Knowledge Centre Blog

Getting fundraising language right

Before getting started with fundraising, it is vital to have an understanding of the language of the fundraising industry. Here are some of the basics to get right:

Sponsorship (cash & in-kind)

Sponsorship is a cash and/or in-kind fee paid to an arts property (such as an organisation, event, programme etc) in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with that property. Crucially, unlike philanthropy or donation, sponsorship is made on the basis of deliverable objectives, that is, with the expectation of commercial return.


A donation is a gift made by an individual or organisation with no expectation of return. This can take the form of cash, real estate, securities, or other assets or services. A donation is made with no strings attached, and if made to an Approved Body under certain , may be eligible to tax relief.


Philanthropy describes the distribution of funds by an individual, foundation or other organisation, set aside for a specific ‘donor advised’ cultural or societal purpose. For example, large investments which target institutions which deliver arts programmes to areas of disadvantage in order to alleviate hardship.

Annual Giving /  Patronage / Friends/ Memberships

Annual giving and patronage usually manifest themselves as Friends and Membership schemes in arts organisations, allowing a secure stream of annual income from a number of individuals and companies.

Micro-philanthropy / Crowdfunding

Describes the gathering of small levels of investment from a large number of people to a greater goal.


Legacy giving allows individuals to ‘give for tomorrow’, to support organisations by including them in their will. The financial gift is not realised until after their death.

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