Sector Census – FAQ

Sector Census 2022

Q 5. Were you closed to the public during your last annual reporting period and if so for how long?
Your last reporting period may be either the previous financial year or calendar year, depending on how you record your organisation’s activities. As long as the relevant period is 12 months, it does not matter what time frame you choose. A good guide is to look at your most recent annual review (if you do one).
This question is important for two main reasons.
Firstly, it allows us to assess the impacts of COVID-19 and other pressures on the sector and communicate these to funding bodies, as well as allowing you to see where you sit in relation to the rest of the sector.
Secondly, it means that we can calculate your other responses accurately, such as audience numbers that were affected by closures.

Q 6. Does your organisation manage a collection? 
Not all organisations manage a collection, but those who do need to house and care for them. The census includes questions that are only relevant if you manage a collection. If you do not manage a collection you will be able to skip to the next section of the census.

We ask questions about collections to better to understand the size and breadth of collections across NSW and to assess the storage, preservation and challenges for those that care them.

Your answers to this section will help us provide targeted training and advocacy services.

Q 8. How many items do you have in your collection/s. Please estimate if you are unsure of the exact number.
Knowing the size of collections can help us form a better picture of the care and storage requirements faced by the sector. It also allows us to provide you with information about how your collection compares with others and to estimate the amount of work to be done in cataloguing and digitising collections.

When estimating collection size, generally items in a set of multiples, such as a tea set or a game with multiple pieces, would be counted as a single item. Archives, supplementary material and supporting photos and documentation are generally not counted as items.

Q 10. Has your collection/s been catalogued?
Cataloguing is an essential part of managing an organisation’s key asset, the collection. Cataloguing is also a time-consuming and ongoing process. Important activities such as research, interpretation, conservation, risk management, exhibition development and publications are dependent on detailed and up-to-date collection information.

Your answer to this question will help us to direct training and funding to assist with further cataloguing NSW collections and providing other services and resources accordingly

Q 11. Has your collection/s been digitised?
Museums & Galleries of NSW has been involved in a number of digitisation programs across the state, as well as publishing the ‘go to’ digitisation guide for the small to medium sector, Crystal Clear.

Understanding if you have begun the process of digitisation and how far you have progressed helps us to target support, special programs and training as well as informing future resources.

The published report will also enable you to see how other organisations are tracking in this area.

Q 12. Who owns the collection/s that you manage?
Some collections are not owned by the museum, gallery or Aboriginal cultural centre that manages them. The collection might be owned by Local Government, a heritage society or a community.

Answering this question gives us more information about the responsibilities of your organisation and helps us to advocate for appropriate support.

Q 14. Do you know the total $ value of your collection?
We know that collections are unique and priceless and that putting a monetary figure against them is arbitrary. However, if you are able to answer with an amount, we strongly encourage you to do so. Having figures we can use when communicating with government agencies and others outside the sector is very helpful for us to support advocacy for more funding, training and collection care measures.

Q 15. Please identify any current risks to your collection. Please tick all that apply.

Collections require special care and storage to preserve them for the next generation. By answering this question, you can help us to understand some of your most pressing needs and assist us in providing services, targeting funding and advocating on your behalf.

Q 17. How many people did you employ during your last annual reporting period?
Q 18. How many full time equivalent paid permanent employees do you have?

Your last reporting period may be either the previous financial year or calendar year depending on how you record your organisations activities. As long as the relevant period is 12 months, it does not matter what time frame you choose. A good guide is to look at your most recent annual review (if you create one).

We ask this question for several reasons.

The sector provides jobs and employment across Greater Sydney, Metropolitan and Regional NSW however this figure is less well known than other state wide industries.

Cultural organisations provide opportunities to creatives, academics and cultural professionals as well as hospitality staff and trades. Your answer helps us to communicate that value.

By providing figures on the number of people employed, as well as the full-time equivalent (between 35 and 40 hours per week depending on your organisation), you will help us put together a picture of employment in the sector. We can share this with government and funding bodies, highlighting any issues, such as lack of job security, under-employment and understaffing.

Responses to these questions will also allow you to benchmark yourself against other similar organisations and to assist in funding applications to cover salaries and wages.

Q 19. Which positions do your paid staff officially fill?

Staff in many small to medium organisations fulfill roles outside of their prescribed specialisation for organisations to remain open and deliver their programs.

This question asks you to indicate which positions your staff are officially employed in, rather than the work they actually deliver. This will help us create an overview of capacity within the sector and to assist in focusing our programs to support the sector, such as increased educational resources or funding for consultants.

The results from this question will allow organisations to benchmark themselves against other similar organisations and, in some cases, lobby for increased funding for additional positions.

We also ask you to indicate if staff positions have been amended in the past four years to support operations outside your facility, for example, supporting other cultural organisations, departments or events in your LGA.

This is particularly aimed at regional galleries and museums who have had workload increases and/or lost staff hours to broader cultural activities. This will inform our upcoming Local Government Fact Sheet following the 2022 Census.

