Here is how I did it. I asked people on the messageboard (MB) if anyone would be interested in participating in a Calling Card (CC) swap. I forgot to add in the request to send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, but got feedback that week that it should be SASE so I don't incur extra cost. Someone else suggested that it would be nice to include a few extra stamps or dollars in case there wasn't enough postage. Someone else needed them mailed back as flat as possible so they would be able to get them through their postbox. See, learning as I go... I set the parameters to commit by April 24 & mail by May 1. That gave a nice window of time to get participants to commit to the swap and make them. I asked for 3"x3" cards, with real name, MB name, email address, blog address. If people wanted to add more information they could but were not obliged. I posted links to other CC's from other discussion posts for inspiration. Once the commit-by date came up I private messaged (PM'd) my mailing address to each participant.
Inevitably someone had to back out, I didn't make a bid deal about it because this is meant to be a fun thing for everyone, life does get in the way. I would rather someone backed out than "flaked" and didn't send their CC's which would hold up the whole thing. A new MB member appeared & asked if there was time to join so I offered her the opening. Then Canada Post send back someone's CC & someone else's express post wasn't received in the promised CanPost timeline, then CanPost decided to start rolling strikes...
I have learned:
- Using the first post to track details of who is participating and how many is smart
- Be patient & post clear instructions. People are busy, life is busy, people don't always read instructions, its okay, it does work out.
- Suggesting looking around at what others have made for inspiration is good.
- Suggesting to make extras while learning to make projects to swap is helpful to take the stress off of "messing up" while figuring it out.
- Asking for help or direction from the group is smart.
- SASE envelopes are nicer if the participant has already written in the return mailing adress, then I don't have to do it.
- Postal outlets are not allowed to use scale prepaid postage labels because they are not legal, they are not meant to have the wrong date to return mail.
- stamps, cash, prepaid Expresspost envelopes are all easy. To cash a money order CanPost needs to see your ID to cash, but I can't believe the policy is write down the information, I didn't think that was legal.
- Regular mail cost for 20 CC averaged between $1.25 and $2.06 They arrive in 4-10 days from mailing.
- Packing flat cost less than packing bulky
- Saran wrap in bundles of 5 or 10 CC was nice, neat, easy to put into envelopes.
- Pretty packing tape really looks good for the packaging details
- Gift enclosures with received CC are such a sweet & unexpected fun bonus! I didn't post to the main thread but made sure to PM and write a thank you note as they were to received enclose in the return mail.
- Noting the arrival date on each received parcel for reference is good, as well as noting the MB name, what extras for postage or directions is helpful.
- Being flexible for expectations is good, but parameters are important to keep it fair to everyone. I didn't want this to drift along all summer.
- A friendly reminder to not post or blog other people's details on the CC they receive is courteous and respectful of participant privacy. (boy that sounds official!)
- I asked everyone & got about 50% approval to sent one of each CC to an American friend who used to moderate the MB. When sending to the USA customs declarations are required, I labeled them as about $10 value & declared them as crafting cards.