If you are considering forming a Sew Powerful Chapter, or maybe you are just curious about the process, you won't want to miss this episode. Jason, Sue and Jan have a lively conversation about marketing your newly formed Chapter. We share a long and growing list of proven ideas for finding Chapter members and expanding Sew Powerful. If you love making Sew Powerful purses and notecards, why not share your passion by forming a Chapter in your community? We are here to help you get it going.
How to Form and Market a Sew Powerful Chapter with Jason Miles, Sue Kirby, Jan Cancila
IN THIS EPISODE
Sewing for charity, forming a sew powerful chapter, chapter locator, Nextdoor app, ideas for finding new members, why register your chapter
Sew Powerful 2021 Spring Summit, https://summit.sewpowerful.org/start-now
Sew Powerful Chapters, https://www.sewpowerful.org/pages/chapters
Sew Powerful Chapter Locator, https://www.sewpowerful.org/pages/chapter-locator
Sew Powerful Chapter Formation Starter Kit, https://www.sewpowerful.org/pages/form-a-new-chapter
Nextdoor App, https://nextdoor.com/
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
Guest: Jason Miles and Sue Kirby
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.
Jason Miles, Guest 00:23
Hey, everybody, welcome to our little training on Chapter Marketing. Hi, Jan. Hi, Sue.
Sue Kirby, Guest 00:31
Are you ready to do a fun overview of how to market your Chapter, grow it and figure out how to get things going? And for Chapter Leaders?
Great. We have a little deck we're gonna share. And then I think Jan, you're gonna lead us through most of this, and then Sue and I are going to opine on all topics that pique our interest. So let me share the screen like this. And Jan, feel free to jump in and give us context and take it away.
Well, I sort of envision this as a Chapter explainer video. So you know, we have various explainer videos. And so here we go on Chapters. And with us today is Jason Miles, who is the Sew Powerful co-founder, Sue Kirby, who serves as the CFO and also the Director of Human Resources, and I'm Jan Cancila, the Director of Global Volunteerism.
Do you want me to advance the slides?
Yes, please advance the slide. Sorry. We should have some signal worked out in advance.
So, on this slide, it's sort of the circle of life of a Chapter, is sort of the way I envisioned it in that you asked for the starter kit, you find members, you register your Chapter, get all kinds of goodies that way, you start holding meetings, new members come into your Chapter. And then, my theory is Chapters beget Chapters. And so that's sort of why I did this as a circle. And we're going to talk about each of these pieces as we go through this.
Sure. Okay, great.
So, the first thing we have on here is how to find new members or members to help you form your Chapter. And as we worked with our beta Chapter Leaders, they said for some of them, they said this was the most challenging part was to find people to be members of their Chapter. And other people said, Oh, no, you know, it was pretty easy for me, and this is what I did. And we compiled this list of things that work in order to get your Chapter going. So, Sue, or Jason, if you want to chime in on what some of the people were telling us really worked for them.
I'm sure happy to read it off here. You could do any or all of these things. And I guess I should just start by saying, this is fielder's choice in baseball's terms. So, you don't have to do any of it. If you already know that your group that you want to do a Chapter with is set and you don't need to find people, then you don't need to do any of this. But if you're looking for members, here are suggestions, tips and ideas that you again can use some of or none over whatever you want to do. So I'll just rattle them off if you want and then we can chat about any of them. Ask family members to join you. Tell your neighbors, talk to people at church, or other community groups. Go online, post it on social media tools. Things like Nextdoor seems to be an app that's a neighborhood type app that's very interesting. Obviously, we have the Facebook group, Sew Powerful Purse Group that you could post about. That's totally okay. Say that, hey, I'm starting a Chapter in, you know, Charlotte, North Carolina, blah, blah, blah. You can use other tools if you want for social media. You can post fliers around town, places like fabric stores, quilt shops, sewing machine retailers, other, you know, things like restaurants, fitness centers, libraries, schools, churches, daycare centers. Wow, that's a long list, Jan. Very cool.
Well, these are all things people have done.
One of there's a couple things I think about. I've had a local quilt shop who will hold the Sew Days in their shop. So that was fun. And she was willing to advertise it. And that way I got people that I didn't know, they just came to her shop. The other thing is, I've been working with the people at my church and been frankly a little bit discouraged at the turnout. And I feel like God told me just to cast a wider net. And during the Summit, I had two ladies from a neighboring church come. So, I think, don't be limited just to your own church or your own social circle. But as Jason said, Nextdoor is a good way to meet some of your neighbors and get them to come.
Well, and we have asterisks by a few of these things, because the ones that have, that worked, where we have examples, we have those available for Chapter Leaders who have registered their Chapter. And you don't have to be fully formed, we just want to know that you're out there and then you have access to all this great information. But we have sample posts that one person who was new to her community but wanted to meet other people, and so she posted on Nextdoor and got nine people to join a Chapter with a post on Nextdoor, which is exactly, you know, what it's designed to do.
