Poll on Public
Opinion and Giving to Arts in Massachusetts Public Strongly
Values Active Corporate Support of Nonprofit Organizations,
For More Information:
Ann Kurkjian Crane, 617-338-3890
Boston --A pollshowing that the public's
opinion of corporations is significantly boosted when
nonprofit organizations was released today by the Boston
Foundation. The poll found that people said they are
more likely to patronize a company or purchase its products
based on that company's active support of nonprofits
of all types, and that more than three-quarters of the
public believes it's important to live in a community
where corporations actively support arts and cultural
The survey, conducted by the University
of Massachusetts Poll at the McCormack Institute of
Public Affairs, was done as a part of the ongoing work
of the Boston Foundation's Cultural Task Force to gain
a better understanding of donors in Massachusetts. Administered
by Louis DiNatale, Director of the Poll, this survey
provides insight into the motivation and giving patterns
of residents of the Commonwealth.
"There is no
denying the crucial role that arts and culture have
played in making Boston a truly eminent city. From our
world- renowned institutions such as the Boston Symphony
and the New England Aquarium, to the smallest community
programs, these organizations enrich us in innumerable
ways," said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of
the Boston Foundation. "But at the same time, this
wonderful asset - one that provides not only great art
and cultural opportunities for all residents, but also
makes significant economic contributions to the city
as a whole - is very fragile. Its leadership struggles
every year to raise the funds necessary to sustain their
operations. Our corporate community has a significant
role to play in supporting the long term planning and
growth of this valuable sector."
The Cultural Task Force was launched
last February when the Boston Foundation released its
report, "Funding for Cultural Organizations in
Boston and Nine Other Metropolitan Areas." The
Task Force, which is made up of about 60 corporate,
civic, philanthropic and cultural leaders, will develop
a series of recommendations to strengthen Boston's arts
and cultural organizations. The task force is co-chaired
by David Ellis, President Emeritus of the Museum of
Science and a Senior Fellow at the Boston Foundation,
and by Ann McQueen, Program Officer at the Foundation.
The Task Force is divided into subcommittees that focus
on five topics: philanthropy; public policy; resource
sharing and collaboration; cultural facilities; and
travel and tourism. A white paper will be published
this spring toreport on the Task Force's findings and
to set priorities for future
The report that launched the Task Force
confirmed the overall strength of Boston's arts and
cultural organizations, but also pointed out the significant
weaknesses in Boston's current funding structure. The
Committee on Philanthropy, chaired by Martha Jones,
Executive Director of Fleet Boston Celebrity Series,
is exploring strategies to increase corporate and individual
philanthropy in this sector. "This poll gives us
important baseline information on what people are thinking
and doing about their charitable giving," said
Jones. "What we need to do is take this information
and use it to build a permanent, active base of support
for our cultural institutions, from the largest to the
most basic, grass roots organizations, so that each
one is reaching its full potential."
The impact of Boston's cultural sector,
which totaled more than $1 billion in contributed and
earned income in 2002, has a significant effect on the
state economy. With more than 640 cultural nonprofits
in Metro Boston, this sector is a very significant employer
and economic engine. "The funding of arts and culture
organizations has long been a
focus of philanthropic and sponsorship activity,"
said Dan Salera, Director of Community Relations and
Sponsorships, FleetBoston Financial. "After all,
the arts help to define a community and give it a competitive
advantage when attracting businesses and families. We're
pleased that the survey results support our own
data that consumers would prefer doing business with
companies who consistently give back to the community.
My hope is that this latest survey will compel more
corporations to do the right thing in helping our communities
be successful through actively providing financial support
to our arts organizations."
Poll Summary and Analysis
*Corporations derive significant benefit
from their sponsorship and philanthropy: Corporate support
nonprofit may be more likely to enhance the public's
opinion of the corporation than the nonprofit, which
benefits from the financial or in-kind donation. It
is very important to Massachusetts residents to live
community in which corporations are strongly supportive
of arts and cultural organizations.
*54% said that corporate support of a
nonprofit positively influences their opinion of the
corporation strongly (17%)
or somewhat (37%). *63% said their patronage of a corporation
would be very (14%) or somewhat likely (49%) to be positively
influenced based on its support of a nonprofit that
is important to them.
*Massachusetts residents want to live
in a community in which corporations actively support
arts organizations. An
overwhelming 78% think it is very (31%) or somewhat
(47%) important to live in a community in which the
corporations actively support the arts.
*Corporate support generally does not
affect individual giving. 43% said a corporation's support
does not make it more or less likely that they would
support the nonprofit. Interestingly, however, about
the same percent said that corporate support of a nonprofit
would make them less likely to give (30%) as those who
said it would make them more likely to give (24%).
*Giving to Arts and Cultural Organizations:
Arts and cultural organizations benefit from a strong
individual contributor base, many of whom give to an
organization several times a year, as well as support
multiple arts organizations in the course of a year.
*64% have given to one (16%), two (19%),
three to five (24%) or more than five (3%) arts and
cultural institutions in the past year. This suggests
there is a hard core of 24% to 46% of the population
who support the arts through multiple donations; and
that when they give to one institution, they are strong
targets for other institutions. It also may mean that
there is a good opportunity to upgrade the one-time
donors to become multi-donors.
*Significant Multiple-Giver Contributor
Base: 60% give to arts and cultural institutions at
least once a year (31%), several times a year (28%)
or once a month or more (1%). *Significant Volunteer
Base: 24% volunteer or make non-cash contributions to
arts and cultural institutions several times a year
(11%) or once a month or more (13%).
*All Nonprofit and Cause Related Giving:
the poll shows that Massachusetts residents represent
contributor pool, with many respondents giving often
or very often. These donors are motivated by the mission
the organization, and not by public recognition. Indeed,
80% of respondents wanted no public acknowledgement
of their gift.
*Significant Contributor Pool: 40% of
respondents give "very often" (16%) or "often"
(24%) and 24% of
respondents indicated that they give sometimes for a
pool of potential contributors of 64%.
*Motivated by Mission: The overwhelming
motivation of givers to donate is "belief in the
mission of the organization" (72%). A distant second
is "personal experience with services of the organization"
(21%). All other reasons are each 2% or less. *Anonymity:
80% of all respondents do not desire public acknowledgment
of their gift; only 10% prefer to have a public acknowledgement.