Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

The New Philanthropy

Gina Fairley, The new philanthropy, ArtsHub, May 2016


Philanthropy in the Arts by Kenneth Watkins.

Whether peer-to-peer, youth targeted, tech driven or dream driven, the models of philanthropy have moved well beyond the simple “ask”.

As a sector we have been encouraged to embrace philanthropy. While that is all good and well, one of the greatest challenges is getting a grasp on an area that is itself in great flux.

The definition of philanthropy has been re-calibrated in recent years, resulting in new models for giving. These continue to be led by America, but Australia is listening.

Today there are almost as many models of philanthropy as there are philanthropic foundations. So which one is right for you?

Kenneth Watkins, Director of Philanthropy for The Australian Ballet, has been raising money for 24 years – or more than $80 million dollars. Last year he published the book Philanthropy in the Arts, which tackles what he calls ‘the new model of philanthropy’.

He said: ‘Twenty years ago it was about running a campaign and engaging your audience with what you were wanting. What has shifted in more recent times in Australia – and with the advent of the government’s suggestion that we get more involved in philanthropy – is that people have become more sophisticated and inquiring about what they want to support.’

Essentially we have done a 180-degree turn around from what the company wanted to what the donor wants now.

‘It is about the value sharing between the organisation and the individual and therefore you perform a deeper and more resonating relationship with the philanthropist, and how they can engage back into the organisation,’ he continued.

So how do we navigate this new – expected – terrain and what do the various models look like?

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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