Our purse makers are a wealth of knowledge, and that knowledge was right there in front of us, untapped, until a light bulb went off. Instead of guessing, why not ask our purse making community what they would want in terms of forming local groups. Viola! The Local Growth Survey was born. Hundreds of you participated and you are probably curious about the results. Wonder no more. This episode provides the survey results and outlines next steps for creating Sew Powerful local groups. Thanks to all who participated in the survey and the dedicated volunteers serving on the committee to bring about the local groups!
Survey Says with Jan Cancila
IN THIS EPISODE
Survey results, respondents’ countries of origin, how far people will travel to attend a group meeting, why people join sewing groups, how frequently people like to meet, suggestions
Local Growth Survey, conducted by Sew Powerful, February 2021
ABOUT THE SEW POWERFUL PODCAST
The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.
Host: Jan Cancila
Jan Cancila, Host 00:04
Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.
Hello, today's podcast is going to be a little bit different. You're not going to hear another voice, audibly, but you are going to hear the voices of those who took our Local Growth Survey. The survey lasted two weeks in the middle of February and I'm here today to give you the results. So let me give you a little background. There's a Committee that's working on, what can we do to expand the reach and engagement of purse makers with Sew Powerful? And the basic idea is having small groups of people who sew together in a community would reinforce the Sew Powerful message, create a bond, and also allow those folks to go out and talk about Sew Powerful with their friends and family as well.
So with that in mind, we put together a Committee and we had several meetings, and we tossed around ideas. Would these small groups like to have a lot of structure, officers, agendas, meetings, rules, dues, all those kinds of things? Or would would the main reason that people got together would be to form friendships and to sew and to do good for others? And we debated it back and forth and we were scratching our heads. And finally someone on the committee said, Why don't we survey all those people who produce purses for us already? And we're like, duh, why didn't we think about that two weeks ago? Anyway, we put together the survey. And a special thanks to those people who serve on the Committee that we call the CDC (and you know who you are) your work is very valuable. And we will be putting together some ideas, putting forth some ideas that will be based on the results of this survey. So let's get started.
One of the things that was important would be to have enough people take the survey that we would have statistically valid results. And I'm here to say, with several 100 respondents we are statistically valid. So here we go. So the first question, and if you took this survey, this is going to look familiar - and if you didn't, you also will be interested to hear what the results are. So Question One: At the time in-person gatherings are appropriate, how likely are you to regularly meet to share and sew with other Sew Powerful purse makers in your community, if you are aware of such a group? Now, we sort of wrestled with this question I'll, I'll admit, because, you know, it was, is this before, after or during COVID? So we put this little modifier at the beginning of the question, "at the time in-person gatherings are appropriate." So we left that up to each person to decide what that would be. And the good news is that 23% of the people who took the survey said they would be Very Likely to participate in such a group and 29% additionally said they would be Likely. So we have more than half of our respondents who are Likely or Very Likely to want to participate in groups. About a quarter of the people said they were Unsure. And so I would presume that if some of those who were unsure would eventually joined a group. We had 16% who are Unlikely and 10% who are Very Unlikely, so approximately a quarter of the people probably wouldn't be joining a group.
Question Two: How likely are you to invite a friend who currently does not sew for Sew Powerful to accompany you to such a group meeting? The good news is 45%, nearly half, said they were either Very Likely or Likely to invite a friend. So now we've got the core people attending, and then they're also including one of their, one or more of their friends to join them. 18% were Very Unlikely, 15% more Un-, were Unlikely. So again, maybe that's about a third would not invite a friend, but that's okay. We've we've got a lot of people who would encourage some of their friends to join Sew Powerful.
Question Three was very important to us. It says, How likely are you to host or lead others for sewing events and/or instruction for Sew Powerful? The good news is that 29% of the respondents would be Likely or Very Likely to do that. So we have people looking for leadership roles within Sew Powerful, and we're so excited to see such a strong number there. 27% were Unsure and 27% were Very Unlikely. So obviously, we've got a good representation on the spectrum of people who would like to lead and people who would simply like to attend.
