As part of the tradition we're asked to write a reflection post and again sign up on a linky. The day to post to the linky starts today and runs through the 8th.
Each year I've done this I've pretty much said the same thing, because my experience has pretty much been the same thing. Part of the reason to write the reflection is to tweak the way the challenge operates, though in all honesty, I can't see that's there's been any changes in it since I first started doing this 4 or 5 years ago. Though I know many people do write good suggestions in their reflection post. Most suggest eliminating frustration.
I'm also always disappointed in the people who really don't participate, in that they list their blog for links, but don't really visit other blogs. Disappointed in that far too many bloggers don't reciprocate the visits and comments. I always make tons more then I receive back; but........this might be the first year I actually thought participating was beneficial. I really hadn't plan to do it again because of previous years negative feelings. But, this blog is not one I'd used before, in fact didn't think I could make it work.
I was a bit down, because donations, visits, and comments had all fallen off and I'd pretty much run out of ideas of ways to promote the blog and it's mission, Helping the Homeless; and thought I'd give it one last try. I'm glad I did. I wanted to help spread the word about the need, wanted to help educate people how sad the plight of a homeless person truly is. I believe I did that, based on the comments I received. I know several bloggers said they were getting out knitting needles and crochet hooks to see what they could do. Most indicated they were going to see what they might do locally, as oppose to helping Bridge and Beyond per sey, but..........there are many people in need. The fact that they now want to help, that they know more now then they did before April is in fact a success in my book. I gained a few additional followers. Believe Bridge and Beyond had 294 followers when the challenge began and it now has 317. Not a huge growth, I know some blogs gained hundreds; but every additional follower is a potential pair of helping hands, each person who visited and comment the same, and so...I call it worthwhile. Yes, again this year I spent lots of time writing the posts, visiting other blogs far more then were reciprocated; but.......my primary goal, I believe was attained.
I'll mention changes I've mentioned before, things I think would vastly improve frustration with the challenge. I think once someone signs up, the blog needs to be checked vs waiting until the challenge begins. Elementing link seekers from the get go would improve everyone's experience. If they don't post the badge with the link after signing on, they're probably not going to. If their blog is one that you must join something to leave a comment, they probably aren't going to participate, if they have comments closed...we know they have no attention of participating. If blog comments can only be made through google+ it waste enormous amounts of time for those who visit them. I also think the badge needs to be above the fold, not clear at the bottom of a very very long blog. Much like the scenario of writing our reflection post BEFORE we link, I think the badge should appear and the other requirements fulfilled right after signing up, if not before. Checking as people sign up, would surely be much easier then trying to check after the fact. I also think it should be mandatory that people actually use the link to their blog not their profile pages both in the linky and when they make blog visits.
Here's my ABC listing of Challenge Posts. The top comments were for The C, F, and L posts, with 30-28-and 27 comments including my responses to peoples comments. A couple I considered to be some of the more important posts would be B, F, O, P, and T
A=Afghans, Family Heirlooms
B= Bridge and Beyond, Behind the Scenes
C=What is Crochet
E=Exposure Kills Homeless Vet
F= Crying and Homeless and Freezing Temperature
G= Gubbio, A Homeless Project, St. Boniface Church
H=Hobo and Homelessness
J= What is Joy
M=Mittens, Knitted, Crocheted or Loomed
N=Caring for the Needy
O=Jack Otis, Classmate, Homeless
P=Policing the Homeless
Q=Quilting Can Warm Those in Need
R=Helping Homeless with Rain Poncho's and Recycling
S=Shelter Living and the Homeless
T=Tent Cities for Homeless
U=Living Under the Underpasses
V=Homeless Veterans, Rest in Peace
W=Water in Doorways, Sprays Homeless
Y=Yarn Helps Homeless
All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated. The Power of One is awesome, and when we work together The Power of One becomes The Power of Many.