In July I took the opportunity of a free trial of Survey Software to get in touch with people on our extended mailing list. I call this list “The Friends of PAPCG.” The mailing list consisted of 196 people who are current members, past members, or had indicated an interest in the Guild or one of our classes.
The goals of the survey are twofold: 1) I needed to update the email list and allow disinterested people to unsubscribe; 2) the Guild Leadership wanted to better understand what “The Friends of PAPCG” are expecting from the Guild so we can better meet their needs.
RESULTS of the July Survey
I sent our survey to 196 email addresses. About 5% were in error or duplicates. I met our first goal of “cleaning up” our email list.
I received 26 individual responses to the survey from current, past and nonmembers as evidenced by their comments. Here is what they told us:
1. For most of the respondents polymer clay is a hobby and they like to learn new techniques, primarily making jewelry and small items. They find the opportunity to network and meet with others with similar interests very important as well. A sizable group sells their work and wants to improve their skills. A smaller group enjoyed sculpting and making decorative art.
Because of these findings, we have planned to focus our October Meeting on skills needed for the artist planning to sell their work and the Artist’s journey. Our November Meeting will have the theme of Jewelry Construction.
2. Eighty percent of respondents had been to a meeting in the past three years. For those who had not cited distance as a problem, it was timing or personal issues that have kept them away. The Sunday meeting time was problematic for two of the nine who made comments.
3. Seventeen people replied that interesting Guest Artists, demos by members and knowledge ahead of time for a plan for the day make a meeting worthwhile to attend. One person requested free cookies. (We all miss Linda’s homemade yummies, maybe we can entice her back!)
Because of these findings, I have resumed the monthly newsletter broadcast of planned meeting agendas so our Friends can make plans to join us. Sherman and I will assure this is published regularly.
4. Most of the respondents were familiar with the Guest Artist program and had attended Master Classes and Guest Artist Meetings. Most planned to attend in the future as well. One would like to be our Guest Artist!
5. With regards to our Master Classes, respondents found it less important to come home with a finished item (a Project Class) than to learn a new technique and spend time with other artists. Buying and selling polymer clay artwork at the Classes was less important.
This information will help inform Arlene, the Program Director when scheduling classes.
6. The suggestion box. A big thank you to those who took the time to write in their encouragement and “Attaboys!” There was a request for a member list to allow connection with other members for carpooling. The other main concern was about our meeting location and parking issues. These are great suggestions!
There can be unintended problems with publishing a member list but there are presently three avenues for members who want to connect:
- Anyone can post on our Facebook page. This is designed for social networking.
- Anyone can use the comments area of the blog post announcing a meeting to ask if others may want to carpool.
- Anyone can contact our Member Coordinator, Sherman, and he can see about making you a match! His contact information is in every newsletter.
The current location (Hillman House) has some drawbacks but it is VERY cost effective. We have looked for other locations, and even did move once. Our membership dropped dramatically the year we moved to weekday evening class in a different location. We are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the meeting venue. We are using the nearby First Unitarian Church for our October Meeting as a trial, though the price will probably preclude regular use. Stay tuned!
Thank you to all who participated. The Guild Leadership has taken your comments to heart and hope to make this the best year ever for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. We love to hear your suggestions year round, so keep them coming.
PAPCG Cheerleader and Surveyor
(with excellent editing support from Deputy Blogger, Perrie! Thank you)