A postcard is a brief email sent from you while visiting a GlobalGiving project to the donors of that project. Postcards typically include a brief description of who you are, why you’re there, and what you’ve seen during your visit. Postcards help donors better understand the work of the organization that they are supporting and how their money is being used to make a difference.
There are several exciting ways that postcards make a difference. First, postcards make it possible for donors to hear an honest, third party report from travelers visiting the organizations they support. In addition, postcards also help increase a project’s visibility on GlobalGiving’s site, boosting their chances of attracting new donors to their project!
Individuals who have donated to the project you are visiting. This means that your postcard will reach a diverse population of people. You could be writing to an ex-Peace Corps volunteer living in New York City, a working Mom from Tampa, or high school student in Michigan.
Be creative. Tell a story, make a joke, describe the people you met. Get people excited about the project you are visiting! We recommend that you keep your postcard to two or three paragraphs in length and that you make it personal. This isn’t a formal report about the progress of the organization. Instead, it’s a postcard from you to the project’s supporters.
A great postcard gets readers excited about the work of the organization they are supporting; it makes the project come to life. Be sure to include vivid and descriptive pictures of the beneficiaries, the activities, and people that work at the organization. See examples of great postcards below.
It’s easy! Enter your postcard into our online form and hit submit! We’ll make sure it is sent to the project’s donors.
Postcard from Clare Rutz, reporting from Chennai, India in July 2009
The tuk-tuk pulled into the Dazzling Stone Home For Children, and without knowing if it was actually the place that was expecting me I climbed the stairs built on the side of the building. I made my way into the first room I see with a cloth hanging at the doorframe that is not attempting to keep out the warm or cold. More than often a project is the director’s home and I quickly realize I am in both the office and a living room. My presence is detected and soon I am speaking very slowly and with easy English to a beaming older man happy to show me his accomplishment. We make our way through the language barriers using a bit of sign language and I learn that he and his wife started the Dazzling Stone Home in 1994 and it has grown to 120 children with a staff of 18. The children have come from pasts that include pick pocketing, stealing, and slum life that take them away from their education. Some children are abandoned while others have parents who are unable to support them. For these children they stay with the parents for one month out of the year, while the parents are allowed to visit the second Sunday of every month. As you can see, the definition of “orphan” is much different in India than it is in the United States.
Orphanages that feed and care for the children and encourage them to continue their education are in high demand (to say the least). It is never an issue to find the children to fill up these homes, but rather to keep the numbers down. The Dazzling Stone Home just opened their doors to twenty more children while trying to expand the orphanage. The infrastructure is there, but it remains to be a few cement buildings with limited lighting and not much comfort. They are hopeful about future plans to continue building, but they work as fast as the money comes. The first and most basic need is food, and I’m told the children can live off seventy cents a day. Clothes come next, and then the fancy stuff like a paint job and tiles for the floors. I ask, “What happens if the money doesn’t come? How are you going to care for the additional children?” The reply comes with a smile and assures me that, “God will provide.” The protocol is much different than any kind of children’s home you’d find in America with a trust in a higher power to keep the revenue flowing and to work from the bottom up with the children already there. However, I always have to keep reminding myself that in almost all cases this situation is better than the one they left.
I can scan the room and guess how long they’ve been at the orphanage. The twenty who arrived a couple of months ago are easy to spot. They aren’t completely present in the activities and their eyes glaze over just a bit. Their faces are hardened and it kills me to know that laughter would seem out of the ordinary for them. Those who know the space and are comfortable with the adults who line the room look as children should. There’s a lightness about their expression that indicates a happy innocence. I am encouraged to see the difference and know that these children who have only known what a hard life feels like are capable of finding that laughter again that should come so easily. Even without floor tiles or shelves for the food, this is a safe place, and safe places don’t need to be fancy. They just need to feel like home.
To help make Dazzling Stone feel more like a home please visit www.globalgiving.com/1834.
One more for good measure:
Alexis and Brian visited this project on May 7th, 2009. They write:
The first thing we noticed about WMI was the brilliant smiles and joyous expressions on the faces of the nearly 200 women who greeted us. Shortly after our arrival, we were whisked off to see how construction is coming on the soon to be opened WMI office. This space, funded in part by GlobalGiving, will provide an office for WMI, a location for loan disbursement, and a much needed meeting space to replace the tent they now use. We paraded, en masse, out of the hall and down the main street to see the borrowers’ businesses. With nearly 200 women, parade is no overstatement; there was singing, dancing, and even crowds lining the street to watch the commotion. We tasted chapatti (a local snack) at one woman’s restaurant, we eyed the selection of another woman’s used clothing store, we peered into yet another woman’s general store, and so much more. All of these businesses have benefitted from the loans GlobalGiving has supported.
In talking to several of the women, we began to see the impact GlobalGiving funding has had on their lives. Camida Wasukira, one of the first women to receive a loan from WMI, runs a restaurant with her husband. In January of 2008, she took her first loan of just $100. She invested her loan in her business, and doubled her monthly income. She has reinvested some of her business’ profits by buying a cow, whose milk she uses in her restaurant. Aside from newly started savings, the rest of her profits have benefitted her family. Her 4 children used to go to school barefoot and hungry. Today, she is able to pay school fees, purchase shoes, and feed her children three nutritious meals a day. Other women told us they can now afford medications for their children, employ others (in so doing extend the impact of WMI), and for the first time in their lives, they can even buy personal items, such as shampoo.
There is no doubt that WMI is making a substantial impact in the lives of these women, and through them, their community as a whole. During our visit we came to find that WMI is a very special organization. Unlike many similar projects, WMI provides valuable training on saving, record keeping, and budgeting. The success of the organization can be seen in their 100% repayment rate among the 200 members. WMI hopes to expand their program, and provide these invaluable loans to many more women. Be sure to keep your eyes out as they post more on GlobalGiving.
To learn more about this project visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/microloans-for-500-poor-women-in-rural-uganda/.