Inside the
Summer Issue:

Home Page

For Bruce Springsteen,
"Do Something" Means
Many Things.

The Beat of a
Different Drummer:
An Interview
with Jim Chapin

Students Use
Pocket Change
to Make a
Big Difference

Cancer Patient
Cites Harry's
Message as Key
to Survival

The Power
of Design(ers)

Harry Chapin
Freedom of Choice

Goat Tales

The Cat's
in the Cradle...

Letter to
the Editor


Long Island
Songwriters Plan
"Sequel" Benefit
Tribute Concert

Howard Fields and
Al Stewart in
Concert to
Benefit KIDS Can
Make a Difference

Readers Share Thoughts
in Second Annual
Circle! Survey

Circle Calendar

Readers Share Thoughts in Second Annual Circle! Survey

by Mike Grayeb

The second annual Circle! Reader Survey provided some interesting insights into the newsletter's impact.

Thanks to the 127 readers who recently took the time to participate in this year's survey. You've helped us to better understand which stories are of the most interest and the degree to which we're accomplishing our goal of inspiring Chapin fans to make a difference. With your input, we'll continue to hone our craft to produce the best possible forum to share stories and ideas.

Here are some of the highlights of what we learned:

83 percent of those who responded live in the United States. About 10 percent are from Canada, and we also had respondents from England, France, Sweden, Scotland, New Zealand, and Brazil.

78 percent of respondents indicated they read Circle! both for entertainment value and for interesting and inspiring ideas on how to "do something" to make a difference. About 17 percent said they read it primarily for entertainment value; five percent were unsure.

70 percent of participants indicated they read "most of the stories" or "every story" in each issue of Circle! 24 percent said they read about half of the stories, while 6 percent said they read just a few of the stories in each issue.

When we asked how often certain kinds of articles should be featured in Circle!, more than 90 percent of respondents replied "every issue" or "frequently" to the following types of stories:

• Chapin family members or band members;
• Ideas on easy ways to do something positive;
• Chapin-related concert information;
• Fellow Chapin fans who are making a difference;
• Stories "behind the songs" Harry wrote.

86 percent of survey participants said we should include hunger-related news and information frequently or in every issue, while 13 percent said we should include these stories occasionally.

76 percent of respondents thought we should feature non-profit organizations with volunteer opportunities frequently or in every issue, while 22 percent said we should feature these occasionally.

81 percent of readers suggested that we feature merchandise and special offers for donations frequently or in every issue, while 16 percent suggested this should be done on occasion.

When we asked readers to respond to the following statement: "Circle! has helped me to really believe that each of us can make a difference," 82 percent of survey participants said they agreed; five percent said they disagreed, and 13 percent were unsure.

Perhaps one of the truest barometers of whether our efforts are achieving our goals comes from the replies to the following survey question: "Has the "Circle!" newsletter inspired and/or moved you in some way? If yes, please tell us how. (Examples: I now donate more of my time or money to non-profit organizations. I now vote in public elections. I now spend more time helping people in my community.). If Circle! has not inspired you, please let us know that and tell us why not." 65 participants answered this question, and 62 readers skipped it.

Of those who answered the question, here is a representative sampling of the responses:

"As a politically active individual already, I rarely find that a newsletter is going to 'inspire' me to act...however, it can certainly make a nice reminder when life bogs one down, or point out an issue not yet being considered."

"My wife and I now are more concerned with recycling our household garbage and are planning on building a compost this spring. I personally used to run a miniature golf tournament every Christmas with all proceeds going to various charities in our region. The miniature golf course was an indoor venue and has since closed. We have considered other events since, but are pretty sure we will run a "Christmas in July" miniature golf tournament at an outdoor venue with proceeds going to either our local food bank or towards adopting a family for Christmas."

"I have increased non-profit donations."

"It has inspired me to get involved with the 'Slow Food' movement."

"I have become more involved in organizations in my home town."

"Not yet, it's my first time reading it."

"It hasn't really inspired me, as I tend to only read the articles relating to Harry's (and Tom's) music...which inspires me in and of itself."

"I now have become involved with our local food shelf and one of the city wide Boy Scouting events, 'Scouting for Food,' including handling press releases and promotions to increase awareness in the event."

"It has inspired me to become much more active in the world around me, especially in my local school district and town government because I feel it is very important to be aware of what is going on in regards to our next generation. I also have increased my level of giving to non-profit organizations, and am very much going to increase my personal time commitment to a couple of non-profit organizations that are very important to me."

"I've always been involved; it's just nice to know there are others carrying on Harry's legacy."

"Circle! helps me to not feel like I am alone in the battle. I am not as active as I was in the past -- primarily due to health problems. Instead of feeling sad about that, Circle! helps me to see that there are many others who are still working for a better world."

"I have taken a few ideas and and written about them in a local community newsletter."

"I'm now involved as a committee member for a Boy Scout troop."

"I donate money to our local food pantry and encourage others to do so also."

"I am inspired by Harry and feel his influence when I see new photos of him and hear stories about him and his songs and life."

Congratulations to the five lucky readers who won a Harry Chapin concert CD via the random drawing conducted among all readers who participated in the survey by April 30, 2005. The winners are: Janet Chapin (no relation) of Kansas City, MO; Mike Frawley of Deposit, NY; Brett Simpson of Auckland, New Zealand; Nancy Warren of Exton, PA, and one other person who's email bounced back to us. If your email address begins with "jprimus," please contact us at

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on September 7