What exactly is involved in hosting a finished item swap?
Well, first, as host you get to pick the item to be swapped and set the guidelines. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, check other swaps to see how they are set up and address the issues that are important to you. You will NOT have to make the web page for the swap, I will take care of that, but you will need to provide me with plenty of information.
As a host, you will be the point of contact for sign-up and for questions. If it is a question you can't answer, you can always forward it to the list, you are NOT expected to an expert in all things related to the swap you choose!
As a host, you will set the deadline for registration, partner assignment, and item completion. Most finished item swaps allow between four and eight weeks for completion, with six being the most common.
As a host, you will be responsible for keeping a list of all participants and their email addresses. You will need to send me the names of the swappers as they sign up, so that I can post them on the swap's web page.
As a host, you will assign partners. Swaps are usually done by random assignment, but you may want to do something unusual like a secret partner swap. Remember to only assign people who are willing to swap internationally with anyone who resides outside of the United States. Once you have assigned partners, you will need to send a list of those assignments to all participants and forward the list to me, so that I can update the web page. It is up to the participants to contact one another about preferences and postal addresses. The only personal information about swappers that will be posted is their first name and the state/country in which they live, no email addresses or postal addresses will be published.
As a host, you may want to send periodic reminders to the participants, letting them know of upcoming deadlines or other information. I personally like to send out status update checks to see where everyone is and to give swappers a chance to report problems if any exist.
As a host, you may want to solicit the donation of a *prize* as incentive for timely completion or you can do supply something on your own. Just let me know what the prize or prizes will be, so I can post the information on the swap's web page. An open message to the list will usually do the trick.
As a host, you will need to follow up and make sure all assignments were finished and mailed, if there are problems, please let Maggie or me know. If a person needs to drop out, you will have find someone to replace them. You can usually find more than one person in your swap group who is willing to be an *angel* and substitute.
It does take some organizational skills, but it is relatively easy to do. I personally use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my swappers and to do random assignments. But, it can be done on paper just as easily. Once you do the first one, the next will be much less stressful!