Arts still not attracting legacy cash, says report

Arts organisations are still not attracting enough money from wills and other legacies, according to a new report.

However, although overall figures are still low, more arts organisations are reporting significant increases in the amount of money, says the report, compiled by Arts Quarter and Legacy Foresight.

The new report, Legacy Fundraising in the Arts 2016, compares results with a similar survey carried out in 2010 and finds that two fifths of the arts organisations surveyed in 2016 (38%) had received gifts in wills over the last three years: a figure directly comparable to 2010. Two thirds of those organisations had received less than five bequests over that period while 80% had received less than 10, again very similar to the 2010 findings according to the report.

Of the 38% of arts organisations receiving gifts in wills, 70% earned less than £25,000 per annum. However the survey suggests that slightly more organisations are now achieving significant legacy incomes. Over the last three years, five organisations received income averaging £250,000 or more a year, representing 12% compared to 5% in 2010, while one averaged over £1 million a year.

In the last three years, ten of the arts organisations that took part in the survey received gifts over £100,000. Two-fifths of those surveyed were left assets in people’s wills: primarily artistic assets such as artworks or archive materials. On average, two thirds of the people leaving a bequest to arts organisations were already known supporters.

The survey also revealed that only two-fifths of those surveyed were actively promoting legacy giving however, - the same figure as in 2010. Large arts charities, with a turnover of £1m+, were the biggest legacy promoters. Smaller organisations cited lack of capacity, resources, and other priorities as the main reasons for not promoting legacy giving.

Half of the arts organisations that did promote legacy giving said they had no budget allocated to legacy fundraising in their current financial year, while half of those that did have budget had £2,500 or less available to them and only 8% spent more than £5,000 a year on legacy marketing.

However, while legacy fundraising was low, several of those surveyed said they were about to start implementing a legacy promotion strategy and activity for the first time. Just over a quarter felt it would be significant or very significant, with a third seeing it as an emerging activity that would play a key role in the next five years.

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