It’s been less than a week since the airing of Returning the Favor. As of the posting of this blog post, it’s has received 5.9 million views. I know that Facebook puts a fair bit of advertising into it but it’s still clearly a viral experience.
We have received an amazing outpouring of love from all over the United States… and even beyond. I thought I should share a few stats that illustrate what Mike Rowe has done for us… and it hasn’t even been a week. I also hope it helps those who have reached out to us and need a response from someone on our team to understand why we may seem slow to respond.
The Website Has Exploded
We are very fortunate to have an enterprise class website run by enterprise class software. Through a few generous donations, we were able to be ready, technologically for this challenge. In fact, without this amazing software, our website surely would have crashed multiple times.
We are so grateful for what Returning the Favor has done to allow us this amazing exposure. Gaining national exposure like this would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that Mike Rowe single handedly (with his great team) generated in less than a week.
We assumed we would gain an enormous influx of bed requests. This was a little concerning for us because we are not able to build as many beds in the winter months. There are three reasons for this:
- It’s harder to find a location in the winter to host a build.
- People tend to be busy during Thanksgiving and Christmas and can’t volunteer as much and we are tired in January.
- Most of our time, in the winter is filled with delivering the beds to the kids in need.
Our bed requests in this last week have not seen a significant increase. We expected it would. I think that speaks to the audience that Returning the Favor attracts. I think it speaks so highly of so many people that the first thought that people have is to give rather than ask for help.
As a simple example of the generosity of so many people, we received a donation on the store to help fulfill a bed request. While the donation was only $10, it is, in my opinion, one of the most meaningful donations I’ve seen because of the note that was attached to it. The note reads:
My wife and I are struggling and money is not easy anymore. All my life I have never been without a bed. This is small, but I hope it is the beginning.
It reminds me of the Parable of the Widow’s Mite.
Our New Store
Our store was only launched a few days before the airing of Returning the Favor. We expected to sell a lot of t-shirts. That was the advice from previously featured charities. We were surprised that we haven’t sold so many t-shirts. We have sold enough to be proud of the performance.
Where we have been most surprised is in the generosity of those from all over the United States and beyond that have donated with no expectation of anything in return.
From San Jose, California:
It is my daughter’s bday and in this happy moment I want to bring another little kid some happiness. Please kindly deliver this mattress to SHP organization so that they can in turn give it to a sweet little kid. I appreciate SHP for the good work they do.
From Pasco, Washington:
Paying it forward in memory of Cole Grad.
From Owasso, Oklahoma:
I want to make this donation in the name of Louie Delgado for his effort in the Florida ultraman triathlon.
We are so grateful. This is such a small sampling of the generosity of others in giving money.
Hopefully we can get to the merchandise orders quickly enough that nobody gets upset!
Starting New Chapters
We have grown a lot in just the last year. At the beginning of 2017 we were only two chapters. We are now 14 chapters. As you can imagine, we are still working out all our processes and bugs. We are currently a 100% volunteer board and staff. No one currently receives a dime from any of the donations. We know that has to change. We know we will need paid staff at some point and hope to be able to get grants specifically for that purpose down the road so that we can always say that 100% of donations continue to go straight to the building and delivering of beds to children in need.
Where we didn’t expect such a torrent was in requests to start a new chapter. It was such a flood of requests to start up that we had to better define our processes. As of the writing of this post, we have have a total of 521 requests to start new chapters in 47 states, in 4 provinces of Canada, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Kenya and 1 in Mexico.
We received many through our general contact form. Because of the sheer volume, we redirected those requests to our official new chapter request form. We just had to make sure we had a process in place to manage all of them.
Below are the stats of those that are official in the process. Those who have contacted us through the other methods (nearly 100 of them) have already been asked to complete the form. If you haven’t yet, please do.
As you can imagine, this has been a whirlwind trip for us. We have been overwhelmed by the love shown from so many people. We knew we were in for something big but had no idea we were going to see as much generosity as we have.
While it’s been a long week trying to maintain our day jobs without making our bosses upset, it’s been truly humbling to see that our world is made up of so much good when it seems the media is trying to tell us the opposite.
Thank you for being patient with us during this time. More importantly, thank you for your support of Sleep in Heavenly Peace!