Friday, August 21, 2009

Card hospital avoidance: 10 ways to help a sistah out



Whats a "card hospital"? It's the cards that our shippers set aside for a time, cards that need a little extra help. Dark cards needing liners, embellishments falling off, really odd sizes that we have to scramble to find an envelope for. And the poor hospital beds get full!

As we get into the holiday season, we want to try to get the cards processed and packed quickly, and eliminate stayovers in the hospital! Last year we processed and mailed 35,000 cards in the 3month holiday window---and this year will be even more. So the more you can "help a sistah out," the faster we can get your beautiful creations out to our heroes!

  1. Are you sure I can't use Glitter? Many of you have seen our requests not to send glitter cards. It's especially hard during the holidays, we know, and it's a temptation we need you to resist! A little glitter (some stickles in the star on a tree, or some Spica pen on a gift box) is ok, but we really mean a little! If it rubs off on your hand, don't send it please! It takes us time to sort those out.
  2. Can I use dark cardstock? Yes! But if you can't see bic pen written on the cardstock, please please please put a liner in the card. Otherwise our shippers have to sit and do that.
  3. How about handmade envelopes? We're receiving more and more of these. (Is this a trend? Cool!) And while they're okay as long as they'll last in the mail (if they're from thin magazine stock, please be careful, we don't want our heroes letters to be shredded and not make it home to their families!!), we're getting a LOT that have no adhesive to seal them with. Please take care of that on your end, we just don't have the time.
  4. What about envelopes in general? Edited July 2010: We now purchase envelopes - by the thousands! We appreciate your donations toward that; but for our shippers, the time factor of tucking is the 'expensive' part. We're happy to do it, but are also thrilled with those sending in stamped tucked cards!
  5. What kind of special packaging can I use? Keep it minimal! Plastic sleeves have to be removed, so if shippers need to take them each out of a sleeve, that's a lot of time.
  6. Why the A2 card size request? We've emphasized A2 cards or smaller because they're best to get the most cards in a box for our heroes. When we receive larger ones (envelopes any bigger than 4.5 x 5.75), they each take up the space of two cards when we line up rows - and that's just not too efficient when we want to get as many in a box as we can. So if you're able to keep to A2 cards, that really really does help. Note: Square envelopes are quite expensive, so if you send squares, please provide envelopes, thanks!
  7. Does my $1 donation really help? Absolutely! Even a dollar makes a difference, when we all pool our resources together. We treasure each of you who are able to help out! Those who can give more, we appreciate you so much!
  8. Do I have to stamp the cardbacks? If you have a CFH stamp and can stamp them, please do! Some folks use labels or handwrite the url - those are great options too. We love to hear from families who visit after receiving a card from their hero. If you don't have a stamp and plan to order one, please email info@cardsforheroes.org. Thanks!
  9. Should I pack each card with its envelope, or separate? If your card is stamped on the back, tucking the back of the card inside the envelope is helpful. If not, we need to take it out of its envelope anyway, so a stack of cards separate from a stack of envelopes is just fine.
  10. Do I have to include the packing slip? That slip itself isnt necessary, but the info on it is! Please provide your contact info and the quantity of cards inside the box; counting them slows down processing, so if you've assessed what's in there first, it makes our job go more quickly. The slip also helps us when doing data entry to track your cards, so we appreciate when you include it.
So there you have it, 10 tips to help out.....and what's so amazing is the wonderful folks who have been asking these things because you wanted to make life easier for our shippers! You're awesome!!! We truly appreciate all the efforts you all go to for our heroes...thank you all!!!

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