Evolve or miss out on corporate cash, culture charities told

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Culture charities will need to evolve or face missing out on corporate donations, an enquiry has concluded.

The Cultural Cities Enquiry, which published its final report today and was set up last year by Arts Council England and Core Cities UK, found that corporate giving to the arts has declined in recent years, with companies focusing on social and environmental causes instead.

The report says arts organisations will need to demonstrate social and environmental impact through their work if they are to retain and attract corporate funding.

“The cultural sector will need to act to evolve its offer to corporates in order to keep up with these changing expectations, which create an opportunity for the sector to capture more corporate giving where it can offer a compelling local proposition,” the report says.

“Those who do not evolve may miss out.”

The report suggests that corporate social venturing, which funds projects through a mix of loan funding and business support, could be a solution by creating stronger local partnerships with businesses.

It also says that investment models for the sector should reduce the cost of applications for funding, promote collaboration and focus on benefits across a wider range of organisations.

More charities should also adopt contactless technology to enable more donations, especially given that two in three British adults carry on average less than £10 in cash.

Tourist levies should be considered to fund the arts and cultural organisations, the report says, and smaller organisations helped to access existing tax reliefs.

Cultural organisations should also implement diversity targets for their leadership and boards, according to the report.

In his foreword to the report, Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, says: “We are at a crossroads. We believe that culture could contribute more to our civic life and economy.

“But the sector has also to put itself on a strong long-term financial footing in an environment in which public funding is tight.”

In a separate statement, Serota said that private giving “makes a big difference to arts and cultural organisations across the country, from new buildings for museums, or early years reading sessions at the local library, to giving the next generation of talented artists their break”.

Article originally appears on Third Sector

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