With Edd Smith, Flying Geese Consultant

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The UK has a vibrant and eclectic arts and cultural sector. However, Arts organisations in the UK face a number of challenges when it comes to raising funds.


The current uncertainty over the economy and more importantly, the cost-of-living crisis is impacting the ability of individuals and other funders to donate or sponsor organisations. In addition, the UK’s cultural sector involves numerous organisations all vying for limited funding.  This may be from government grants such as from Arts Council England or from foundations.  This competition has rarely been higher than it is now and can make it challenging to secure funding. 

There has also been a reduction in funding available from trusts and foundations. This has put additional pressure on organisations to seek alternative funding sources.

And finally, yes, the pandemic is still having an impact. The arts sector, as we all know, was severely affected, with cancelled events, reduced attendance, and financial challenges. Many organisations are still dealing with the aftermath, making fundraising more difficult.


Due to these challenges, arts organisations must find creative ways to fund their important and impactful work. This may include diversifying revenue sources.

One area that organisations can look to develop is the support from the business sector.  Collaboration and partnerships with businesses can help cultural organisations overcome some of these obstacles and secure the necessary funding to thrive and fulfil their missions.

But why should organisations seek corporate support and sponsors?  This should be explored for several compelling reasons:

Financial Support

Corporate sponsorship provides a valuable source of funding for organisations. This financial support can be crucial for their sustainability, enabling them to continue producing high-quality work, running educational programmes, and maintaining venues.

Diversification of Income

Corporate sponsors provide a diverse income stream that can help organisations weather financial challenges.

Expanded Reach

Partnering with businesses can help you reach a wider audience.  Sponsors often have extensive marketing and advertising resources, which can be used to promote events, exhibits, and perfromances to a larger and more diverse audience.  Business networks also comprise of staff members, their families as well as customers and suppliers.  This can really stretch your network. 

Expanded Visibility

This network can support growth in your visibility. Being associated with well-known brands or businesses can boost an organisation’s reputation and credibility, potentially attracting more supporters and collaborators as well as audience.

Educational Programmes

Many organisations offer educational programs and outreach to schools and communities. Corporate support can help fund these initiatives, enriching the lives of the community and fostering a love for the arts.

Long-term Partnerships

The holy grail! Building relationships with businesses can result in long-term partnerships that extend beyond financial support. Corporations may offer in-kind contributions, employee volunteer opportunities, or expertise that benefits the organisation.

Cultural Enrichment 

Supporting cultural organisations benefits society as a whole by enriching cultural experiences and fostering creativity. Businesses that invest in the arts demonstrate a commitment to their communities and contribute to the overall well-being of society.

And what is in it for a business? There are many benefits including:

Increased Employee Morale

Many employees feel a sense of pride and fulfilment when their employer supports a charity or cultural organisation. Knowing that their company is contributing to the community can boost overall morale and job satisfaction.

Enhanced Engagement

Employees may become more engaged with their work and the company’s mission when they see their employer actively involved in the community. This can lead to increased productivity and a stronger sense of purpose in the workplace as well as strengthen relationships among employees.

Improved Company Culture 

A commitment to community involvement can contribute to a positive company culture. It can demonstrate to employees that the company values social responsibility, which may attract and retain talent.

Skills Development and Talent Attraction

Employees may have the chance to develop new skills or broaden their existing skill sets. Also, businesses that support charities are often viewed more favourably by potential employees, and existing employees may be more likely to stay with a company that actively engages in social responsibility initiatives.

Positive Public Image 

Companies that support community organisations can often generate positive publicity and public recognition.  this can enhance the company’s reputation, which may indirectly benefit employees as they are associated with a respected organisation.

Tax Benefits

In the UK, businesses can receive tax benefits for supporting organisations as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. This can make it financially advantageous for businesses to sponsor the arts.

In summary, seeking corporate support and sponsors is an important development for the sustainability, growth, and impact of your organisation. These partnerships provide financial stability, expanded reach, and numerous other benefits that contribute to the overall vibrancy of the arts sector in the UK.