How to Host a Crop
Well, before you learn how to host a crop, let's answer the question, "What is a crop?" The short and sweet of it is actually very simple.
A crop is a gathering of scrappers in one central location for the sole purpose of…making scrapbooks and/or scrapbook layouts. They can be big or small and held for a variety of reasons, but the one thing they definitely do is help to get you inspired.
When you're surrounded by lots of creative people, your ideas rub off on them and theirs onto you, so not only are you doing something you love, but it's also a great learning opportunity.
Now, onto some basics on how to host a crop…
(1) First things first – Why do you want to host a crop?
Are you organizing a fundraiser for your child's school?
Are you raising money for charity? or…
Do you want to hold a theme-base crop?
The first two are the focus of the ones I've been involved in, but there are A LOT of crops that are simply established to provide women with a girl's night out.
(2) Determine local interest in the crop
One of the basic rules on how to host a crop...you need to have people.
You may already have a large group of friends, co-workers, PTA members, etc. that would love to attend, if so, that's great, but if you only have a few "sure things," start to float the idea around town to gauge the interest.
Why?... You don't want to reserve a location if it's only going to be you and a few friends and, conversely, you don't want to reserve a banquet hall for 30 people, if you expect 100 to attend. That leads us right into the next item on your "How to Host a Crop" checklist.
(3) Find a Location/Pick your Dates
Once you have a fairly good idea of how many people would attend, you need to lock in a location. I have this as #3, but it's actually something you need to determine along with the purpose of your crop because you want to have a few options open to you once you do know how many people will be attending.
So, just as if you were planning a wedding and looking for a reception site, it pays to do a little research. You will obviously be limited to your local resources, unless you make it a getaway crop, but here are some ideas on where to host your crop:
Church Multi-Purpose Room
Local Recreation Center, Elk's Lodge, etc.
Crop Room at your local scrapbook store, or…
Room availability is also going to dictate when you have your crop, so keep that in mind as well. Are you going to do a 24-hour "Crop Til You Drop" or a multi-day event that spans an entire weekend? These are important things to consider and may drive who (within your core participant group) can/can't attend.
If you're doing a fundraising crop, you will need to find sponsors for your goodie bags and silent auction.
What can sponsors give you?... Items for your goodie bags. We all get "party" favors (or at least it's good etiquette to give favors) when we attend baby showers, bridal showers, etc., so why not give back to those who have participated and contributed to your cause.
So, very early on in the process, start asking local scrapbook stores or well-known online retailers if they would be willing to contribute some items for the goodie bags. Make sure to give potential sponsors an idea of how many people you're expecting.
Most will contribute things like small ink pads, chipboard pieces, silk flowers, packages of mini-brads, etc….small things and maybe things that are in their clearance bin, but hey…I've found quite a few cool trinkets in the clearance section.
When you're requesting sponsorship for your crop, you may also want to ask for one "big ticket" item per company that you can use in a silent auction. It all depends on how you want to focus your fundraising possibilities. You can either have a silent auction and have entry fees be slightly lower or you can forego the silent auction and add a few more dollars to the entry fee.
NOTE: Sponsors for food. If you are having a very large crop, you may want to consider getting sponsors for food as well. Obviously, you will want to keep all food away from your scrapping tables, but it is a nice touch (and help you get more participants) if you're having a large, multi-day event and offer free food.
Cardinal rule on how to host a crop - Give credit where credit is due. Your sponsors are providing you free product, some of which may be at sizable cost, so make sure to prominently feature the name of all sponsors at the crop and/or on your crop registration website.
Of course, if you're working on a smaller scale, you can always go to your local Costco and stock up on "clean" snack food like mini pretzels or Goldfish.
(5) Determine Cost
That's right… Not even the most successful scrapbook store holds a crop without charging some kind of fee. If you're doing a fundraising crop, the cost may be even higher in order to have a portion of the proceeds, go to the school/charity of choice.
Your cost is also going to be dependent upon location (it's going to be more expensive if you have it at a resort as opposed to a church [which may cost you nothing]), the length of the crop, and whether or not you provide "real" food.
The key is to make it fair – both to yourself and to the participants. I've seen most crops run about $20 - $40 for entry. If it is a multi-day event, there is usually a discount for those that sign up for multiple days.
If you have a sizable inventory for a silent auction, you may be able to keep your costs down, since you don't have to include any charitable donations in the actual fee.
Now, while this article is geared towards those interested in hosting a large, fundraising type of crop, you can use the same basic guidelines to host a smaller event.