How to Conduct a Community Survey as a Local Business

When was the last time you took a pulse of stakeholder feedback for your local business? It is essential to cyclically gauge brand metrics such as awareness, perception, and satisfaction – especially for small to midsize businesses (SMB)! 

Keeping a tab on customers, recent visitors, and the general community will ensure your organization has a roadmap to meeting its strategic goals. 

Organizations such as nonprofits, museums, and local attractions particularly benefit from understanding expectations from their communities which are best revealed through market research.

Our national market research firm conducted a two-tiered community survey for an Ohio historical society. The study addressed many of these key metrics mentioned above as well as stakeholder feedback on its offerings and roles.

In this post are the objectives, approach, and outcomes of the community survey for this small business.

community survey as a local business

A local business leveraged a community survey among the general public as well as its customers and recent visitors to obtain a holistic view of its stakeholders. ​Learn how to execute this kind of study with our market research company.


A historical society and museum in Ohio partnered with Drive Research to implement a market research study.

The goal of the market research project was to better understand the historical society's:

  • Reputation as a cultural organization in the community
  • Reputation as an educational resource
  • Position in the marketplace

The project addressed brand awareness, perception, motivations for visiting, and desired activities/exhibits which helped fuel upcoming strategic initiatives.

Check out a very similar market research study our firm completed for a New York science museum.


To address the objectives of the museum, our national market research company recommended the following online survey market research approach. 

The hybrid market research project included:

  1. A community survey with the general public 
  2. A member, donor, and email subscriber survey among the historical society's database of contacts

An online survey (whether it be to the general public or an email database of customers) was the most cost-effective approach for the local business. Additionally, online surveys provide a fast turnaround time while still gathering measurable and quality data.

The many benefits of surveys conducted online were able to offer a strong return on investment (ROI) for the Ohio museum. 

Community Survey

The community survey took an average of 8 minutes to complete and included 26 questions. The survey received 409 responses. Fieldwork for the survey began on January 7 and lasted until January 19, 2020.

All general public respondents were residents within the same county in Ohio. The survey was blinded, which meant respondents did not know it was sponsored by the historical society when starting the survey.

In order to find respondents for the community survey, Drive Research utilized an online panel vendor and paid social media advertisements.

Member & Donor Survey

The member, donor, and email subscriber survey was branded as the historical society and sent to contacts who were part of its database.

The survey took users an average of 15 minutes to complete and included 25 questions. The survey received 236 responses. Fieldwork for this survey began on January 7 and lasted until February 18, 2020.


The detailed findings from both surveys outlined in a market research report remain confidential with the Ohio historical society and museum. 

The local business community survey report included a background and methodology, key findings, unique personas for each target audience, an infographic, recommendations and action items, and next steps for market research.

The report also included an appendix. This featured a detailed question-by-question breakdown of both surveys and final copies of the survey documents.

The market research answered the following research objectives:

  1. What is the awareness of the historical society?
  2. What is the perception of the historical society?
  3. What are the thoughts on the role of the historical society in the community?
  4. How likely are members, donors, and community members to recommend the historical society?
  5. What are the top sources of awareness for the historical society?
  6. Who is the ideal audience to visit the historical society?
  7. What changes do members, donors, and the community want to see made the historical society?
  8. What the preferred ways to interact with the historical society?
  9. What are thoughts on memberships at the historical society?

Wondering where to get a market research proposal for a project like this? Learn how to get started with market research.

Contact Drive Research 

Drive Research is a national market research company. You can trust our team of experts to find the answers your local business is seeking from your specific target market - no matter where in the country you are located.

Ready to contact our team? Here are 4 ways to reach us:

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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