Sunday, October 11, 2009

Host a Cardmaking Party!

Consider hosting a cardmaking party! Gather some of your friends, or meet new ones by hosting an event! It can be small or large, all-day or just a few hours. We've gathered some info from some of those who have hosted a party already, and we'll edit this page as we get more feedback as well — so let us know your ideas too!

Choose a date. 
Weekend, afternoon, evening, whatever works for you and your friends.

Choose a location. 
In your home, at your church, or a local community center....depending on how big you would like your event to be. Community centers may require a fee to use their facilities - try letting them know what it's for and they may give you a discount or free space! You'll need tables, chairs, and possibly a kitchen facility if you plan to go crazy on snacks.

Plan a few details.
Decide if you'll ask people to bring supplies or not; if you'll serve snacks or potluck treats (food always helps people get motivated to come!); and any help you need.

Get the word out:
Create a flyer for your event! OWH has a flyer template (click here to download) and invitation template (click here to download) or make up your own! Use the OWH logo (click here to download), and pick a photo of one of our heroes from our Flickr gallery. Post the flyer in craft stores (with their permission!), church or school bulletin boards, or mail it to your friends.
Post about it on our Facebook page. Lots of our cardmakers look there, so be sure to note the city and date for everyone to find. We'll re-post there and on Twitter to help you get out the word.
Email us to recruit cardmakers via email. We can send an email to our cardmaker list from your state to let them know; we'll blind-copy you on the email and ask anyone who wishes to rsvp to email you directly.

Gather supplies.
Recruit donated supplies and door prizes from a local craft store; or raid your own stash and that of your friends! You might ask attendees to bring their own scissors or adhesive if you want to share the burden.  *We'll be adding some simple card sketches with supply lists on this blog in the near future, so stay tuned - if you have such things we can post, email us!

Prepare designs & supplies ahead.
Card preparations can be simple or elaborate, depending on your invitees; some groups will only want to create simple cards using easy techniques, others will want to be challenged. If you're unsure of your attendees, have a mix of levels of difficulty! Here's a range of ideas:
  1. Design all your cards ahead, and have all papers cut to size, with stamps, inks, and embellishments in boxes or bags with instructions, ready to go. Prepare enough for each attendee to make 2 of each design.
  2. Design cards ahead, and provide a sample, allowing participants to cut and assemble the parts instead of you cutting them ahead.
  3. More advanced crafters: Provide a selection of supplies for attendees to pick from. (We've heard that putting out "everything" allows a little too much creativity, and doesn't lead to making much, so you may wish to have some samples made if some wish to just follow instructions!)
  4. Experienced crafters: consider asking each to create a card design and prepare enough “packets” for each attendee expected. This is great way to allow your naturally creative guests to showcase their talents and split the work involved as well.
  5. Do-your-own-thing crafters: Invite your participants to bring their own project cards for OWH to assemble at the event.
Collect more cards, and raise funds.
Invite your friends to clear out their "stash" to bring and add to your total for the event. You can also put a jar out to collect donations, make your snack bar a bake-sale style fundraiser, or set a price for attendance in order to collect monies. Dollars raised can help you ship your box to one of our shippers, as well as be included to help OWH with shipping. Note: if any donors request a receipt, please have them fill out one of our Packing Slips and clip it to their check.

Time for your party!
Set up. Ask a few friends to help set up (and clean up later!). You'll need:
  1. Tables and chairs; chipboard, tablecloths, or paper to protect the tables; trashcans (some folks tape a lunchbag to the edge of the table between each pair of chairs).
  2. Basic supplies for each card: be sure to have adhesive, papers, inks, scissors, and any special tools handy. A slip of paper with instructions, as well as a sample card inside a plastic sleeve or baggie, will help people follow along.
  3. Have an area for cards that need to dry (ie stickles, liquid adhesives). 
  4. Snack table. (can't forget that!) Be sure you remind people to leave messy snacks safely away from cardmaking supplies. 
  5. Printed out Packing Slips for those who bring cards with them; you may also wish to print out our "Letters Home" booklet for inspiration! Bring your OWH stamp for the backs of the cards.
  6. Set aside an area for finished cards, donation jar, and for those who bring cards from home to drop off what they're providing.
Make cards! Visit with your friends while making cards - friendships are one of the most fun parts of cardmaking, so don't miss out by stressing yourself out!
Have a table set aside for all finished cards. Lay them out beautifully and take photos at the end - you'll want to share the pictures with OWH for our blog, gallery, or Facebook page! Email the photos as a thankyou to your attendees after the event, too.
Stamp the backs of all the cards. Invite crafters to do that as they complete cards, or do that all at once when the cards are completed. Those who bring extra cards to the party might like to spend a few minutes stamping the backs of their cards too.
Write to heroes. Ask each person at the party to write one card to a hero. Remind them that AnyHero letters are truly treasured - so even a short note means a lot!
Pack up. Prepare boxes to hold all your completed cards. Fill out a Packing Slip for your party cards (you can include a count of all cards brought to the party if they're not on separate packing slips, or include several packing slips - whatever works for you.) If you wish, include a photo of the cardmakers that we can mail to our heroes as well.

After your party, email party photos to each participant. It's nice to send them a photo of the whole batch of cads, people-pics, and a photo of each card, so they can remember what they made. Report to them how many cards they made, so they can share in the feeling of achievement!
Post a few pictures on our Facebook Fan Page - we all love to see what our OWH family's up to!
Email feedback to OWH! Let us know how it went - what would you do differently, what recommendations do you have for others hosting a party?

We'll edit this post as we get more feedback and tips on hosting an event!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips its a great help I hope to have one at my local cc

Shara said...

This really helped me a lot. Thanks!