Thanks for your kind words about the work load for running the 2012 Back2Basics Challenge. Going it "alone" was my choice as I wanted to learn how to manage all the aspects of a good Challenge.
Another goal of mine was wanting to be sure that the Challenge tasks offered actual work benefits for participants. Happy to say - I succeeded in that respect. Many folks made comments similar to yours: "A good lesson, valuable learning, and hopefully others will benefit. I know I did!!" "Great challenge. Thanks again for all your time and effort in doing this for everyone. I just wanted to let you know it is appreciated." "It was a terrific contest, mostly because of YOU staying on top of things and your encouragement." "This challenge challenged me to perceive challenges differently. As silly as it sounds, that alone provided the most value for me." "Thanks for encouraging me to participate. Great learning."And more comments, I am proud to say ...
Along the way, Suzanne McLaughlin helped me out with two participants who couldn't keep up but had made valiant effort. She coached them through. Gary Coles was right there with an offer of help at any time I needed it. Many others offered encouragement.
Yes, it was a ton of work. Learning how to do good Challenge was my personal Challenge! This time really taught me things for next time! Such as:
1. Assume that most folks won't read the instructions. Most of the Tally Sheets I sent back were due to not reading the instructions. About 25% sent only 18 posts - no "freebies" as you called them. I sent them back for them to try again. All but two sent them back with the missing links filled in. Another 25% had individual questions requiring individual responses. Great way to get to know some other members.
2. Use my own CRM program to communicate with the group. Twice I used the AR group email feature to send emails to the entire group only to find out later that the AR feature didn't work!!!! One was to inform everyone that due to technical difficulties at AR, the Challenge deadline was extended. Oh well, ...
I had to do something because I wasn't about to write separately to 100+ people!! Not all that CAPTCHA stuff for that many people!! I won't say how many years I had been dithering about trying to decide on a CRM program. When the AR group contact feature didn't work - I was down to two CRM choices. I decided to try the free weeks at ixactContact.
Support there is really great. They even loaded all my contacts for me. Imagine - IxactContact analyzes the delivery so I knew who had not received the email and why! I fell in love with the multitude of features at ixactContact. I am really happy to be affiliated with ixactContact and actually posted about it.
3. Be prepared for someone to cheat. Only one this time. Still it surprised me as I "know" the person via online contact. Perhaps the person didn't think I was actually going to check? Maybe it was not cheating at all - just lack of understanding the guidelines.
4. State in the guidelines that you may not delegate the participation to an assistant. I found out that some people had their staff do part of the work. That was disappointing to me. Of course, they missed the learning, didn't they? However, since it wasn't stated in the Challenge Guidelines, I wasn't able to do anything about it this time.
We are going to do a 2013 Back2Basics next January. The Weltanschaaung and Community Guidelines will be included again. Other sections will address the things members found problematic in the 2012 Challenge, such as providing live links and using Google documents. The rest will be a surprise! And for the 2013 - don't worry - I will be sure to mention that doing one's own contributions is a requirement for the Challenge.
5. Be prepared for real-life taking participants away. Let's see - during the Challenge these are some of the things that happened causing folks to partially finish only-
***Parent with heart attack
***Spouse needing Chemo
***Heart health issues requiring hospitalization
***Father dying in another country
***Serious medical problems/surgery (3 different people)
***Moving to care for an ill parent
***AND THE BEST REASON -- Business picked up and no time!!!
6. POINTS - I asked Kerrie about points. She said the "moderator" of the Challenge could do as the "moderator" wanted to do. That was me in this case. So I gave folks a second chance. Then I set up a sliding scale for points so that everyone could be honored for his/her contribution at the level finished. 3000 - All requirements met
2750 - Technical errors
2500 - Needed extra help
2000 - 18-21 posts only
1500 - 11-17 posts
1000 - 6-10 posts
500 - 3-5 posts
300 - 1 or 2 posts
7. I loved doing this Challenge. In addition to learning from the sections of the Challenge, I learned about mass mailing, about the importance of clear communications and best of all, how many ActiveRain members are truly amazing.
Of course, next time I will know how to make my part less demanding as this time I developed my systems. Hopefully, next time I will finish the scoring more quickly too!
Thanks again for participating and see you in the 'Rain!
Have a happy day -
As for the 2012 Back2Basics Challenge, I hope I didn't miss anyone who sent in the Tally Sheet. If I did miss you, sorry for that. No disrespect intended for your efforts and please resend - OK? :-)