A plan for the coming year
A NATIONAL DIRECTORY OF POSTAL BRANCHES OFFERING ‘OPERATION SANTA’We encourage the Postal Service in Washington DC every year to to update their National Directory and expand the number of branches which offer their great program. We’re pleased to report that the number of participating Operation Santa branches went from 24 in 2010 to 75 in 2011. Our FAQs page offers suggestions to volunteers on how they can ask for an Operation Santa branch in their city.
GIFTS TO BE AN ELF ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLEIn 2009 Be An Elf received its tax-exempt 501c3 status.
LIST OF ORPHANAGESWe’ve posted a page of Other ways to volunteer, when no nearby post office offers Operation Santa, but this could be greatly enhanced. For example, with paid staff, we could compile and post a list of orphanages and other organizations serving at-risk youth, and link to local groups that serve them over the holidays.
INCREASE OUR RANKINGS IN SEARCH ENGINE “FREE RESULTS”We’d like to raise the funding for a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firm to work on increasing the rankings of our main search phrases, such as “volunteer at Christmas,” “holiday volunteer”, “Letters to Santa,” “Operation Santa” and others. We are already among the top results in Google’s sponsored results, thanks to a large in-kind grant we were awarded by Google, but we also want our key search phrases come up among the top results on all the major search engines, including Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. An SEO firm can cost $5,000 or $10,000 or more, and this will result in our recruiting thousands of new volunteers every holiday season. Be An Elf will play a very small but important part in helping to put more smiles on needy children’s faces on Christmas morning.
GOING INTERNATIONALOne day we envision posting web pages in different languages at new sister sites, initially in European nations whose children traditionally write to Santa Claus. We’ll research and detail the policy of postal administrations in each country.
INCREASE AWARENESS THROUGH SEARCH ENGINE PAID ADVERTISINGIn 2008, Google approved a $10,000 per month grant for us, in the form of free “Pay-Per-Click” advertising, and later raised it to $40,000 per month. However, we also wish to advertise on Yahoo and Bing, which do not offer grants to non-profits. Our proposed budget is $700 per day starting in October, increasing it to $2,500 as Christmas draws near. We are sure this will result in many more volunteers being recruited to buy Christmas gifts for needy kids.
PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRMWe’d also like to be working with a top public relations firm, in order to get the print and broadcast media to do more stories on the USPS Operation Santa program, with Be An Elf remaining in the background. For now, we’ll continue with our annual effort to interest the press and on our growing group of volunteers, who tell their friends about this website and the USPS program. If enough of us post about it in Twitter, Facebook and other social media, that will also help accomplish our goal.
IN THE COMING YEAR
We need your gift to expand our outreach and grow. With your contribution, we’ll be able to achieve our goals, and continue our present mission in surprising and innovative ways. We love the idea putting smiles on the faces of low-income children on Christmas morning, and inspiring thousands of individuals and families to catch the true spirit of the holidays and giving. It’s micro-philanthropy, direct from every volunteer to a child or family. Please donate and Be an Elf!
Let it be said that the USPS is doing a great job. Every year they send out press releases to remind newsmedia in local communities about Operation Santa. And every year, many postal employees quietly and selflessly volunteer their free time and personal funds to send children gifts. Members of the public, as well as companies large small, also volunteer to be “elves” each year. The good which the USPS program does is difficult to measure, both for givers and receivers. We are helping to let more people know about it.