April 8, 2010


As the effects of the recession continue to be felt by New Zealand’s cultural community, the spotlight is on what role philanthropic giving can have in supporting arts organisations.

The last of the Creative New Zealand and The Big Idea – Te Aria Nui’s online smART talk forums aims to give arts organisations and practitioners insights into how to raise philanthropic funds.

Hosted by the website The Big Idea | Te Aria Nui the philanthropy forum is aimed at those who want to learn more about fundraising and philanthropy and runs from 12 – 30 April at www.thebigidea.co.nz/smart-talk 

As well as sharing their experiences – good and bad – those participating will also able to seek advice from respected member of the arts community, fundraising expert, and member of the new Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce, Margaret BelichLate last year the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Christopher Finlayson established the taskforce to investigate ways to improve levels of philanthropic giving in New Zealand.

Margaret Belich says arts organisations and practitioners are making choices all the time about how to stretch the arts dollar in pursuit of their artistic mission.   “I’m hoping that the forum will add to the sector’s knowledge of fundraising and that we get to expand our horizons as to the extraordinary potential of philanthropy.” 

If you have ever considered the follow questions the forum is for you:

  • How do arts and cultural organisations better communicate their value to potential altruists?
  • How much do our arts organisations know about philanthropy and philanthropists know about the arts?
  • What unique value should arts and cultural organisations be communicating to prospective donors
  • Does the answer lie in a relationship building exercise between the donor and recipient?
  • How should arts organisations respond to the innovative potential of philanthropy?
International Trends
Philanthropy is a valuable source of income for artists and cultural organisations allowing new works to be created and community programmes to be developed.   Internationally, philanthropists are involved in a range of activity and fundraising takes different forms, especially now the internet has increased both access to and visibility of arts.
In Australia the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme has seen $18 million gifted to the cultural sector from individuals and businesses since it started in 1991 and in the United States, private contributions represent 43 percent of a typical not-for-profit arts organisation’s budget.*
In United Kingdom, along with the US, the role of the internet is being explored (friends-raising) as more people choose to give during their lifetime, rather than through a one-off legacy bequest. Arts organisations as a result are beginning to ask for less but from more sources.   In 2009 British arts organisations when surveyed said increasing fundraising activities is still the most popular response to the recession.**
About Margaret Belich
Margaret Belich has an extensive background in the arts and creative sector, as a minder (manager), a maker (creative producer and researcher) and“icing-on-cake” (fundraiser). She has also worked in the tertiary education sector and in government. As an independent consultant, she works with arts and cultural groups to make them stronger, focusing on capacity-building, in particular good planning, thoughtful development and strategic fund raising. She has a Masters in Commerce from Auckland University and is a Theatre Studies alumni (BA, VUW, 1976).
About the Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce
The taskforce consists of several of New Zealand’s most high-profile supporters of the arts. They have been appointed to investigate areas of best practice in philanthropic giving including overseas examples and to publicise New Zealand’s existing tax incentives for giving. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has recently conducted research into philanthropic giving, and a report ‘Giving and Sponsorship to Cultural Institutions’ will be published shortly.
To find some answers to these questions or to ask your own check out www.thebigidea.co.nz/smart-talk from Monday 12 April.
* International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies
** Arts and Business.org.uk – Market Trends Aug 2009 
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