developing the tools and systems we need to have to be able to communicate to our crafters and recipient charities better.
We’ve been together for just 2 months, and we meet fortnightly in Lower Hutt. There are only an handful of us at this stage, and we do need more people to help – so if you have (or you would like to research and learn) skills in communications, social media, website development, stakeholder relationships, data collection or fundraising, and have a few hours a week to help us, I’d love to hear from you. Please also feel free to share this with your non-crafting friends who might be in a position to help us develop and grow.
Anna K has come on board as our Coordinator Liaison, and her role is to support the Regional Coordinators. Interestingly, Anna is not a crafter (although I’m sure one of us will teach her sometime soon), but rather a passionate volunteer who seems to be enjoying getting stuck in to the tasks at hand. I’m also secretly pleased that she has a husband who is in IT, who has been helping us out in the background as well – thanks Michael.
Jodie is a self-confessed “process and documentation geek” and is doing a brilliant job at creating the documentation that will be our new foundation for going forward. Some of this documentation is currently with our Board of Trustees for review and sign off. Much of this documentation work will not be visible to you as crafters, but it means that at a National level, we will have a good foundation from which we can continue to build.
Rachel is our fantastic Coordinator in Lower Hutt, and with the support of her daughter Rosie, has grown an amazing community of crafters around the hub that she has created. She is a true inspiration and an incredibly caring and giving person, and we are very lucky to have her.
So – we have stepped back and taken stock, and we are resetting our foundation… it’s going to be a great future for Crafty Volunteers – hold on to your hats!
Singlets and Slippers
For the last couple of years, we have run a promotion of a series of themed emails which culminated in an event. The first year was the “12 weeks of crafting” and we had loads of fun at the Wellington event. Last year we focused on “Bears and Squares” and there were events in Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch. This year it’s all about “Singlets and Slippers”, and we have invited our Regional Coordinators to be involved too.
Save the date – Saturday 12 October
We’ll be updating you on which regions will be holding events in our fortnightly email/blog, and we’ll be sharing some insights from some of the charities that distribute slippers and singlets to people in need.
For those of you in Wellington – we’ll be back at Newlands Community Centre, and I’m working on some speakers from some of our favourite local charities, as well as a few new charities that you might be interested in hearing from.
For those of you in other regions – if you would like to help set up/host an event, please do get in touch with your local Regional Coordinator to offer your support. The best way to connect and grow a network of crafters is to get involved – we’d love your help.
Check out our website
And please forward this email to your crafty friends, and invite them to join our mailing list.
… Until next time …
Thanks again for all the amazing items that you all make – they really do give so much joy to so many of the end recipients.
Happy crafting everybody!
Yours – with love, compassion and hope