Philanthropic Support of Performing Arts up on Last Year

Non-government support of the major performing arts companies has grown substantially in the past year, increasing by $10.8 million or 20 per cent to more than $65 million.

Philanthropic Support of Performing Arts up on Last Year


Private sector support now comprises 15 per cent of total income for the companies (40 per cent from box office, 31 per cent government grants for core funding, 8 per cent grants for specific initiatives and 6 per cent other income). In 2010 private sector support represented 13 per cent of total MPA companies’ income.

This is a welcome result but growth has not been evenly distributed, reflecting the bumpiness of Australia’s two speed economy. The big gains largely occurred in the small and medium companies.

AMPAG today released its annual Tracking changes in corporate sponsorship and private donations. The survey confirmed the trends of recent years with philanthropic donations continuing to grow at a faster rate (38 per cent) than corporate sponsorships (4.1 per cent ). Overall the companies, as a group achieved, the highest revenue total from sponsorship and philanthropy since the survey began.

In the past decade since AMPAG first started collecting sponsorship and philanthropy data, non-government support has grown by 116 per cent. In 2011, for the first time, philanthropic donations from individuals have surpassed corporate sponsorship in dollar terms. Donations now account for 53 per cent of total earnings ($34.6 million), compared to 43 per cent from sponsorship ($27.9 million) and 4 per cent from fundraising events ($2.7 million).

‘In fact, because of the high value of one-off philanthropic donations this year, income is nearly five times greater than the combined companies’ results we saw in 2002,’ Bethwyn Serow, AMPAG Executive Director, said today.

‘This is encouraging news for the sector which operates in a climate of stagnant government support, but with escalating costs.’

Western Australian companies have especially benefited from the mining boom, achieving increased earnings of $6.8 million from the private sector, and a 21 per cent share of all private giving, up from 5 per cent in 2010. This result is mainly due to one-off donations of Fortescue Metals Group shares by Andrew and Nicole Forrest to the four major WA companies.

Other one-off donations/fundraising events included gifts to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Instrument fund, two companies undertaking fundraising campaigns for building works and one undertaking a future fund campaign. The combined impact of these one-off events affecting seven companies was $8.2 million.

‘Although one-off donations can distort trends, the increase in the number and source of these gifts suggests the relationship between the performing arts and private philanthropists is deepening’, Ms Serow said.

‘It seems there is a growing understanding of the needs and social value of the performing arts from the private sector.’

Queensland achieved the highest proportional increase in corporate sponsorship of all states, up 20 per cent on 2010, as well as strong increases in philanthropic donations some of which were in response to call for support in the wake of the Brisbane floods.

New South Wales, with 10 companies out of the 28 surveyed, attracted the greatest proportion of total revenue, receiving 41 per cent of all private giving and 49 per cent of corporate sponsorship although 2011 growth was modest.

Total revenue in Victoria grew by $2.8 million, and was relatively evenly dispersed across all companies. Victoria reported consistent growth in donations, receiving 31 per cent of all philanthropy.

While all five dance companies have performed strongly in both corporate sponsorship and donations in 2011 with a total increase of $4.8 million, two of the five make up 86 per cent of the decade’s total increase. Music income from donations grew by 65 per cent, a welcome move from the static result of the past few years. This result in part reflects the donation to the ACO’s instrument fund. Theatre matched last year’s levels, a pleasing result given the substantial one-off gift to the Sydney Theatre Company in 2010. Opera reported an almost 30 per cent increase in donations, reversing the 2010 result. However, the growth was not even.

‘Despite the change in private sector emphasis, the companies greatly appreciate all the private sector support they receive—from all sources—and would be unable to continue operating without the help of individuals and corporations.’

For further information contact

Bethwyn Serow
Executive Director
Tel: 02 9253 5351
16 July 2012


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