Tutorial: Host a cardmaking party!

If you are scheduling a cardmaking party, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
  • Think about what kind of party you want to have. A few friends invited to your home? A community event at a church or library meeting room? Something in between? Will this be a traditional party where cards are made at the event, or a "card drive" where cards are made ahead of time and donated at the event.
  • Pick a date. The birthday bash goes through the month of September with cards to be in the shipper's hands by September 30! Sign your event up here to get on the calendar!
  • Who is going to attend? Will the participants have previous cardmaking experience? If not, you may need to ask other experienced cardmakers to help new people on the day of the event.

  • Get the word out. Send invitations to friends. Put flyers at local craft stores or veterans' halls. Contact local news and radio channels and newspapers. Here is a press release you can use. Invite school service organizations (FCA, Beta Club, Key Club), scouting and church groups and veterans' organizations. Your local library or Chamber of Commerce will probably have a list of service organizations (Optimists, Lions, Quota) in your city. Here are some sample letters you can use for individuals and for organizations. You will need to insert your own information into these letters.
  • Recruit help. Ask friends to take on specific tasks for the big day. Friends can help with finger food, making card kits, helping inexpeienced people assemble their cards, setting up the laptop with Skype connection if you want Sandy to "visit."
  • Will there be food? If you are using a public library or similar venue, find out whether serving food is an option. If so, choose finger foods that are easy to eat and won't make a mess around the cards. This will be particularly important if children are present.
  • Design your cards. For the Birthday Bash, half the cards should be Christmas/winter holiday and half birthday or thinking of you. Remember that large quantities of the same card can make things difficult for the shipper, so you will want to have more than one design for each occasion, depending on your goal. If your guests are less experienced with cardmaking, you will also want to choose designs that are not complicated and assemble card kits ahead of time.
  • Make card kits. Depending on the skill level of the participants, card kits can be pre-made to only require assembly or allow individuals to do their own stamping and coloring of images. Since several people may be making cards from the same kit at the same time, have more than one of necessary supplies available so people won't be waiting for a turn with the punches or ink. Click here if you need some ideas for making your card kits (Thanks, Sandy!).
  • Consider Sponsorships and Donations. Create a Firstgiving page for your party and ask people to go there to donate toward the cause. Would a service organization be willing to sponsor your party "walkathon style" by donating a dollar for every card made on the big day? Are there local businesses that might help sponsor your birthday bash by donating supplies? Gifts to Operation Write Home are tax deductible; financial donations can be made through Firstgiving or Paypal, cash or check.

  • Supplies - Even if you have card kits made ahead of time, be sure to bring extra supplies "just in case" - extra cardstock, paper cutters, scissors, markers, etc. Bring more glue sticks and adhesives than you think you need.
  • Any hero cards - Any Hero cards can be pre-made or purchased. Here's a video with tips for card signing. Here are some kids' coloring pages and instructions you can post at the signing station. Decorate a "drop box" for people to drop their letters and be sure to bring pens and markers!
  • Laptop - If your venue has internet access Sandy can visit with your cardmakers via Skype. Skype is super easy to set up and use. Your guests can also use the laptop to make donations to your Firstgiving page. To set up a visit from Sandy, email her at sandy@operationwritehome.org.
  • Get your party listed! We have a nationwide event calendar to help spread the word about our OWH parties. Go to the Party page ands scroll to the form at the bottom to sign up your event.

    Whew! Is that a lot to keep up with? Here's a checklist to help you keep up with your progress. Please post any other suggestions or questions in comments, and watch the OWH Forum for conversations about Cardmaking parties and events.

    Susan  – (August 3, 2010 at 12:23 PM)  

    How come I can't turn the music off on this blog? I wanted to watch the video, but it is being over run by the music and I do not see your music player so I can hit the stop button.

    Kate  – (August 3, 2010 at 1:02 PM)  

    Susan - Not sure what's happening. There's no music on the S&S blog. The video itself has piano music that is just part of the video playing an old song "Gonna sit right down and write myself a letter" but it's just instrumental. There's no actual speaking on the video, it's all pictures and captions and music. Does that help?

    Susan  – (August 3, 2010 at 1:20 PM)  

    Please disregard...someone had another site opened, which had music playing, all fixed...ARRRGH...sorry about that.

    BUT on my Tuesday tip today I made it an ad, check it out:


    Unknown  – (August 3, 2010 at 9:32 PM)  

    For some reason I'm not able to see the sample letters! I don't seem to have the correct program...can someone help me out! LOL Thanks in advance :)

    Finger Food  – (August 6, 2010 at 1:35 PM)  

    Great site - remember you can always get a caterer to sort out fingerfood for a party

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