Monday, July 23, 2012

The Annual Breakdown

I've had a lot of people ask how much it costs to run The Art of Encouragement, lately. Honestly, each year is different, and it depends on how many cards we send, how many encouragement packages we send, how many events we do, and the general cost of "stuff" that year.

The following is a general breakdown of our average yearly costs

Cards average $0.10 each to send. That's $1,000 to send 10,000 cards to our veterans each Christmas.
TOTAL = $1,000

Encouragement packages average $20 each to produce and send. We average around 6 each year, adding up to $120.
TOTAL = $1000 + $120 = $1120

Each of our cards includes an insert explaining our mission and how to contact us. 10,000 inserts costs an average of $300, before shipping costs. Shipping for each shipment averages $15, equaling $30.
TOTAL = $1120 + $300 +$30 = $1,450

Each month we spend $5 on our website. We are now in the process of building a new website that will up the costs until we are able to full transition over. For the next year we will avearage $10 a month, totaling $120.
TOTAL = $1450 + $120 = $1,570

We spend an avereage of $300 in gas to travel to and from our events, that take place all over Oklahoma (and occasionally in other states!)
TOTAL = $1570 + $300 = $1,870

For the Christmas of 2011, two volunteers and one volunteer photographer traveled to DFW airport to pass out cards to our heroes traveling in uniform. With taxes and fees, the airline tickets of the 3 volunteers cost $425
TOTAL = $1870 + $425 = $2,295

For the last two years, we have signed our way through 10,000 cards. Our first year, we had a sizeable donation of cards, but we did not receive that last year. Because of this, we had to purchase new cards to help keep our stock up. $200 (We were so lucky to get a STEAL on the cards after Christmas!)
TOTAL = $2295 + 200 = $2,495

There are also quite a few little things that many may not think about, including waterproof totes to house our cards ($150 was spent over the last two years), rubberbands to help sort the cards, ($25 each year), paper and ink to print flyers, instructions sheets, and letters to our facilities ($150 each year), thank you cards to our donors ($20 a year), and pens to take to signing events ($30 a year).
TOTAL = $2495 + $150 + $25 + $150 + $20 + $30 = $2,670.

Also, new to TAOE this year, we gave a cash scholarship that was selected based on the outstanding service of a young women competing in the Miss Altus (Oklahoma) Scholarship Pageant. The Art of Encouragement was created in Altus (while I was the reigning Miss Altus), and the town embraced my passion and made it a reality. Without the support of that wonderful community, we would have not been able to successfully reach so many about the mission of TAOE. As founder, I feel it is important to not only support the community that so humbly supported us, but to fuel the giving and volunteering of other young people, in order to make our world a better place. I personally donated $100 dollars and so did my best friend, Rachel Newton. Together, we were able to give a $200 cash college scholarship named after The Art of Encouragment that promotes the act of community service. While this doesn't technically add to our total, we like to let you know about the things we support in TAOE's name.

Please keep in mind that this is an average annual cost for us. These are things that we are guaranteed to spend money on each year. Inevitably, we tend to spend more than this becuase of other little things that come up throughout the year. This year we also bought furniture for a new TAOE office, and we are finally going to be able to file nationally for our non-profit status with the IRS. The filing cost for a non-profit can cost anywhere from $500-$1,000 depending on the specifics of your non-profit, and this does not include the amount we will pay both lawyers and CPAs to file the different portions to different state and federal agencies.
We also hope to send at least 2,000 more cards this year than we have the last two. This will up our costs a few hundred extra dollars, but we will find a way to make it happen!

We always strive to be completely transparent with our volunteers, supporters, and friends. We want you to know where your time and money is being invested. If you have any questions about our annual breakdown, please ask! Thank you for believing in what we do and for helping us honor those who have given us the gift of freedom.

God Bless!

Ashley Hyde-Fuhr