SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Cultural Data Profile Survey Streamline

You asked for a survey that takes less time to complete, we heard you.  SMU DataArts is planning to pare down our flagship survey, the Cultural Data Profile (CDP). The CDP is used by arts leaders across the country to report data for grant application processes, measure organizational performance, and understand sector-wide trends and insights. 

Our goal is to streamline the CDP to make data entry easier for arts and cultural organizations, while preserving the data points used to generate valuable insights for all of our stakeholders.

Webinar Recording

A re-recording of our recent webinar held on March 17 walks through the proposed changes and provides more information about the open comment period. 

Timeline for CDP Streamline

This new version of the CDP survey is targeted for release in December 2020.

Planned Timeline:

November-December 2019: One-on-one calls and focus groups to solicit feedback on the new survey

March 17-April 7, 2020: Open comment period

June 2020: CDP survey finalized and available for reference

Late 2020: Streamlined CDP Survey goes live for all users


Why are you changing the CDP?

SMU DataArts is committed to enabling organizational and field-wide insights derived from longitudinal data on the cultural sector. However, we recognize that our current CDP survey places too large a burden on the arts and cultural organizations that contribute their data. Right now, we ask for a LOT of data, and it can be challenging for organizations to reconcile the way they track data internally with the categories used in our survey. The streamlined survey will reduce the types of data collected, the specificity of line items in key sections, and the complexity of our questions. We hope that these changes will lighten the burden considerably.

How did you determine what to include in this new version of the CDP?

Our research team identified the data points used most frequently in the Funder reports, the KIPI Dashboard, and our regular field research.  These comprise the starting point for the new CDP survey. We subsequently held initial feedback conversations with arts and cultural organizations and grantmakers, which informed the current draft of the streamlined CDP. 

What will happen to my existing CDP data that I have already entered?

All existing CDP profiles will be migrated to the new format and will remain available on our online platform. Changes to data fields will be retroactive so that past and current year data profiles can continue to be used for trend reporting. CDP data in its original format will be available to current users by request.

I have a grant deadline around that time, will this affect that?

We are committed to minimizing disruption in the grants reporting process and will be working with our partners to ensure that the release of the streamlined survey does not interfere with any grant deadlines. All users will receive notice of the exact release date and any anticipated downtime at least one month in advance.

Will this really make it easier?

We’re counting on it! That is our goal. We are investing significant time this year in gathering user experience knowledge, reactions, questions, and concerns from a wide array of stakeholders to ensure that this streamline will make a real difference to the data entry process. Everyone who has participated in a phone call, focus group, or open comment process is providing valuable feedback that will help us get this right. We are simultaneously designing updates to our online platform to make it easier to use. The back-end structural changes we’re making to the survey as part of this streamline will also enable us to pursue the future development of other platform features, such as the ability to upload data from a spreadsheet, to further reduce the data reporting burden. While data entry is unlikely to ever be instantaneous, we are invested in making the process smoother so that arts leaders can spend less time reporting and more time learning from their organizational data.

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