Tuesday, January 2, 2018

3 TIPS for CHEAPER & BETTER Handouts, Invitations, and Posters for any activity or event

I've always felt that advertising is key when it comes to church activities... While you don't necessarily need a beautiful handout for every single Mutual activity, a well thought out and eye-catching handout or invitation can make the difference in your attendance. Once I started upping my handout game, I noticed that the youth would actually take home (and even display or save!) my handouts and invitations (instead of dropping them in the trash on their way out the classroom door!)

For many years, I've been creating my own handouts and posters for ward and stake events. The "old school" way of making posters by hand or even making on the computer and then printing them at home was way too much work and/or cost me far too much in printer ink. Since I started printing advertisements using these 3 tips, I have gotten more compliments than I can count. I am no longer YW President in our ward, but I am still often asked to help with advertising for other ward events. Even the High Priests Group in our ward has started using these methods - they have beautiful, glossy, memorable handouts and posters for every BBQ and Pancake Breakfast!

Once, the Stake President was in our ward building and saw the advertisements I had made for our ward's annual Youth Fundraiser activity. "WOW," he said, "You must have a pretty big Young Women budget!" I just had to laugh - we didn't have a big budget. I'd printed hundreds of full color glossy invitations for less than $10.00.  I'd simply figured out how to make a bigger impact, spend less time doing busy-work, and have better looking advertising!

Before we get into the 3 tips, let me say that I mention the name of multiple retail stores, websites, and software programs below, but I am not employed by any of these companies (and I am not compensated by any of them for my opinions here). I am simply sharing my personal experience.

Here are three tips that have helped me to get more professional looking and memorable (even KEEP-worthy!) handouts, invitations, and posters.


A few examples of invitations and handouts printed as 4"x6" photos

I've learned that by creating my own advertisements on my computer and then having them printed on glossy photo paper (as a "photo"), I get a better looking result at a lower cost. If you are worried about your ability to design your own advertisements online, see tip #3! If you feel comfortable with digital design, remember that you will need to have the item you want printed in an appropriate format (such as a .jpg or a pdf, depending on where/how you are having it printed) in order to have it printed. The staff can help with this if you are new to the process. Basically I will create a handout (or whatever it is) like in the example below, making sure that it is in the size I need (such as 4"x 6") and then they print it on glossy paper as if it were a photo. At first I thought that maybe they would care that they were printing something other than an actual photo, but nobody seems to care at all.

I prefer to use a local photo shop with same-day pick-up (many stores offer photo printing, such as many Walmart stores and drugstore chains) because I often need my prints right away.

Here are a few examples of the types of advertisements than can be created using programs like PhotoShop or websites like Picmonkey:

A few more examples of handouts & invitations which were printed as 4"x6" photos


It is much more cost effective to have things that I needed printed for events (such as invitations or posters for the bulletin boards) at a local photo place (I use Walgreens, which is a drugstore in our area, but you can do the same thing anywhere you have photos printed). I place my order online and then pick it up in store. Walgreens almost always advertises a coupon code to be used at checkout. I can always get at least 30% off the total order, often 40% off the total order, and sometimes more. If you need to print MANY things (like 50+) you can often get a bigger discounts.

I always check retailmenot.com (a website that has up to date online coupon codes), and you can check any photo service you want to use and find a better deal than if you paid full price. I've always gotten a discount of some kind.

I most often print 4"x6" (regular size photo prints). When you look at the total cost (prices may vary, but for me this is usually about 9 or 10 cents each for a 4x6" print), it might seem like a lot of $ compared to how much it would cost to photocopy something in the meetinghouse library. Except you get what you pay for - and people are much less likely to throw away or lose a beautiful full color glossy print than a 1/4 sheet black and white grainy photo copy. It's made a big change in our advertising - I hardly ever hear "what time is the activity again?" anymore - people keep and look at these types of handouts. And the posters are much more eye-catching when they are printed on photo paper!

One day I calculated how much I was spending trying to print (color) handouts on my home printer. It was 25 cents a page. If I could fit 2 of the same thing on one page, it would cost me about 12 cents each. It is literally cheaper for me to print a handout as a photo (usually 9 or 10 cents). Like I said before, if you have MANY prints to print at once (like 50 or 100 or more), you can usually find an online coupon that lowers the cost per print.

I don't print color photos for everything, but I do use this method for printing invitations/handouts to major activities/events, and also for other important things (like printing copies of the YW theme or Personal Progress reminders).


Don't want to create your own advertisement from scratch on your computer? You can BUY premade digital printables for a very reasonable price. I have done this several times myself when I was short on time or it was a project that was more complicated than I was able to handle. On sites like Etsy.com, you can purchase printable invitations, handouts, posters, etc that people have created to sell. The cost is minimal (price varies, but my digital printables average around $2 each), and there is such a great variety out there that you can pretty much find anything you are looking for - any event, any style, etc. Once you purchase a digital printable, you can make as many copies as you need (make sure to note any copyright specifications in the seller's description, but these items are created to be printed by the purchaser).

Keep in mind that if you purchase a digital file, you will still be responsible for ordering your own prints and for the printing costs that are involved in printing whatever items you want printed. In purchasing a digital file, you are paying for the use of the creation (such as a poster featuring the 2018 Youth Theme) and the right to print it for personal use (Church use is considered personal use).

Many items are also customizable (for example, in my Etsy shop, I sell invitations to Y.W.I.E. and New Beginnings that I can add your Ward's name and the event date/time to for you. So they will be totally professional looking and ready to print at a local shop at your convenience!

If you're interested in purchasing YW related printables, check out Etsy - especially MY Etsy shop! (here)   :)

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