Private Investment in Culture – by Digitalis

The relaunched Private Investment in Culture Survey sheds new light into the current state of private philanthropy in the arts and culture sector by providing insight into how private investment or contributed income has developed over the last three years. It presents a detailed picture of the sector in 2014/15 and sets a robust baseline for future surveys.

1,312 survey responses were used to model funding for the sector as a whole. Overall, the study has found that private investment in arts and culture has grown over the last three years and the sector appears to be becoming less reliant on public funding:

  • Growing importance of private investment: Together with earned income, private investment has become more important to the overall funding of arts and culture organizations. Its importance is particularly pronounced among smaller organizations.
  • Individual giving remains the most important form of private investment: Individual giving accounts for around half of all private investment in arts and culture, with individual donors favouring the largest organizations and those based in London.
  • At the time of the survey, the sector expected further growth: Recognizing that there are important challenges ahead, arts and culture organizations still see a bright future for private investment over the next three years and, in general, are positive about moving towards a more mixed model of income generation.

Key findings:

  1. £480M – Total private investment in culture in 2014/15, of which £96 million came from businesses, £245 million from individuals and £139 million from trusts and foundations.
  2. 18% – Private investment accounted for 18 per cent of arts and culture organizations’ total income in 2014/15.
  3. 29% – Private investment is much more important for smaller organizations, accounting for 29 per cent of total income for those with total income under £100,000.
  4. 60% – The largest recipients dominate the sector, with the 50 biggest recipients accounting for 60 per cent of total private funding.
  5. +21% – Private investment grew by 21 per cent in 2014/15, primarily driven by high-value individual donations to the largest recipients.
  6. +8% – Organizations outside of the 50 largest recipients of private investment have enjoyed stable growth in private investment over the last two years, experiencing 8 per cent growth per annum.
  7. 51% – Individual giving accounts for 51 per cent of private investment. 79 per cent of this individual giving is from donations.
  8. 32% – Visual arts organizations have done disproportionately well in attracting private investment, accounting for 32 per cent of total private investment and only 17 per cent of total income.
  9. 66% – London-based organizations account for 66 per cent of total private investment, which is broadly in line with their share of total income (63 per cent).
  10. 57% – per cent of survey respondents expect their total income to grow over the next three years, primarily driven by increases in earned income and private investment.
  11. 63% – per cent of survey respondents think that lack of in-house staff capacity and time will hold their organization back in their private fundraising aspiration.

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