The state and effect of CSR funding for the Arts

A report to look at the state and effect of CSR funding for the Arts was commissioned by the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP). The report, authored by Samhita Social Ventures explained how the preservation, promotion or revival of Heritage, Art and Culture (HAC) are closely linked to improvements in income, livelihoods, education as well as tourism, and details a business case for further engagement.

The sector also allows for the promotion of social cohesion and intercultural dialogue, facilitates cultural diversity, raises awareness and encourages participation amongst citizens towards political and cultural life. Furthermore, creative industries account for over 30 million jobs worldwide. Global trade in creative goods more than doubled in the last decade, and today the creative economy contributes to 6.1 per cent of the global economy, representing USD 4.3 trillion per year.

The report’s findings indicate that despite the socio-economic potential that lies within supporting HAC, institutional support for the cause is low. HAC received only just over one per cent of total CSR contributions in the past three financial years and receives under one per cent of the central government’s total budget allocation. The sector faces a multitude of challenges, including a lack of public infrastructure, inadequate technical support and innovation, and low levels of awareness.

Against this backdrop, the report lays out the case for greater corporate engagement with HAC. The corporate sector should consider the broad range of opportunities it has, beginning with CSR and extending into core business practices, including sustainability and shared value.

From a business perspective, engagement in HAC through avenues such as stakeholder engagement and strategy could give corporates a unique vantage point to connect with target demographics and form an edge in the competitive environment of brand loyalties and investor relations. Internally, engagement with the arts can inspire creative and critical thinking amongst employees and can build a productive culture of collaboration and inclusivity.

The report provides a number of useful resources to aid companies in developing their approach to HAC. The Preserve, Promote and Revive (PPR) framework defines a range of interventions that can catalyse growth and development in HAC. A number of case studies featuring leading organisations and investors in HAC, elucidate the motivations, funding mechanisms, and outcomes that characterise such projects.