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Topic: Meet Our Featured Organizer, DesignVigilante!  (Read 6734 times)
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« on: April 05, 2011 03:00:31 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'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.

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.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012 12:45:20 PM by alteredmommy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011 03:04:45 AM »

Great interview!  I truly love the new documents DV made for the Make A Friend Swap!
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011 03:15:01 AM »

Awesome! I've co-organized for DV before and she is great to work with! So organized! <3

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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011 03:45:05 AM »

A fantastic interview from a fabulous swap organiser!

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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011 06:19:42 AM »

Thanks for the tips, DesignVigilante! Great interview.  Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011 10:57:42 AM »

Thanks for all the compliments! I am very honored to be a featured organizer. Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011 12:14:10 PM »

Congrats D!!!! I'm glad I did get to be a co-organizer with you on Make-a-Friend Round 2! And glad I can call you a friend Cheesy

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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011 03:10:38 PM »

Congratulations DV! Grin
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011 03:11:35 PM by pinkleo » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2011 03:26:21 PM »

Thanks SM! <3 *big hugs*

Thank you pinkleo! Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2011 09:06:53 PM »

DV organizes rad swaps and makes super cookies!

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