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Topic: Previously Featured Organizers/Swappers!  (Read 2299 times)
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lapoli
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« on: April 04, 2011 09:31:31 AM »

Take a look at some of our past featured organizers for tips, hints, and tricks to being a fabulous swap organizer!

pinkleo

kaz814

DesignVigilante

Samsara

LesliesHappyHeart and susanab

TroubleT

underthemountain and Homer0f2
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014 04:58:19 PM by alteredmommy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

lapoli
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011 09:35:21 AM »

Many of you have seen (and contributed!) to the "Great Organizers I have Known" thread that was started several weeks ago.  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 pinkleo, our first featured organizer!


What is your favorite thing about organizing?

Just one thing!?  Okay, Ill pick one My favorite thing about organizing is getting everyone together to share their crafting, inspiration, and loves.

Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?  

Actually, Im addicted to all kinds of swaps.  I adore the variety and excitement of a large swap.  But I love the intimacy of a smaller one.  (And I must say, smaller swaps are much easier to keep track of as an organizer.)

Do you like using a co-organizer?

Yes!  And in a large swap, a co-organizer is a must!  (I also like being a co-organizer, especially to first-time organizers.)  

If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities?  

After partnering, I divide the participants in half (I refer to them as teams).  My co-organizer keeps track of the sending and receiving of their team and is in charge of feedback for their team.  

How do you select a co-organizer?

Im partial to Craftsters who I know well or who are regulars on the Craftster site.  And I must admit, I do have a crafty crush and organizer love for jennieingram, who has been my co-organizer for three swaps.  We share many of the same passions and loves which inspires me.  Plus, she is a great communicator and very organized.

How do you match up partners in a swap?

First, I deal with international shipping and allergies.  After that I look at what one crafts and what crafts one admires.  I also like to stalk participants posts and wists to get a sense of their crafts and likes.  (I do have organizers glee when I find two swappers who have wisted each others projects.)  And then I post them with fingers crossed that I havent goofed somewhere and that everyone is pleased.

Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?  

First, be excited about your swap.  Your excitement is contagious, and excitement leads to a fun swap.  Second, remember that when you take on the role of organizer, you are making a commitment to your participants.  You need to be available to your participants to answer questions, give timely feedback, and resolve issues.  Third, find a system that helps you be organized, be it paper lists or Google Docs; this will help you out tremendously!

What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?

COMMUNICATION!  Communication is the key to a happy swap experience.  Partners need to say HI and give updates on crafting progress.  Organizers need to keep participants informed, be available for questions, and check in on participants.  Participants need to keep their organizers informed of any issues, questions, or concerns.  I dont think you could ever communicate too much in a swap.  And never be afraid to ask questions!  Organizers and Swap Mods are there to help and to make sure everyone has a good swapping experience.

Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?  

My inspiration originates from many sources.  First, I'm an avid reader so I derive tons of inspiration from my favorite books; swaps like twilight: Longing for New Moon, Shakespeare Swap, and Because We Miss Harry Potter allow me to explore new aspects of the stories and really get creative.  Another inspiration for swapping and organizing is particular crafts I enjoy doing such as the Embroidery, Loaded Charm Bracelet, and For Hookers Only swaps; these craft swaps allow me to explore, challenge, and use my crafting abilities.  Also, I am inspired by my many loves such as my love of autumn for the I Love Fall! swap and my love of cooking for the Recipe Swap.  And in turn I am inspired by the loves and passions of my partners.  But mostly I am inspired by the creativity, support, and enthusiasm of everyone on Craftster.

What was your favorite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?  

Oh thats a tough one I would have to say the OTHPT: One Tiny Harry Potter Thing.  I love, love, love Harry Potter swaps!  And in the OTHPT, I loved the crafty challenge to create something small in size, but big in craftiness.  Everyone in the swap was very excited which lead to tons of discussions and communication, and the gallery produced amazing projects!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am honored to be considered a Featured Organizer.  I want to say how much I adore Craftster and the Wonderful World of Organized Swaps.  I have met some fantastic people.  And I have been inspired by so many.  Swapping has really stretched me as a crafter, allowed me new ways to enjoy my loves, and given me more confidence in my abilities.  Thank you to all my organizers, co-organizers, partners, mods, and participants; you make my life full of crafty joy!
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lapoli
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011 09:38:14 AM »

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. Cheesy
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012 10:11:17 AM by alteredmommy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

alteredmommy
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012 12:45:03 PM »

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've created this feature to highlight some of our special and outstanding organizer from 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 DesignVigilante, our newest featured organizer!


