GCA Associates Committee Update

by David Wilke, Vice-Chair
Leader Paper Products

Associates Committee Opportunities at the Annual Convention

GCA will be offering three excellent opportunities for Associate member companies during this year’s Annual Convention in Cleveland held September 26-29 at the Metropolitan at the 9. These opportunities will allow you and your company to gain exposure and connect with GCA Publisher members. 2018 Associate opportunities include:

  • Tabletop Display: A complimentary tabletop display located in a high traffic area of Convention. The display will allow for your company’s information and message to be visible and in front of the Publisher members of the GCA for the duration of the Convention.
  • Welcome Bag Materials: Associates have the opportunity to provide gift items and products for the Welcome Bag, which will be distributed to all Annual Convention attendees onsite. All items will be considered donations. You may include the following benefit line on any item you donate (or similar): “This product manufactured by…” and/or your logo. To give you even more visibility, you will be listed as a donor in the registration pack provided to each attendee.
  • Associate Reception: The Associate Reception will be held on Friday, September 28. The cocktail reception will take place among the Associate displays and will be a great opportunity for attendees to mingle and learn more about the Associate companies while viewing your displays. We are offering sponsorship options for the reception as well for a cost of $250 for members who are attending and $100 for members that are not attending.

Detailed information on our Associate Opportunities will be distributed to all current GCA Associate Members in the coming weeks. If you have any questions about the above opportunities, please contact GCA Meetings Associate Maggie McDonnell at maggie@greetingcard.org. You can register for the Annual Convention online, here.

Postal Affairs Committee Update

by Sarah Moe Meyers, Chair

Momentum Building for Fall Progress on Postal Reform

This fall will decide the fate of postal reform, if not the Postal Service itself.  For a year and a half, postal reform legislation has been ready for action in Congress.  This spring, efforts to move updated legislation in the Senate and House were distracted by the creation of the presidential task force to look at options for reform.  

The creation of the task force focused a great deal of attention on this important issue. However, instead of considering the legislation, many Members of Congress want to review the report before taking a position on the GCA-supported legislation. A preliminary recommendation in a separate administration proposal for reforming the entire federal government suggests that privatizing the Postal Service could be a likely recommendation by the task force.  The final task force report is expected to be released in mid-August, setting the stage for a huge battle between privatization advocates and those committed to preserving the current independent federal agency model and universal service mandate.

Setting policy questions aside, some things are not helpful.  There’s a growing leadership vacuum, and it could get worse. For more than a year, the Postal Service Board of Governors has been left vacant and the Senate has not been willing to approve any of the pending nominees.  Since introduction of postal reform in early 2017, we have seen the resignation of oversight committee Chairman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the retirement of his successor, Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and the announced retirement of a majority co-sponsor, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).  In addition, the ranking Member of the oversight committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), has been sidelined for months due to significant health issues. The cumulative impact of these departures and absences along with the pending retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has denied any momentum in the House on postal reform.  

This vacuum could get even worse as a result of the mid-terms elections.  Three of the strongest advocates for postal reform in the Senate are Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).  Sen. Carper has encountered an unexpected primary opponent from the far left and with momentum from the unexpected defeat of Joe Crowley (D-NY) by a Democratic Socialist candidate, he may face a tougher challenge than expected precisely because of his record in working across the aisle on issues like postal reform.  Senators McCaskill and Heitkamp top the list among the most vulnerable incumbents in the 2018 election cycle and polling confirms they face big challenges. The question then becomes not only whether postal reform can pass, but also if there will be any strong advocates for postal reform left after November?

We will continue to push forward and use the August recess to build support for the legislative progress we have made and push back on efforts to privatize the USPS.  If you’d like to help, do not hesitate to reach out to Rafe Morrissey, VP of Postal Affairs at rafem@morrisseystrategic.com.

Communications and PR Committee Update

by Dave Phipps, Chair

Thinking of You Week will debut in the USA next month from September 24 – 30. The GCA’s simple message of “send a card, deliver a smile” by encouraging everyone to send a card a day all week long is receiving a huge boost courtesy of the US Postal Service. A new postmark celebrating the event is in development; this visual will be a wonderful reminder about the power of card sending to everyone receiving mail in September.

Many independent retailers have solidified their plans for Thinking of You Week promotions, their stories can be found on the thinkingofyouweekusa.com website. Publishers are getting the word out as well – promotional postcards printed by JS McCarthy with paper donated by Neenah Paper are being distributed in orders and mailings by Avanti Press, Calypso Cards, Elum Designs, Notes & Queries, Thimblepress, Palm Press, Bonair Daydreams, Potluck Press, Maginating, A. Smyth Co, J. Falkner and others. This postcard includes great tips for local events, promotions, and more. Postcards are still available by request to info@thinkingofyouweekusa.com. (please include your UPS or Fedex number for shipping).

If you aren’t able to create events in your community you can still participate by adding the #ThinkingOfYouWeek hashtag to social media posts and follow the Thinking of You Week social media accounts: Facebook @ThinkingofYouWeekUSA Twitter @thinkofyouweek and Instagram @thinkingofyouweek

Annual Convention Committee

by Alana Campana, Chair
Papyrus/Recycled Greetings

Seize the Opportunity!

The GCA’s 77th Annual Convention, “Opportunity Rocks,” is full of opportunities to:

  • Learn from industry and other experts on topics including: “true connections in the era of connected devices” and “behavior change tips to help you leverage professional and personal opportunities” to “digital as friend,” “creative problem-solving” and “using authenticity to grow your brand”
  • Get away from the day-to-day and really focus on your business and yourself
  • Hear an update from the U.S. Postal Service’s Acting Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President
  • Experience the legendary GCA hospitality and get to know some new GCA members
  • Take a behind-the-scenes tour of American Greetings and rock the night away at XYZ social event at ABC location
  • Highlight your products, services and capabilities (open to GCA Associate members only) or highlight your brand (open to GCA Publisher members only)
  • Dine around (informal dinners for new attendees with GCA Executive Committee members)
  • Learn about the results from the GCA’s state of the industry survey

A BIG thank you to our sponsors: American Greetings, Hallmark, DaySpring, Papyrus/Recycled Greetings, Leanin’ Tree, UPC, Avanti, Birchcraft by DFS, FRG — as well as my co-chair, Lawrence Yeh (Paper Pop Cards).  We couldn’t provide all of these opportunities without your support!

I hope you’ll seize the opportunity and join the GCA for an Annual Convention that’s sure to rock ‘n roll. Register and view the complete agenda. If you are an Associate member and you would like information on display options or if you’re a publisher and you would like to sponsor a session or social event, please contact Maggie@GreetingCard.org.

I look forward to welcoming you to Cleveland this September!

If you are interested in joining a committee, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.