Friday, July 11, 2014

Oh Happy Day Postcard Poster

My mom celebrated a BIG birthday in May!

Leading up to her special day, I wanted to shower her with "snail mail" love from family and friends, so I coordinated a postcard project. (I first learned about this idea here.)

For this project, I contacted 25 of our family members and my mom's friends (Facebook was awesome for that!), and asked them if they'd be willing to print one postcard, write a special message to my mom and mail it to her prior to her birthday.

I was particularly excited to coordinate this postcard project for my mom because she LOVES puzzles.

Each postcard has a unique design on the back. When all the postcards are placed in the appropriate spots, they form a birthday poster that says, "I'm so glad you were born."

Most people wrote a few sentences on the back of their postcard, addressed it, and mailed it off.  

A few friends included a picture with their postcard (great idea!). 

Some people printed out their postcard, wrote a special message, and enclosed it in a birthday card for my mom. (No extra postage needed!)

I love that my mom received so much mail in the 10-day period leading up to her birthday.

Who doesn't love getting good old-fashioned mail?!

In case you're interested, here's a little bit more about my process for this project.

1 | About a month before my mom's birthday, I wrote out a list of 30 people I thought would be willing to help out. (It's always good to jot down a few extra people in case someone can't participate.)

2 | Of those 30 people, I selected 25 friends and family members.  I gathered some of the addresses in Outlook, and emailed my mom's friends on Facebook for their contact information.

3 | Next, I sent out an email to each person with a specific attachment.  (Yes, that's 25 emails in total!) Person #1 on my list received Postcard Attachment #1, Person #2 received Postcard Attachment #2 and so on.  

4 | If a person replied saying they couldn't participate (one person didn't have access to a printer), then I just pulled a name off the "extras" list and sent out an email with the correct postcard number.

5 | I also sent out an email to all participants about a week before my mom's birthday, reminding them to mail their postcards if they hadn't already done so.   

This is the second time I've done this project. When my aunt Susie turned 50, I completed my first postcard project. My aunt was surprised, elated, and appreciative.

I had so much fun doing it then that I knew I'd want to do it again in the future for someone near and dear to my heart.

Each time, I coordinate this project, I learn something new. I also think about how I might do things differently next time. 

Thoughts for Next Time

1 | Mention to participants that if card stock is an issue (I always have some on hand for scrapbooking, but many people do not), just print the postcard on copy paper and back it with construction paper or place it in an envelope and mail it. 

2 | Share how large the postcard should be when printed. (For instance, in this case the cards should have been 4x6, but some were smaller or larger than that.)

3 | If I want the cards to look uniform (all the same color with the writing on the blank side), consider printing them myself and then mailing one to each person.  I could also add postage, so that all the recipient would have to do is write a message and place the postcard in a mailbox.  

4 | Take a picture of a sample postcard--printed, cut out, written on and stamped. Shoot photos of both the front and the back. Make sure to point out that the side with the design should NOT be written on; it's part of the completed puzzle. 

5 | Tell participants that if their card is blank (all of the corners of the puzzle are blank), they can write on either side.

6 | Although I love this birthday postcard poster, I also love the idea of taking a childhood photo of the birthday person to Kinko's, Staples or Costco and having the photo blown up. Then, you could cut the photo up into 4x6 postcards, stamp them, and mail them out to family and friends in envelopes. (The number of people involved would depend upon the size of the poster. The bigger, the better, I say!)

This is one of those projects that puts a HUGE grin on my face.  It's such a joy helping to make people feel loved and appreciated on their special day! I think I enjoy it *almost* as much as the person receiving the postcards.

It's a team effort, though. I couldn't have done it without the help of our family and my mom's friends.

A BIG THANKS to all of you (you know who you are) for printing, writing, and mailing postcards to my mom! (She LOVED reading all of your sweet messages!)

I know you'll agree with me when I say that I'm so glad she was born!

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