Swaps are a big part of the Craftster experience for many of our members. There are all kinds of themes and formats for eligible Craftsters to choose from! This first quarter feature will highlight a few of the largest participant swaps from 2013 and the fabulous organizers who ran them.
IYP 23 Summer Do Si Do 49 participantsluckdragon
This was the 23rd round of the famous Invite Your Partner swap where you invite your own partner or accept someone's invitation. Themes and package size are decided on between each partner pairing which results in a truly varied gallery
of awesome! Here is what luckdragon had to tell us about running a giant swap:Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers?
Communication, a big old spreadsheet, a separate swap folder for PMs and an amazing co-organizer! And for me, the co-organizer is the most important of these! I have to say that I have had some awesome co-organizers that help keep track of send/receive status and feedback for up to half of the partner groups. That helps keep the swap much more manageable and I can focus on any escalations if necessary (but with craftsters, it isn't necessary often).What is your secret to matching partners when you have so many?
So, since this is an Invite Your Partner swap, that makes things super easy! People partner themselves - which seems to make for much happier pairing all around. But, in general, I find that swaps with more participants are easier to partner as there are more options for people who don't have conflicting allergies/allergens and shipping limitations. And you are more likely to find partners with similar interests.What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap?
The more, the merrier! I absolutely love the galleries for the bigger swaps! I might just ask for additional co-org help Ongoing Wish Swap round 100 40 participantsAveria
The longest running swap on Craftster, the Ongoing Wish Swap (or OWS) started waaaay back in September 2005!!! The OWS is a list/chain style of swap, where swappers choose what they want to send from the last posted member list, then post their own. Throughout the past 8+ years there have been many organizers/co-organizers, here are Averia
's answers to the questions we all want to know. Check out the gallery
and big congratulations on ROUND 100!!Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers?
Accept the help of a great Co-organizer. I couldn't do it without Spikefan! I am very grateful to her for her calm and constant help, especially when I start to get overwhelmed. A ways back Saintcady generously shared an excel spreadsheet with me for ongoing swaps. Homerof2 and I modified it to work with Google docs for the Ongoing Hoopla Swap. Using it allows both the organizer and co-organizer to update the same records so the load doesn't get too heavy on any one person. Updating the front page of the claims thread with who has sent, who has received and who has communicated that they will be late is a simple matter of cutting and pasting.What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap?
I think the 40 we had is about the most I would ever want to organize. It was wonderfully fun, but by the end of the month we were feeling frazzled. I think I would try to get another co-organizer involved if we ever had that many interested again.
Back to Hogwarts Rd 4 33 participantspinkleo
Back to Hogwarts Rd 4 was one of the many Harry Potter themed swaps hosted on Craftster over the years and is the most traditional of our featured swaps, you can check out the gallery here
. There is a common theme, package size requirement and partners are assigned by the organizer(s). Pinkleo has lots of experience running big swaps, here are her organizer tips!Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers?
First, plan beforehand. Decide on how you are going to track and keep in touch with your participants. Find a system that helps you be organized, be it paper lists or Google Docs; this will help you out tremendously! Second, I find organizing my PMs very helpful. (To organize your PMs, you create a label in your Personal Messages for your swap.) Then, when you get a PM for your swap, send it into that label. This will save you tons of time when you are trying to keep track of participants and issues. Third, update your sending and receiving regularly. This will help you not get confused and keep everyone up-to-date. Finally, find yourself a co-organizer and use them. Split up a large group into smaller ones, and let each organizer attend to a smaller groups needs and feedback.What is your secret to matching partners when you have so many?
I like to print out the questionnaires. Then, I color code important details like international and allergies with highlighters. After that, I read through the questionnaires, and try to find something that connects people. I'll look at what one crafts and what crafts one admires. I also like to stalk participants’ posts and pinterests to get a sense of their crafts and likes. When I'm finally ready to start officially pairing, I take care of special needs like international and allergen sensitive swappers first. And I always try to remember that swaps are for having fun, meeting new people, and going on a crafty adventure. This helps me not panic about pairing and enjoy the process.What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap?
With a trusty co-organizer at my side, I feel I could handle quite a few. But I would definitely make sure my schedule is free to handle it. My largest swap so far was Back to Hogwarts Round 2
where Mistress Jennie
and I had 73 swappers! It was lots of work, but so much fun! Everyone in the swap was very excited which lead to tons of discussions and communication, and the gallery produced amazing projects! Yup, I would definitely be up to handling that many again.
I'd like to thank luckdragon, Averia and pinkleo for being such awesome, hard working organizers and taking the time to share their big swap tips with us!
For more information about joining swaps on Craftster, please check out our Swap Info Guide
Current swaps open for signups can be found on the Craft Swaps board