AbaF Upbeat On Arts Philanthropy Trends
Monday, 27th March 2006 at 12:03 pm
The outlook for cultural philanthropy is bright, with growing discussion about the value of giving according to Jane Haley, the Director of Giving Program for the Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF).
Haley says there is increased media interest in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, along with a number of high profile figures advocating that individuals and corporations should give to their communities.
She says that with thirteen years of economic growth and a boom in the property and share markets have resulted in growing numbers of people with high disposable income. There is evidence that, with their material needs satisfied, people are increasingly looking to give some of their money away.
AbaF’s Giving workshops – held around the states in 2006 – are helping cultural organisations of all kinds to develop their donations programs.
The most recent figures from Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini World Wealth Report (2005) indicate that an estimated 17,000 individuals joined Australia’s High Net Worth Individual ranks in 2004, making a total of 134,000.
This represents a growth of 14.8 per cent for 2004 – one of the fastest rising rates in the world.
The 2005 Giving Australia research reported an 18 per cent increase in the number of Australians giving to the Not for Profit sector over the past five years, and an increase of 54 per cent in donations during that period.
The Giving Australia report also indicates that the arts’ share of the increased corporate and individual giving in Australia has also significantly increased in the past five years.
Haley says that incentives established by the Federal Government are having an impact on giving in Australia. The introduction of Prescribed Private Funds from 2001 has seen the creation of more than 350 such funds, with a combined corpus of more than $400 million – and that number continues to rise.
She says an increasing number of Australian companies have initiated schemes for employees to make pre-tax donations to charitable organisations, which gives the charities an easy income stream and means tax-payers don’t have to wait to claim the tax benefit.
However she says to date few cultural organisations have been recipients of donations through workplace giving programs, but this is beginning to change as people gain a greater sense of the community contribution of the arts.
One of the challenges to encouraging greater giving has been a lack of interest and expertise from financial advisers. The Financial Planners Association (FPA) turned its attention to philanthropy at its 2005 Conference with keynote speaker David Gonski extolling the virtues of giving to nearly 2000 financial planners.
There would appear to be no shortage of potential donors, according to AbaF. Cultural organisations are well placed to take advantage of these trends – their most likely donors are already in their midst. There’s a high correlation between affiliation with a ‘cause’ and giving to an organisation representing that cause.
Cultural organisations that have members, subscribers, people who regularly come along to their performances and exhibitions or participate in their community events have a head start in building the relationships that are the basis for donations.
Jane Haley says thoughtfully and strategically implemented, a donations program can deliver sustained income for cultural organisations of all sizes.
For more information on AbaF go to :www.abaf.org.au.