How to Fundraise by Delivering the Christmas Post Christmas Post Lots of Scout Groups/Districts do this and over the years have raised thousands ofpounds. However you decide to spend the money, delivering the Christmas Post is not only agreat money maker, but also highlights to the local community that Scouting is out there,doing things that help others. Legislation Charities can deliver Christmas cards during the period 25 November to 1 January andmake a small charge for this service. According to Section 68 of The BritishTelecommunications Bills, mail can only be carried 'for the purposes of raising funds forcharitable purposes'. A 'Christmas card' is defined as 'a document which conveys agreeting appropriate to the seasons of Christmas and the New Year (or either of them)and no other communication', and a 'Charity' is defined as 'any body of persons or trustestablished for charitable purposes only'. The value of Christmas Post Money is raised by the sale of stamps. The more stamps you sell, the more money youmake. Every Group/District involved should get some percentage of the money raisedless all costs. Ensure you plan your budget, and work out all of the expected costs and know what youneed to raise to recoup those costs. After, all of the monies raised should be splitbetween those taking part. NOTE: In some areas the lead Group/District is allocated a fixed percentage as they doall the planning, purchasing and organising. The other Groups/Districts receive apercentage share of the remaining with the split depending on the number ofGroups/Districts involved. Whatever you decide to do, make sure everyone is signed up to and in total agreementbefore you go ahead. Planning As with any Scout event planning pays dividends. Outline planning should begin in thelate summer to ensure that an efficient and successful scheme is run. To help you planyour scheme you will need to make decisions about the following areas. Delivery and Collection Where are we going to deliver? It is very important to clearly specify the area over which your postal service will deliver.To say it covers a certain Scout District would not be understood by the public. A villageor small town clearly defined by roads or similar boundaries is relatively easy toadminister. At the other end of the scale, complete geographical areas could be coveredby schemes involving many Groups and Districts working together. How often should we deliver? Legally the scheme is able to operate between 25 November and 1 January. ManyGroups/Districts decide to operate just the one delivery after all of the cards have beencollected. Others choose to deliver once a week in the period allowed. Whatever youdecide you must ensure it is manageable. In a large catchment area you could bedealing with thousands of cards and you need to ensure you will have enough volunteersand deliveries to cope with your commitments. Once you have agreed your scheme the details can be used in your advertising of thescheme. It is imperative that your customers know when and where collections anddeliveries are to be made. Remember - sorting the post will always take longer than you think. If you have not run ascheme before it might be best to start small with one delivery date. This will take someof the pressure off and help you to gauge whether or not you could do more. Who is going to collect and deliver? If your scheme is going to cover a large geographical area, with many Groups or Districtsinvolved it is imperative that those involved know well in advance the area they areresponsible for. Each of these Groups/Districts can also be involved in advertising thescheme prior to its launch. Remember that delivering in rural areas may be more timeconsuming than a town area. Numbers of collectors need to be allocated accordingly.Delivering mail is a responsible act. Mistakes and disappointment must be avoided at allcosts. NOTE: Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts and Scouts must only deliver Christmas Post underadult supervision and only during daylight hours. How do we collect cards? Posting Boxes As a general rule the size of a posting box should be governed by the size of thecatchment area. Please bear in mind that the bigger the posting box the more difficult itwill be to find a shop willing to accept it. Sites for Posting Boxes Posting boxes need to be situated in places where people will readily see them. Manyschemes have found newsagents and businesses where people routinely call for daily orweekly shopping, libraries, old people's homes, community centres and church porchesto be ideal. Some schemes may involve manning boxes in shopping areas on Saturdaymornings. Whatever system is used the posting boxes must be secure, clearly labelled and emptiedon a regular basis. You cannot expect the shopkeeper to empty the posting box for you. How do we sort the cards? Delivery rounds must be agreed upon and clear maps and lists of street names andnumbers should be produced to make the sorting simple. You will need plenty of spaceand a number of cardboard boxes, a "raid" on a local supermarket or shoe shop shouldprovide you with the latter. Depending upon the size of the scheme the sort will be inthree or four stages: Stage 1: Sort the post into Group areasStage 2: Frank the cardsStage 3: Sort the Group areas into delivery roundsStage 4: Sort each round by street name and numbers NOTE: Small schemes operated by a single Group need only complete stages 2-4. During a sort you may come across cards that do not fall within your delivery area.These must either be passed to the Scout post team for the relevant area or consignedto the official postal authorities by affixing a second class stamp. Incomplete andincorrect addresses will inevitably occur. Telephone directories and local informationmay help to redirect these cards. It is much quicker for Explorer Scouts and adults to dothe sorting. Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts and Scouts may be perfectly able, but timeconstraints normally make it impractical until the final delivery sort (stage 4). Finance Do we have to use the stamps? No, but there must be an indicator on the envelope that shows the postee has paid forthe service. This can be a stamp, or a postmark with a suitable distinguishing mark. You may decide to operate a 'trust' scheme'. This is where the cards and the charge areplaced in the 'post box' together. If you choose to operate this type of scheme than it isonly necessary to have a rubber stamp manufactured. If you do decide to use stamps there are some considerations: Designs should be clear, show stamp value and have some obvious indication ofscouting A local printer would be able to advise on the best and most economical methods ofproducing your designs Many Groups find it more economical to produce two years stock of stamps in one go Stamps can be produced in several ways Printed perforated stamps - A local printer who can fully perforate may not be easy tofind, but it is worth ringing round. This can be quite an expensive route depending onprint and paper qualities, but it is definitely worth getting a quote. These types of stampsdo look really professional and customers can buy more than they need, and possiblysave some, or give them to collectors. How much should we charge? In general the charge levied for each card sent via the scheme is between half andthree quarters the price of a second class stamp. If you choose to operate a 'trust' system, the charge for the post should be posted inyour post box at the same time as the cards are posted. If you choose to operate a stamp system you can sell your stamps through: Your members and family Local shops and pubs that you have placed letter boxes in. Most local businessesthat are happy to accept the post box are also willing to help with selling stamps.Many are also interested in finding out how successful the scheme was. How do we record monies raised? Whatever method is used to run the scheme, accurate records must be kept of allfinances and should be incorporated in audited with the annual accounts. If stamps are issued to people for sale an accurate return must be made. If money is put on trust into the posting box this must be carefully counted andrecorded. Groups that use the trust method find they are always in pocket. Schemes that may bring the Group or District annual income above the VAT threshold(around £68,000 09/10. These rates are subject to change) should discuss their financialarrangements with their County Treasurer who will be able to give them advice. Are there any additional money making opportunities? Stamp collectors may be interested in purchasing First Day covers, or cancelled covers.There are many collectors all over the world who are interested in these stamps andpostal service. Advertise widely. You could be pleasantly surprised. How do we advertise the scheme? Once sites have been agreed for the posting boxes, stamps ordered, and people haveagreed to supervise and empty the posting boxes, all that is now required is publicity forthe scheme. Publicity is essential and should be the specific responsibility of a person or team. Posterscan be used in shops, windows and on public notice boards. Press releases may berequired for local newspapers, radio and television. Letters can be written to parishmagazines and even personal visits to old peoples' homes and community clubs are anoption. Further publicity can be obtained by way of a leaflet posted with all cards delivered in thefirst week of the scheme. If you have not run a Christmas Post before, you could contact your nearest ScoutGroup/District who have and talk it through with them. They will probably have some greathints and tips that will help you to introduce your service.