Arts and heritage organisations need to get better at asking for legacy donations, culture secretary says

Maria Miller responds to report published yesterday by the campaigning group Legacy10

Maria Miller
Maria Miller

Arts and heritage bodies need to get better at asking for legacy donations, according to Maria Miller, the culture secretary, in a statement issued in response to a report by Legacy10, called Removing Barriers to Legacy Giving, published yesterday.

In the report, the group, which campaigns for people to leave charitable gifts in their wills, made 10 recommendations, including asking the government to create a charities ‘tsar’ to review policy-making on the sector, and calling for an overhaul of the honours system to place more emphasis on philanthropy.

"Some of our arts and heritage bodies have built great relationships with their supporters in this area, but for all that, only 7 per cent of people currently leave a legacy in their will," said Miller. "And too many companies and organisations in the arts and heritage world still have no legacy giving scheme in place. 

"So they need to get better at asking for this kind of support. I want many more cultural organisations to benefit from legacies, and we will be happy to help make this a core element of greater giving to culture across society as a whole"

Miller will respond in full to the recommendations in the report by the end of January. "The economic climate means that philanthropic support for the arts, especially through legacies, will be ever more important in the years to come," she said.

The report by the campaigning charity is one of three commissioned by Miller’s predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, to look at ways to encourage philanthropy to support the cultural sector. The other two, being carried out by Matthew Bowcock, chair of the Community Foundation Network, and Peter Phillips, chair of Birmingham Opera Company, are due to report back soon, a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said.

Bowcock has been looking at how to improve digital giving and smaller donations, and Phillips will report on how to strengthen fundraising outside London.

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