Arts groups 'must do fundraising'

Arts organisations must break their dependence on state subsidies and business sponsorship and make an effort to fundraise from the public, according to a voluntary sector consultant.

Bernard Ross, director of the Management Centre, said they should focus on finding new sources of funding. He was speaking in response to the Arts Council's announcement that it would cut budgets for 194 organisations in April (Third Sector, 16 January).

"The Arts Council has made arts organisations addicted to subsidy," he said. "Groups have not looked enough into individual givers and major donors."

They should make more effort to convince visitors to their websites to donate, said Ross. "The Edinburgh Festival Fringe website has 1.4 million hits in the quarter when the programme is published, but does not ask for money," he said. "When you have charities such as Cancer Research UK and Macmillan trying to drive people to their sites, that's crazy."

Ross also suggested arts groups should not forget the potential of older, wealthy audiences in their efforts to attract younger people. "They should think of every grey-haired person as a legacy on the hoof," he said.


Arts Council England will continue funding nine of the 194 organisations it had planned to stop giving grants to.

It said 185 organisations will now not have their funding renewed. A further 27 will have their funding reduced. The original number of groups facing cuts in their funding was 35. The decisions will take force from this coming April.

Some groups facing cuts are now considering a legal challenge. "They have a strong case," said Lawrie Simanowitz, a partner at Bates Wells & Braithwaite solicitors.

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