Private sector support for the arts continues to grow

Revenue from private giving, corporate sponsorship and fundraising events in the major performing arts sector continued to grow in 2014, increasing by 9.7 per cent to $78.6 million from $71.7 million in 2013.

Private sector support for the arts continues to grow

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‘This growth is not only welcome but essential for companies to deliver the breadth of programming initiatives and engagement opportunities that are part of their remit’, Bethwyn Serow, Executive Director of AMPAG, said.

These results are contained in the latest survey of fundraising by the major companies,Tracking changes in corporate sponsorship and private giving 2015,released today by the Australian Major Performing Arts Group.

’The arts are highly labour-intensive—and this revenue helps us stay ahead of a cost base that runs ahead of CPI, in the context of government funding that is a mix of non-indexed and partially indexed contributions.’

Of the total private sector revenue, 54 per cent ($42.2 million) was private giving (that is, philanthropy)—up $2.9 million on 2013.

Ms Serow said the results were not even across all companies and states.

‘For example, both 2013 and 2014 figures have been affected by the results of a single company which reported a very substantial increase in 2013—and a parallel decrease in 2014 as donations levels returned to a more normal pattern.

‘Even so, 19 of the 28 companies reported an increase of more than 20 per cent in private giving income compared to 2013, reflecting the more extensive engagement that major companies have with donors.’

The increase in private giving was due to an increase in the number of new donors attracted—up 3742 in 2014 to 13 819.

Altogether, the number of donors (both new and maintained) grew by 13.4 per cent to 28 773.

‘Apart from the drop across the board in 2012 due to a general economic downturn, private donations continue to grow as a proportion of support, well ahead of CPI’, Ms Serow said.

‘Since we began our survey in 2001, it has grown $34.5 million or 450 per cent.’

She pointed out that private donors often direct their support to specific projects or activities, and therefore individual company results will vary between years.

The 2014 increase was due mainly to the results of Victorian companies. New South Wales and South Australian companies reported small increases, while Western Australian and Queensland companies reported a decrease in private giving income.

Corporate sponsorship was more uneven, with 17 of the 28 companies reporting an increase in earnings in 2014 and 11 companies reporting decline.

Corporate sponsorship overall grew by 12.5 per cent to $33.4 million, the largest annual increase over the 14-year reporting period (2001–2014). This compares to a slight net fall in corporate sponsorship last year.

Since 2001 corporate sponsorship has grown $11.7 million or 54.1 per cent, tracking in line with CPI.

From making up 72 per cent of the total revenue from the private sector in 2001, it now represents 42 per cent.

Over the 14-year period, the total revenue of the AMPAG companies has increased $48.3 million or 159.5 per cent. Total private sector support now comprises 16 per cent of total income for the companies, with 45 per cent from box office, 29 per cent government grants for core funding (federal and state), 4 per cent grants for specific initiatives and 7 per cent other income.

This reflects a slight shift compared to 2013 with 2 per cent more from box office,
1 per cent more from the private sector and 1 per cent less from government grants.

Government base funding for the majors has reduced as a percentage of turnover by almost 5 per cent in five years.

‘Ensuring our major companies are stable and sustainable—as well as artistically vibrant and engaging—requires a careful balance and understanding of the important contributions each area of support makes to both the companies themselves and the cultural life of the country’, Ms Serow said.

‘While the results are strong for some of our companies, it wasn’t everyone’s growth year. This year’s growth in private giving of 7.5 per cent, though well ahead of CPI, is significantly below last year’s rate of 24.5 per cent. We can’t assume that private sector funds will continue to grow year on year,’ Ms Serow said.

‘It is also important, that the government doesn’t relax its responsibility in supporting Australia’s wonderful arts sector.

‘It has always been a complex and interdependent relationship—with government funding an essential element in generating support from the private sector.’

AMPAG Chair, John Irving, said, ‘The support of our corporate sponsors and donors is greatly valued by all of the AMPAG companies and rightly celebrated.

‘It enables them to expand and innovate. Each year they begin with the need to grow our earnings just to match what they did last year, but every company is ambitious and has a plethora of talent and unmet demand it wants to nurture.’

For more information including full summary report, contact:

Bethwyn Serow

Executive Director AMPAG

02 9253 5351

2 September 2015

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