What is your favorite thing about organizing?
Pairing up people with the perfect partner. It makes me very happy to think that a lot of people have made friends on craftster because I partnered them together on a swap.

Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?
I like a nice big swap. Its easier to find the perfect match for the participants if there is a big pool to grab from. On smaller swaps, I find I end up having to partner people by default not because they were the best match for each other.

Do you like using a co-organizer?
Yes. I hate denying anyone entry in a swap, so having co-organizers to help me makes it easier.

If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities? 
Evenly. They do everything I have to do except input the feedback in the feedback form. They even write their own feedback for each person in their group and  I just add it to the feedback form at the end. I especially like taking in co-organizers that have not organized a swap before, but would like to someday. I use this opportunity as Swap Boot Camp.

How do you select a co-organizer?
Mostly based on how many swaps theyve been in and the type of feedback theyve received. If they send early/on-time a lot, that generally means they are organized people, haha.

How do you match up partners in a swap?
Oh man, that is a very laborious task. Once a swap closes, I make up a chart. I have a column for each of the following items: Username, Location, Willingness to ship Internationally, Allergies, Allergens, and specific notes pertaining to the swap in question. First I usually look at the international swappers and those willing to ship internationally. I do them first because it can be disastrous if left for last, you could end up with an international swapper and no one who would want to ship internationally. Then I look at allergies/allergens, making sure i dont pair a cat person with a person with cat allergies. Then I look at the specific quick notes at the end. For example, if its a Yarn Crafter versus Needle Crafter swap, I will usually put information like which group they fall under, what specifically do they enjoy doing, and what they are hoping to get out of this swap. So if a Needle crafter would really prefer a knitter over a crocheter, I will do my best to keep that in mind when pairing them up. Once I have what I think is a good match, I will open up their entire questionnaires, place them side by side on my computer screen, and take a final quick look to make sure they seem like a good pairing before putting them on my Partnered list. This can take hours, especially for a bigger swap.

Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?
My biggest tip to any organizer is Google Documents (http://docs.google.com). There are so many advantages to using it. First of all, it is free and easy to sign up for. You dont have to create a new account for it if you already have a Gmail email address. The biggest advantage is that all of your documents are centralized in one place and can be accessed from any computer, across all operating systems, and anywhere you have Internet access. Secondly, if you are like me and like to have your co-organizers split the work with you completely, you can create all of the documents yourself in google docs then share it out to your organizers so that they can then edit the documents. And of course, any updates your co-organizers make to the documents are instantly available to you so if there is a problem with a participant in another group and your co-organizer isnt online, you can check their notes on that participant. It is amazing and I recommend this to EVERYONE.

Quote
Ok, normally we don't interject, except we thought DesignVigilante's use of GoogleDocs for her upcoming Make-A-Friend Round 7 swap was too awesome to not mention. Check out the swap calendar she created, with sendout dates, participation notes and more.  She also has created documents for package requirements here and here. We love it!

What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?
Other than making sure you give everyone the best possible partner (which isnt always easy or always works, this system isnt perfect), I also think that organizers need to have a balance of being a leader and a friend. You want your participants to feel like they can approach you with their concerns, but you also dont want to bombard them with messages asking them every five minutes to update their status, post on the threads, etc. Thats not to say you shouldnt ever message your participants, but please dont spam them either. You want to keep it casual, but keep an eye out for any problems. As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration? 
Most of my ideas for swaps come from my own life and the trends in the crafting community. I started the Make-a-Friend swap because I wanted to make a crafty friend, and figured others did too. I also like to take a look at what is currently trending in the crafting community, things that people are currently interested in making and receiving. Finally in addition I like swaps that purposely pair people of different crafts with each other, it makes the gallery more diverse and people tend to be more excited about receiving a craft they them selves dont do. My organizing inspiration is technology driven. Technology is there to make our lives easier, so why do things the hard way? I like finding new, easy, and free ways to make things easier, more centralized, and standardized. Those are the keys to keeping organized!

