My name’s Rob, and I’ve got a question to ask you as a previous (or prospective) #nzsecretsanta participant. Depending on your feedback we’ll either leave the magic formula alone, or we’ll make a small change which we think could make it even better.
Back in May this year we heard that @websam was looking for someone to adopt NZ Secret Santa. We exchanged a bunch of emails, DMs, and finally spoke on the phone a couple of times as we both got comfortable with the hand over. We were both focused on ensuring we were doing the right thing for the #nzsecretsanta community.
Personally I was most concerned that NZ Secret Santa might be turned into a corporate promotion of some sort. So to make sure I was comfortable this wouldn’t happen I got approval from a bunch of VIPs that my team could run it however we wanted. Then I confirmed with Sam that we were happy to take it on.
At the moment we are planning everything carefully to make sure things go smoothly, and I’m happy to say that we have just one measure of success: happy participants.
Our chats with previous participants
As part of our planning we have spoken to a number of participants from previous years – including some in our team, and on our floor. Everyone told us they had really loved playing, but there were a couple of cases where the experience had been soured by the fact they hadn’t got their gift in return. We also noticed that a few others seemed to have had the same experience.
It was great to see that it was clear to all that the big buzz is associated with the giving rather than receiving, but the feeling that some people might be playing the system had left a few in doubt about whether they’d play again this year.
Can we fix it – without breaking it?
So we’ve been thinking about how we might go about removing any suspicion that a few people might be spoiling it for others – and we’ve got an idea we’d like your feedback on. If you don’t like it we’ll abandon it, and keep our mits off @websam’s winning formula.
The idea is that we can play the middle-man in the gift exchange. All gifts get sent to us (NZ Post), and we will ensure that participants only get a gift if they’ve sent a gift.
How would this work?
When you register for secret santa, in addition to requesting your email address and delivery address, we would ask you to create a NZ Post account by logging into your Twitter account (see image).
This simple change allows us to be sure that the delivery address you supply really belongs to your Twitter handle. When we do this we’ll request the minimum possible access to your account that Twitter allow for this process, because we are only interested in storing your twitter handle and proving that you own it. You remain in full control of this link and can cut the link with one click from within your Twitter account at any time.
It also allows us to issue you an address that we can share with your Secret Santa – for example; my address might look like this…
New Zealand Post
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045
I noticed that we use a much more stylish address for our Letters to Santa each year – so maybe something like this is possible too…
North Pole 0001
This means we no longer have to share your real address with the secret santa you get allocated (which concerned a few previous participants). It also means all gifts get sent to us initially. When we receive the gift for you, we’ll check you’ve sent in your return gift – and send you an email (with a tracking number) to say it’s on it’s way!
In the small number of cases where santas don’t send a gift in, we will return the gift intended for the naughty (or forgetful) santa back to their secret santa. This removes any incentive for people to join with the intention of not sending.
What do you think?
I’m really keen to hear your feedback – either in the comments below – or using the hashtag #nzsecretsanta. We won’t make these changes without being confident that we have the approval of the #nzsecretsanta community. We are all geared up to run things the same way as last year, but we have an opportunity if we move quickly to implement the approach outlined above – should we do it?