History repeats itself…
In 1968, 7,000 companies were asked how much they give to the arts and why they give to the arts. In the original BCA Survey of Business Support of the Arts which was conducted in partnership with the National Industrial Conference Board we learned that businesses give to the arts to improve corporate image, improve sales and services, aid employee recruitment, attract other industries to the area, encourage tourism and benefit employees, community and society.
In the current study, many of these same reasons still resonate with the business community. 79% of businesses say that the arts increase name recognition while 74% say that the arts offer networking opportunities and the potential to develop new business. 66% say that the arts stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and team building. While half agree that arts support has the potential to increase their bottom line and slightly fewer believe that the arts can offer special benefits to their employees and that the arts can help recruit and retain employees.
Also according to the BCA survey, businesses do not predict a turnaround in overall charitable giving for 2010. 10 percent of arts supporters will increase giving to the arts in 2010 while more than twice as many companies expect to decrease giving. Of course, this probably isn’t a surprise to many of you who are out there fundraising or working with smaller philanthropic budgets. However, with limited philanthropic budgets, businesses are making strategic decisions about who to fund and how it fits with their business priorities. Arts organizations need to effectively message to the business community about how the arts are uniquely able to partner with businesses to advance their business priorities.