FAQs & How to Participate

Update: The sign-up process for cultural organizations interested in participating in the Wave 2 survey closed on Monday, March 22. Many thanks to the more than 800 organizations across the U.S. that opted in! The reports and data-tools will be available freely to all. Stay tuned for project updates.

Is your arts, culture, or community organization interested in participating in this unique national survey in early Spring 2021? As you may know, this study explores how arts, culture, and creativity fit into the lives of people across the nation: community residents, program participants, audiences, users, visitors, etc. So while this isn’t a survey of cultural practitioners and organizations, it’s designed to help changemakers and organizations “build back better” — more equitable, empathetic, relevant, and of service to their communities.

We’re excited to be able to work with an unprecedentedly large and diverse group of organizations to invite their participants and audiences to complete the survey. In Wave 2, those organizations will range from public libraries and parks to indie music venues and small, community-based, BIPOC-serving organizations in both rural and urban settings — in addition to the hundreds of museums and performing arts organizations of all kinds and sizes that participated in the first wave in 2020.

We hope you’ll help paint an inclusive, accurate picture of cultural engagement and needs across the U.S. We can accommodate up to 300 new-to-the-study organizations, and priority will be given to small, BIPOC-serving cultural organizations, organizations located in rural communities, public parks, libraries, festivals, and small for-profit venues. We’re also re-inviting all 650+ organizations that participated in Wave 1 to join again for Wave 2.

Thanks to the generosity of the funding partners, there is no cost to your organization to be a part of this research. By joining the study, your organization will ensure that your communities, audiences, and participants are seen in this national portrait, and help make it a more representative, nuanced picture of cultural engagement, perceptions of service and relevance, desires for change, and attitudes toward equity, healing and justice. You’ll also receive strategic survey data about your own respondents — including an online tool for comparison to the national averages on a range of survey questions.

Please click the button to fill out a quick online form, and scroll down to read the FAQs below.


  • Deadline for organizations to indicate interest in participating in Wave 2: Friday, March 12th
  • Slover Linett notifies organizations: By Friday, March 19
  • Organizations receive unique survey links to share with their participants: by Friday, March 26
  • Survey responses collected online: Monday, April 5 - Sunday, April 25

We can accommodate up to 300 new-to-the-study organizations, and priority will be given to small, BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving cultural organizations and organizations located in rural communities. We’re also re-inviting all 650+ organizations that participated in Wave 1 to join again for Wave 2.

Thanks to the generosity of the funding partners, there is no cost to your organization to be a part of this research. By participating, you’ll be contributing to a more representative, nuanced picture of cultural engagement, perceptions of service and relevance, desires for change, and attitudes toward equity, healing and justice. You’ll also be ensuring that your communities’ and participants’ voices are heard, and you’ll receive humanistic survey data about your own respondents — including an online tool for comparison to the national averages on a range of survey questions.

Please click below to fill out a quick online form, or scroll down to the FAQs that follow.

Frequently asked questions

What will the survey be about? What kinds of questions will you ask our communities?

Back in 2020, the Wave 1 survey asked about people’s experiences during the pandemic; their pre-pandemic relationship to arts, culture, and creativity; whether and how they were engaging during the crisis, including digitally; their desire for change in the cultural sector in the future; and their hopes and plans for resuming in-person engagement. The Wave 2 survey will be a blend of tracking questions to explore how people’s circumstances, attitudes, and expectations may have changed after a full year of the pandemic, and new questions to delve more deeply into equity, service, and relevance and explore the broad landscape of culture — including participatory, community-based arts, personal creative practice, and settings from public libraries and parks to museums and performing arts venues. What do relevance and service look like now? What is the perceived role of arts and culture organizations in social change and racial justice? What’s the future of online participation and connection? The questions are designed to be relevant to Americans with all kinds of relationships to arts, culture, and creativity, including informal and community-based engagement.

What kinds of organizations are eligible to participate in Wave 2? Why was my organization (or network or grantee cohort) invited?

We’re inviting all kinds of arts, culture, creativity, and related community enterprises to take part in this free study by helping distribute the Wave 2 national survey to their audiences and participants (see next answer).

