A Guide To Fansourcing Part 3: When To Fansource

We've talked about what Fansourcing is (outsourcing things to fans, in our case specifically fan-to-fan).  We've talked about the advantages of it (a lot).  So now the question comes up – when should you use fansourcing.

Yeah, as much as I'm an advocate of fansourcing, it's not something to do all the time.  There are times, for whatever reason, you're not going to find fellow fans to do things – or won't be accepting a request from a fellow geek no matter what.

When should you fansource-out tasks you need done?

  • When you need someone who truly "gets" you, your project, or your interests.  In that case fansourcing may be your first (and only) opportunity.
  • When you need a highly specific skillet or level of knowledge going through your fandom/asociations may just be easier.
  • When you have a fellow fan who can do the task and will benefit from the connection/reimbursement as opposed to a stranger.
  • When you've got a sensitive situation you may only trust people with whom you share a connection.
  • When you want to actively promote a skillset, your fandom, etc. by keeping the money/resources/etc. within the "group."

As for people taking a fansourcing assignment, or considering fansourcing, what are the best times to do so?

  • When you need a reference, reimbursement, or similar tasks – let's face it, your fannish connections can just pay off.
  • When the task in question is something you can do and that supports your professional goals.  (Many an artist knows what it's like to turn something down).
  • To start building (or to expand) a client base – especially into groups you feel comfortable with.
  • To network more.

I usually find that the person who needs something done has a lot more limitations to face than the person doing the work.  That's just the way it is.

So no, it's not always the time to Fansource, but keeping in mind when it is a good time is a key to using it properly – or not using it all.

Steven Savage