Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Send Digital Invitations with Punchbowl

I've talked before about using Punchbowl to send digital cards, but now that I'm more familiar with it, I wanted to write a tutorial post.

In case you're unfamiliar with Punchbowl, it's a free service that allows you to send digital cards to anyone with an e-mail address or anyone on your social media site(s). Users can choose from hundreds of designs, quickly create an eCard and send it without ever having to run to the post office.  

Invitations let recipients RSVP to your event directly from your e-mailed card, and they send a reminder to people who RSVPed "yes" a couple days before the event. 

As far as invitations go, I use Punchbowl to send invites to Science Fair judges, and I think I'll post an invitation to Family Science Night on my class social media accounts next year. As a regular classroom teacher, you could send invitations to parents for class parties, field trips, presentations, etc. 
Here's how to send an invitation:

1. Create a Punchbowl account. 

2. On the home page, you should see something like this at the top:

The top of your page may look slightly different, depending on the time of of year when you log in.

Hover over the sections at the top to see more options, or click "browse all invitations" in the top, left to see all options, or type something into the "search" bar to look for something specific.

3. Choose your card. I'm going to choose an invitation to an ugly Christmas sweater party for this tutorial. :) All I did was click the design of the card I want to use:

4.  Click "personalize design" and start personalizing! 
Change your card design at any time by clicking the gray, "change design" button in the top, left corner. 

Click the drop-down menu under "event type" to choose whether to send an invitation with an RSVP or a "save the date" without an RSVP. Then just type the appropriate information in the correct fields.

Clicking on the text lets you edit the font, size, and color.

Clicking on the "envelope" tab at the top lets you edit the digital envelope, lining, postage, and stamp. 

You could probably spend quite a bit of time looking through all the customization options if that's your thing -- there is lots of choose from. 

5. Click the green, "save and continue" button in the top, right corner when you are finished personalizing your card and envelope.

6. Add guests. 
As you can see in the picture above, you can add e-mail addresses and/or names individually, or you can import them from your e-mail's contact book. Click the "view preview" button on the right to see what your guests will see when they open the card. Click the green "next" button in the top, right corner when you're finished. {FYI: you can click "next" even if you didn't add any e-mail addresses.}

7. Toggle options.
Most are self-explanatory, but I thought I'd throw this in: the message board feature sort-of reminds me of the eVite we get from CEF if our grant is funded.

You obviously can get as detailed as you want! Click the "?" next to any option to get more information.
Click the green, "next" button when you're finished.

8. Unless you have e-mail addresses typed in to the "to" field, you can only send a test card to yourself. But if you typed in addresses earlier, you can send your invitation now. 
9. After you've sent the invitation, manage it. Obviously, I can't manage my ugly Christmas sweater party invitation because I didn't send it to anyone. :) But here's what management looked like on my science fair judge invitation this year:

I love the ability to copy the invitation -- makes it easy to duplicate it next year, if I want
See who even opened the card {and when}, see the ratio of "yes" RSVPs to undecideds or nos, re-send your invitation to select guests, delete guests, or send a message to one or all guests, Pressing "actions" in the top, right corner lets you print your design, add the date to your calendar, or delete the card as a whole.
Very easy and very convenient!

Check back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to send digital cards {with an option for an included gift card}.
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