Press release

Democratising Philanthropy – new report shows how digital technology can boost private giving to support arts and heritage organisations

A new report on Digital Giving in the Arts sets out ten recommendations to show how digital technology can support fundraising.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new report on Digital Giving in the Arts, published today, sets out ten recommendations to show how digital technology can support fundraising and encourage philanthropy in the cultural sector.

The report, sub-titled Democratising Philanthropy, by technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Community Foundation Network Matthew Bowcock, shows how arts and heritage bodies could unlock support by engaging broader audiences, and how more individuals can become philanthropists. 

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

Matthew Bowcock believes that everyone is a potential philanthropist.  This reinforces my view that we should not regard philanthropy as solely being about getting the rich to give more.  Everyone has the opportunity to give, whether time or money.

Digital technology means we can strengthen the relationship between artists and their audiences.  A number of far-sighted cultural organisations are already doing so, harnessing digital technology to support their fundraising efforts, but many others are not.  I would encourage all arts and heritage bodies to read this report.

Matthew Bowcock’s work complements the recent reports on ‘Removing Barriers to Legacy Giving’ and ‘Philanthropy Beyond London’ and will help inform the future Government strategy for boosting philanthropy in the cultural sector.  All three reports contain advice on ways to strengthen fundraising for the benefit of artists and audiences across the country.  The Government will respond fully to the recommendations in all three reports in the new year.

Mrs Miller continued:

We have many generous donors in this country, without whom our arts and heritage would be poorer in every respect.  I am profoundly grateful for their support.  Together with public sector investment, earned income and support from the National Lottery, philanthropy has the potential to enable our cultural sector to continue to lead the world.  I share Matthew Bowcock’s desire to democratise philanthropy, and to make use of digital technology as one of the means to that end.

Notes to Editors

This report is the third of three commissioned by DCMS Ministers to advance key elements of the philanthropy agenda.  Read the previous reports:

Matthew Bowcock makes ten recommendations in his report.

Recommendations for Government

1 - Encourage the industry to collaborate to simplify digital giving systems.
2 - Extend the Digital R&D fund
3 - Introduce a matching scheme for online donations
4 - Joined-up Government policy on philanthropy and giving

Recommendations for National Arts Funding Bodies

5 - Create a repository of shareware applications
6 - Provide a digital education programme of case studies of best practice
7 - Support the employment of “digital catalysts” in cultural organisations

Recommendations for cultural organisations

8 - Develop, document and implement a digital audience engagement strategy
9 - Recruit trustees with digital and fundraising skills
10 - Encourage interdisciplinary cooperation on digital strategies, led by the Chief Executive and supported by the Board

To request comment from or an interview with the report’s author, Matthew Bowcock, please contact Tamsin Williams, Wigwam:, 01483 563 562 / 07939 651 252

Press Enquiries: 020 7211 2210
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6000

Published 17 December 2012