Sweden/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.3 Trends and indicators for private cultural financing

Since the 1990s, business sponsoring has been advocated and tried as a complement to public financial support of cultural institutions. Expectations that sponsoring would become an important source of funding have proved wrong so far, and the issue has, in view of the marginality of current sponsoring, begun to cool down politically. Official cultural statistics does not calculate the size of voluntary contributions either in the form of voluntary work or in the form of donations. Since donations to cultural purposes are not tax deductible, and no statistics are collected, only very limited data exist on the size of donations.

During 2013, the Swedish Agency for Cultural Analysis collected information on both crowd funding and sponsorship as a source of funding for public cultural institutions. According to the Agency, such private funding of culture may still be limited in Sweden but they also see tendencies in Swedish society suggesting that it may continue to increase; an increasingly strong donation culture in Swedish society, an increasing concern in the wider image of business companies, and an increasing interest in corporate social responsibility. When it comes to crowd funding, increasing willingness to donate money is again an important factor, as is the increasing use of internet, and connectedness in internet-based networks. At the same time, the Agency for Cultural Analysis warns that private funding of culture in Sweden is likely to remain low for the immediate future, and that all artistic and cultural endeavours do not have the same chances to attract private funding; both corporate sponsorship and crowd funding requires networks and contacts. Furthermore, such funding for projects in many cases requires that basic funding is available. There is also a risk that private funding may contribute to public funding concentrating on those who have the resources to obtain private funding as well.

While these risks of resource concentration undoubtedly exist, it should also be noticed that the Agency for Cultural Analysis has focused on cultural institutions, which already obtain public funding. The extent to which sponsorship and donations are common on the local level in smaller towns and communities remain largely unknown, but this is likely an important source of income for minor cultural endeavours. It also appears that in terms of cultural funding from private foundations and in terms of the mobilisation of voluntary work in various cultural associations, civil society support of culture appears to be far more important than business. Civil society organisations in arts and culture have estimated that the total number of hours of voluntary work in their activities to nearly 16 million, or an average of 100 hours a year per volunteer. In addition, most state museums have a "friends of" association attached to them and these have, in many cases, provided significant financial contributions to the museum.

Chapter published: 16-05-2017