There is something so exciting about getting mail the old-fashioned way. Not just an online message in your inbox, but actually peeking into the mailbox to find a handwritten card or letter with beautiful sentiment meant just for you. And think of the joy that feeling can bring to someone else, like members of one Elfster group who are sharing the love and smiles by sending “happy mail” all over the world.
The Happy Mail Group was started on Facebook a few months ago by Danielle Gallagher, who realized that people were being turned away from another Facebook mail exchange group because that group had reached its membership limit and many were asked to join a waiting list until space was available. Today, Danielle’s group has over 600 members and is growing daily. “I saw a gap in the market and after someone said I should do a group, I jumped at it,” she explains. And kudos to Danielle! We are glad she has that “the more, the merrier” attitude when it comes to spreading happiness.
“As a Happy Mail group, we have various people of all age groups from all over the whole U.K. Whilst a lot of us are very crafty (I run a paper cutting business, as well as design colouring books), some just like to send happy mail. Quite a few of our members have an illness or disability of some sort, not able to get out the house, depression, etc. Interacting with others of a like mind and focusing on making someone happy has helped these people to no end,” Danielle adds. To see Danielle’s work, you can check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/StarPapercuts/.
The Happy Mail group is currently hosting a September/October exchange, as well as a holiday secret santa happy mail exchange, with over 200 participants. If you are interested in joining the group, you can find them here: Happy Mail Facebook Group. According to Danielle, “We accept members from everywhere, the more the merrier! We have some Americans, Australians, someone from Austria.”
“Originally it was just me and I was sending out all the names and addresses myself, manning who was and wasn’t sending and tracking lost mail,” she explains. “It soon got too much for me and I took on 3 more administrators. After a month, the group tripled in size and I took on 5 more admins.”
Danielle says, “The group has grown that much it’s harder to track who isn’t sending, as if someone doesn’t send then someone doesn’t get a happy mail. We made the decision to move to Elfster to help with that, as it’s all online, it’s easier for me to see who’s paired us and if someone hasn’t received, I’ll be able to check right away.”
Since the group formed last April, they have held four happy mail exchanges, about every 4-6 weeks. “We all get one address and a first name. We know nothing of the person we are sending to unless we’ve done a little detective work in the group,” Danielle explains. “Members can send what they want — a letter, card, have a nice day note, etc. Just make someone’s day a bit brighter.”
“Most members will send a parcel containing stationary, something they’ve made, or something to make — decor, sweets, chocolate, tea bags, hot chocolate sachets etc.” she adds. “It’s fabulous and is something anyone can be involved in. I try to recycle, so anything I get in a parcel that I don’t really need or can’t see myself using, I will pop in my happy mail storage box (I have three full of things to send out) and it will get sent on to someone else who will make use of it. I add books, cds, colouring sheets, pens, pretty paper, fridge magnets, etc. Little quirky collectable things that I think they may like. I always try to add a note with a fact sheet about myself, what I do and my favourite TV programmes that I think they may also like.”
Danielle asks that before anyone who joins her exchange must commit to sending mail once they have signed up for the exchange. “If they can’t commit then don’t join,” she cautions. “We’d rather have them join when they are ready than someone being left out.”
“Happy Mail group is ALWAYS open to members,” Danielle emphasizes.” I don’t have any plans to stop letting people in, as that was the main reason I set up the group. Over the past few months I have watched the group grow, I know most members likes and dislikes and it’s great to build up friendships.”
Danielle’s commitment to spreading happiness all over the world is the very essence of Elfster. We commend her dedication and are glad to be a part of such a happy endeavor. We look forward to many successful happy mail exchanges for the group.
Are you a part of a group with a mission to spread happiness? We would love to hear how your group is using Elfster, too. You can reach us via Facebook here. Tweet us @elfster or catch us on Instagram @elfster.
photo credit: Clover and Violet.com, Pretty Paper and Coffee