Private Sector Support - Support - Overview

Private sector support for the arts increased by 59 percent between 2002 and 2010

There was around $221 million in private sector support for the arts in 2009-10. Around $54 million was generated by Major Performing Arts organisations, and $26 million was generated by Key Organisations that received regular funding from the Australia Council.

The annual Australian business arts Foundation (AbaF) survey of arts organisations found that arts organisations increased their sponsorships and donations each year over the period 2001-02 to 2009-10.

Private sector support for the arts reached $221 million in 2009-10, representing an increase of 59 percent since 2001-02 (in 2009-10 value). In 2009-10 it accounted for more than 10 percent of the income of arts organisations.

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Crowdfunding has emerged as a new source of income for the arts

Globally, crowdfunding platforms have seen dramatic increases in funding raised with $2.7 billion raised in 2012 (up from 1.5 billion in 2011) across all categories (including arts).

Kickstarter, one of the key global crowdfunding platforms, has successfully funded over 20,000 arts-related projects, which raised over $100 million in support.[1]

Pozible, an Australian crowdfunding platform, had an average success rate of 56 percent in 2012, up from 45 percent in 2011. As of February 2013, the platform has helped funnel a total of AUD$8 million across 1,300 successful projects since it was established in May 2010. While this funding was across all categories, some of the most popular categories have been film, performance, art and music.


[1] Within the categories of music, dance, theatre, art and publishing. Kickstarter 2013, ‘Kickstarter facts

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Private sector support is not generated evenly across the sector, and there is room to build the capacity of some organisations

Some organisations generate much higher levels of support than others.

For instance, visual arts organisations lead the sector in generating private sector support, due to the high level of earnings by some galleries and festivals. Art galleries earned 24 percent of the $221 million in private sector support generated by the arts in 2009-10.

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Private giving has overtaken corporate sponsorships since the economic downturn of 2008

Looking across the sector, arts organisations are now earning more from philanthropic donations than from sponsorships since the economic downturn.

In 2009-10, corporate sponsorships represented 58 percent of total private sector support, whereas in 2001-02, they represented 44 percent. Over the same period, donations grew from 42 percent in 2001-02 to 56 percent in 2009-10.

Similarly, AMPAG reports that the Major Performing Arts organisations receive 49 percent of total private sector support from private giving, 47 percent from sponsorships and 4 percent from fundraising events in 2012. Private giving has increased from around $10 million in 2001 to $31 million in 2012 (in real terms).

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Arts organisations invest significant resources in sponsorship and philanthropy and generate an estimated return of $2 for every $1 invested in fundraising

Organisations invest significant amounts in their fundraising capabilities to generate private sector support.

Whilst only limited data is available it appears that arts organisations may be working harder to secure private sector support. Since 2008, participating Key Organisations reported an increased number of sponsorships and donations, but the average value of those donations has fallen.

Research found that arts organisations earned over $2 for every $1 spent on fundraising. The research also correlated board commitment with fundraising income, confirming the case for investment in the capacity of arts organisations fundraising functions.

In our 2012 survey of board performance, arts leaders identified fundraising and philanthropy as the main area they require more support and expertise.

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Private sector giving - Support - Music

Private sector support for music organisations is strong but opportunities remain

Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, Australian music and opera organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council (a small part of the overall industry) did not increase levels of private sector support as some other organisations did. Music (down $1.7 million) and Opera (down $0.7 million) recorded the largest declines for performing arts organisations.

Looking at the major performing arts organisations, private sector support grew in 2011 with nine of the 10 organisations reporting increases on 2010 levels.

However, comparatively music and opera organisations have generated lower growth than dance organisations over time.

Only three of the 10 music and opera organisations were found to have increased their private sector earnings consistently over time.  These three companies made up 63 per cent of private sector revenue generated by music companies in 2011 and most of the increase over time.

Whilst opera companies were performing strongly in 2001, they have not grown support over time to the extent that other sectors have. In real terms, private sector support for opera has shrunk over the past 10 years.

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Private sector support - Support - Visual Arts

Visual arts organisations generated $53 million in private sector support in 2009-10 – more than any other art form

In terms of philanthropy and sponsorship earnings, art galleries outperform other parts of the arts sector generating almost a quarter of total earnings.

In an AbaF survey of 318 arts organisations, it was estimated that $221 million in private sector support was generated by the arts in 2010-11. The visual arts generated $53 million of this amount.

Art galleries earn most of their support through philanthropic giving ($40 million), with sponsorship making up a smaller but still notable share ($11 million).

In contrast, visual arts, craft and design organisations participating in the survey were estimated to earn just $2 million in private sector support, and most of this was generated through sponsorship (increasing from $0.9 million in 2008-09 to $1.5 million in 2009-10).

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Visual arts organisations generate higher levels of private sector support than other arts organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council

Looking at organisations regularly funded through the Australia Council, visual arts organisations (including galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations) earn well above other arts organisations from private revenue sources – although earnings in 2011 were lower[1] than 2010 levels.

In 2011, 40 surveyed visual arts organisations earned an average private sector income of $302,500 (compared with $360,000 in 2010), generating over $12 million in total.

However, ‘It’s a given’ found that earning levels were not uniform from organisation to organisation, and identified four visual arts organisations who earn 81.2 percent of total private sector support for visual arts.

This sample includes organisations operating on a biannual cycle, such as the Biennale of Sydney, which may influence the fluctuations in the data.

[1]   The overall decrease in private sector support for funded visual arts organisations has been driven by a decrease in corporate sponsorship for visual arts companies. This trend is consistent with a 20 percent decline in sponsorship revenues across the arts sector from 2010 to 2011.

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