Arts philanthropy: the facts, trends and potential

Ben Cowell

Philanthropy has long been essential to the health and vitality of cultural organisations, but the issue of private giving has assumed an even greater significance in the context of the recent public sector cuts. This report by Arts and Business aims to provide the basic facts about the market for private giving to the arts in the UK, as well as recommendations on how it can be increased. Given that Arts and Business has since had its funding removed by the Arts Council, it may soon find out for itself how realistic some of its proposals for enhancing private revenues actually are.

The focus of the report is on private income from individuals, rather than grants from trusts and foundations. While the assumption running through the report is that the healthiest business model for any arts organisation is the “gold standard” tripod of equal funding from private, public and commercial sources, it is made clear that the current level of private income for arts bodies, at 15 per cent, is too low. Of this, just over half (55 per cent) is from individual giving, which therefore provides some 8 per cent of the overall income of arts organisations.

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