How To: Organize a Swap

Written on July 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

I’ve mentioned participating in swaps in the past as a good way of getting new things for your dolls. It’s basically trading: someone sends you a bunch of things for your dolls and you send a bunch of things for their dolls. There’s generally a theme, a list of likes and dislikes and even some requirements like “things for dolls only” or “handmade goods only”.

But let’s say that there isn’t an active swap going on, how can you still take part? You can organize a group swap!

Tip: If you’re going to be the swap administrator, you should be able to devote the time to organize the swap from beginning to end. If you cannot take on the task for the next swap, find someone who has the time and energy to do it!

First you need to get a group of people interested – you can create a group on Flickr (or another website) and let people know about it. It’s a good idea to have those participating voting on the overall theme of the swap (eg. flowers, summer activities, back to school, winter, etc.).

Before people sign up, you need to figure out how you will be assigning partners. Will you be using a swapping website like Swap-bot to help you determine partnerships or will you be manually assigning partners based on each persons’ requirements? Also, will you be privy to each persons’ address and other information or are you just assigning partners and making each person responsible for sending their mailing information to their swap partner?

You will also need to make up a list of rules, generally pertaining to deadlines and what happens if someone doesn’t meet a deadline. Are they banned from participating in future swaps, or just banned for the next one? Are people allowed to send food or candy in the mail? (Unfortunately, if people have partners in different countries, it’s probably not the best idea.) Remember that each country has different rules regarding amounts that can be received as gifts via post before the receiver is charged custom and duty fees. While it’s great to get gifts, it’s not cool to get custom fees on a swap package because someone marked it up high.

Let everyone know the deadline and remind people. We’re human, we can forget things. So every time you make an announcement regarding a swap, remind people of when the deadlines are. There should be a deadline for signing up, a deadline for mailing and everyone who participates should let you know when they have sent (if you are using Swap-bot, they won’t need to tell you as they need to let the website know when they’ve sent).

Tip: If tracking/delivery confirmation is an inexpensive add-on, you should encourage people to use it. In some countries, it can be quite expensive to add tracking onto a small package and unfortunately not financially feasible to be used.

Having a Flickr group or a forum group is a great idea because you can easily post up announcements or remind people of deadlines or to create new threads for people to post up photos of what they got!

Most importantly: have fun! You should give yourself a pat on a back for a job well done when your swap goes off smoothly. If you run into a snag (like, say, of someone who flakes), you can always ask for help in the form of a Swap Angel and hopefully you have some generous people in your swap group who are willing to help out and make a few extra things for someone who didn’t get their package!

Happy swapping!

Leave a Reply