Heartbeat of Rural Australia
Every day, we see the vital role that community organisations play in the social, economic, cultural, and environmental resilience and vitality of their communities and regions. We also know that many groups are really feeling the cumulative impacts of natural disasters, and of course COVID-19.
However, while there’s lots of anecdotal evidence, there is very little hard data that accurately captures the value of the important role that community groups and not-for-profit organisations play, or the extent of the impacts of disasters on the capacity of community groups to continue to undertake their critical work.
That’s why we’ve commissioned the Heartbeat of Rural Australia study.
We want to help amplify and give greater authority and influence to these organisations in the design of policies, investments, and solutions for their communities’ sustainability and vitality.
This is an important opportunity for community groups to tell us about their role in their community, what has happened over the last 18 months, and where they need support.
We’ll use this data to inform others including governments, philanthropy, and business about the specific needs of community organisations outside the metropolitan areas, and importantly, which approaches work best to provide that support.
The data will also be made available to community groups to help them better tell their story and drive opportunities for the support they need to strengthen and grow their organisations.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Heartbeat of Rural Australia?
Heartbeat of Rural Australia is a study of remote, rural, and regional community groups and not-for-profit organisations, commissioned by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).
The study seeks to quantify the economic, social and cultural impact of these organisations. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but this study seeks to put some numbers around these impacts to reinforce the critical role they play in sustaining, vibrant remote, rural and regional communities.
This data will help influence and inform governments, philanthropy – including FRRR – and businesses about the specific needs of community organisations outside metropolitan areas, and about what approaches and models of support work best. The data will also be made available to community groups to help them better advocate for the support that they need to strengthen and grow their organisations.
2. What are the aims of the research?
The Heartbeat of Rural Australia study is aiming to provide much needed evidence to:
- Demonstrate the economic, societal and cultural role of community-based organisations;
- Measure the cumulative impacts of recent events in remote, rural, and regional areas, including COVID-19, bushfires, droughts, and floods;
- Identify the factors that affect the capacity, capabilities, influence and leadership of community organisations in their communities; and
- Determine helpful and unhelpful funder and policy-maker approaches to strengthening remote, rural, and regional communities’ self-determination, viability and sustainability.
3. Why is this research needed?
From our extensive day-to-day engagement with thousands of community groups across Australia, we know the vital social and economic role that grassroots community groups and not-for-profits play in rural communities. We also know that many are feeling the cumulative impacts of natural disasters, and of course COVID-19.
While there have been several insightful studies into the impacts of events on the social and voluntary sector, none of these specifically focus on remote, rural and regional community groups and rural issues. So, we want to really understand the effects on these important groups, and then help amplify this story and give greater authority and influence to these organisations in the design of policies, investments, and solutions for their communities’ sustainability and vitality.
4. Who should participate in the study?
The focus for this study is grassroots community groups and local organisations – groups that are locally-led, and in and of their communities. There is no preferred legal or organisational structure, as we are really keen to hear from a broad range of incorporated and unincorporated organisations, charities and not-for-profit organisations that support communities in remote, rural and regional areas.
So, if you are based in remote, rural, or regional Australia and are part of a community group, we want to hear from you! We are looking for responses from groups ranging from hall management committees, local environmental groups and progress associations, Traditional Owner groups, through to larger regional not-for-profits that may service more than one town.
We are really keen to make sure that we hear from different locations across remote, rural and regional Australia. We also want the responses to come from groups and organisations working with and representing the diversity of the people and places that make up country Australia to ensure we are telling as much of the story of remote, rural and regional Australia as possible.
5. When is the survey happening?
The survey will be open from 30 August to 30 September, 2021.
6. When will the findings be available?
At this stage we anticipate releasing the report in November 2021.
The best way to hear about its release will be through FRRR eNews or on our social media platforms – if you don’t already, we encourage you to subscribe or follow us:
You can also keep an eye on the FRRR website.
7. How can I access the survey?
To fill in the survey please click on the ‘Take the Survey’ link at the top of this page, or below these FAQs
If you have any issues, please contact our research partner, Survey Matters on 03 9452 0101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. How long will it take to complete the survey?
The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
9. Am I able to start and stop the survey and save my progress?
Unfortunately, no, you will need to complete the survey in one sitting.
10. Will my responses remain anonymous?
All responses will be aggregated, and any free text will not be attributed to you or your organisation. Please note, however, that any free text comments you provide may be provided to us unedited. If you identify yourself by name, writing style or otherwise you will not remain anonymous, however your responses to quantitative questions will not be able to be identified.
We are not collecting any personal details from participants, so anything you share will be totally anonymous. This also means that we will not be able to contact you once you have completed the survey, so if you would like to hear when the results are released, please sign up to our e-newsletter.
11. How will the findings be shared?
The findings will be available on our website, with more detailed data available for free through the Seer Data interactive data platform.
We also anticipate running some online and ideally face-to-face events to dive into particular areas of the research, but this will depend on the findings, and who participates.
12. Who is funding this research?
This research is being funded by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). FRRR is a charity that connects common purposes and funding from government, business and philanthropy with the genuine local needs of remote, rural and regional people and places.
FRRR provides funding and capacity building support at the hyper-local level. We have the reach, relationships, networks, and know-how to align funding, big and small, to community-led solutions that build resilience and long-term viability and vitality.
13. Who is undertaking the research?
The research has been commissioned by FRRR. The design and management of the study is being done in partnership with The Xfactor Collective, Survey Matters, and Seer Data & Analytics.