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Philanthropic Gifts Trending Downward, Study Shows

As arts organizations prepare for year-end campaigns, this report shows the worsening impact of COVID-19 on giving.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.: TRG Arts and Purple Seven have released a new study on philanthropic gifts received by performing arts organizations, including theatres, arts centers, and orchestras. The October COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Insight Report is the latest release in a series of studies that examine data from box offices of both commercial and nonprofit venues of varying sizes in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

“The large decreases in average gift size indicate where marketing efforts need to be focused in these final months of 2020,” said TRG’s CEO, Jill Robinson, in a statement. “End-of-year giving campaigns typically result in large percentages of overall gift revenue for the year. This year they can also provide an opportunity to engage donors by sharing the journey arts organizations have been on to stay resilient during COVID-19, and how important donor support is to the success of resiliency strategies.”

Key findings of the report show that  funds raised from individual giving in the first nine months of 2020 have declined by 14 percent in North America and 42 percent in the U.K.; the number of gifts given has increased in North America, but the average value of gifts has decreased; both the volume and average value of gifts in the U.K. has fallen; and in both the U.K. and North America, the most loyal customers of organizations continue to be the most important donors. The full report is available here.

“Some individual organizations are bucking national trends, and in the U.K. national governments have provided additional support via grants to mitigate the crisis in the industry,” said Purple Seven managing director David Brownlee in a statement. “Nonetheless, the aggregate data highlights a worrying trend that could further jeopardize performing arts organizations already deprived of box office revenue. We will continue to monitor and provide monthly updates on aggregate gifts and gift revenue in both the U.K. and North America.”

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ADV – Billboard