Let's talk more about our Pay It Forward Contest, Group Effort Edition! I wanted to give all of you HUGE KISSES when I saw how many people were joining in! Suddenly it feels like we haven't had enough FUN for awhile, and now we ARE going to have fun!
Or maybe the feeling is that I haven't had enough BROWNIES for awhile ( <--total lie ) and now I AM eating brownies ( <--truth ). I made a big batch of them yesterday, with Andes mint chocolate chips. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Mmm. Mmmm-mmm-mmm. They're so fudgey, I think the correct term is "underdone." They slip down pretty easy, and I don't know how much chocolate and sugar I've had so far, but my cheeks are rosy and there are large inroads made into the 9x13 pan.
Anyway! Several good issues have been raised!
Issue the First: Zesty Jenny wanted to know if having the contests next week means we need to have a prize ready by then. No indeedy, and in fact although you MAY have a prize ready ahead of time, I prefer to go shopping after I know who won. More fun! Also, if you show the prize at the beginning of the contest, it kills some of the thrill: for me, part of the fun of winning Jess Loolu's contest was wondering what surprise might be arriving in the mail.
Issue the Second: The New Girl wanted to know what the protocol is for package contents---price range, theme, etc. I think what's so fun about this kind of contest is that the prize is totally up to you. Some people enjoy doing a theme. Some people do one single item. Some people do a bunch of random little things. I myself am in the "things I found at Target while thinking of the winner" group. If you'd like to see two sample prizes, you can go over to Melessa, who won my last contest: she posted a picture of the random-stuff prize I sent her, and also a picture of the theme prize she was offering.
As for price range, I think it's "whatever is still fun." If you start getting stressed about the cost, that = not fun. I think a prize can be something you go out and buy, or it can be half a batch of cookies, a couple of used paperbacks, and a bottle of moisturizer that wasn't right for you. (In fact, I think sometime later we should do a "Redistributing Clutter" Pay it Forward, where we all get rid of some of the stuff in our houses that we don't want but it's too good/expensive to throw away.)
Issue the Third: Nowheymama reminded me that next week contains the July 4th weekend, and a lot of people might be going out of town before the contest is over. I think that's still going to be okay: as long as we start the contests early in the week (June 30th or July 1st), and have them all end on the same day (July 4th itself), it's fine if we're not there in person for the end of the contest. When we return from vacation we can pick winners and shop for prizes---no hurry.
In a related issue, Janice asked about being out of town during the two START dates. See if your blog platform ("blog platform"? Is that really the term I need here?) lets you submit posts for delayed posting. Blogger, which is what I use, lets you set the date/time in the future, and then the post won't post until that date/time. You can get a Pay it Forward Contest Announcement all set to go before you leave and set it to post on Monday.
Issue the Fourth: Misty asked if I'd handle the scheduling, and I was all like, "YES I will boss that train!"---but then I realized we're probably in different time zones and different countries and so I can't over-boss here. What I suggest is that all the contests begin on either Monday June 30th or Tuesday July 1st, and end on Friday, July 4th, and I'm talking about U.S. dates. Specific end-TIME is whatever you want. I'm planning to go with noon Pacific Time.
Issue the Fifth: Tina is wondering about a random number generator. I use Random.org. Actually, NOW I use a program my cool computer-geek brother wrote for me, but it is customized for me and so the rest of you sadsacks without cool computer-geek brothers will just have to cope with Random.org. Which is a nice random number generator, too, just not as nice as mine.
Issue the Sixth: In fact, Tina and Barb bring up a good point in general, which is that not everyone is familiar with Pay it Forward contests and maybe there could be a quick overview rather than the assumption that everyone knows what I'm talking about, especially considering that I myself did not know what I was talking about until Jess Loolu's contest.
So! Pay it Forward contests! They have kind of a dumb name, but it is what they are called and we are too late to vote on it. The way they work is that a blogger says he or she is having a Pay it Forward contest, and a bunch of people enter by commenting on that post (I like to give a lightweight optional question to answer; last time I asked if your skin was dry, oily, or combination). The blogger uses a random number generator (or scraps of paper in a hat) to select a random commenter, and sends that commenter a surprise box (contents completely up to the blogger) in the mail. The recipient of the surprise box must then post a Pay it Forward contest on his or her OWN blog, and choose a random commenter to win it, and send a surprise box to that commenter. Then THAT winner....and so on.
So! Did I cover everything? If you're in on this, get your post ready for Monday or Tuesday of next week. Next week, when you've posted it, email me (swistle at gmail dot com) the URL and I'll put it in a list of all the Group Effort Pay it Forward contests, which I'll post on Monday or Tuesday with my own Pay it Forward contest---adding to it as more contests are emailed to me.
If you don't have a blog but you want to be in on it, email me (swistle at gmail dot com) and I'll add you to my own contest and choose you a winner from my commenters.
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