So great. I never even heard of that app before you guys started talking about it.
It's so cool.
Yeah, it's for forming groups and selling stuff. But yeah, it's hyper-local.
Yeah. And Facebook has that kind of marketplace tool as well. I don't know if that's if that's usable for that. But anyway, this is great. Okay, so shall we keep going? Jan, you want to continue?
Yeah, yeah. So, we can help you find members, let us advertise your group. So, if you let us know, we can go to our database and send emails to people that are, we're gonna have some sort of a guess, guess a little bit about, you know, what zip code is next to what zip code, but in your area. We're happy to say, Sue Smith is forming a Chapter in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you're interested, you know, here's her contact information. So, we won't do that unless you ask for that help. But it is something that's available.
Yeah, and for privacy reasons, we can't just give you a list of you know, 40 people in your area type thing. So, for the, you know, kind of process, we need to initiate that, send them your information. So, you have to kind of be willing to put your name out there. But it would be to a, you know, a very, very, you know, small group of amazing people, you know.
And these are are typically purse makers and/or donors, those are people with connections to Sew Powerful already.
Yeah, exactly right.
And we also can just put it in the newsletter, which generally goes out on Mondays, or Tuesdays, or if I'm really super busy, Wednesdays, or whatever, but it's weekly. And so, if you want to have your Chapter announced, like, hey, you know, new Chapter in wherever, happy to have that in the newsletter, you know, for a couple times, maybe something like that. And, and so those are proactive things. Again, if this makes you uncomfortable, like you don't want your name out there widely, or something like that, then you don't have to do this. But if it's a way that we can help, kind of, you know, mine the information that's already in our, in our group, in our system, we're happy to do it.
All right. Good, good, good. What else?
Well so let's talk about Registering Your Chapter. If you have enough information together, that you're ready to say, yes, I'm, I'm definitely going to form a Chapter, just go to page six of your Starter Kit, and the link is right there. And it gets you access to all kinds of great information. It allows you to give us feedback on how it's going. If you need help, there's, you know, our suggestions that it's right there, you're automatically added to a special newsletter just for Chapter Leaders. We're gonna have quarterly Zoom sessions. We might have, in the future, in-person events and things like that. So I don't know, Jason, you have an idea here for number three, right, for Find a Chapter Near Me?
Oh, well, we'll have a tool on the website, that will kind of be like those tools, like where you find a restaurant or furniture store or whatever, you know, like on websites, where it's like, find a location. We're going to use one of those tools, but just be, it'll be set up so that you can find a Chapter. Again, you'll you'll and the process, I think, will be you know, fairly protected information. So, for example, it'll say, find a Chapter and it might say there's a Chapter in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then they will have to like, kind of click into it or apply for info or something like that. And then we would give them your, your contact info or like email address or something like that. So we'll do it in a way that's, you know, protected. But it, I think, it will be a nice feature. And I would just say this. Oh, no, sorry, keep going. I'll save my comments for next next slide, I think.
Okay, well, then let's go. Sue, do you have anything to add to Registering Your Chapter?
Well, I just would say that Sew Powerful is a great community. And I think as you register your Chapter, you'll be able to participate more fully in that and get the benefit of like-minded individuals who are really passionate about this mission.
Okay, great. All right, back to the deck here. Here we are.
Okay. So, the next one is you you have your members, you've registered, now you're going to start holding meetings. And, you know, we conducted a survey earlier this year, and we asked people what they wanted to do in meetings. And honestly, the answers were all over the place. And so, the real answer is, it's your Chapter. Do what do what you and your members would like to do at the meetings. And we just gave some examples here.
That's great. Love it. Oh, my okay. Yep. Sorry, playing with our video tool here. Terrific.
Can I say one thing here, Jason?
Is that when we started the Chapters, we did a survey that Jan alluded to, and we really wanted this to be what brings joy to each one of you. So as the Chapter Leader, and as Chapter members, make it fun, have a great time. And if that means you sew at your meetings, great. If that means that you just chat and bring show and tell, then really feel free to do what really brings you joy, and blesses the girls in Zambia by having purses you can send in.
Well, and then the other thing that we had on here was total flexibility about where you hold your meetings. It might be in a private individual's home, but it might be in a more public place, like a church or a school library or community center or a sew, you know, a quilt shop or something like that. So, we don't want to share any really private information, so we're we're probably going to be a postal or zip code layer of granularity. But, you know, it's, again, a lot of flexibility for people to organize and operate their Chapters as it works best for them.
Yeah, yeah. Okay, great. Should we go on to the Welcome New Members?
