Save money when printing your 2015 membership cards

Print more than you need & ‘bank’ the rest for overprinting new members’ details throughout the year

Most clubs use a card bureau to issue their membership cards, or print their own in-house. A combination of the two may be most cost-effective…

With 2015 nearly upon us, many clubs and organisations are in the throes of organising their membership programme for the new year. Printing the actual membership cards themselves is often the biggest expense to bear, so here are a few ways you can save money and reduce admin time.

First – consider the most cost-effective way to print the cards

The two main options here are: a) invest in a plastic card printer and print your own, or b) have them printed by a plastic card supplier (a card bureau).

Which path you choose will depend greatly on how many membership cards you need to print, and how often throughout the year you need to print them.

If it’s a one-off run of hundreds of cards, outsourcing to a card bureau will always be cheaper than investing in a card printer and consumables. However that’s in terms of one-off costs – a plastic card printer does begin to return value after a few years of use – but depending on how much a work horse it is, it may not last much longer than that.

If you only print small quantities of cards, an entry-level card printer like the Badgy may be your best bet. Yes you’ll have to buy consumables and you’ll have the initial outlay, but you’ll also have the flexibility of printing one or two membership cards throughout the year, whenever you need them.

Or you could do both and save money

If you print a significant number of membership cards, and need to issue new ones throughout the year, have your card bureau run a quantity of unpersonalised membership cards, for overprinting with new members’ details throughout the year.

This in effect creates a ‘bank’ of membership cards for when you need them – produced professionally so they don’t look any different from the initial run. The card bureau can then overprint members’ names and numbers when required – or you can run them through your own card printer.

This route cuts down on reordering costs throughout the year, and if you choose the card bureau route, the need to invest in a card printer at all. The Card Network offer this overprinting service – please get in touch with us for more information.

If you’re going to be using a plastic card printer for all, or part of your programme…

… make sure you’re using the right ribbon

The range of different printer ribbons out there can be a bit bewildering. In order to keep your printing costs down, choose the right ribbon for the job.

If you’re printing double sided membership cards yourself, on a double-sided printer, the most common mistake is using a YMCKO ribbon, rather than a YMCKOK one.

A YMCKOK ribbon basically has a second black panel, and is designed specifically for use with double sided card printers. It allows you to print full colour on the front of the card and black on the reverse – making it ideal for clubs who print graphics on the front, but only sparse details on the back.

If you were to use a YMCKO ribbon instead, you would have to use all 5 panels on the front, then all 5 panels on the back. The result? You use up the ribbon twice as fast.

However if you just want to overprint a member’s details (like name and membership number) onto an already printed card, you don’t need an all singing, all dancing ribbon. A single-colour ribbon could do the job just fine. You can get ribbons in a choice of colours, including silver and gold, and the cost is considerably cheaper per print than using an YMCKO ribbon.

Also think about the quantity of membership cards you need to produce and don’t overbuy on printer capacity. Each ribbon is capable of printing a certain number of cards, so if you only need a handful on an irregular basis, don’t shell out on a 1000 capacity ribbon when 200 would do. Especially as ribbons have a shelf-life – generally of about a year.

For more information on choosing the right printer ribbon for your job, read our blog.

For more information about our overprinting service, please get in touch.