Unlocking the Power of Philanthropy in Arts and Culture

Why Can’t I get Donations?

Everybody working in the arts and culture industry is feeling the pressure. State funding is declining and the funding agencies are promoting the argument that philanthropy must fill the gap left by the cutbacks. Arts organisations are all taking fund-raising courses, appointing funding executives, skilling up on varieties of CRM tools and soaking up the sayings of the new gurus – impact drives income, and you have to tell a compelling story about what you do, etc. etc.

I’m actually a big fan of all this, but there is a danger that we oversimplify the economic realities of philanthropy as well as its ethical implications.

The question is, can everybody build a sustainable artistic or cultural enterprise based on philanthropy and the answer is no – regardless of impact or compelling narrative. But that can be changed.

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