Question Four: we wanted to figure out how often these local groups should meet. So the Question Four was, How frequently would you be willing to join others in a Sew Powerful sewing group? The most popular answer, with 47% responding, was Monthly, which was sort of what we expected. 36% said they would like to meet Quarterly. 7% enthusiastically would like to meet Once a week. And then we had 10%, who would not be joining a group. So I thought that was pretty telling, probably the most common group meeting would happen once a month.
Then we wanted to see who our respondents were and how currently engaged they were with Sew Powerful on on Facebook, in the Purse Project group. So the Question Five read, How frequently do you post comments or photos in the Sew Powerful Purse Project Facebook group? 19% Weekly, 19% Monthly, 25% Quarterly, but then 37% do not post. So we have a good number here where we have about 60% are very engaged with the Facebook group. And as you know, that is a place where we encourage others, we share information, news is announced there. So it was an interesting question with interesting results.
Now, Question Seven was the antithesis of Question Six, asking which of these very same parameters would you find least appealing? And so here are the top five things that people do not want as part of a Sew Powerful local group in order of their answer. 1) They did not want to compete on quantity or quality, no competitions. 2) They did not want elected officers, 3) They did not want to have rewards or recognition for their work; it's not about individuals, this is about giving to others, 5) And then the other answer was they did not want meeting agendas. So these two questions, Six and Seven, tell us that you are looking for local groups with friendship and sewing and not a lot of structure. So those two questions are extremely important to the committee as we try to put a definition around what is a Sew Powerful Local Group.
Question Six was a multiple choice question where the respondents got to choose up to five items. And the question was, Which of these parameters would you find most appealing in a group meeting? And so these are the top six that at least 25% selected. So and in order of popularity, the answers were 1) Service to others, 2) Opportunity for friendship, 3) Sharing materials and supplies, 4) A set meeting schedule or place, 5) Receiving sewing instructions, and 6) Presentation from experts. So those were the most popular descriptors of how these local meetings would take place.
Question Eight. In the past two years, have you submitted one or more purses to Sew Powerful? And the answer to this question: 66% Yes, and 34% No. But we didn't want to leave it at that. If you're answering No, we wanted to know why. And most people learned about the survey either from the Facebook Purse Project group or from the Sew Powerful newsletter. So so we wanted to delve a little deeper.
So Question Nine was, If you answered No to Question Eight, please check all that apply. And if you recall, Question Eight was, Have you submitted a purse in the last two years? So for the people who said No, the most common reason that they answered that was that they were just getting started. Maybe they've made some purses, they still have them at home, but they haven't sent them in. And that was the response from 59% of everyone who said No. 29% said, Lack of time or other priorities. And then I found this very interesting: 7% found the pattern difficult. Now, every now and then we'll see posts on the Facebook group that says they're stuck with the pattern that's too hard, they're giving up, things like that. But the people who answered our survey, there that wasn't a huge number, less than 10% are finding difficulty with the pattern. And I think for those who are having difficulty, I think after you make your first purse, I think that that difficulty certainly is diminished. The other options that people answered: Materials or shipping were too costly, 3%; I don't know about Sew Powerful, 1%; I do not sew 0% have answered that way. And then, The mission does not resonate with me - we did have one respondent who answered in that way. So there there we have it. So for not sending in purses, the most common reason was people are just getting started. They're new to Sew Powerful, they haven't had a chance to send them in yet.
Question Ten was, If you participate in any local sewing-oriented groups, tell us what you most enjoy about your group. So of all respondents, 31% actually answered this question that they do participate in other sewing groups. And so to find out what they liked about the group, so Sew Powerful can model our groups on other other groups that have good qualities, we asked this question. And 44% of the respondents said what they liked about their other sewing groups was the opportunity for friendships. 29% liked sewing together. 20% liked learning new skills. And then we had people liked being in a small group 4%, and then Show And Tell was 3%. So it was very interesting. There was another option where you could say Other, but I took all of those answers and they mostly they actually fell into all these existing buckets. So we move them there to get our percentages in this way for Question number Ten.
