some obstacles

I want to try to explain what's been going on behind the scenes for me with the Hearts + Hands project – and why I've been making all these changes here and there to the way this project works. On Friday night, I received a notification from PayPal that Hearts + Hands was not in compliance with their (fine print) rules and regulations. I had no way of knowing or anticipating the bureaucratic nightmare this would become.  I am literally in tears over this and feeling so, so badly for many reasons.

What began as a spontaneous project with the best of intentions has become incredibly stressful as I try to deal with PayPal. There is no way to reach a real live person at the compliance department of PayPal; it's email only and they have up to 72 hours to respond. I've been on the phone with my lawyer as well as the state attorney for charitable activities in Portland. I've been doing everything I can, but mainly the decision is up to PayPal. I am also trying to keep up with my studio work and I have so many emails coming in every day ... and this afternoon, my studio computer had a major meltdown and won't start up again at all ...  so I'm pretty much at my wit's end here – but glad that I have this very old laptop that at least still works, even if it sounds like a small jet plane is taking off when it's on. 

So – raffles are considered a big, huge no-no. Basically, they are seen as a form of gambling. I didn't know. I am doing my very, VERY best to figure this out so that Hearts + Hands can continue to raise money. It's hard and I'm incredibly sorry for the confusion and multiple changes on the blog. 100% of the proceeds are still going directly to Shelterbox. The intent of this effort has not changed one bit, but everything is getting mired in technicalities and bureaucracy. I understand that it would be better to have it be straightforward on the blog (a donation = an entry), as it was at the start. I wish it could be this way, too, but clearly this won't work for PayPal.

I thought that by offering an actual product – the letterpress cards – and making the giveaway a separate part, we'd be okay. The reason I decided to offer entries to the giveaway for people who help get the word out is because it makes it a no-purchase necessary to enter or receive something. I thought this would get us around the issues with PayPal. I'm not so sure this is the case because I got another vague email from PayPal today stating there are still violations. I am waiting to hear back from them once again.

In the meantime, I have decided that Hearts + Hands needs to be put on hold until I can straighten things out with PayPal. For that reason, I have removed the PayPal link for now. I hope this is temporary. I just need some time to first off sleep, be with my family, get my computer fixed, communicate with PayPal – and then decide how to proceed. The very worst case scenario, which would break my heart, is that I will need to refund every single donation that has been made. This makes me sad – because I lose credibility, but most of all because then the $8.75K we've collectively raised is therefore not going to Shelterbox, not going toward relief efforts in Japan. And this is such a shame. I know this will raise questions and I'll answer all those as they come in, as fast and efficiently as I can. Please, please remember that it's just me and there are only so many hours in a day.
And please know that I will either figure it out with PayPal – or refund your money. This is not a scam at all.

I really can't tell you how sorry I am for this horrible, awful, no-good mess – and how upsetting it is to me personally. I know we are all in this for the very best reasons and intents. I am working as hard as I can – while still trying to get Satsuma Press work completed – to get everything straightened out. I know – and I'm kicking myself for this, very hard! – that this all seems very unprofessional ... and, well, it's because I don't really have a background in fundraising – which is abundantly clear now.  I am sorry that I jumped in feet first without knowing all this in advance. I'm learning as we go along – not always the easiest way. Trust me, it's hard to make mistakes in a very public open-to-the-world way.

Please hang in there with me.
I wish it wasn't – at least in this case – so hard to do something good. I will be doing all I can to make this right for everyone, but first I need a little time to get my head on straight again. Thank you for, I hope, your open hearts and understanding.



  1. thank you for keeping everyone updated with the craziness - you must be so completely exhausted x thank you for thinking of others, we can be patient & wait, knowing you're doing your best to figure things out x candice x

  2. Dear Lynn,

    Just know that, for whatever it's worth, I am (and I'm sure lots of people are) grateful that you started the fundraising and happy that I could take part in it. I hope you'll be able to get some sleep and some peace of mind - and I hope that through it all you'll be able to hold on to the thought that at the crucial moment you were there to support others.

  3. make sure you take the time that you need to look after yourself. I have had issues with PayPal in the past and they can be extremely frustrating to deal with but I'm sure things will eventually work out. I have purchased from you in the past and will continue to do so as you produce beautiful work. This incident does not impact negatively from my perspective in any way whatsoever. I am happy to offer whatever support I can - just let me know.
    kind regards

  4. lynn! i'm so sorry that you're having to deal with all this- it sounds like a nightmare. please know that we appreciate your efforts and hard work no matter what the end result is. thank you for being amazing.

  5. Good luck getting this issue resolved. It's such an amazing thing you are doing, and you know that we are all here to support you.