  • If your organization participated in Wave 1 during the early months of the pandemic, you’re welcome to participate again — your slot is automatically reserved. You’ll still need to fill out the online form no later than March 18, and you’ll need to enter your Wave 1 participation code from 2020. (Please email Matthew Jenetopulos for that code if you don’t have it.)
  • If your organization is interested in participating for the first time in Culture + Community, please complete the sign-up form no later than March 18 to reserve your slot, since space is limited. Since slots are capped at 300 new-to-the-study organizations, we’re giving priority to organizations that primarily serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, those located in rural communities, and other categories that were underrepresented in the first wave: public libraries, city and regional parks, festivals of film, food, crafts, music, etc., independent venues, and placemaking and community development projects.

(Note: In addition to this large-scale invitation process through cultural organizations, we will again be surveying a national, representative sample of the U.S. population through NORC at the University of Chicago and its AmeriSpeak panel — a unique dual-sampling approach that adds statistical depth and rigor to this study.)

What does “participating” mean? What would my organization need to do?

For arts, culture, and community organizations, participating in the Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation research initiative simply means sharing an invitation with your audiences, participants, users, visitors, clients, members, attenders, etc. — however you refer to the people and communities you serve. Once you or a colleague have filled out this online form and been confirmed for participation (we have a limited number of slots), we’ll send you a unique survey link and invitation language that you can share with your audiences, preferably via email but in certain circumstances via your social media channels (please email Matthew Jenetopulos for important details and restrictions). We’ll also provide language you can use to describe the survey and invite your audiences to click through to the online questionnaire.

Will there be a cost to my organization to participate?

No. Thanks to generous support from the funding partners, we are able to continue offering this research and all tools and reports at no cost to the participating organizations. It’s a collaboration for and with the arts and culture sector, broadly and inclusively defined.

What will my organization get out of taking part in the research? Will this actually be supportive...or just extractive?

We recognize that different kinds of arts and culture organizations have different needs and questions about their communities and participants during these challenging times, and that this country’s large cultural institutions and its smaller, community-based, often BIPOC-serving organizations are working differently and may be at different places in their journeys toward equity, relevance, revenue, funding, service, and social change. So participating in this research will benefit different kinds of cultural organizations in different ways. Mid-sized and larger enterprises that produce cultural experiences for (in many cases) paying audiences will be getting free research that helps them understand the needs and perspectives of those audiences and the wider community, so they can continue to earn engagement and support and become more relevant in the lives of all their community members. Smaller community organizations that serve specific populations or strengthen specific places will also be getting free, humanistic research that places their community members in a broader policy context, as well as a rich, systematic view of the needs, assets, and behaviors of their participants.

It’s also about representation and having a voice: Participating cultural organizations of all sizes and missions will be ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of their participants, audiences, and communities are part of this national portrait, which we hope will inform policy, funding, and other forms of investment. The more small, BIPOC organizations participate, the more the resulting picture is likely to reflect the values and purposes of their vital work.

All participating organizations will receive charts showing their survey respondents’ answers, in aggregate, in comparison to the national picture, plus a password-protected interface that will let you view their responses in comparison to U.S. averages and several specific groupings.

Of course, we’ll also be creating reports and web materials based on in-depth analysis of all the responses in aggregate, which will be freely available online.

How will my organization distribute the survey invitations? You’re not expecting us to share our contact lists with you, are you?

That’s right: We’re not asking for any lists. If your organization participates, we’ll send you a unique survey link coded to your organization, so that surveys completed by your participants or audience members can be identified for your organization-level report. You’ll email that link to your list of participants, audiences, users, visitors, subscribers, etc. — or, if your list is large, only a random subset of your list (see below). We’ll provide invitation language you can use for those emails, explaining the purpose of the research, and you can modify that language so the message resonates with your unique community.

IMPORTANT: If your email lists permit, please send the invitation to at least 2,500 but no more than 5,000 people for this wave of the survey. (Note: If your organization participated in the first wave in 2020, we recommend that you send to a different set of people, if possible, rather than those you invited into the 2020 survey.)

To whom should we send the survey? Just to the people who know us best — our frequent, loyal participants and supporters?

Please email the invitations to the broad range and variety of your audience networks, including community program and “outreach” participants, event attenders, free-program registrants, and people who signed up for your e-newsletters or input their email addresses to access wifi at your location. We know that many organizations’ databases are skewed toward people who are highly affiliated: members, subscribers, donors, etc., and, while we do want to include active, paying audiences, we also want to include your less-affiliated participants. (You may have to combine or draw from multiple databases to send emails to this broad sample.)

