We asked, you answered, we listened.

Last month, we asked our Community to share their perspectives at the beginning of a new U.S. presidential administration. We wanted to get your input on where we should focus our efforts, how much we should prioritize different strategies, and more generally, how our Community is feeling. We were extremely grateful to receive over 10,000 responses! Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts. Here are some of our findings and the ways your guidance will shape our work in the year ahead.


The first section of the survey was designed to evaluate our Community’s attitudes and priorities; respondents could adjust a slider from 0-100 to indicate their standing between two opposing positions. Below is the average response to each question, segmented by U.S. respondents and international respondents.

  • How big a threat, if any, do you think the new U.S. Presidential administration poses to the Story of Stuff Community’s goal of building a more sustainable, healthy and just world? (Not a problem > Red Alert)
    • U.S.: 90
    • Int’l: 87
  • What best describes your current state of mind with regards to our Community’s ability to reach our goal of a more sustainable, healthy and just world? (Depressed and hopeless > Fired up and ready to go!)
    • U.S.: 61
    • Int’l: 57
  • How much energy and resources should The Story of Stuff Project and our Community devote to challenging the current U.S. administration’s policies? (I wouldn’t focus on it > Most of our energy)
    • U.S.: 76
    • Int’l: 58
  • Do you believe it is possible to achieve positive outcomes at the federal level in the United States for people and the planet under the current presidential administration? Are there opportunities to get good things done? (No, don’t bother > Yes, I see some opportunities)
    • U.S.: 53
    • Int’l: 53
  • Do you believe The Story of Stuff Project’s mission and values require our Community to defend the rights of marginalized communities if they are under threat, such as workers or immigrants? (No > Yes)
    • U.S.: 82
    • Int’l: 82
  • Would you like to see Story of Stuff campaigns focused mainly on making change in the United States, our home country, or should we focus more globally? (Mostly U.S. > Mostly global/international)
    • U.S.: 42
    • Int’l: 66
  • Are you currently involved in a changemaking effort or group that is addressing the current political situation in the United States or where you live? (Not at all > Very involved)
    • U.S.: 59
    • Int’l: 46

Next, we asked respondents, “What would you say is the biggest barrier, if any, to your getting involved in making change, whether that’s in the political system or not?” Below, we indicate the percentage or respondents who selected each answer (individuals could select multiple options).

  • I don’t know anyone else interested in the issue
    • U.S.: 13%
    • Int’l: 13%
  • Not sure how to get started or what tactic to use
    • U.S.: 19%
    • Int’l: 19%
  • Too many ideas/groups/petitions, not sure which is best
    • U.S.: 30%
    • Int’l: 22%
  • I don’t feel that my representatives/government will be responsive
    • U.S.: 29%
    • Int’l: 27%
  • I have a disability or other limitation that makes involvement difficult
    • U.S.: 14%
    • Int’l: 12%
  • I don’t have enough time
    • U.S.: 18%
    • Int’l: 23%

Finally, we invited our Community to share their general feedback in a text box. We received 3,851 responses totaling approximately 158,000 words; or, slightly shorter than The Grapes of Wrath! You better believe we read them all. Although this feedback touched on a range of topics, three common themes rose to the top:

  1. Although there will be many opportunities to “play defense” by opposing federal policies that threaten the health and wellbeing of people and the environment, we should not let that entirely distract us from our efforts to highlight local solutions and positive efforts to build a just and sustainable future. Our opposition must be balanced with optimism!
  2. We should expand our collaboration with other organizations, with a focus on supporting local campaigns where we are more likely to have a positive impact.
  3. We should continue working to supporting marginalized communities and exploring the intersection between issues of privilege (including class, race, and nationality) and environmental issues.

Your feedback matters. In 2017, we will continue to emphasize solution-oriented storytelling and support for local, grassroots campaigns. We are also working to emphasize diversity and create more roles for marginalized communities in our work and in our organization itself. Finally, we are building new tools to help the members of our Community recognize and expand their capacity as a Changemakers. You can read more about our plans for 2017 here.

We hope you’ll stay involved in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can also reach us by email at info@storyofstuff.org; we read and respond to every note we get!
As always, thank you for being part of The Story of Stuff Project. Onward!

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