Yeah. So, to me, this is the really exciting part. So now you have your Chapter going, and people know about it, and your members are talking to their friends and relatives, and all of a sudden, you have more members. So, you know, we, we've found that one of our Chapters that started very early, about half the members had sisters that sew that lived in the area, and the sisters joined that Chapter. So, you know, word of mouth invitations to friends and relatives. And people may have seen something a few months ago when they weren't in a position to join a Chapter. And all of a sudden, now they go back to that original information, and they may find you months or weeks after you got set up. So, we want you to be welcoming and open to expanding your circle of Sew Powerful friends.
I would challenge people to go even one step further. And that would be the even, let's just call it the Biblical mandate to be disciplers. Like, I would challenge everybody to just welcome people so much so, and you know how it is. Sometimes somebody might come to your Chapter, and they're from 45 minutes away, or an hour away. And I think all of us should have an abundance mentality. We're like, look, none of us are competing. This is just like for, you know, God's glory. And if there's somebody who comes in, like from a different church, or maybe they just have a different, you know, kind of view on the world, or like they are different, far away geographically, I would just encourage everybody to say, how can I help this person? Maybe even be, you know, motivated, inspired and trained up to start their own Chapter in the context in which maybe they're more comfortable geographically or whatever, whatever. And let's do that. Let's figure out how we could maybe even intentionally say, hey, this Chapter is too big. Let's split, you know, let's make an east side of town and a west side of town or, you know, whatever it is, and see if we can't grow, you know, by multiplication and just have people come in, model what you're doing, replicate it and, and go from there. So, it can we do that? I have no idea. But it'd be really cool if we could. You know?
Well, honestly, that's a good segue for the next slide. Because my theory is Chapters beget more Chapters. So more the more people hear about Chapters, they grow, like you said, the membership expands. And just due to geography or the day of the week that it's meeting or whatever, amicably decide to break off and form their own Chapters. And I think that's wonderful. So.
And Sue, I mean, you've, you've probably seen that that as well, where, you know, we have little clusters of people, and then they bring in more people.
Yes, for sure. Because they invite a friend and encourage them to invite friends and, and, like I said, for my Summit, I had two ladies come from a totally different church. And it was so fun to sew with them and to get to know them. And I'm hoping they'll take it back to their church and start a Chapter there.
Well, and funny you say that, because I had people come to my home during the Summit too and one of the ladies who didn't sew, I gave her some material. And I just found out last night at choir practice, that she gave the materials to a friend of hers who sews and encourages her. So, you know, two weeks ago, she probably didn't really know much about Sew Powerful at all. And now she's a disciple for us. So, you know, it's funny how that all works out.
I think that's fantastic. And you know, to me, that's really the exciting part of this is broadening the circle. Because I think part of this is always what's in it for us, you know, just as individuals, and when we're in a small group, we do get the camaraderie and friendship and connection. And, and I think expanding that circle to include more and more people is healthy. But then if we can figure out how to replicate, I think it's really powerful. And the thing that we're already seeing is that the beta testers for this Chapters, idea, they're already the veterans. They're already the ones that are saying, hey, use the Nextdoor app. And, you know, here's how you do it type of thing. And I think that'll probably happen locally and regionally as well, where it's like, hey, somebody's been a Chapter Leader for a year, or two or three, they're kind of the go-to expert for helping people who are wanting to form a Chapter. And it kind of can grow organically that way. So at least that's my hope. And it seems like it's already happening. So just so exciting.
You know there was a Facebook post just this week where a lady said, I'm so sad, because I don't think I'll ever meet any other Sew Powerful volunteers. And tons of people chimed in and said, A, you probably will and B, form a Chapter and you know, now you're with other Sew Powerful volunteers. So.
We could be everywhere.
And I'll also just make one other request. For those of you who are watching this video and listening to this podcast. As you explore new ideas for growing and you know, improving the Chapter process be sure to share them back. Share them with Jan and Sue and other leaders so that they can then disseminate the information. And we can improve the process over time and get better and better at how we do it. I was gonna suggest that one way you could quickly divide your Chapter is just have a big fight over which sewing machine is best. Then you can have the Bernina group and the other group or like whatever, but don't do that. Don't do that.
Unity and harmony, please.
Remember our end goal.
Yeah, absolutely right.
Yeah. And I think that's in good fun. And hopefully these do really feel like a blessing to people as they come together and meet people. So that's the goal and to, of course, help the girls and moms in Zambia. And yeah, so there you go. So that's my two cents.
Well, I'm very excited. The the concept seems to have been well received. Since the Summit we've had two or three people every day come to us wanting to form a Chapter. And so if we can keep that up, and it will just grow exponentially.
Yeah. Well, thanks for hanging out on this conversation. It's fantastic. So Jan, if people are confused by anything we've said or want clarity on anything, what do they do as a next step?
They could send me an email Janc@sewpowerful.org. I'll be happy to answer. I'm on email all the time.
Sounds terrific. Bye friend.
Have a great day.
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.
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.