Giving agenda on track, says DCMS

But Arts Quarter report claims limited progress on philanthropy
Profile image for Gareth Harris
Gareth Harris
A report that claims culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is failing to deliver on proposals outlined in his Philanthropy in the Arts Agenda has come under fire from the department for culture.

Independent agency Arts Quarter conducted a survey on philanthropy at the beginning of the year, and 62 museums were among the 361 participants in the online poll.

Most organisations felt that progress had been made in three areas outlined by Hunt: building fundraising skills in the sector; promoting legacy giving; and launching a matched-funding programme.

But the report said: “Across the sector as a whole, the three areas in which respondents felt there had been the least degree of delivery were in fostering and extending corporate giving, promoting support from international donors and in the sharing of knowledge about endowments”.

A spokesman from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it didn’t believe the report stood up to scrutiny and was an inaccurate reflection of the progress that had been made.

He added that it had always been clear it was a long-term strategy with few quick wins, and significant progress had been made.

“We will shortly publish the results of the Catalyst Endowments programme which, with £56m funding from the DCMS, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, will successfully leverage significantly more through private giving,” said the spokesman.

“We have also made huge strides in furthering legacy giving, an initiative that now has all-party support. And we are establishing the new Cultural Gifts Scheme, which will enhance acquisitions by museums across the country by using tax incentives to promote lifetime giving.

“We are looking forward to an informed debate on philanthropy at the Museums Association’s conference.”

The £100m Catalyst programme was recognised by respondents as possibly the “greatest achievement” in the agenda’s implementation.

But the report stressed that “irrespective of region, art form or scale, clear majorities of respondents feel that Catalyst will be insufficient to develop fundraising capacity and encourage higher levels of giving through its matched funding element”.

Meanwhile, the low level of legacy giving to the arts was a cause for concern in spite of recent campaigns such as Legacy10, which encourages donors to pledge at least 10% of their estate to good causes.

The report said: “Despite media attention and new tax incentives, most of the arts organisations we surveyed seemed underwhelmed by the prospect of legacy fundraising.”

The report claims that Jeremy Hunt has failed to deliver on proposals outlined in his Philanthropy in the Arts Agenda

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