Art Fund responds to Government philanthropy debate

  • Published 10 March 2011

The Art Fund responds to the Government Green Paper on giving. See our proposals to make it easier to give and encourage philanthropy.

In response to the Cabinet Office Green Paper on Giving, we have put forward proposals to make it easier to give, and to encourage philanthropy more generally.

The Art Fund is and always has been a philanthropic organisation: we pool the money of our 80,000 members to help buy art for museums across the country; and we lever additional public donations through our fundraising appeals. So we are in a good position to add to the debate on what would encourage people to give, or to give more.

We have suggested the Government can lead the way in building a ‘culture of giving’ by:

  • Encouraging giving as a public good, and ensuring donors are properly acknowledged and celebrated – for example better using the honours system to celebrate donors of all kinds; and arts organisations could recognise those that give time, money and works of art in more creative ways
  • Using the tax system to incentivise donors – if we are serious about becoming a nation of ‘givers’ we must better incentivise giving. This includes encouraging people to donate art to the nation in their lifetime as well as after death, simplifying the Gift Aid system, and making Payroll Giving easier
  • Stimulate giving through match-funding, using government and National Lottery money - the Art Fund is currently match-funding donations to the Frome Hoard campaign, up to £10,000 – this model could be an effective way of using government or Lottery money to lever in additional funds.

But we have also warned that private support for culture cannot and should not be a replacement for public funding. Public funding is a statement of the Government’s commitment to, and belief in, the value of museums and culture, and many donors expect to see an element of state investment in the projects they give so generously to.

Read our submission.

The Cabinet Office will be considering responses and will publish a White Paper with a more detailed plan for how Government will encourage giving, later in the Spring.