There are lots of Big Changes for the Big Christmas Swap 2020, and here’s a detailed explanation why we put these changes in place.
Big Christmas Swap 2019
Our first Swap, in 2019, offered everyone and anyone Free Registration to a Local (incl. USA & Canada) or Worldwide Card Swap. We also offered access to a Local (USA/Canada) or Worldwide Ornament Swap for a small registration fee.
For member safety, we required those enrolling for the Card Swap needed to complete an Email Verification process in order to be matched. For the Ornament Swap, the registration fee was added to encourage accountability and we could verify member identities through Paypal.
These were the only steps we put in place to keep the participants accountable to complete their participation.
The response to the 2019 Big Christmas Swap was phenomenal and we had over 1600 registrations in total over the two swaps, many of which were enrolled in both. We then manually matched every single person within the specifications of the swaps they enrolled in and sent the Group Swap Lists to participants by email. Unfortunately, we had major issues with our email systems many of our email newsletter updates were sent to Junk/Spam or not delivered at all. This may have caused some people to abandon their participation.
After analysing the Post-Swap Surveys completed by our 2019 Swaps participants it was evident that we needed to create a system offering better membership enrolment, accountability and participation tracking. This is why we created the Membership Levels for user hierarchy and have added registration fees to certain Swaps, but waived most fees for our trusted Members, (with confirmed participation).
Our goal is to have every single Member who enrols in a Swap, successfully participate by both sending and receiving everything expected for that particular Swap.
Big Christmas Swap 2020
Our Basic Level is a sort of Probationary Membership – once you’ve completed a Swap as a Basic Member you’re eligible for a Free Upgrade to our Gold Level. This ensures that for most of our Swaps we have trusted members enrolling, so you can trust you’ll receive what you expect. We do offer new Members the ability to buy Gold Level as a purchase, as we have found that people are more accountable when they’ve invested a fee.
With our new Swap Tracking system we’re able to review each Member on a Swap-by-Swap basis, and will monitor closely to ensure that we take action if someone has.
So, for trusted members, our main Swaps, the Local & Worldwide Card Swaps, remain free. Furthermore, we’re waiving the fee on Local (USA-USA) Ornament Swaps for Gold Members, whereas in 2019 there was a fee for all Ornament Swaps.
Introducing Premium Swaps
More than any other requested feature, we’ve been asked if we can do ‘More Swaps’, in the form of Craft, Gift, or higher number of Cards.
For these type of Swaps, more of our participants time and/or money on the line (like shipping costs), so we want to ensure that only our most trusted and reliable Members will participate, hopefully ensuring that the effort you put into each Swap will be equal to the gift you receive.
This is why we limit access for only Gold or Diamond Members, furthermore there is an additional non-refundable Registration Fee for each Premium Swap. There may be Participation Limits or additional Tracking details required (such as Postal receipts) on certain swaps.
As with previous years, our Worldwide Ornament Swap has a registration fee, but unlike 2019 we will be guaranteeing that you’ll receive an International Swap address. How? By limiting the number of USA participants to equal the number of non-USA Participants. (Priority given to Diamond Members).
Non-USA Participation Fee Information
There are two reason we offer free registration to non-USA Members for certain swaps. First: At this time we’re not set up to offer non-USA Local Card or Ornament Swaps. We attempted this in 2019 but the number of registrations were too low from international addresses to facilitate this. Second: The vast majority of registrations for our Worldwide Card and Ornament Swaps is from the USA, requesting matches within other countries. To encourage international Members to sign up we offer them the chance to participate in certain swaps with no registration fees. For ‘New’ members we’re encouraging accountability by requiring them to link their Facebook (or other social media account) to their registration, so we can reach them easier for follow-up and other updates.