For the confidence of our Boards, donors and funders, there is huge value in having the baseline of the Private Investment in Culture Survey to refer to. This information coupled with the comprehensive, publicly-available Arts Council England and DCMS data about the fundraising performance of their regularly funded organisations, makes this new survey a helpful part of the benchmarking process.
A comforting picture
There are no real surprises. In fact the familiar picture that’s outlined in the data is rather comforting. We know that generating private investment is crucially important alongside earned income for the arts and cultural sector. We also know that individual giving remains the most important form of private investment, accounting for around half of all giving, albeit with donors having a preference for larger organisations based in London and the South. Similarly, it’s no surprise that the largest organisations dominate the sector, with the 50 largest survey respondents accounting for 60% of total private funding.
“At senior levels and amongst trustees, we need the ability to scan the environment, to challenge and to support a team.”
But perhaps the biggest shock is that the survey predicts further growth in private investment, with over 57% of survey respondents expecting their total income (earned and fundraising) to grow over the next three years. Overall, a rather battle-weary sector facing fundraising challenges on many fronts has risen magnificently to the fundraising challenge. Any overhang of entitlement culture in relation to Government funding is long-gone. But given that this Survey was finalised pre-Brexit, I wonder if such a positive outlook would be the case if respondents were filling it out right now?