After relaxing funding conditions for NPOs in March 2020, Arts Council England has reinstated their requirements relating to Audience Finder reporting. 

Arts Council England understands that, due to the impact of COVID-19, it may not be possible for all NPOs to meet the Annual Report funding agreement conditions in full. For example, NPOs may submit an Annual Report that contains a lower audience sample size than usual, or only includes box office or survey data, rather than both. 

An NPO’s funding will not be at risk if they do not reach the standard survey response target.

If you have concerns about your organisation’s ability to collect audience data, please speak to your Arts Council England relationship manager.

What does Arts Council England expect?

Survey Data

Both Arts Council England and The Audience Agency recognise that collecting audience data whilst social distancing measures are still in place may be challenging.

The guiding principle is that NPOs should make the effort to gather as much audience data as they can. Even where sample targets are not reached, data from all organisations will contribute to the national dataset, which will enable us to understand audience engagement at a national and regional level. This, in turn, will aid recovery plans and help us continue to make the case for the arts.

Click here to request your 2020/21 Audience Finder survey 

We, The Audience Agency, have gathered some useful resources here in this Knowledge Base, to help you consider our Recommended Data Collection Methodologies and learn about Undertaking Safe Data Collection in a post-lockdown scenario.  You can view our guidance here.

Is the survey target still 380 responses? 

Yes, the target is still 380 responses, but we (The Audience Agency and Arts Council England) understand that you may not be able to reach that target this year and, as stated, your funding will not be at risk as a result.  The standard survey response target gives you an accurate picture of your audience over a whole year. From a statistical point of view, a sample of 380 responses is still the ideal, even if your annual audience figures are much smaller this year.  

Collecting as much data as you reasonably can about your organisation's audiences can be helpful to you and will tell you more than collecting no data at all. When looking at your results, however, bear in mind that they will be indicative, rather than robust.

Read our guide on sample sizes and their effect on margins of error.