Just before responding to your thoughtful comments may I just say thanks very much for your post in the Community, and for sharing your perspective. I would advise that we’ve arrived at the figure of 380 responses over a calendar year of collection just for the reasons which Megan has outlined above; it represents a collection target which will yield statistically robust and representative data.
We really do completely understand, however that this figure can doesn’t take anything about your organisation into account and can absolutely be a tall order when you’re facing real barriers to collection. For us it is very much a soft target, in that you can still generate reports and access the different features of the dashboard to analyse any data that you have collected, however many responses you have - we simply try to be upfront about the margins of error which come with a smaller sample size.
We also understand the survey fatigue that you mention which comes from repeat surveying of the same people, and one of the advantages of selecting a Post-visit E-survey is that you’re able to control exactly who it gets sent to, by checking from a list of email addresses which ones might have been contacted in the past, if you’re keen to avoid double-messaging. As Megan mentions, it’s also possible to add an incentive such as a prize draw to the end of your survey, to bolster your response rates, and my colleagues in the Research Team would be happy to discuss this with you!
Your point about the discomfort that audiences and fieldworkers both might feel with paper surveys is a really sensible one. To address this, we’ve developed an entirely contactless collection methodology in the form of an Onsite E-survey, where audiences can use their smartphones and a QR code to gather responses while maintaining social distancing. More information about recommended safe data collection can be found here.
As I say, 380 for us is a purely statistical goal for organisations to strive for, and any issues with collection targets which might have been put in place by a funder such as Arts Council of England would in the first instance best be expressed directly to a contact there, such as your Relationship Manager, who would be in a much better position to comment.
I also do take your point about finding ways of collecting insight which are less resource-intensive for smaller organisations, and at The Audience Agency we really are always in a process of attempting to expand and refine our offer, to deliver a service which is useful to as many organisations across the sector as possible. I would be more than happy to continue this conversation with you on the phone, or alternatively via message/email, to discuss ways we can refine our offer and better support you through data collection.
Thanks again for your comments and look forward to hopefully speaking more!