And please note: The survey invitations are far more successful when sent as a standalone email rather than embedded in a multi-topic e-newsletter from your organization.

But my organization is small and doesn’t have email lists — we use other means to communicate with our communities. Can we still take part?

Yes! We understand that many small, community-based organizations don’t use email to connect with their participants. If you don’t have an email list, or if your email list is less than 1,000 people, we welcome you to share the survey on your Facebook page or other social media channels, with a custom survey link (provided by us) that your participants can click on to take the survey. We’ll provide invitation language tailored to social media that you can use, and you’re welcome to modify that language so it resonates with your unique community and reflects your organization’s voice. (Those posts can also be in languages other than English — see next question.)

Our participants speak languages other than English. Will the survey be offered in multiple languages?

Yes. This wave of the survey is available in English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Vietnamese, Khmer, Tagalog, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, and Haitian Creole. All users will be invited to select one of these ten languages on the first screen of the survey. We hope this makes the survey accessible to more communities throughout the U.S., and more useful to all kinds of cultural and community organizations.

We’re grateful to the Barr Foundation for supporting these additional translations, and to the team at Multilingual Connections for their expertise and additional support. (Please note that the analyzed survey data and all reports will be provided in English.)

When should we send or post the survey invitations?

We are currently aiming to have the survey programmed and tested in March 2021 with a launch date in early April. Please stay tuned for exact dates. We will share an updated timeline with all participating organizations in early March. We’ll send you a specific date/time window during which you’ll share the invitation with your participants and audiences, as well as an alternate time. Due to the scale of this national effort, it’ll be important that you distribute your survey link only in those defined windows.

Will there be a thank-you gift or reward for our audience members or participants who complete the survey?

All survey respondents will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Visa gift cards of $100 each, provided by us. In order to distribute these incentives to the winners, we’ll need to ask respondents at the end of the survey if they’d like to submit their name and email address to be included in the drawing. Their survey responses will remain anonymous, though; their emails will be stored separately and not associated with their answers to the other questions. (If your organization would like to opt its respondents out of this drawing, just let us know and we can customize your survey link to accommodate.)

Will this research be vetted by an independent, objective party?

Yes. Just as we've done with other phases of the project, we'll work with an external, independent Institutional Review Board (IRB) to scrutinize and approve the research approach and survey questionnaire for this study. In fact, there will be several parallel IRB processes, including NORC's standard internal review before surveys are sent to its Amerispeak national panel. As those of you in academic settings know, an IRB is a third party that provides oversight based on federal regulations in order to protect and manage risk to human participants involved in research.

Who will be our contact for this project? Can we get in touch with that person directly?

Yep! Your contact for questions about the survey or the resulting data will be Matthew Jenetopulos, a researcher at Slover Linett, based in Chicago. He can be reached at matthew@sloverlinett.com or by phone at (773) 348-9200 x107.

For more general questions, please also feel free to email the project team collectively at CCTT@sloverlinett.com.

Should I share this page with other colleagues and professional networks?

Yes, please do — especially colleagues and networks focused on Black, Indigenous, and people of color; rural communities; and/or working through culture, creativity, and the arts to meet needs and address challenges. Due to technical limitations, we can include a limited number of new organizations in Wave 2, and we’ll give priority to categories that were underrepresented or not included in Wave 1 last year: parks, libraries, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), for-profit arts venues and providers, etc. Thanks for your help sharing this unique opportunity, and please let interested parties know to email CCTT@sloverlinett.com.

What’s the next step if we want to participate? If we participated last year, are we automatically re-registered?

Whether or not your organization sent out the Wave 1 survey invitations in 2020, you’ll need to fill out this online form to let us know that you’re interested in participating in the second wave. (If you were a Wave 1 participant and you didn’t recently receive a code by email, just email Matthew Jenetopulos for a participation code specific to your organization.) The form is hosted on FocusVision’s Decipher survey platform, the same platform we use for the audience and community survey itself, and asks a few questions to help ensure that we’re including cultural organizations of all types, sizes, and regions across the U.S. Those include your annual operating budget, number of employees, and number of participants/attenders/visitors/etc. served in a normal (i.e., pre-pandemic) year. Ballpark estimates are fine—you don’t have to do any digging!

Our whole project team thanks you for your collaborative spirit, trust, and energy. We hope this audience and community research helps guide a stronger, more equitable recovery for your organization, the wider cultural sector, and the places and communities you serve.