Arts Quarter 2015/16 Revenue Generation in the Arts Report

Arts Quarter 2015/16 Revenue Generation in the Arts Report

By Arts Quarter


Find out more about the evolution of fundraising and earned revenue streams in this report from an online survey conducted by AQ.

Introduction & Methodology

As part of our research activities, we are delighted to be returning again to this vital area for the UK arts and cultural community which has been a cornerstone of many of our earlier research projects - that of evolving models of revenue generation in the sector. This is a new research strand which we hope, with the continued engagement of arts organisations, we will repeat at around the same time each year with the purpose of encouraging all those who work in the sector to share predictions and insights at a time when so many are actively engaged in planning for the financial year ahead and beyond.

This research project is not one that seeks to dwell so much in the past but look forward and provide the sector with opportunities to share its aspirations. We are looking to capture the mood of the sector through this project, bring to the fore areas of concern so that policy and decision makers are able to get a clear grasp of prevailing issues but most critically allow those working in the sector to see what's happening more broadly among their peers at an important time in the planning cycle. As this project proceeds year by year, we hope to be able to build a dataset that will track continuing evolution and innovation across the UK arts and cultural sectors adding in to our questioning topical issues relevant to the sector year by year. Each year however, we will look to capture predictions from across the sector and be able to see in subsequent years how these will have stood the test of time while examining the ways in which the sector is responding to external factors in any one year.

This Arts Quarter online survey which captured views and information from across the UK arts sector was launched on 27th November and remained available for completion until 24th December 2015. The Survey was launched initially via email to Arts Quarter’s own email list of 2,841 individuals working within the UK cultural sector as well as being promoted via the Arts Marketing Association and UK Theatre websites as well as being distributed via The Guardian Culture Professionals Network. Invitations to take part were also distributed via Arts Quarter's own twitter account and via a number of promotions on LinkedIn, targeted at senior arts professionals. We are grateful to Spektrix for sharing a link to the survey with their own clients and twitter followers. Over the course of the ‘live period’, organisations were also re-prompted to take part periodically via email and across a number of these channels.

In all, some 459 completed responses were received, as well as 86 partial responses. For the purposes of reporting the findings of this Survey with a greater degree of clarity, we have restricted the sample to just one respondent per organisation, selecting the most senior individual identified within any one cultural organisation. This paring down of responses has left us with a sample of responses from 381 individual cultural organisations from across the UK with 96% originating from England - the findings of which are reported here.

We are extremely grateful to all who took time out to take part in this Survey which was perhaps the longest and most complex set of questions covering fundraising, partnership development and earned income we have posed to the sector since we started collecting and reporting on key issues for the arts in 2008.

We hope that these findings will aid all of those looking to benchmark their own current activities and at the same time provide inspiration for those seeking to learn more about new areas of revenue generation and partnership development in the year ahead.

Key Observations

This research project was developed in a context of the sector having withstood some significant challenges since the 2008 Recession and its aftermath and us wanting to establish a framework for all who work in the sector to get a clear sense as to how organisations may have potentially shifted their revenue generation activities in order to respond to the events of the past few years. From 2009-11, our research activities had looked at the impacts of the recession on individual arts organisations and the sector as a whole, both negative and positive. After several waves of investment in fundraising by Arts Council England, by the private sector and indeed by organisations themselves and a prevailing view emerging among analysts that the economic climate is improving albeit at different paces across the UK the time is right to shift emphasis more towards exploring how organisations are striving to enhance their reslience. To this end, we have sought to create a framework which will allow us to capture the status of the sectors' wider revenue generation activities and have those closest to the delivery of these activities plot how they believe these are likely to develop in the year ahead.

In that this is the first year in which we have undertaken what we hope will be an annual review of revenue generation activities and (most critically) predictions across the arts community, we believe we have been able to establish a foundation on which to build this work and commence the process of plotting key trends in the years ahead. We trust that this framework will highlight opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead for the sector around which individual organisations can have the opportunity to take an informed approach to developing their own wider revenue generation activities.

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Resource type: Research | Published: 2016