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Million-pound donations to the arts halved since last year, claims report

Dr Beth Breeze, who co-authored the Million Pound Donors report. Photo: University of Kent Dr Beth Breeze, who co-authored the Million Pound Donors report. Photo: University of Kent
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‘Mega-philanthropy’ towards arts and culture has plummeted to less than half the value reported last year, with donations greater than £1 million now totalling just £45 million, according to a new report.

This is 49% of last year’s total, which valued megadonations towards arts, culture and the humanities at £91 million.

Coutts’ latest Million Pound Donors report reveals arts and culture donations make up 3% of all megaphilanthropy in the UK, which is now worth £1.56 billion to charitable causes or foundations – a 13% rise on the £1.36 billion reported last year.

The number of donors giving £1 million or more to arts and culture organisations has remained comparatively stable – 23 down from 25 last year – indicating that the value of the donations have markedly decreased.

This is despite a 15% increase in the average donation size to any charitable cause or banked foundation.

Report co-author Beth Breeze, from the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, revealed the overall megaphilanthropy total was at the highest recorded level in eight years of tracking.

She also said people working as fundraisers should be “acknowledged and celebrated” for encouraging those able to make million-pound donations.

“We need to encourage – not deter – talented people from considering fundraising as a career,” she said, adding: “Having well-trained and trusted people, who are willing to make a compelling ‘ask’ for seven-figure sums, enables more charities and their beneficiaries to benefit from the major donors.”

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