MetaFilter Gift Swap needs a new organizer! September 2, 2022 12:26 PM   Subscribe

After three years, the Gift Swap needs a new organizer (or three)!

I stepped in for julen back in 2019, alongside Secretariat and mochapickle. mochapickle has been doing the bulk of the email correspondence and package tracking the last two years and is interested in continuing this year, but she needs some help! The new folks need to:

* collect all the participants' info
* set up the swaps
* email everyone who they're supposed to be sending gifts to
* manage the gift fund
* sort out second chancers and other mid-swap excitement
* make the traditional Metatalk posts

We have a gmail address/account and a decent amount of process documentation for you to go off of. You'd need to commit to: 1) holding all the personal information sacrosanct, 2) deleting all that personal information + correspondence at the end of the swap (generally by the end of January), 3) be someone who's participated in the swap before so we all know who you are. :)

Typically the swap kicks off in November, so we're a couple months out, but I wanted to give plenty of heads-up time. You're welcome to chime in if you're available to be a helper, as well, but first and foremost looking for someone to take the reins. This could DEFINITELY be a team -- a total group of 3-4 people is ideal. mochapickle is interested in continuing, so you won't be coming in cold. :)

It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be entrusted with this tradition over the last three years, but I'm definitely at the point where I need to scale back my activities and want to make sure this gets transferred without disruption. I'll be available for questions if anything comes up along the way, so you'll have support. :)

If you're interested, you can drop a comment here or memail me -- I won't be watching this thread super closely for the first few days, but will check back in early next week and start contacting folks if possible.
posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 12:26 PM (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I have experience running a gift swap for another community. I set up a system for automating much of this using google docs. Have we ever considered using a service for this?
posted by bleep at 7:07 AM on September 3


I've thought about it, but never had the bandwidth to get out ahead of it. You'd still need someone to go over the participants' info by hand -- sometimes someone doesn't want to be matched with particular people (happens when someone's in a low-participant region and keep pulling the same folks every year), or they'll mark one region but be okay for others, or various contingencies -- but some scripts to do the heavy lifting of an initial matching would be nice. I've used a mass-mailer script to do the mail merges the last few years, but I generally have to do it over the course of a couple of days as I hit a limit for a free account.
posted by curious nu at 8:27 AM on September 3


Yeah I made a system that did matching in batches but manually approved so folks with special requests could be accommodated.
posted by bleep at 8:46 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


bleep, could your system be modified to fit curious nu's requirements? If so, it sounds like you'd be doing MeFi a big favor. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:33 PM on September 3


You're welcome to chime in if you're available to be a helper, as well, but first and foremost looking for someone to take the reins.

Chiming in that I’m happy to help in a fairly heavy-lifting kind of way, though I’m not up for taking the reins.
posted by daisyace at 6:46 AM on September 4


It definitely could be modified (actually id be rebuilding it bc it broke when I deleted all the personal info) but my actual point that I didn't make very well is that the swap that I was organizing had way too many participants for google sheets to handle & my advice to the person who took it on after me was to find an online service to handle the logistics.
posted by bleep at 9:11 AM on September 4


I’d like to help.
posted by carmicha at 3:55 AM on September 5


Is there a way to get this post highlighted on the main page?

The gift swap is such a beloved institution here, and I suspect that a lot of potential volunteers don't frequent MetaTalk.
posted by Metasyntactic at 3:21 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I realized that what I can probably do is email to our annual "notify me!" list and see who's interested that way, too, so I'll reach out to the participants that way as well.
posted by curious nu at 3:40 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the email curious nu! I'm available and would like to help with the gift swap.
posted by kbar1 at 8:29 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Hey folks, I've had some personal things come up since chatting with curious nu about this year's swap and it may be prudent for me to hand over my elf hat as well.

Always happy to pitch in if we're shorthanded (the exchange is really fun and people are endlessly lovely!), but if we do get enough new folks to fully cover the exchange, I'll pack up the holiday marmosets (with their tiny holiday marmoset sweaters), stick some first class stamps on their foreheads, and mail them direct to your door.

Lots of love and thanks to all.
posted by mochapickle at 9:22 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I'm also available to help, just let me know. Thanks for all your (and the marmosets') hard work over the years!
posted by orrnyereg at 5:45 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


I sent an email as well, but....

okayokayigive & I are down for helping. I'm happy to be the sacrificial lamb....I mean project manager, if needed.
posted by RhysPenbras at 7:42 PM on September 7 [3 favorites]


Since RhysPenbras has stepped up to be the project manager (which is definitely how I think of the role :) I've sent them an email and will work to get them and okayokayigive set up. If you've dropped a note in here, or memailed me, I'll make sure they have your names so they can contact you a little closer to the kickoff and see if you're still available to help. :)
posted by curious nu at 9:07 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Thank you for doing this final bit of wrangling, curious nu! RhysPenbras and I are happy to take this on and will likely reach out to other folks in this thread once we wrap our heads around this. The MeFi gift swap is such an important part of our household holiday celebrations - we're excited to do our best to carry the torch forward.

mochapickle, our hope is that we can use you as a resource of the brain-picking variety moreso than something hands on - I'm always pushing people on my team to take breaks when they need them and it sounds like you need it!
posted by okayokayigive at 1:04 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


I’ve transferred over the email/Google drive and the fund to RhysPenbras and okayokayigive. Look for more from them in a month or so :)
posted by curious nu at 7:12 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


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