Secret Pals 4

Secret Pals 4 is a gift exchange event for knitters and crocheters from all over the world. This event will last February 1 - April 30, 2005.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Help Wanted for Secret Pals 5

Given the tremendous amount of participation, I think it should be assumed that hosting these events have grown into a 'more than one person' job.

Alice, who is hosting SP5, has asked if I can send out the call for anyone who can offer technical support for then next event.

You can reach her at brokedown_tiger at for more details about what she'll need exactly.

I guess this would be a good opportunity to share what I've learned about hosting these events - for future hosts

1. As just stated, it has grown into a 2+ person job. We had 365 and if I hadn't had the help I received I would have been pretty screwed. If you are planning to do this solo, I'd put a cap on participation at 250. Sending out the email alone is a huge undertaking.

2. There might be some thought of doing other SP's broken down to 'Domestic' SP'S (for instance U.S., North America or Europe) for those participants who which to stay on the same continent and then an 'International' SP for knitters who would prefer exchanging world wide. (Also, maybe Spanish and French language SP's). The event is large enough now to probably accommodate this and would ease a lot of the organizational hurdles for the hosts.

3. NEVER use an excite account as the main email address. I found it wonky (undelivered mail) and pretty much useless for sorting emails. I'd suggest either yahoo or gmail.

4. Place more specific deadlines or parcels. I'd suggest that if a participant wanted to just send one big package, that they do that within the first month. This way you know who is still participating.

5. Given the international participation of this event, give the heads up on the cost and time delay of sending overseas. While a lot of people like to exchange internationally, they may not be aware of how much more the shipping costs.

6. I would revise the list of rules and regulations that were used in this event. I did a lot of cut and pasting from previous events and I realize now that perhaps some of the rules of engagement were vague. Everyone has different expectations, and it might be better if everything is explicatly spelled out.

7. Explain how the SP event works right up front, specifically, who remains anonymous to whom. I kind of assumed that everyone was familiar with the structure of these events so we have a few accidental reveals. So that is something I'd explain right up front.

So that's it for my thoughts. If anyone has any constructive thoughts, send them to me at secretpals4 at and I'll try to compile another list.


At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may want to let US partcipants know the US post office has FLAT RATE PRIORITY mailing boxes, usually behind the counter. Price is not based on weight so they are great for sending books....or lots of stuff. they are also available for world wide shipping. but you have to ask for them.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Deb said...

I just wanted to thank you again for all the work you (and your assistants)did to make this run so smoothly!!! It is more work than I could ever find time to do.
I think your observations and suggestions are great. I can't participate in the next round, but I bet with all the tweaking and reworking the project will still be around when I have time again:)

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Mia said...

I would like to suggest adding that using yahoo postcards or the free cards from Hallmark or any other site that offers freebies is a great way to stay in touch with your secret pal. I have used this them quite a bit. I like to try and touch base about every 2 weeks even if it just an e-card. If I know that work or school is going to bury me for a few works, I let the person know. My first SP told me upfront that her work schedule was unpredictable and that if I didn't hear from her for a few works it was her work schedule and she would always try to let me know ahead of time. The person I have this time had a big work project that meant she disappeared for a few weeks. I know that the e cards helped her when things got tough. That might be something to add. They don't cost anything but a few minutes of time. I will try and write up someething and sent it to both of you.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Donyale said...

Think that is a great idea with the different SPs for US, International Etc as it takes so long to get stuff to Australia from North America (4 months if sent surface) and if you are going to send 1 parcel to send it in the first can be a very long wait to get something in Australia. Thanks for all your help - and hope your hands are nice and soft! :)

At 3:38 PM, Blogger alice said...

i made a difficult decision recently and have chosen to step down from running SP5. there are... a lot of things going on in my life preventing me from being able to dedicate the time necessary. there is a longer post explaining it on the SP5 site, but i just wanted to let you know. i'm so sorry to have gotten this far, and have to back out now... but it's the only responsible thing to do i think. feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss this further...

At 4:58 AM, Blogger Boo! said...

I'd be interested in helping out with a Secret Pal event but not until September...longer comment posted on the SP5 site


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