Why pay to be in a Postcard Swap

I am charging a small fee for participation in the postcard swap that I host. But why would you pay to be in a Postcard Swap you might ask? You’re making the postcards and paying for the postal stamps, right? You’re the one doing all the job! So it’s a good question that I want to address today.

Here are two big reasons to to pay to be part of the fun of this particular swap (and other swaps too)…

Why you should pay to be in iHanna's awesome DIY Postcard Swap - and why so many others have paid over the years... It's awesome! :-)

The quick and easy answer could be: Why wouldn’t you pay for a service that is provided for you? Although of course you might not think of it as a service. So let me tell you, when you’re signing up to join my swap, you’ll have me taking care of all the boring stuff for you!

1. It is a service

This swap has always been 100 people or bigger, mostly because my blog is well read. Each person that signs up will be paired with 10 others from around the world, get their addresses on a specific date – sent to the correct e-mail. That’s my job, all you have to do is lean back and check your e-mail (and maybe your spam folder too). On top of that I answer questions, provide inspiration, and try to help when something goes wrong. I create a link up and swap buttons for bloggers, give away free postcard backsides, write blog posts and share my own process, all in the hopes to inspire you.

With more than 100 people joining I juggle a lot of names, e-mails, and addresses. Compared to how many hours of work this takes to arrange it’s a very low fee. Also:

2. You get a community

You will not be left sitting at home creating the ten postcards with this swap. Instead you are encouraged to share and participate. If you want to you can connect with other artists, before and after you receive your postcards. It’s free to join Flickr, and the Flickr group there is filled with inspiration! I always encourage everyone to visit other participants and be nice by leaving a comment.

You can share what you make in a blog post (or several) that you share in the link up, on instagram, twitter and also in the awesome and growing DIY Postcard Swap Group! Tag your photos and posts #diypostcardswap

And as a Bonus you will:

3. Support a Blogger

I wish I could be independent and make a living through sharing my passions online. One way is to try to charge for my services and digital products. This is what I am trying with the DIY Postcard Swap. It’s a small step and you are part of it. And I am very grateful for each and everyone of you who has signed up so far. You rock!

BTW, who do you read and love online? Who inspires you over and over again? Have you ever thought about buying something from one of your favorite bloggers? Maybe someone that you read every day? It might not be me, but I think that maybe you should think about how you show appreciation for all the free inspiration you get online! Comments is lovely, but they do not pay bills. Read more about this in a previous post: Sustainability vs Free.

Oh well, I’m throwing in another bonus reason, free of charge, here:

4. You will get a Deadline

Once you pay and sign up you have to start creating! As a writer I know the power of a deadline, and that is also something Natalie of Smallest Forest mentions in her recent post. And I quote:

Whether you’re new to mail art, or someone who typically sends something in the post every week, iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap is a great opportunity to make ten original postcard-sized works of art in a month’s time—thanks to the little push of a deadline — for artists from around the world, and receive ten surprising, delightful, beautiful works of art in the mail from ten other artists. The swap is diligently organized, refereed, administered and documented by Hanna, herself, so that everything goes smoothly, everyone receives their mail art at *more or less* the same time, and nobody gets left out. Now in its fifth year, the number of participants has grown well past the hundred mark…that’s a decent-sized creative community to be part of, and an indication of the swap’s growing popularity.

Needless to say, I’m joining this May’s DIY Postcard Swap.

Nat also wrote a informative post on how to customizing the address side of your postcards, you should check it out. But first I want to quote another participant, Barbara Martin. She writes:

I find this entire process so inspiring that I am participating yet again, I think this is the third time for me.

To be truthful, I am not sure which part of the venture I find most inspiring. I appreciate its power to get my creativity moving. It instills a firm deadline, a finite quantity, and a specific scope. That kind of limiting helps me focus. Being focused makes it easier to get into the process of creating the work, in this case the hand made post cards.

I also enjoy knowing it is a group effort. Even though we each work independently, I can somehow sense the shared commitment, cooperation and friendly spirit behind the project.

And if a reward is what floats your boat, who doesn’t like to receive beautiful mail?

Finally, Betty Richardson, sums up this swap nicely:

A great place and event to put your best foot forward! There is a small fee for participation, but it is definitely well worth it.

So now you know why there is a small fee to participate, and why so many pays to join! You are most welcome to join the swap too of course, if you haven’t already. You can sign up here until April 28th or join my Newsletter to know when the next one is arranged.

If you have blogged about your postcards this spring you can share them in this link up post!

BTW: I have only gotten this question once or twice since I started charging the fee. Surprisingly few times, actually. This year though I’ve seen the question indirectly on other social networks, maybe from folks who might not read my blog at all. Still, I think it is a valid questions, and one I have answered previous years but felt I wanted to get back to now, and will add to the FAQ.

Thanks for being around!

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10 Responses to Why pay to be in a Postcard Swap

  1. Traci says:

    Makes sense to me. I’m a bit too busy to participate right now, but I hope you make it a regular thing!

  2. Beverly says:

    Love this swap!
    One thing I’ve learnt from a marketing point of view in business is that if there is no charge, people put no value on it.

  3. Melanie says:

    Hello. I get your newsletter via my email. I love your blog and have actually participated in a couple of your swaps. I love them and never gave it much thought about the sign up fee. Never bothered me at all. I know you put some the me and effort into coordinating that I don’t mind paying at all. Your artwork is really cool. I would love be to participate in his swap but I don’t have the money to do so right now. B t I will be in the next one!! Aretill doing one in the fall? Keep up the good work and don’t let anyone get you down. Your postcard swaps are really great!!

  4. Sandra Dorey says:

    Of course you need to charge a fee – this is a wonderful, brilliant, fun event to participate in and it takes time and effort, commitment, love and work fem you to put it together!!
    Anyone who questions it does not understand what it takes.
    You and your funky nail varnish ROCK!!!!!!

  5. jenny says:

    great post hanna-i agree with all of it :) this being my first year as well as my first swap, i didn’t think twice about the nominal fee. i will be making my postcards next week, knowing i paid to participate is a great motivation-not that i need one ;) but it does make a difference. i want to have them ready to go when you send the addresses. thank you for doing this-i’m so excited =)

  6. claudia says:

    Best money I’ve ever spent!!! Seriously, you do a fantastic job and should charge more, exactly for the reasons you list.

  7. I totally agree you should be compensated for the many hours you put into organizing this event, and I also think the fee helps create a group of people who are really invested in the swap. I’ve tried some free swaps, but they often seem to have a high percentage of people who don’t follow through with participation. Nothing worse than putting your energy into making things and sending them out, only to get nothing back.

    …And for the value I’ve consistently gotten from participating in your swap, the fee you charge is a bargain!

  8. NancyLee says:

    Works for me! I signed up, not thinking twice about the fee.
    THAT was a no brainer…

  9. Pam says:

    Hannah, I just got your email with the names of the people who will receive my post cards. I am thrilled, and have been looking forward to this event for weeks!
    You mentioned 2400 post cards were sent last year – how may for this year?

    I can’t wait to receive mine. I will send them with tomorrow’s mail.

    Thank you Hannah! What a fun event. Keep my name and I’ll do it again next year!

    • iHanna says:

      Thank you! I am so glad you wanted to join the swap this year and you’re most welcome to join the autumn swap too!

      We didn’t quite get to the record 2400 postcards but almost, over 200 participants this year again. Lots of e-mails sent out today, but I have such a great feeling inside my heart once I am finished. :-)

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