Q 21. How many active volunteers do you currently have?
Q 22. Which roles do your volunteers fulfil?
Q 23. On average, how many volunteer hours are given each week to the following areas.

The 2022 Census asks questions about the number of volunteers at your organisation, and the hours and work these volunteers contribute to. This will provide an overview of the sector’s reliance on volunteers and the number of hours and the equivalent value of this contribution.

The 2018 Sector Census found that over half of all organisations surveyed rely solely on volunteers, with even the larger organisations dependent on volunteers for many of their programs. The organisations surveyed in 2018 reported volunteers giving almost 5 million hours in 2017, worth more than $150 million per annum.

With more pressures than ever on volunteer numbers, we are looking to get a complete picture of the issues facing NSW organisations so we can provide targeted training and advocate on your behalf for more recognition and support of the work of volunteers.

This year we have refined our questions to understand the kind of work volunteers are doing in the sector and what the needs of organisations are going forward.
We will be working with individual organisations to conduct further research and case studies in this area following the Census. Please let us know if you are interested in being involved.

Q 24. What was your annual budget last year?
Q 25. How do you spend your operational budget?

We ask organisations to provide details of their annual budget so that we can report on the value that each dollar spent creates in terms of economic stimulus, community and well-being, artistic endeavour and culture and heritage. It also allows us to compare budgets to previous years and identify trends in funding and costs against inflation and increased expectations from stakeholders.

This information assists us in advocating for funding across the sector and identifying challenges such as rising staffing costs, uncertain programming funding, and the cost of caring for collections.

The 2022 Census report will also enable organisations to view where they sit in terms of budget with other similar sized organisations.

All data is anonymised in the final report.

Q 28. Do you currently have any sustainability and/or environmental initiatives?

Climate change and environmental damage are arguably the greatest future challenges to face our communities. As cultural leaders and community hubs, many organisations are integrating environmental principles into everyday operations, buildings, exhibitions and engagement programs.

Your response will assist us in determining what is already being done across the sector, and what the next stage needs to be. The responses we receive will inform our future resources and training programs and form the basis of an environmental fact sheet for the sector.

The question also seeks to determine initial data on the progress made within the sector towards renewable energy and the vulnerability of organisations to rising power costs, to be addressed in future research and case studies.

Q 29. How many exhibitions do you hold each year?

By providing us with information on the number of exhibitions you have in a 12-month period, we are able to understand the size, capacity and resource requirements of your organisation and identify potential touring show partners and hosts.

We recognise that every organisation is different, so we have refined this question to capture more details about your exhibition program. You can answer this question in several ways – by identifying the total number of temporary exhibitions or in terms of suites that are changed at the same time i.e., four exhibition periods of three months each. You can also indicate if you have permanent or long-term exhibitions, either exclusively or in addition to temporary exhibitions. Please count these even if they have been in place for a significant period of time.

Q 30. Do you record the number of physical visitors you receive?
Q 31. Of the visitors during your last annual reporting period please provide estimates of visitor types.

The 2022 Sector Census is the most comprehensive survey of cultural organisations across NSW. By providing your visitor numbers, we can extrapolate the numbers of visitors to museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres across the state.

These figures are used by funding and government bodies and the sector more broadly when speaking about the importance of cultural organisations.

This year we have also asked you to estimate visitor types using the categories employed by other agencies such as Destination NSW to enable us to provide data on the economic value of cultural tourism.

We understand that only a few organisations have the resources to collect and collate postcodes from visitors, and we encourage you to estimate numbers if possible.

Q 32. How many engagement programs do you run each year?

Offering engagement programs beyond exhibitions adds value to the museum or gallery experience, targets new audiences, makes spaces more inclusive and offers well-being and community outcomes.

We ask you to provide numbers of engagement programs so that we can illustrate the work done across the sector and advocate for more training and resources to support these programs. Please include all programs and events. For example, if you hold a weekly school group tour for six weeks of an exhibition that would be six programs, but a two-day workshop for a single group would be one program.

Q 34. How many participants did you have across engagement and outreach programs during your last annual reporting period?
Q 35. Did you engage audiences outside of physical visits to the organisation eg online events, DART or other school programs, competitions, workshops or offsite audiences.

We ask you to supply audience and participant numbers for these programs to provide data on the reach and depth of programs delivered by the sector over and above the regular offering.

This year these figures will also reflect the innovative and adaptive programs offered online or in new ways during COVID-19 lockdowns and times of decreased travel and visitation.

We will compare these figures to the 2018 Sector census and our interim COVID impact surveys to understand how the sector is engaging with audiences, and to better support organisations to reach and engage their communities.

Q 43. Please confirm your best contact email.

We ask you to confirm your email in case we have any questions or concerns about your responses to the Census. The Census, which occurs every 4 years, also allows us to make sure we have the correct email on file for your organisation. If you would like to provide an updated contact person please email

Q 45. What is your postcode?

Any data collected will be anonymised in the final report however we do analyse responses based on location. By providing your postcode we can draw conclusions about regional versus metropolitan areas and also identify groups of organisations that would benefit from particular services or training opportunities.