Year of Publication

2006

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Problem

The specific objective of the audit is to conduct a formal examination of how the Kentucky Arts Council (KAC) is communicating with target authorizing groups outside of KAC, such as artists, arts administrators, educators, media and legislators.

Research Strategy

The external communication audit is an instrument used to gauge authorizers’ feedback on the publications distributed regularly by the agency. This audit is designed to paint a picture of the current communication patterns, policies, practices, capabilities and needs in order to make informed recommendations for the improvement of communication. The specific research question guiding this audit is: How effective are the publications distributed by the Kentucky Arts Council in communicating with the authorizers of the Arts Councils work?

The audit focuses on the external communications of KAC, however, interviews have been conducted with program directors that will help pinpoint areas of additional research and provide insight into the staff’s influence on communications. A focus group was held with a random sample of members of target authorizing groups. The surveys were developed based on the information gathered in interviews and the focus group then distributed by mail to a random sample. The survey was designed to collect data about the strengths and weaknesses of current communications as well as gather information about the needs of authorizing groups. By collecting and measuring the data, the end result of the audit is to learn how to better communicate with authorizing groups.

Major Findings

Early on during the investigation of the Arts Council it became clear that there were no standardized methods of gauging feedback from authorizing groups about publications. When asked, fewer than 65% of respondents that said they receive publications from KAC said they read or refer to them on a regular basis. There is a strong preference for print publications among some authorizing groups, while the majority of publications distributed are available only in an online format. Another major finding is that several of publications lack relevance to the personal interests of target authorizing groups.

Recommendations

Based on the results of my research, I recommend that KAC develop methods of asking for constituent feedback on a regular basis. They should also make a conscious effort to provide and make easily available print copies of publications as well as online publications when possible. The majority of the respondents indicated as a level of importance that publications are relevant to their specific work or personal interests. This information might be grounds for future research to be conducted to identify the specific needs and interests of each group. When possible, publications should be individually tailored to the authorizing groups that KAC has identified as most important to its work to reduce unnecessary information overload.

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