DATA CRUNCHERS: MyCake and DONATE are collaborating on cultural data development

MyCake’s Culture Benchmark, specialising in business data in the arts, is launching a collaboration with digital giving experts the National Funding Scheme (registered charity no. 1149800) and their DONATE platform, to combine the resources of both organisations, in order to better understand and utilise cultural data.

Both organisations have a shared objective of improving data access and utilisation in the arts. This new collaboration brings the breadth of data held in the Culture Benchmark in direct connection with the depth of data that DONATE gathers about casual incremental and digital giving.

Both the National Funding Scheme and MyCake believe in striving for better data resources to support strategic decision-making in non-profit cultural organisations. Naturally this means championing making arts data more dynamic and easy to query via online tools and applications.


One year on from the launch of the DONATE platform we are able to state:

  • The average donation through the DONATE mobile web platform is £26.58. Amounts range from £3 to £3,750.
  • 43% of donations are via the mobile app but these account for 87% of the donated amount. The remainder are by text.
  • 80% of donations using the mobile web platform have Gift Aid added.
  • 38% of donations are from registered users; the remainder are guest donations showing the popularity of casual one-off giving.
  • Of the 59% that identified their tax bracket, 45% pay basic or no tax showing DONATE appeals to all income brackets.


The national data set held in the Culture Benchmark shows that:

  • In 2011 and 2012 private donations were worth an average of 6.6% and 6.0% of turnover respectively.
  • Whilst the 2013 data set is still changing (as data is submitted) early results show a similar picture.
  • The average Revenue Income for the sample of 341 organisations benchmarked in 2011 was £5,105,870 and thus the value of private donations was, on average, worth approximately £300,000.
  • In 2011 Gift Aid was worth on average 4.0% of turnover.
  • There are marked differences between London and non-London subsets of the data when it comes to private giving.


In establishing a collaboration MyCake and DONATE will be working to bring together their definitions and data sets so that the granular data of the DONATE platform can be contextualized in the wider picture of arts business models articulated by MyCake.

MyCake encourages organisations to work together in clusters to improve the collecting and interpreting of cultural data and welcomes requests for particular areas of research and enquiry. Please contact for further discussion.


Sarah Thelwall, MyCake Founder, comments,

“Over the last four years MyCake has built a broad data set focused on detailed income and cost information and it is now widely used by arts organisations, funders and stakeholders who wish to improve the sustainability of their organisation or the sector. The National Funding Scheme has more detailed insight into the private giving sector than we will ever achieve so it makes perfect sense to combine our breadth with their depth. Getting the datasets to talk to each other is the easy part, now we want to focus on connecting the insight and analysis!”


Paul Cutts, CEO of the National Funding Scheme says,

“By providing a digital platform, the cultural sector for the first time is able to have statistical insight into mass casual giving. We are delighted to have partnered with MyCake in order to put our statistics into perspective across the cultural landscape. MyCake’s robust methodology and rigorous analysis combined with the detailed data from the DONATE platform can only enhance the ability of the sector to become more sustainable.”


Media contacts

For MyCake

Lauren Davies, 07813 341163,

Sarah Thelwall, 07775 562168,


For the National Funding Scheme (registered charity 1149800)

For media enquiries, requests for interviews and images, please contact:

Paul Cutts, Chief Executive, National Funding Scheme

07753 965154

Emma Williams, Partner Relations and Communications Manager

020 3174 2276


Notes to editors

Sarah Thelwall, founder of MyCake and the Culture Benchmark is available for interview. Photograph available on request.

About MyCake Culture Benchmark

The Culture Benchmark enables arts and culture organisations to compare their approach to income development, cost management and overall sustainability to others within the culture sector.

It uses robust online comparison tools developed over the last 10 years and now made relevant to the cultural sector. By submitting data through the MyCake secure site organisations can compare their own data vs. the average, maximum, minimum and top quartile either nationally or by selecting filters for geographic region, size of organisation (in £ or FTE staff), and sector as well as other filters.

The benchmark system is anonymous and confidential, allowing organisations to evaluate their data with confidence.

Organisations can join the Culture Benchmark through this website by going to and registering. The subscription cost is £300 (£250 + VAT per year) or £600 + VAT for a single purchase 3 years subscription. Data can be input immediately using the online form. MyCake offers guidance throughout this process of setting up and entering the data such as instructional videos, and also on how to view results from the datasets created.

We publish results data publicly on the older years where no further substantial change in data is expected. This is currently 2011 for which we hold data on some 341 organisations. We expect to start publishing 2012 data later in 2014 once the data set has reached a similar size. We do not operate a managed sample.

Culture Benchmark:


About The National Funding Scheme and DONATE

Launched in March 2013 by the National Funding Scheme (NFS) and now available across the UK, DONATE (the consumer brand of the National Funding Scheme) is a new way to give to the cultural and heritage sector. DONATE has been designed to make it easy for anyone to make donations to cultural causes using a mobile phone. The DONATE initiative provides a means for visitors and supporters to the arts to use their mobiles and tablets to direct funds to arts and cultural institutions that they wish to support.

DONATE began in 12 venues in England and is now available nationally.

The NFS is a registered charity set up to specifically support other cultural charities; it does this through the DONATE platform, which it provides for free to arts and heritage organisations.


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