Maria Miller: too many organisations in the arts and heritage sector do not have a legacy-giving scheme

Report advocates more training for fundraisers

Geraldine Kendall and Sharon Heal, Issue 112/12, p5, 01.12.2012
Philanthropy report also seeks greater emphasis on legacy giving
A new report on philanthropy has called for greater emphasis on legacy giving and more training for fundraisers in the arts sector.

Removing Barriers, which was published last month by the Legacy 10 campaign, makes 10 recommendations, including targeted tax breaks as a way of creating lifetime donors who will later leave a legacy.

Other recommendations include an online iTunes training programme for legacy fundraisers and a virtual legacy-giving academy.

Culture secretary Maria Miller welcomed the report and said that although income from the lottery was set to rise, the economic climate meant that philanthropic support for the arts would become increasingly important.

“Some of our arts and heritage bodies have built great relationships with their supporters in this area, but for all that, only 7% of people leave a legacy in their will,” she said. “Too many companies and organisations in the arts and heritage world still have no legacy-giving scheme in place.”

The report also recommends that every registered charity in the UK should be required by the Charity Commission to provide evidence of a legacy-giving strategy and that people nominated for honours in the field of business should provide evidence of charitable giving and/or volunteering of time.

Speaking at last month’s Museums Association conference, Keith Nichol, head of philanthropy and fundraising at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said the sector needed to stop wasting time talking about whether the government was “foisting fundraising on museums” and focus on increasing philanthropy.

“The first and biggest myth is that the government is only interested in philanthropy in order that it can fill some hole left by cutting public subsidy,” he said. “That is simply not true.”

Nichol said that while it was more difficult for museums outside London to access potential donors, there was far more they could be doing to increase their philanthropic income, including training staff in fundraising skills.

But Janet Barnes, head of York Museums Trust, said that in some cases, the effort required in pursuing donations or sponsorship outweighed the benefit.

“The effort that is required to engage businesses is sometimes not worth it,” she added.

“We’ve tried it over the years, but the headquarters of most big businesses aren’t in York, so you’re talking to the marketing people, who have much smaller budgets.”