Cultural organisations : giving and sponsorship research report

Cultural Organisations: Giving and Sponsorship for…
01 Apr 2010

The goal of this survey is to provide a better picture of private giving and sponsorship.  During March-April 2009 we surveyed cultural organisations on the income they had obtained from gifts, grants and other charitable and sponsorship sources in the tax year of 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.

We  worked closely with Creative New Zealand and the Charities Commission to identify around 2,000 cultural organisations to invite to take part in the survey. The organisations that responded included a wide range of small through to major-sized registered charities and other types of organisations that might have received funding from sources such as central or local government, the Lottery Grants Board or  community/gaming/energy trusts.

The survey asked about the various sources of the funding or support that the organisations received. The survey also asked about the form this funding or support took, such as grants, donations, cash or in-kind sponsorship, membership or friends' schemes, and bequests.
The research establishes an annual level of cash and non-cash funding and support. It provides comparisons between organisations on the basis of size, location and type of cultural activity, and also on the basis of the source and type of support. The research provides benchmark figures that will enable trends in support to cultural organisations to be identified, including the impact of any tax or other incentives for charitable giving.


Why this survey was carried out

In order to thrive, cultural organisations must have adequate resources. As well as self-generated income such as ticket sales, many organisations rely heavily on government support. Both central and local government invests in a wide range of cultural organisations, and wants to assist them to improve their sustainability. Other cultural organisations receive significant private support from businesses, individuals, trusts and foundations.

Private support may take a number of forms, including cash and non-cash sponsorship, corporate and individual memberships (or "friends" schemes), corporate and individual donations (both cash and non-cash), bequests and legacies, and "payroll giving" (donations from individuals through deductions from their wages or salary). However, the extent of this private support in the arts, culture and heritage sector has been largely unmeasured.

It was to provide a better picture of, in particular, private giving and sponsorship that in March-April 2009 the Ministry for Culture and Heritage surveyed cultural organisations on the income they had obtained from gifts, grants and other charitable and sponsorship sources in the tax year of 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.


The research is based on an online survey, combined with telephone and email reminders to increase the response rate.

It focuses on organisations that have arts, culture and/or heritage as a main or significant purpose or objective, and that could have received public funding (from central or local government) and/or private support from businesses/corporates, trusts, foundations or individuals.

The research did not include interviews or discussions with people working in the cultural organisations. It also did not include contact with any givers or sponsors, nor did it enquire into their identity (although it does identify the particular corporate sectors that support cultural organisations).

Appendix 1 contains the questionnaire used for the survey. Appendix 2 contains a glossary of terms used for the survey and the report.

Key Results

  • The total amount of gifts, grants and sponsorship, both cash and non-cash, received in 2007/08 by cultural organisations that responded to the survey was $383.2 million.
  • Central and local government contributed 80 percent of this support; Lottery Grants Board, trusts and foundations contributed 11 percent; corporate organisations contributed 6 percent; and individuals contributed 3 percent.
  • Organisations that focused their cultural activities mainly on Auckland or Wellington-Wairarapa, or that had a nationwide focus, got 87 percent of the total $383.2 million support.
  • Major organisations obtained 61 percent of the total support. Small organisations received just 1 percent.
  • Across all respondents, 97 percent of their support was cash and 3 percent was non-cash.
  • 8 percent of respondents obtained some direct support from the Lottery Grants Board; 54 percent obtained some trust/foundation support; 29 percent obtained some support from central government; and 41 percent obtained some local government support.
  • 44 percent of respondents received some corporate support. Cash sponsorship made up the highest proportion of this corporate support.
  • 65 percent of respondents that received corporate support received this support from businesses within one or two corporate sectors.
  • 62 percent of respondents received some support from individuals. Membership and "friends schemes" made up the highest proportion of this individual support. Payroll giving made up only a small fraction of respondents’ support from individuals.
  • Of those organisations that did not receive any corporate support, 87 percent said they had not sought support from this source. Of those organisations that did not receive support from individuals, 78 percent said they had not sought it.
  • Of the total $383.2 million support received by respondent organisations, 29 percent was spent on these organisations’ core programmes, and 25 percent on capital projects. 2 percent was unspent and held in reserve.
  • Across all respondents, of the total workforce working on gaining and keeping support, 28 percent were paid employees and 72 percent were volunteers.
  • 80 percent of respondent organisations had "registered charity status". An organisation must be a charity registered with the Charities Commission to be exempt from income tax and for donors of gifts to be exempt from gift duty.
  • 53 percent of respondent organisations had "donee status". An organisation must have donee status to participate in the payroll giving scheme administered through the Department of Inland Revenue.
Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018