Question Eleven: If you have suggestions for how Sew Powerful can reach more purse makers, please share. Now because this was a survey, people were limited to 25 words or less to tell us what they thought. And we said, as a follow-up, if you're willing to provide your email address, we will contact you regarding your suggestion. So of all the people who provided suggestions, 55% did provide their email address and that leaves 45% who did not. I have shared with the Regional Coordinators, all the suggestions whether they were with or without an email address. But for the people who did provide their email address, I've corresponded with them right after the survey, and I asked if they would participate in a telephone discussion about their suggestion because again, the survey limited them to just 25 words. And we're hoping that we're going to get some tips and some ideas, some things that perhaps Sew Powerful has never pursued before, or find contacts to pursue ideas we had but didn't know how to get it started. So we're very excited, and the members of the Committee will be calling people who have provided their phone number as a follow-up to my email message to them. So we're very excited to get more details. I did provide the Regional Coordinators and the members of the Committee what those suggestions are, and they are available as part of the survey results for the Committee.
Question Twelve: If you would like to be notified when Sew Powerful groups begin forming, please provide your email address and location information. So 59% of everyone who took the survey wants to get an email when we start forming local groups, which I thought was really exciting. 41% did not provide an email address. But I think the third, just expecting that they'll be able to see announcements in the newsletter or in the Facebook group as a way that they will find out. But we do have the email addresses of the 59% of you who provided them. And you will be getting an email when these groups start forming. So thank you so much for providing that.
The next Question [Thirteen] was, How far would you be willing to travel to attend a Sew Powerful group meeting? Well, this is an international group. And so the answers were in miles/kilometers. And I know it's not a one-for-one, but in the interest of keeping it simple on the survey, the parameters were done as miles/kilometers. So zero to 10 miles/kilometers (and so I don't get my tongue all tangled up, I'm just going to say "miles" here for the rest of these) but zero to 10 miles, a quarter of the people said that they would travel up to 10 miles to attend a group meeting. Another third said that they would go up to 20 miles to attend a group meeting. So now we have almost 60%, who would would travel that distance. An additional 16% would travel up to 30 miles, and an additional 10% would be willing to drive more than 30 miles. So I presume these might be Sew Powerful purse makers who perhaps live in a more remote location where they're used to having to drive for most everything, but I thought that was really great. And we have 80% of the respondents who were willing to drive a good distance to get to a meeting. 6% said they would only attend a meeting virtually. And then 12% said they would be unlikely to join a group. So that's fairly consistent with the other answer we had earlier, where we had 10% who said they would not join. So somewhere in the 10 to 12% of the respondents are not looking to join a group.
So the people who provided their contact information, which was optional, also included their country. And so the responses came from Australia (2%), Canada (2%), the Netherlands (1%), United Kingdom (5%), the United States (54%). And then 36% of our respondents did not provide an answer.
So that was the survey results. It was put up just under two weeks, it was up for 13 days, which we've we felt like that gave us a good length of time to get responses, and for people to know about it from various means that we made it known. And we got about half of the responses the first week and half the responses the second week. So going forward, we're going to take this information and we are feeling much more confident about our way forward. And shortly, sometime probably in the month of April, we will be announcing that five groups of people that will be our Beta groups will be our testers of this concept, and we will learn from them. And we will put some parameters around what these groups are or are not, based on these survey results. And then based on the feedback we get from our testing groups, and then sometime in the summer, we're going to be opening it up. And we have zip codes from many people where we would be able to match people up with two or three, four or five other respondents who are nearby them based on how far they're they're willing to travel. And to start to get this going, our goal is, by the end of the year, to have several dozen of these groups actually in formation and many, many more going forward. As you know the goal for 2021 is to have 23,000 purses (if I, if I have that right), and you can imagine as we expand into Livingston in Zambia that the need for more purses is just going to increase every year. And our ability to get those purses and to have people maintain their work with Sew Powerful I think will be reinforced by being a member of a local community
Asa post script. I want to give the names of the volunteers who have dedicated their time and talents to the CDC Committee. And they are Jen Luton, Kathy Kitchen, Leslie Unruh, Torey Elwell, Sue Kirby, Elizabeth Mitman, Laura Ostdiek and Maryann Gubala. Your efforts are very much appreciated.
Thank you for your time today, but especially, thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. Your voice has been heard. We now have a clear path forward and working together, We Are Sew Powerful.
If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at www.sewpowerful.org. That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.
ABOUT THE HOST
Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Examiner.com. Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.