Arts at the Old Fire Station are a small receiving house based in Oxford. It aims to showcase the best of local and international performance and artwork, which takes a risk and entertains. It presents great art to the public, supports the professional development of artists, and works with Crisis UK to build the confidence and skills of homeless people.

It joined Audience Finder in September 2015 and has since collected over 400 audience surveys.

Why did you join Audience Finder?

Because we wanted to know more about our audiences. We were using an external ticketing agency so it was hard to know much about the people who visited – doing Audience Finder surveys meant we could reach out to them. Our new box office system means that we are able to learn more about our own customers by connecting it to Audience Finder.

How do you use the data from Audience Finder?

We use it to help write funding applications and to help shape our equalities policies. For instance – the surveys measure the ethnic makeup of our audience, then measure that against data for England as a whole. We can then compare both of those with local census data to see how well we are serving our city. We share the insights and data across the organisation including with our board. We also use the insights for marketing purposes, working out the gaps in our audiences to see if we can branch out.

How often do you look at your Audience Finder dashboard?

At least once a week – it’s important to check regularly as it updates weekly.

What improvements have you seen at Old Fire Station since using Audience Finder?

The surveys have given us concrete results on which to base our strategies and policies – instead of just guessing about what our audiences are like, we now know more about them than we ever did before.

Do you have any tips for other organisations collecting surveys?

Put surveys in people’s hands and give them a pen – we only managed to reach our target because our fantastic Front of House staff and volunteers gave the paper surveys directly to people after each show.

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