Inside the
Summer Issue:

Home Page

Writers Wanted:
Join Circle!

High School Principal
Follows Through On
Harry's Challenge

Better Place To Be
Is Scientist's Goal

Readers Help Shape
Circle! Through
Survey Feedback

Fan Fare
John McMenamin

Insider's Guide To
The Chapin Family
Weekend At Ovens Park

One Woman's
Simple Question
Yields A Harvest
of Food For The Hungry

Behind The Song:
What Made
America Famous?

What Made
America Famous?
Made Radio Program
Director Infamous

Choosing to Matter

Clipping Coupons
for Charities

DJ's Community
Activism Remembered

New Stage Production
Offers Harry Memorabilia
to Benefit WHY

WHY Visits
the Today Show

Circle! Calendar

Click to read
the Spring 2004 Issue

Click to read
the Winter 2004 Issue

Click to read
the Fall 2003 Issue


Readers Help Shape Circle! Through Survey Feedback

by Mike Grayeb

A little over a year ago, a small group of us were brainstorming ideas on how to "do something" positive in Harry's memory.

We remembered Harry's amazing "pied piper-like" persona and his ability to use his story songs to convert fans of his music into activists for positive social change. We also recognized that real progress comes not through glitzy, one-night events, but rather through a sustained effort by individuals who are committed to affecting change.

Finally, we realized that there were already thousands of individual Chapin fans and others who were involved in meaningful social action, and whose stories, if told, might inspire others, just like Harry did.

That's how this on-line quarterly newsletter, Circle!, was born.

Earlier this year, the editors of Circle! decided to critically evaluate the reach and impact of our efforts, so we created a Reader Survey which appeared in our Spring 2004 issue. We were pleasantly surprised when 208 of you took the time to respond to the survey, and we appreciate your candid feedback, which will help us to shape the future content. Here are some of the highlights of what we learned:

  • 83 percent of the respondents were from the United States; it was surprising for us to learn that Circle! also has a broad international reach: 5 percent of respondents were from Canada, 5 percent were from the United Kingdom. We also have readers in Australia, Brazil, France, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Sweden.

  • On the subject of reader age, 59 percent indicated they are between 45 and 60 years old; 27 percent are between 30 and 44 years old; and 10 percent are between 18 and 29 years old. (We also heard from readers under 18 and older than 60).

  • In terms of our editorial focus, 89 percent of you indicated we "shouldn't change a thing," but 11 percent had some great suggestions:

    • Incorporate audio and video clips into the content (we've included some in this issue; please be patient downloading if you're on 56K modem dial-up)

    • Cover international issues of interest to non-U.S. readers

    • Include stories, photos and other material provided by the readers

    • Feature more stories about Harry

  • 55 percent of respondents suggested we should occasionally include stories about fans who are activists/volunteers, while 39 percent suggested we should include these stories frequently. We've heard from a number of readers who were inspired after reading the "Fan Fare" story about master coupon clipper Harry Nydick in our Spring 2004 issue, so we've included a follow-up "how to" overview story in this issue.

  • Likewise, 54 percent of you indicated we should cover grassroots activist groups occasionally, while 32 percent suggested we should feature them frequently. Often, when we feature a story on a local grassroots group, our goal is to spotlight innovative programs or solutions that can be replicated in other communities. Please let us know if you are able to put one of these ideas to work where you live - or if these stories inspire you to get involved in some other way in your community.

  • 63 percent of the respondents felt we should frequently provide ideas on how readers can "do something," and 35 percent felt we should do this on occasion. Since Circle! is all about inspiring people to "make a difference," these kinds of stories will continue to play an integral role in our content.

  • Overwhelmingly, more than 70 percent of respondents indicated we should continue to frequently cover stories about Chapin family members or band members, Chapin-related concert info, and the stories "Behind the Songs." We'll try to include these kinds of stories as often as possible. If you have a personal story about Harry, please share it with us for possible use in a future issue.

  • Of the 10 to 12 stories we feature in a typical issue of Circle!, 64 percent of respondents said they read seven or more stories. That's encouraging to us - people are taking time out to read much of the content.

  • Finally, although we realized we had only published four issues of the newsletter prior to initiating the reader survey, we wanted to get an early read on our impact in terms of moving our readers to social action. Here's how readers responded to our question: "Has Circle! inspired you to act and "do something" to make a difference?"

    • 12 percent indicated they were inspired by Circle! to do something

    • 6 percent said Circle! inspired them to increase their level of activism

    • 10 percent identified Circle! as a contributing factor on why they remain involved in social action

    • 7 percent indicated they were new to Circle! and thus were not yet inspired

    • 22 percent indicated they were either already "doing something" prior to reading Circle and/or were not inspired by the newsletter

    • 42 percent skipped the question.

It was encouraging to see that after just one year in existence, Circle! had inspired 18 percent of the survey respondents either to initiate some kind of personal social action - or to increase their existing level of activism. We hope those numbers continue to grow!

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to respond to our survey. We value your input and will keep it in mind as we plan future issues of Circle!, all the while remaining true to our mission: to provide ideas for social action and inspire others to act and make a difference.

By the way, we have contacted by email the five lucky readers who won a live Harry Chapin concert CD in a random drawing among all survey participants.

If you have story suggestions, comments, or other feedback to share with us, or if Circle! has inspired you to get involved and make a difference, please drop us a line and let us know at

Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on September 7