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Canadians Value Companies that Support the Arts

Results of Business for the Arts’ 2014 Research Initiative

January 28, 201528 January 2015

Business support for the arts / Economic and social benefits

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As the report’s title indicates, one of the key findings of this presentation of ongoing research is that many Canadians look favourably on companies that support the arts. A public survey found that 52% of respondents “feel more favourably towards businesses that support arts and culture”.

Regarding trends in public and corporate support for the arts, the report uses CADAC data (Canadian Arts Database/Données sur les arts au Canada) to show that, while public sector support for arts organizations increased by 15% between 2008 and 2014, business sponsorships and donations (excluding in-kind contributions) increased by 49%. Despite the growth in business support, public support in 2014 (average of $352,000 per organization studied) substantially exceeded corporate support (average of $69,000 per organization).

Based on surveys of Canadian businesses, the report estimates that 38% of small or mid-sized companies and 71% of larger companies invest in the arts through sponsorships, in-kind contributions, or donations. In 2014, sponsorships represented 57% of business supports, followed by in-kind goods and services (30%), and donations (13%).

Among businesses investing in the arts, 82% indicated that there would be no impact on their likelihood of donating to an organization if they knew that the organization received public funding. Even if public funding for an organization were decreased, 90% of supportive businesses indicated that they would maintain the same level of donation.

A survey of the public found that 72% believe that “many arts and cultural organizations require donations from businesses in order to function”. In a separate survey, exactly one-half of businesses agreed with this belief.

Among the public, 71% of respondents believe that “helping to make the arts more accessible for all is important”. In comparison, 49% of business respondents held the same belief.

In the public survey, 62% of respondents indicated that “businesses have an important role to play in supporting the arts”, while only 40% of business respondents agreed with this role.

In terms of perceptions of “somewhat good” or “very good” reasons to support the arts, a very high percentage of public respondents agreed with contributing to personal well-being (81%), assisting in the emotional and intellectual development of children (75%), and helping reduce youth alienation and crime (also 75%). For businesses, the highest level of agreement was with assisting in the emotional and intellectual development of children (71%), followed by contributing to personal well-being (60%), and helping reduce youth alienation and crime (51%).

The public survey also found that more respondents “would prefer to attend” an arts event (34%) than a sports event (29%), with 23% indicating “both equally” and 14% saying “neither” or “don’t know”. Arts events are preferred to sports events among four of six age groups, the exceptions being those between 25 and 34 and those between 35 and 44.

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