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Arts sponsorship outlook

The results of a survey designed to gather data on expectations and attitudes regarding the potential effects of the global financial crisis on arts sponsorship have been released by the Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF).

The Arts Sponsorship Outlook Survey 2009 was conducted in April among major Australian businesses actively involved in supporting the arts, aiming to discover how the global financial crisis has affected arts sponsorships, business’ level of satisfaction with existing arts sponsorships, and major factors that drive their arts relationships.

According to the survey, more than two-thirds of businesses are committed to sustaining their arts partnerships over the long term, although more than half of those surveyed indicated that they expect to decrease their level of sponsorship within the next 12 months.

Other findings showed:

  • The majority of businesses are satisfied with their arts partnerships, particularly in terms of delivery of social goals, brand affinity and communication;
  • Business-arts investment is expected to decline in the coming months, with the most acute decrease anticipated during the final quarter of 2009 and first quarter 2010;
  • Businesses currently investing more than $500,000 and less than $50,000 are more likely to decrease arts-related expenditure than those investing amounts in between; and
  • Half of businesses indicated they are likely to substitute some of their direct financial support with supplying in-kind services and products.

Key incentives for arts partnerships sustainability included:

  • Opportunities for community engagement and activities related to the company’s corporate social responsibility objectives;
  • Improving brand recognition;
  • Integrating sponsorship with overall corporate strategy priorities;
  • Engaging the interests of staff; and
  • Opportunities for creative activation of arts partnerships, which was the highest rated incentive.

The main challenges for the arts will be:

  • Doing better with less – even though business support will decrease, companies are seeking more value from their partnerships;
  • Maintaining relationships through the downturn;
  • Measuring the return on investment and objectives of partnerships – currently only 11 per cent of respondents are satisfied with these measurements;
  • Incorporating in-kind services rather than direct monetary support.

AbaF said that through the downturn it will continue to advocate to business the benefits of arts partnerships, as well as monitoring trends and providing up-to-date, practical and accurate advice to both business and the arts.

For more information visit www.abaf.org.au

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