What do the Culture Benchmark 2011 figures add to the Arts & Business data

Here at MyCake Towers we’ve taken half an hour in the sunshine to think about the A&B 2011 figures on private investment in culture and compare it against our own 2010 and 2011 data so that we can see how non-profit arts business models are changing.

Before we get into that however lets just remind ourselves of how A&B and MyCake calculate our figures so that we can see how to make meaningful comparisons. A&B collect data on approximately 1000 organisations and have been doing so for near on 30 years. They then scale up this representative sample to give a national picture and a national total for their focus area of private investment in culture. MyCake attacks the data challenge slightly differently in that we look not at straight £ of income or cost (though of course we do collect this data) but we show things as a percentage of income. This allows us to compare small and large organisations in a way that we simply could not if we just compared £ income or spend raw. Because A&B and MyCake do things a bit differently we need to make sure we don’t get confused when talking about a 2% change vs. last year that is to say 2% of what … a national figure or a percentage of income … we’ll do our best to be clear as we go through this below!

The Arts & Business figures reveal that in 2010-11 private investment in culture increased by 4% on the previous year. This includes a 10% increase in trusts & foundations funding,  a 6% increase in individual philanthropy and a 7% decrease in business investment.

The Culture Benchmark data shows the following changes on a per organisation basis (as opposed to sector total):

  • An increase in the percentage of income derived from trusts and foundations from 8.3% of total income in 2009-10 to 10.8% in 2010-11
  • A decrease in corporate sponsorship from 3.8% of total income in 2009-10 to 1.0% in 2010-11
  • A decrease in the percentage of total income derived from private donations from 3.2% to 2.3%
  • An increase in other sponsorship & donations from 5.9% to 7.3% of total income

The Charity Benchmark data does not go into as much detail as the Culture Benchmark as the data held by the Charity Commission is only in headline format. Nonetheless we can see some differences in this comparison against a complete 2010 data set and an early set of 2011 results. The following is all expressed as a percentage of total income:

  • income achieved from ‘voluntary income’ sources has dropped from 38.9% to 33.4%
  • income acheived from legacies would seem to have dropped from 17.3% in 2010 however the data on 2011 is too small a data set to be certain just yet
  • income achieved from ‘activities generating funds’ has dropped from 24.5% to 20.6%
  • income achieved from ‘charitable activities’ has risen from 48.2% to
  • income achieved from investments has dropped from 5.0% to 2.3%
  • income acheived from ‘other’ sources has risen marginally from 10.1% to 11.5%

As we operate a live benchmark that receives new data on a weekly and monthly basis information for the latest year tends to continue to change for up to 15 months after a year end given the variations in year end dates in audited accounts. So for example the Charity Benchmark data set for 2010 contains data on some 513 organisations but as many have not submitted their data for 2011 yet this data set is currently only on 30 organisations. As the Charity Commission site updates so our data set will increase!


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