What was your favorite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?
I think my favorite was Make-a-Friend Round 5 in particular. I wished for more participants but on the other hand all the rules I have implemented since Round 1 has helped reduce the number of flakers. This particular round I had an excellent group of co-organizers that I hope to reenlist for Round 7, a great group of crafters, very few problems and no flakers what so ever. I think this swap overall has been a lot of trial and error, and I take all feedback from the participants to me on how this swap can be improved upon seriously and I think the improvements are noticeable in Round 5.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think my final piece of advice is to learn from your experiences. Allow yourself to be criticized on your organizational skills, but dont take it personally. Take it as an opportunity to be a better leader. The skills you learn by taking this on can be applied to your daily life. The job of an organizer is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort, but the things you learn are priceless.
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alteredmommy
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012 12:19:25 PM »

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've created this feature to highlight some of our special and outstanding organizer from 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 Samsara, our newest featured organizer!




What is your favourite thing about organizing?
My favourite thing is getting to know a bunch of amazing crafty people, of all different skills, abilities and personalities, all with two things in common; a passion for arts and crafts, and overwhelming generosity. I also like that there is no boundaries on age, gender or sexuality; everyone is welcome.

Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?
I like both for different reasons; a huge swap can have this great energy going on, while a small swap can be totally intimate and friendly.

Do you like using a co-organizer?
Its totally essential to have a co-organiser. Even if the swap is a small one I generally like to have someone there as back-up; you just never know what might happen. You might never actually need them, but there might be that one time when you do I was once rushed to hospital mid-swap and was out of action for a couple of weeks. I managed to get a message to my co-organiser and she was able to step in and hold the fort till I got back. I think you owe it to your swap participants to cover any eventuality. There is nothing worse than having a problem and your organiser is m.i.a. Also because Im in the UK, its difficult to get my head around some of the ways that things are done in the US so its good to have a native on hand in case I need to pick their brain!

If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities?  
I usually check with my co-organiser to see what theyre comfortable with. Sometimes people volunteer when the swap is still in the sign-up period, or they approach me because they want to cut their organising teeth as a co-organiser before taking the plunge themselves as an organiser. If theyre experienced, I normally see what level of involvement they want; if theyre inexperienced, I give them an organisers tutorial and talk them through different steps of the process, I let them have a go at doing feedback, etc.  

How do you select a co-organizer?
Usually someone comes forward, either volunteering pre-swap, or if Ive mentioned on the sign-up thread about a co-organiser.

How do you match up partners in a swap?
Ahh, now theres a question! Okay, with me I usually sort people out into continents and whether people want to ship internationally or not. Then I look at peoples skills, and at the questionnaires of what theyd like to receive for the swap, and Id try and match them up that way. I generally try to match a first time swapper with an experienced one.

Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?  
Good communication is the key to a relaxed swapI try to email all my participants on a regular basis, prompting them to check-in, asking for updates and generally making sure that everyone is okay. I also like to put peoples location on the sign-up list because as an international swapper myself, Im often reluctant to sign-up to a swap unless I can see if theres someone at least on the same continent as me to cut down postage costs. With this current economic climate, swapping internationally can be an expensive business. I do like to swap when works not so hectic, but I dont want to spend my entire budget on postage!!!  

What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?
 Well, I think you really have a responsibility to try and get the group to bond during the sign-up process. I try to get a conversation going on the thread and sort of prompt things if it slows down. Its great when the group just all immediately get on and chat, theres always a great energy when you have a really active thread, but we all have a real life as well and sometimes the thread goes a little quiet. Its good to inject a bit of excitement every now and again.

Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?
I find that if the swaps something youre passionate about, the rest comes easily. Of course there are a number of very experienced organizers out there, so sometimes I pick up ideas from organizers of swaps that Ive participated inthey do something and I thinkYep, thats a good idea or, maybe I think of ways that Id have done it differently. I think its good to be flexible about what you do. As for swapping inspiration, that always comes from other Craftsters, from looking through the boards, from looking at peoples Wists and wishlists, things like that. I see something and thinkYeah, I wanna have a go at that!

What was your favourite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?
My favourite swaps are always the Hippy Swaps that I organise in the summerRound 5 has almost completed and its yet another killer gallery!! People just seem to push the boat out for the Hippy Swap!  

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Just that Im always grateful to the swap moderators who are there to help if its needed! No matter how trivial or obscure the question, theres always someone who can help. Its great to have expert back-up!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012 12:35:40 PM by alteredmommy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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