What are the annual funding requirements for Arts Council England NPOs?

For the 21/22 and 22/23 financial years, National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) will be required to submit an Annual Report from Audience Finder Answers and/or an Annual Summary from Audience Finder Show Stats for touring companies. The reporting period will cover performances/attendances during the 2022/23 financial year, to be submitted via Grantium in July 2023.

Once again, different requirements are requested for Band 1 and Bands 2/3 NPOs. Click the arrows below for more details:

I'm a Band 1 NPO - what are my requirements?

Band 1 NPOs must contribute at least one form of audience data and can choose from either:

  1. A survey data report produced through Audience Finder Answers of an Audience Finder survey with a total of 380 complete responses. If you feel you cannot collect 380 responses, please get in touch with your Relationship Manager initially, and the Audience Agency can then support you further in meeting these requirements.

  2. A ticketing data report produced through Audience Finder Answers of all your ticketing data for the 22/23 financial year. Although not mandatory, we would request that, where possible you also provide production categorisation of their ticketing data. This data enriches the national data set, which in turn provides more detailed data facilitating more in-depth insight and analysis capabilities.

  3. If you are a Band 1 touring organisation, an Annual Summary from Audience Finder Show Stats of all of your physical productions from venues within England.

Although Band 1 NPOs are only required to contribute one form of audience data, we would strongly urge you to submit both a survey and/or a ticketing/Audience Finder Show Stats data report, if it is possible to do so. Submitting both types of data will allow your organisation to utilise all of the audience insight tools within the Audience Finder Data Tools, giving you a better overall picture of your audience.

I'm a Band 2 or 3 NPO - what are my requirements?

To fulfil their Arts Council England (ACE) annual reporting requirements for the 22/23 financial year, all Band 2 and Band 3 NPOs are also required to submit data on the protected characteristics of their audiences using an Audience Finder survey which will allow them to create an Audience Report. The data on protected characteristics can be collected via the core questions in the Audience Finder survey.

Therefore, all Band 2 and Band 3 NPOs must contribute survey data, and also submit ticketing data or an Annual Report through Audience Finder Show Stats, where it is possible to do so. Submitting ticketing data in addition to the required survey data will also allow your organisation to utilise all of the audience insight tools within the Audience Finder Data Tools, giving you a better overall picture of your audience.

Band 2 & 3 NPOs must contribute two of the three reports below based on their organisation type:

  1. A survey data summary produced through Audience Finder Answers of an Audience Finder survey with a total of 380 complete responses. If you feel you cannot collect 380 responses, please get in touch with your Relationship Manager initially, and The Audience Agency can then support you further in meeting these requirements.

  2. A ticketing data summary produced through Audience Finder Answers of all your ticketing data for the 22/23 financial year. Although not mandatory, we would request that, where possible you also undertake production categorisation of your ticketing data. This data enriches the national data set, which in turn provides more detailed data for facilitating more in-depth insight and analysis of your data.

  3. If a touring organisation, an Annual Summary from Audience Finder Show Stats of all of your physical productions from venues within England.

Please note: Both the survey data summary and ticketing data summary are part of your Audience Finder Answers annual report. The touring Annual Summary from Audience Finder Show Stats must be produced separately.

Arts Council England (ACE) understands that, due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, it may not be possible for all NPOs to meet the Annual Report funding agreement conditions in full. If you have concerns about your ability to collect data, please speak with your Arts Council England Relationship Manager. The Audience Agency can then work with you to help you fulfil your requirements.

What does Arts Council England expect?

Contributing survey data

Despite official restrictions on social distancing ending in England in July 2021, collecting audience survey data may still be challenging due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on arts audiences.

The guiding principle is that NPOs should make an 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, enabling both ACE, and The Audience Agency, to understand audience engagement at a national and regional level, aiding national recovery plans and continuing to build an ongoing case for the arts on an advocacy level.

The Audience Agency has gathered some useful resources in our Knowledge Base to help you consider safe data collection and wider considerations for setting up your survey in a post-lockdown scenario.

Click here to request your new Audience Finder survey

Is the annual survey target still 380 responses?

Yes, the target is still 380 responses but Arts Council England understand that you may not be able to reach that target this year as mentioned above. The standard survey response target gives you an accurate picture of your audience over a whole year, even more so when collected in regular instalments. From a statistical point of view, a sample of 380 responses is still the ideal, even if your annual audience figures are much smaller than a standard year.

Collecting as much data as you reasonably can about your organisation’s audiences is helpful to you on a wider insight level and will tell you more than collecting no data at all. However, when looking at your results, bear in mind that they will be indicative rather than robust.

Contributing ticketing data

Ticketing data extractions from box office/CRM systems continued as normal throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, although the hiatus in live events will be represented in the data. Please remember that the Audience Finder Data Tools only extract data from matured performances, so advanced sales for future performances will not be reflected in your dashboard/s until the performance/s have happened.

If you are contributing ticketing data, you are also requested to complete production categorisation of your ticketed data on an ongoing basis as a funded organisation. This can be completed within a few clicks within Audience Finder Answers and we will send reminders quarterly during 22/23 to all contributing users. An in-system option for organisations using Spektrix, Ticketsolve and Tessitura as a ticketing/CRM system is also available.

Are you selling or issuing tickets for the first time?

Due to the implications of social distancing, many organisations have deployed timed-entry ticketing for the first time.

If your organisation is selling tickets (or issuing free tickets) through a compatible ticketing system, you might benefit from contributing ticketing data to the Audience Finder Data Tools. We are adding compatible systems on an ongoing basis. However, providing your system can produce reports to the correct data specification, you are still able to contribute ticketing data to Audience Finder via a manual upload process.

How do I produce my annual report?

NPOs of all bands will again be required to submit an Annual Report from Audience Finder Answers and/or an Annual Summary from Audience Finder Show Stats for touring companies.

Please note, reports from Audience Finder Original are no longer valid for reporting to Arts Council England. However, you will find a link within the Reports section of Audience Finder Original linking to your report in Audience Finder Answers to easily locate your annual report.

Signing up for the Audience Finder Data Tools

We know that the effects of lockdown may have resulted in staffing changes at some organisations. Therefore, you may find yourself using the Audience Finder Data Tools for the first time.

There are no limits to the number of users who can be connected to an organisation dashboard/s, so we recommend that you sign up using your own email address rather than sharing a colleague’s account.

This is particularly important if your organisation is a venue that hosts touring productions by companies who need to report on their productions via Show Stats, as notifications of production requests will be sent via email.

Sign up for Audience Finder Original and Audience Finder Answers

Sign up for Audience Finder Show Stats

The Audience Finder Service team offers free one-to-one In Practice Sessions for new users, regardless of how long your organisation has contributed data. These remote sessions will give you an introduction to Audience Finder Original, Audience Finder Show Stats and Audience Finder Answers and the reports you can access once you start submitting ticketing and/or survey data.

Book your free Audience Finder In Practice Session