Financial donations down at DCMS-sponsored cultural institutions

But fundraising revenues still twice the level of five years ago
Jonathan Knott
Financial charitable donations to cultural institutions sponsored by the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS) fell slightly in the last financial year, according to data published earlier this month.

But the amount these institutions are generating from fundraising remains more than double what it was five years ago.

In 2014-15, the amount DCMS-sponsored cultural institutions received from donations, sponsorship and memberships was £445m – a decrease of £10m from £455m in 2013-14.

This amount excludes the value of donated objects, which is usually dependent on a small number of expensive items. It can vary substantially from year to year, so excluding the figure provides a better indication of the underlying trend.

The figures are calculated using data from cultural institutions sponsored by DCMS, including national museums and galleries, the British Library, Historic England, English Heritage Trust and Arts Council England's National Portfolio Organisations.

This increase in fundraising revenue has taken place as grant-in-aid to these institutions has fallen. In 2009-2010, the amount of DCMS grant-in-aid they received was £1,077m, but this amount had fallen to £963m in 2014-15.

Although fundraising income fell this year, it is still more than double the level of £218m that it was five years ago. The amount of fundraising revenue (excluding object donations) increased significantly from £293m to £455m between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

So far, this long-term fundraising increase has exceeded the rate at which grant-in-aid from DCMS has fallen. In 2009-10 the institutions received £1,077m in grant-in-aid from DCMS, but this amount had fallen to £963m in 2014-15.

Richard Naylor, a director at BOP Consulting, which specialises in the cultural and creative economy, said that he expected these institutions to continue raising comparable amounts through fundraising in future years. “It’s unlikely that that figure will fall substantially, and it may well grow,” he said. “Whether it will double again in another five years is a big question, but only time will tell.”

He added that while national museums may be able to weather a fall in government funding, it would be harder for regional institutions.

“National museums have experienced smaller cuts and have the expertise and infrastructure in place to be able to go out and get large sums of money. They have the brand name and profile to make sure that they will always be front-of-mind for a number of donors, trusts and foundations.

"Regional museums are in a less advantageous fundraising position than the nationals are – they’ve had larger cuts and don’t have the same fundraising capacity, collections, or the instant recognition.”

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