Wow! What an amazing Christmas Season! I don’t really know where to begin…
But I know I must begin. I have notes (handwritten and digital), numbers (calculated and waiting to be calculated), experiences (oh so many!), feelings (oh so many more!), best practices, practices to avoid, things to practice and practice more, and random thoughts that I want to (need to) put to paper. I also have several Santa Group recap sessions that I am looking forward to sharing with some of my Brothers and Sisters in Red.
Earlier this month, after my first full week of the season, I tallied up some numbers, and then had a little fun putting them into a post on Facebook. Here is that post:
I truly was blown away by the numbers! But I wasn’t sure (and still am not sure) if they were the correct metrics by which to measure a successful season. But at least it’s a place to start! Coming from the business world, numbers mean a lot–they rule decision-making for the most part. So, this is a good place to begin.
The numbers relative to the first week social media blast are as follows:
Total souls touched. I wanted this number to be both the first and the highest of all my metrics. This is really what it’s about. I get a thrill from stepping on stage. But I get joy from knowing that the audience is going to be moved, one way or the other, by my performance. And if I’m going to put myself out there in this way, on this stage, at this time, I am going to want to touch souls. The calculation of this metric came by enumerating my various types of visits, and estimating the amount of people who participated in or observed the various visits. Here are three examples:
1. A home visit with two children and two adults = 4 souls. If Grandma and Grandpa were on a FaceTime during the visit, count 6 souls.
2. A virtual visit with one child and one parent on the screen = 2 souls. But the other parent is holding the device and witnessing off camera = 3 souls.
3. A parade through a neighborhood in a driving snowstorm that left me frozen for at least 24 hours = 50 families came outdoors, another 30 stayed indoors watching through the windows (at an average of 4 people per family) = 320 souls.
After all the tallies, estimates, and computations are made, I land on the number:
Souls Touched: 2,130
I could probably stop there. For wasn’t that the goal? To reach souls? But how sustainable is putting on the suit and getting out in front of people. Especially if I’m not any good! And that may be a different blog entry altogether!! So, moving on:
Children visited: 422 This is a really important metric, because most of these were one on one, or with a family. Some were in person. Most were virtual. All were face-to-face. This number does not include the parades, or the broadcasts. I didn’t even include the pre-recorded videos in this number. But I did look into these children’s eyes. I did imagine the magic they experienced. And I sensed the wonder and joy they felt.
Miles driven: 250 I learned after that first week to have someone at shotgun on physical visits as often as possible. So the miles driven were sometimes driven by my wife or my daughter. Still and all, a lot of traveling!
Total visits: 268
PGH Santa visits: 232
JingleRing visits: 36
Virtual visits: 233
Multi-Family visits: 7
Physical visits: 29
Home visits: 27
Neighborhood visits: 5
Outdoor visits: 13
Firepit visits: 9
Multiple prayers said, not too many miles walked (that first week was a bear!), dressed up in as many days are in December minus Sundays, quite a bit of work missed, hours of sleep missed, and time with family missed.
These are interesting figures:
Emails sent: 1,329
Positive Reviews: 81
Negative Reviews: 1 (Not negative necessarily, but I ended a 20 minute virtual visit at 10 minutes inadvertently, however this was immediately rectified and the revised review was very positive!)
Visit recordings produced: 79
Tips received: 23
Total hours spent: over 300
One of the metrics that I won’t share is the financials. I started out with a goal to break even. I tried not to spend any money until I had received it, but had to pay out on some tech in order to set up my Virtual Visit studio. I spent some money on costume parts, hair whitening, and beard care. I dropped $30 on some Facebook advertising and wasted a bit of money on some supplies I never used. I ran a promotion in July that brought in some deposits, and was offered a signing bonus from JingleRing to offset some of the tech costs. I spent about two weeks in the red. And I met my goal. Financially the season was a success.
And then there’s the ultimate metric–at least for me, personally. Six kids and one wife who were ultimately supportive, fantastically patient, and amazingly long-suffering. And this weekend has been a pure joy with an empty schedule and lots of family fun!
I think it’s important to quantify the season. But that obviously is not the true measure of the success of the season. If a number of souls were reached (or touched) how many really felt the spirit of the season? How many were uplifted? How many truly believed? And if it was just one, isn’t that a successful season?
I think so…