Our museums are charities funded by a mixed economy of public funding, earned income and charitable donations. The UK’s national museums have a strong record in attracting donations but we believe there is scope to encourage greater philanthropy in the UK.
Many UK museums were founded through the contributions of individual philanthropists, driven by the conviction that citizens' quality of life would be enhanced by access to important objects, imaginatively interpreted within a core educational purpose. Building on this legacy, Britain's major cultural institutions came together to launch, Private Giving for the Public Good, opening nationwide campaign to encourage a culture of giving to the arts and heritage. As public funding falls, museums’ efforts to increase funding from other sources has become even more important to maintain the quality and diversity of their public programmes along with outstanding levels of visitor satisfaction.
The NMDC feels strongly that, to support a change in the giving culture, all signals for promoting philanthropy should point in the same direction. Such an approach should include an unabashed celebration of philanthropy, public recognition of the contribution made by philanthropists, and fiscal incentives to encourage a culture of giving.