Updated: Mar 1
Welcome volunteers! Thank you so much for donating your time to brighten a senior's day!
We wanted to create a FAQ page for you to reference before you send your letter to ensure it's ready to go!
We have also made a welcome video for new volunteers. You can access that below or here. We go over how to get started, inspiration for what to write about, and how to use the spreadsheet.
1. How do I use the spreadsheet?
Please click here for a blogpost that details how to access and navigate the spreadsheet!
2. How many letters should I write?
Write as many letters as you want! The more, the better!
3. Who should I address the letter to?
Since we don't know the recipient's name, you can start with something like "dear friend" or even just "hello".
4. Do letters have to be handwritten?
Please try not type or photocopy any letters. Our seniors really do appreciate receiving hand written letters. However, if it is painful for you to handwrite, we totally understand! You are welcome to type your letters and print them out.
5. Should I decorate my letter?
Yes! Make it bright and exciting! Write a pun or make it a sea of color! Are you in need of decoration inspiration? Please click here. Don't forget to upload snaps of your creations to our google form.
6. What should I write about?
Make your letter cheerful and creative! Remember, we are trying to brighten the days of our senior recipients. Please click here for the full collection of letter writing & decoration inspiration blogs.
7. What should I not include?
Please do NOT include your phone number, last name, or anything else that would identify yourself. Also, please do NOT send any gifts.
8. The address that I wrote to is already full this two-week period. Can I still write to them?
If all of the cells are claimed for a particular address, we ask that you would kindly choose a different address. The address will still be there on the next spreeadsheet, so you can always write to that address in the future! Please do not replace another volunteer's ID with yours or add a new column/ row to the spreadsheet.
9. Can I email my letters to the facility?
We think that there is something very special about writing, sending, and receiving a handmade or handwritten letter or card! It really shows the seniors that someone is thinking of them and took time out of their day to send them a tangible piece of their love! For this reason, we kindly ask all letters and cards to be sent in the physical form to the care homes.
10. I want to add a facility to the spreadsheet. How do I do that?
We are always looking to bring joy to more seniors! If you'd like us to add a facility in your neighborhood or a facility that is close to your heart, please reach out to the facility and ask them to fill out the form on this page. After they've done that, we can add them to the spreadsheet!
11. Why are the addresses on the spreadsheet color-coded?
Our wonderful Volunteer-Coordinator Ellen color coded the spreadsheet addresses so that you know what type of facility each address is. This can help you better tailor the content of the letters and cards that you send to the seniors. This blogpost explains which types of letters and cards are most appreciated at each of the facilities.
12. How can I quickly access homes in different countries?
At the top of each spreadsheet, you will see a cell highlighted in red saying "Quick Links". Directly below this cell, you will see "Click for ..." for each of the countries where we serve seniors. Click the cell corresponding to the country you want to write to. This will take you to that countries section on the spreadsheet!
13. I can't remember where I signed up to send my letters to on the spreadsheet.
Please press down the "command" key and the "f" key at the same time. A search bar will drop down in the top-right corner of the screen. Type your volunteer ID number into the searcher, and your sign up's will be highlighted on the sheet.
14. Where should I send my letter(s) to?
Once you are finished with your letter(s)/ card(s), please carefully copy the address which corresponds to your claimed spreadsheet cells onto your envelope(s), and mail them off! For help using the spreadsheet, please see Question 1.
15. Should I post my letters separately or in one envelope?
You can mail your letters in one envelope or separately. If you put them in one envelope, please indicate somewhere on the envelope that it contains multiple letters; that way, the nursing home knows that they should open it up and distribute the contents.
16. Should I write a return address?
It is up to you. If you'd like you can absolutely write your return address. You may even hear back from the senior you write to! If you are writing to one of the facilities that encourages pen pals, you are welcome to include your return address. If you aren't comfortable with writing your return address, that's also okay. Instead, please write "Letters Against Isolation".
17. What should I do after sending my letter(s)? As long as you've claimed them in the spreadsheet, you are all set! To share what you've created, please upload photos of what you made to our google form.
18. Where should I share my creations?
Please upload photos of what you've made to our google form. We love to see what you've been making/ writing! We might even feature your creations on future blog posts, newsletters, or on social media!
19. What are your social media accounts?
Facebook Group: Letters Against Isolation
Youtube: Letters Against Isolation
20. Who can volunteer?
We welcome everyone! We have volunteers who range from toddlers to seniors themselves. You can write a letter or send a card!
21. How else can we help?
Get your friends and families involved! This is a project that volunteers of all ages can help out with, and the seniors really appreciate every single letter.
Thank you for volunteering, we really appreciate your contribution to helping us fight senior loneliness!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.