It's A Given – Australia Council tracks private sector support in the arts

The Australia Council for the Arts has released a new report which analyses levels of private sector income of Australia Council funded key organisations for the years 2008 to 2010. 
‘It’s A Given’ is the first, benchmarking report which shows how much private sector income has been received by key organisations since 2008 and how that private support has been given – through donations, sponsorship, in-kind support or other fundraising activities. It complements the survey of major performing arts companies conducted by AMPAG (Australian Major Performing Arts Group). “The council has been monitoring the performance of the arts sector in attracting private sector support in different ways for some time,” says Kathy Keele, CEO of the Australia Council. “This report gives us a clear benchmark to continue this work.” “It will be updated annually, applying a consistent approach to data collection and analysis,” says Kathy. “Over time this will build a picture of the trends in private sector support to these key organisations that can be used by the organisations and the Council for evaluation, strategic planning and other capacity building initiatives.” The report shows a modest increase in private sector income as a percentage of turnover, with private sector income making up 15 percent of total turnover in 2010, up from 12 percent of total turnover in 2009. Western Australia companies are reporting the strongest growth in corporate sponsorship, however they’re less successful in securing private giving. While New South Wales companies receive the highest level of private giving – at an average of $183k per company – they have not been able to substantially lift earnings from this source since 2008. A handful of large visual arts companies dominate the results – with the total 40 participating companies making up $14.9m or sixty percent of the sector earnings. Dance, theatre and literature companies report significantly lower levels of private sector income compared to music, visual arts and, to a lesser extent, cross-artform companies Louise Walsh, Director of Artsupport Australia, the philanthropic arm of the Australia Council, points out that while corporate sponsorship has increased, private giving has remained steady. “This is an important figure because it gives us a clear goal already,” says Louise. “And by updating this report annually, we’ll be able to clearly see how we’re tracking in this area over time.” It’s a given includes information from 132 of the Australia Council’s triennially funded key organisations, plus specific information for 68 companies who provided additional information. Those 68 companies will receive an individualised report that will add significant value to their own efforts in this area. 

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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