Recently, there have been several questions and some discussion about the cost of mailing our squares to South Africa, in some of the Groups, particularly the US and the UK.
It often comes as a bit of a shock to newer members, when they send off those first few parcels, how expensive it can be to mail them.
We do regard the postage cost, as well as the squares we produce, as part of our commitment to KAS. However, there are ways to reduce these costs, and sometimes even offset them.
This discussion is for you to share your ideas and discoveries.
Many of our KASfolk send vast quantities of squares, gathered from several knitters, and have found ways of fundraising to pay for this.
Other KASfolk simply produce a lot themselves, but have found ways to keep these costs as low as possible.
If you have not already read it, I would encourage you to read the International Postage discussion. It is updated at the first of each year and includes as much postal information as we have been able to gather from countries around the world
In general, you will find that is less expensive to save up your squares until you have a considerable number and mail one larger parcel rather than sending off just a few squares at a time. Check the details for your country.
All parcels from the US travel airmail. From the UK, Canada, and Australia we are able to send them by surface mail which, although it takes 6-10 weeks, is half the price. Since parcels are arriving in a constant flow in South Africa, the extra time it takes is not significant enough to warrant the cost of airmail from these countries.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
I’ll lead off by telling you how I manage to send squares. In a nutshell, my advice is TALK TO THE CHURCHES
When I first joined KAS in 2009, I quickly realized that I could produce more squares than I could probably afford to send. However, I was so enthused about this project, that I introduced it to the women’s group at my church and they began knitting too and bringing me their squares.
It was not long until I had a very large pile of squares and no idea how I was going to get them to South Africa.
My church, St. Paul’s Leaskdale, has a large congregation, despite the fact that our hamlet is very tiny. St. Paul’s (Presbyterian) has a real focus on missions, and supports several endeavours in various corners of the world. I took my "squares problem" to the head of the Mission Committee and asked for permission to hold a special fundraising event to raise the postage money. The first one was a resounding success, and a short time later, the committee decided to make Knit-a-Square an official outreach mission of St. Paul’s.
Word spread of course, and soon members of the community as well as many in the congregation were donating squares. I expect that when I send off the final mailing for this year, the total of squares from St. Paul’s since 2009 will reach the 12,000 mark. None of this would have been possible without the help of the church
Here’s how the fundraising works. Once a year, I hold a "Square-Off". This involves setting up a large table in the church foyer with a mountain of squares waiting to be mailed, as well as a picture display of the distributions. Special envelopes are provided for donations (which are tax deductable) and before and during the service we show a short power-point presentation about the work of KAS.. We advise the congregation that the cost to send a bundle of 10 squares is $5.00. This once-a-year appeal has resulted in raising $1500 to $2000 each year. If there is a shortfall in postage funds, the Mission committee covers the balance.
Other churches are doing the same thing. Clear Lake United Methodist in Houston, Texas is good example.
Many of you may say that your church is too small, or that you don’t even belong to a church. Don’t let that deter you. Check around and find a church interested in missions. No mission is easier to understand, or tugs at the heart-strings more, than one that keeps vulnerable children warm. You may even find that a group will form around you, and you will be mailing more squares than you ever dreamed of.
What a great idea is this "making postage less painfull" forum thread. So this UK pensioner is now saving 20p pieces in the pot that holds my KAS crochet hooks, scissors and sewing up needle. On reading your idea Maggie, I took out of my purse 4 x 20p's and I now have 80p towards my next parcel. Saving up to post a larger, more cost effective parcel is a great idea. I already save 50p pieces towards the Xmas supermarket shop! I'll let you all know how much I've managed to save when I next post a package, it would be nice if it's the 9/10 pounds [approx] that I think I'll need. Thanks for this. x
what a great idea this is, and I am going to start doing this myself, I usually send bundles of 10 squares. and I always weigh the squares first then put them in a plastic bag then wrap them in brown paper its surprising how much the weight goes up doing this but I find 10 squares keeps the cost low for me and I send 1 maybe 2 parcels a month depending on how fast I make the squares
Brilliant idea! I am just hitting that - "How do we pay for all this???" wall as I have a group of folk at a local cafe that have really taken this to their hearts and I am getting about 100 squares a month!
I don't attend church in my own town, but I may well approach one or two of the churches in my town having seen this - I am sure that some people would be willing to donate.........
I am also doing a raffle of chocolate in the run up to easter - lots of small bars and packs and then a big easter egg - at this time of year I think it may be a go-er............. People who have more than one person organising may like to contact local supermarkets and ask if they want to donate stiff for the raffle :)
I put my loose change e.g. copper and 5 p pieces into a jar and also try to save 20 p coins. This soon mounts up for postage but also I make a lot of handcrafted greetings cards which I sell and that also helps with the postage. It is important to get the maximum number of squares into the package to meet the requirements for the small package rate.
that's why I weigh mine as I use small package rate as well
I can post a parcel (I put my squares et al in zip lock bags and then wrap in black plastic bin liner bags), for between $11 and $43 (Australian), depending on the weight (500 grams or about 1 pound is $11.15 and 1.5 kilograms or about 2 and a 3/4 pounds is $31.10) via Seamail. I can fit about 20/25 squares in for 500 grams and obviously a lot more for 1.5 kilograms! I don't use Airmail as it costs almost double the price of Seamail.
I don't want to waste money paying for the weight of the packaging, and squares are not breakable so don’t really need to go in a box for protection. (I can squeeze in a few extra squares etc if I economize on the packaging). I like to 'stuff' my parcels as full as I can without going over the weight limits. By wrapping in plastic the packaging only adds a few grams to the weight and I then wrap well with packing tape for protection against damage.
So far as I know all my parcels are getting through ok as I have seen about 50 of them acknowledged in the 'lists' so far.
I also have a set of digital scales which are pretty accurate (luckily), so I usually pack to within about 20/30 grams of the parcel limit. (so as to allow a few grams for the bag and tape). I have gone as close as 5 grams to the limit, but luckily have not had any go over once I get to the post office.
I like this method best as I weighed a box here once that I was thinking of using, but it was 300 grams! I could pack at least 10 or 12 more squares for that weight LOL!
Excellent tips, Wendy! Thanks for the ideas.
I totally agree with Wendy about the weight of the packaging. Boxes do weigh a lot and I believe can also incur a charge at the other end. It is very important to weigh accurately too. In the UK the price bands go up every 250g so for instance it costs as much to post a package that weighs 505g as 749g as I know from bitter experience.
I am in the uk too Christine and try and keep my parcels I send up to 250gwhich works out about 10 squares I weigh my squares first and then weigh them again after they are parcelled up to see if it is under250g post costs are expensive enough as it is and I try and send one parcel a month if I can
I do but I try and keep the price under £4 85 as I am on a budget and cant afford to high a postage
It might be worth comparing the cost of sending more squares at a time. If you check in the International Postage discussion it shows this for small packet rate:
250 gm L3.25 (L 1.30 per 100 gm)
2 KG (2000gm) costs L14.45 (72.25 p per 100 gm)
By mailing less often, sending larger parcels, and by getting as close to that 2Kg as you can, you almost cut the small packet rate in half.
I realize this won't work for everybody, but it looks to me like you might be able to save L11.55 by doing it this way.