There are very few organizations who can claim such a percentage; we pay no salaries at this time, so our all-volunteer efforts keep us lean and nimble!
Our project is funded primarily by individuals – cardmakers sending in $1, $5, $10, $25, $100 with their cards. It’s amazing that we can meet our shipping bills most months by pooling together all these wonderfully generous gifts!
What kinds of expenses does OWH have?
Since we’re primarily based online – no rent, no salaries, our needs are fairly small. Our shippers are crafters, too, and know how to make things happen with just the tools at hand! The typical expenditures we have:
- shipping to our heroes (by far our largest expense)
- website (hosting)
- communications (email list management, webcast expenses)
- equipment (computer, software, etc)
- shipper supplies (tape, OWH labels, triage supplies)
- events and travel (attendance at tradeshows et al to meet with partners)
Until 2009, nearly all shipping was funded personally by our President. It’s been a true blessing that so many have joined together to combine what each has to give!
Why don’t you pay salaries to your shippers?
We currently pay no salaries or stipends, but that’s not because we wouldn’t like to. Right now, aside from small grants ($1000 or less), our donations are by individuals – and that doesn’t afford us the luxury of salaries. That will hopefully be changing as we apply for grants in coming years, so we can compensate in some small way those who keep our project afloat! If large gifts like grants do come in, we still desire to have the individual contributions of cardmakers and other supporters be the bulk of shipping, and allow foundations and corporate grants to support our administrative costs.
How is Operation Write Home doing financially?
We typically receive equal or slightly over our shipping bills for each month in the small gifts each cardmaker sends in. At times, however, donations dip below the desired amount, but when that happens, our president begins to mention the need gently at first in Mailroom Monday and Thankful Thursday posts on our blog
. (Each Monday, the shipping costs for that week are listed.) If the need gets more serious, you’ll be notified by email (are you on our email list?
) about increased needs, with an opportunity to give.
If I buy items listed in the Cafe Press store or other fundraising partners, does that really help OWH?
These items each have either a percentage of profits or a set amount (often $1) donated to OWH. (See each company’s site to get details.) Every gift truly does help; our shipping costs for a box of cards is low enough that just a few dollars on a purchased item can be combined with a few other dollars to get a box in the mail. However, direct donations are always best, as any nonprofit will tell you; then all of your gift is able to be used. (But then you don’t have a cool shirt. Choose wisely!)
See a graphic illustration of the scale of our work in our Annual Report. Does your company need our 501(c)(3) determination? Download it here.