Many of you have seen (and contributed!) to the "Great Organizers I have Known
" thread. We love hearing about what makes a swap run smoothly for you and we love all the positive energy that the thread has created.
In that spirit, we'd like to begin featuring a special organizer for the swap boards. We'll meet some of our amazing organizers and pick their brains about how they keep on top of everything organizing requires.
Without further delay, let's give a warm, hearty Craftster congrats to kaz814
, our newest featured organizer!What is your favorite thing about organizing?
The Type A part of me wants to say that it's the actual organization aspect (which really, is fun), but really, I think it's getting to know so many fabulous Craftsters. I never would have guessed that I'd make friends on Craftster when I joined, but I have thanks to getting to know people through swaps and organizing!Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a big swap. The first one I organized had 67 swappers and it was madness. I loved every minute of it, even the insanity of trying to match people up. Then again, I've organized a couple smaller swaps and the closeness of the swappers in a smaller swap can't be beat. So can I say both?Do you like using a co-organizer?
I do! Well, now that I've learned to actually use one. Admittedly, I got overexcited the first few times I had a co-organizer and posted everything myself. Only after it had been replied to did I realize my mistake. Live and learn, though, and a co-organizer is a fabulous, fabulous person. I love having someone else to bounce ideas off of and split the organizing duties with!If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities?
Generally, I split the swappers into two groups once they're paired up. One for me and one for her, so we can both have responsibility for half the swappers. In other swaps, like the Birthday swaps, one person keeps the spreadsheet up to date and the other keeps track of the claims in the thread. How do you select a co-organizer?
Well, so far, I've posted in the swap thread when we're approaching 25 participants and I get a wonderful volunteer. Sometimes (like for Frugal 3), someone volunteers in a previous round and I hit her up for helping out in the next round. This is how Troublet
and I first met and she is an amazing co-organizer! How do you match up partners in a swap?
I put everyone into little charts that list their username, country, willingness to send internationally, allergies, allergens, generalities about what the swapper wants, what she can make, what she won't make. Then I spread all the little slips of paper on the floor around me and sort by country/willingness to ship internationally. Next I figure out who can't be paired with whom due to allergies and then the remaining swappers are sorted by requested crafts to make and receive. Then I staple the partners together, if it's at the end of the sign-ups, or paperclip if sign-ups are still on-going and I just wanted an idea of how things could work.Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?
Googledocs are a godsend when co-organizing because then you only need one document that you both can edit. Also, don't be afraid to send a PM if you haven't heard from someone or even an email. Communication is key as an organizer! The more communicative you are, the better the swap will run, in my opinion. Also, be excited about your swap. Answer PMs promptly, post in the discussion thread and gallery, etc. If you're excited, others will be, too, which makes for a really fun experience for everyone!What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?
I'd say that the most important element is getting to know your fellow swappers, even if they're not your partner! Having an active discussion and gallery (without going off-topic, of course!) makes the swap really feel like a community to me. I love asking how a swapper made something that she sent to her partner and hearing how it's being used, etc. Teaser pics and posts are fun, too, in discussion threads when you don't want to spoil the surprise! I'd also second (echoing the wonderful pinkleo) the need for communication. If partners don't communicate and you don't think your partner is interested, then it won't be fun to create things for each other.Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?
My life! I started the Frugal Living Swap
(and Frugal Swap 2: Return of the Cheap
and Frugal Swap 3: Have Yourself a Frugal Little Holiday
) because I realized that so many of the things I throw away can be reused if they're made of different material, which is better for the Earth and cheaper. In this day and age, the more frugal I am, the better, and lots of others agreed with me! The other swaps I've organized are due to my interests - I <3 Autumn
, How My Garden Grows
. I also tend to prefer swaps and crafts that are more practical and aren't just for decorative things. I've recently started organizing some of the Birthday swaps, which has been a lot of fun and who isn't inspired by the idea of birthday presents?What was your favorite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?
This required a bit of thought, but I think it was the first Frugal Living Swap because I was organizing with absolutely no idea what I was doing. (I'm lucky I had an awesome co-organizer, donniesgirl
, to show me the ropes!) I've loved all three rounds for different reasons, but the first was where the collection of links to frugal resources and the list of frugal crafts was initially compiled, which was a lot of fun and the swap itself felt like a total group effort to get running.Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you haven't tried swapping yet, do so - it's so much fun and you meet some really fabulous people! Don't be shy! It's a great way to try a new craft, push yourself, and show others what you can do. And if you want to organize a swap, go for it. There's a bit of work involved, but it's totally worth it when you see a beautiful gallery filled with gorgeous crafts and realize that you've gotten to know a lot of really great people.
Thank you to my various partners, organizers, swappers, and last, but certainly not least, the swap mods, all of whom have made swapping such a fabulous experience for me. Being chosen as a featured organizer is something I never expected and I am truly honored. Thank you so much and I hope to see you all in a swap soon.