Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cards for Church: Preparation

This is a long post.  If you have only clicked here for today's card, scroll all the way to the bottom!

Part 3 of a series on Church Card Ministries:

OK.  You have decided you want to start a church cardmaking ministry.  Now what?

There are many decisions to be made.

1. When will you gather?
We meet once a month, but have two sessions to fit everybody's lives.  We meet on the first Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30 and the Friday afternoon after that from 1:00-3:00.

2. How many cards will you need?
We have grown to three full racks of cards that we maintain, but we have been at this for a decade, so the ministry has had a chance to grow.  You might want to start smaller.

We make four of each card that we put on our racks.  (See yesterday's post for the pictures and types of cards).  We find that any more than that and they don't all sell.  Four seems to be a good number.  The designer of the card has all the supplies out to make their sample, so they might as well cut the rest of the sheet of cardstock and have three more ready to make!

3. Do you have enough cardmakers in your church to design and prepare cards?
You can get by with total beginners to MAKE the cards, but you need some experienced cardmakers to DESIGN them. Our designers put together a sample card along with a kit of supplies to make three more of that card.  (Tomorrow's post will go into detail on our card kits) 

At our monthly gatherings, each cardmaker puts together one kit of three cards and some make it through a second kit.  We probably average 1 1/2 kits per cardmaker at each session.  If I have 20 people show up to make cards, I need 30 card kits available - that's a lot of preparation.   So you definitely want to make sure you have some experienced card designers on board!

4. Will you "reward" your team of cardmakers?
For every card kit that our cardmakers make, they get one free card - it can be one that they made or anything off the racks.

5. How will you display the cards?
We have been lucky enough to get donated racks from scrapbooking/cardmaking stores that have gone out of business. (Lucky for the racks, very unlucky to lose some great stores!)  If you have to buy the racks consider two things (1) they need to be sturdy enough so they don't tip which means a little more expensive and (2) look for racks that don't go too low to the ground - one of our racks gets very low for people to stoop and look so the cards on the bottom don't sell as well.

We also have a small table next to the racks that includes the money box, some extra envelopes and a few instructions on mailing handmade cards.  (NOTE: we do try to keep our cards fairly flat and a standard size so that mailing isn't an issue - but sometimes you just HAVE to add that extra embellishment or make a square card!)


6. How will you sell the cards and for how much?
Will you leave the cards out at all times or is it a special Sunday morning event?  The purchase of our cards is on the honor system.  We keep a lock box on a table next to our card racks.  You may want to carefully consider this.  I know of one church that has had their cardmaking money stolen twice.  So far, our lock box has stayed put.  We like keeping it out at all times because we have people drop by all week long for cards.

How much will you charge?  (NOTE: be sure to work on a donation basis - I believe there are other consequences if you "sell" the cards.) We request a donation of $3/card or 2 for $5.  I think this is probably underpriced for what you get, and I know a lot of the "buyers" agree as they will donate more than is requested.  So it all works out.  We don't scare away anyone by a high price, but we tend to average higher than the price.

You should also decide if the funds that you raise have a special purpose.  Our funds go to the church crisis fund for families in need except for October - breast cancer awareness month.  We make breast cancer cards and donate our funds to research. 

7. Are you going to "protect" the cards?
This is a fairly minor decision but we struggle with it on a regular basis.  Do you want to keep the cards in individual plastic bags (such as the ones sold by Stampin' Up with a little adhesive on the closure)?  This keeps them protected from fingerprints and from being shoved back in the racks causing embellishments to be dislodged (Yes...this is a pet peeve of mine!).  In our experience, if we try to protect them, people still take them out of the bags to see them up close and personal so it's a waste of time and money. But we do keep trying!

8. What supplies could you/should you have on hand?
There are a number of supplies that we keep on hand as it is easier to buy in bulk and, frankly, cheaper for your designers if the church supplies them:
  • Envelopes.  We use fairly cheap envelopes that we buy on sale at Office Depot or Staples.   They are quite cheap and somewhat flimsy, but you have to balance the cost of your cards/supplies vs. what the church raises in funds.  At some point, you could cross the line such that the church would make more if you gave them the money that you spent on supplies!
  • White/Ivory cardstock.  Our designers just use a quarter panel of cs/dsp for the front of the card.  That way they can get a sample card and the three cards that are made from one sheet of paper.  We supply the cardstock on which the front is glued.  In that way we can buy reams of cardstock from paper supply stores
  • Adhesive.  Adhesives can get EXPENSIVE.  Tape-runners are very pricey and don't have all of that much adhesive in them. We have settled on two types of adhesive to satisfy people who have different preferences: Scotch double-sided tape and Zip-Dry Paper Glue.  Both of these can be purchased cheaply (the Scotch tape in bulk at office supply stores and the Zip-Dry at any big box hobby store on sale or with coupons).  And...very importantly...they stick!  Our cards get a lot of handling and other adhesives have fallen apart on us.
  • Basic supplies: We have boxes for each table of cardmakers that include the following: tape dispenser, stamp cleaning pad & spray, scissors, scissors just for ribbon, tweezers, small ruler, paper piercer, scrap paper and a small 12" paper cutter.
  • Stamping surface: Our church has those white "plastic" tables.  If you have those, run your hand across them - they are seriously warped.  So, to get a good stamped image, we also supply thick foam stamp surfaces for each individual.  We use red Rubber Stamp Pads by Darice.  They are 11x17 but we cut them in half.  You can also use thick craft foam but for badly warped tables, it doesn't help as much.

We are finally at the fun part - making the cards.  Tomorrow, I will talk about how we put together card kits for our group to complete.

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Today's sketch challenge at SplitCoast Stampers had lots of angled panels which is really not my favorite thing.  (In my former life, I had a career as an actuary - lots of math - I don't do angles!)  When I do see angles, I think humor, so here's my attempt - - -

You know you're old when...
your driver's license picture
looks better than you do!
  • Stamps: Gina K You Know You're Old When...
  • Ink: Memento Black and copics
  • Paper: PaperTrey Spring Moss, Enchanted Evening, DCWV dp
  • Accessories: Stampin' Up Navy Grosgrain

1 comment:

Kris Dickinson said...

Great write-up Kim! You do an amazing job with the card ministry.