The head of philanthropy and fundraising at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in England and the UK, has told a conference that museums need to start getting better at asking for money.
At a gathering held to unravel myths around philanthropy, Keith Nichol stated that the sector, “needed to stop wasting time talking about whether the government was foisting fundraising on museums” and focus on increasing and diversifying sources of philanthropy. Nichol said that while it was more difficult for museums outside London to access potential donors, there was much more they could be doing to increase their philanthropic income, including training staff in fundraising skills. Nichol added all museums should be introducing membership and legacy giving schemes, showing on their website how donations were being spent and learning how to thank donors properly. “These are all very basic things,” he said.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller today welcomed the Culture Secretary Maria Miller today welcomed the publication of a report which contains innovative ideas – and a ten-point plan – to boost philanthropy and legacy giving to benefit the arts and heritage in the UK. which contains innovative ideas – and a ten-point plan – to boost philanthropy and legacy giving to benefit the arts and heritage in the UK.
This summer showed once again how important the arts are to Britain, through the success of initiatives such as the Cultural Olympiad. The arts are a key element underpinning the unique cultural heritage of the UK and looking at new and innovative ways of supporting them should be considered an important element of the Government’s growth agenda.
“There is enormous potential for the arts to benefit from philanthropy over the next few years, and we need to look at new ways of unlocking it. Although income from the National Lottery is set to rise significantly now that we have restored the shares of proceeds going to the original good causes, other avenues of potential funding need to be considered. The economic climate means that philanthropic support for the arts, especially through legacies, will be ever more important in the years to come.”The Government will now consider the report’s recommendations, and Mrs Miller will call on everyone in the arts world to see what they can do to boost fundraising activities in order to help create a sustainably-funded cultural life for the nation.
“Some of our arts and heritage bodies have built great relationships with their supporters in this area, but for all that, only seven per cent of people currently leave a legacy in their will. And too many companies and organisations in the arts and heritage world still have no legacy giving scheme in place. So, they need to get better at asking for this kind of support. I want many more cultural organisations to benefit from legacies, and we will be happy to help make this a core element of greater giving to culture across society as a whole”
The report is one of three commissioned by the Government, and is the first to be published. Together they look at ways to unlock the potential of philanthropy in these tough economic times as a key element in support to the cultural sector. The other 2 reports are due to report back shortly and emphasise the Government’s commitment to this agenda.