Suggestions for groups: Sunday school class, scout group, young Moms
Suggestions for meeting place: church, library, community center
Advice from the founder, Nancy Willis who started the first group at her church:
I’m so pleased that you want to do this!! My best advice is to not get discouraged. Every clipping group I know of started very small with just one or two folks getting together. It WILL grow over time. I also encourage folks to clip at home telling them it is the only mission project I know where you can sit in your jammies at your kitchen table watching tv and STILL be helping other people in need. One of the best benefits of clipping is that if people can use scissors and can see fairly well, they can help. You may have older folks in your congregation that feel they cannot “do mission projects” like painting someone’s house or helping with a car wash. This project is PERFECT for them. They can work at home and/or come to the church to clip and have fellowship. Many are lonely and feel useless. We also have some teenagers who need to do service projects either because they got in trouble with the law or they need service hours to meet requirements for certain school organizations like National Honor Society. I make sure they clearly understand how I expect the coupons to be clipped and when I need them returned. They understand up front that if the work is not done correctly, they will get a thank you letter but if not cut properly then no letter-which they have to have in order to get credit. If you decide to do this later, I can email you a sample letter to give to the teenager to turn in to the judge or to the school.
You will find that some like to cut the inserts and some will like to re-trim some coupons that are not trimmed correctly. We have a plastic basket in the lobby of our church as an easy place to drop off coupons. You will have more folks donate coupon inserts than you have clippers. If you know folks in your church or community who own a business like a hair salon, a nail salon or a spa, you might ask them if they would allow you to put a coupon basket in their store. Ask your congregation to encourage their family and neighbors to save their coupon inserts.
Make announcements at church and in your church newsletter and on your church’s website (if you have one). Talk to friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers and ask them to save their inserts for the project. I tell everyone to cut out the coupons they want for themselves and put the leftovers in the collection box. Some schools are willing to collect them in the teacher’s lounge but be sure to pick them up routinely so they don’t accumulate and look unsightly. If you can get in touch with your paper carrier who delivers your newspaper, explain what the project is and ask him if you can have his leftover inserts. Some have had success in contacting small stores such as a combination food mart/gas station. Most of these types of business just throw their leftover Sunday papers into their dumpster. Ask if you can have the leftovers if you promise to be there early on Monday morning. They probably would not have room to store them for pick up later in the week. If they agree, they will probably want you to take complete papers. I know girls who pick up the leftover newspapers and drive directly to their child’s school recycling bin and just pull out coupon inserts and toss the rest of the newspaper into the recycling bin.
Shipping coupons: When shipping coupons to Operation:coupons, the least expensive way is to use Priority Mail shipping envelopes and boxes from the US Post Office. These are provided free by the Post Office and ship for one flat rate no matter how much you put in them. Always include your name and address so you can be included in a thank you letter mail out which is send out three times a year.