Research and analysis

Fundraising activity in arts, culture, heritage and sports organisations: a qualitative study

Report combining desk research with qualitative case studies to look at how organisations in the culture, heritage and sports sectors carry out fundraising.


Fundraising activity in arts, culture, heritage and sports organisations: a qualitative study

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The last two decades have seen extensive growth in the arts, culture and sports sectors, and of the contribution of voluntary sector within them. This growth has come from different sources, and been supported by a mixed economy of funding from philanthropic, commercial and government sources.

This study combined desk research with 17 organisational case studies to reveal a changing environment for fundraising, caused by the financial crisis and the resulting impact on donor behaviour, as well as the anticipated impact of reductions in government spending. These changes were compounded by a perceived intensification in competition for a reduced pot of potential donations.

Donors were thought to have become more exacting in their expectations, with an increased requirement for tangible and measurable outcomes. This in turn created a new requirement for organisations to demonstrate sound business planning and financial management, and an ability to generate benefits for potential donors. Some had become practiced in this; while for others the new environment required a culture shift, as they had previously relied heavily upon strong personal relationships with their major funders.

Findings from the desk research and the qualitative case-studies indicate a number of ways in which fundraising could be strengthened. Some of these apply at a practice and organisational and level, and some at a policy level. The report includes more information on these.

Recommendations for strengthening fundraising at the organisational level cover:

  • Putting fundraising at the heart of the organisation
  • Identifying and engaging with donors and supporters
  • Auditing the role of fundraising within the organisation

Recommendations for strengthening the environment for fundraising cover:

  • Ensuring access to training and skills
  • Brokering relationships
  • Facilitating financial support
Published 26 September 2011