Member survey and annual meeting – updates and future plans!

 

Thanks again to all our members! The Executive Committee would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who completed our member survey and/or attended our annual meet and greet event last month. We are very proud to be the largest online community group for international families in Shanghai and to be powered by our volunteers. Shanghai is a transitory and constantly evolving place and to keep our group thriving we need continued input from all our members, old and new – we’re run by you, for you. Read on to find out more about why we are the backbone of parenting in Shanghai, and what our goals for the coming year are.

 

We were thrilled at the response level we got from our member survey, and have been poring over the results behind the scenes. There were a few key points that jumped out at us:

  • We had members from all across the city reply, and whilst the majority were married moms of young kids under five years old, we also had replies from parents-to-be, and parents of older children
  • Our members come from all over the world, and we were pleased to have a mix of new members, medium term and long term members respond to the survey
  • The vast majority of our members who join before arriving in Shanghai find us through online searches, and the majority of those who join after arriving join through a word of mouth referral, which is exactly how we’d like it to be!
  • In an interesting shift over the last few years, this time we had more working parents than stay-at-home moms reply to our survey
  • That, as you may have noticed, conversations and community building activities have moved away from our website and onto WeChat. 35% of the people who replied to our survey said that they use our website just a few times a month, and 31% visit less than once a month. We’re aware of this, and plan to turn our website into more of a focus for newcomers who have not yet arrived in Shanghai, and less  ofa focus for the community who are already here 
  • We try very hard to create a balance of accepting advertising and sponsorship from companies we feel will be of interest to members, and not flooding our communications with useless or irrelevant content. We’re happy that you agree that we are doing a good job, and that you continue to trust the information you find on our site
  • 90% of respondents said that we remain useful and relevant to family life in Shanghai, which is wonderful as it makes all our work very worthwhile!

 

So, now that we have your feedback, what will we do with it? Well, at the annual meet and greet meeting, we discussed these findings and how we can move forward, and made these plans for the upcoming year:

  1.  Improve our website so that it’s well set up to serve new members who haven’t yet arrived in Shanghai. Our plans are to:
    1.  Include a map giving an overview of the different districts of the city, with some info about each area. Shanghai is huge and totally overwhelming when you first arrive, so we’ll help you manage that
    2. Give you info about where to live, where to send the kids to school, where to eat, where to party! If you’d like to  volunteer to share info about your area to get us started, get in touch! My WeChat ID is Hannah_Zheng_, or you can email us at shmamas@gmail.com
    3. Convey the importance of getting yourself set up on WeChat before you arrive! This cannot be understated, it’s a must for life in China! We’ll give you a step by step how to guide
    4. Provide info on what is an ayi, whether you need one and how to get one! (including how much to pay, interview questions, suggested chores and their translation)
    5. Medical and vaccination info
  2. Redesign our weekly newsletter format. You may have already noticed that the sponsored ads have moved down the page, so that you see our information and events first, as you requested
  3. To include more photos of our community and our events! You may have noticed this from the last email newsletter and WeChat posting
  4. Host more events! These will include:
    1. Talks on the following subjects: what is a TCK / how to bring up multilingual kids  / how to parent in a foreign country / how to keep kids off screens / planning for early childhood or university education / postnatal depression / mental health / Chinese vs western education
    2. More weekend meet ups for working parents

 

 

How you can get involved!

  • Continue to take part in our WeChat group conversations, and pay it forward! Help answer questions and offer advice to fellow, especially in areas where you may be the expert (even if you don’t realize it)
  • Join our meetups! We now have coffee mornings taking place every weekday, monthly moms’ nights out, book group and special events. If you’d like to see an event that doesn’t yet exist, let us know! Maybe you’re a theatre or music aficionado, maybe you’d like to sample authentic Chinese food in a local setting but don’t speak a word of Chinese and don’t know where to get started? Just shout out – we are a very well connected bunch of people and can help you make connections all over the city!
  • Volunteer to be an ambassador for your area / neighborhood / compound! I’ve seen recent lists compiled by moms, for moms, of restaurants that are really, truly family friendly, for example
  • If you’ve taken an interesting trip to an offbeat or seldom visited location recently, share that knowledge with us! Share some pictures, facts and figures and we’ll help put the info together.
  • Take time to come back to our website and answer forum posts from new members