The Fundraising Patterns and the Management Professionalization in Independent Arts Organizations in SEE

The Fundraising Patterns and the Management Professionalization in Independent Arts Organizations in SEE

Nikša Alfirević (University of Split, Croatia), Milena Dragićević Šešić (University of Arts Belgrade, Serbia) and Ljiljana Najev Čačija (University of Split, Croatia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0731-4.ch019
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In this chapter, the authors discuss the fundraising and funding patterns and their potential relationship(s) with the of management professionalization in independent arts organizations. It is proposed that the source of income and the fundraising activities can be associated with a clear pattern of managerial professionalization, as well as organizational directions. The empirical research is based on a sample of independent arts organizations from Croatia and Serbia. The Croatian organizations are now able to benefit from the EU structural funds and other sources of EU-based financing, while the Serbian organizations are in the very early stage of accessing the pre-accession EU financing and still rely on the more traditional sources of funding. The research methodology is comparative and qualitative, since this chapter is supposed to open a new venue of research in the South East European (SEE) region. It is based on comprehensive, in-depth interviews with the widely recognized actors of the independent and public arts scene in major urban areas in Croatia and Serbia.
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In this chapter, we analyze the fundraising practices and patterns of the independent arts organizations in selected countries in the South East European region, i.e. Croatia and Serbia. Both countries have rich independent arts scenes, but the funding patterns and the overall context are different, with the EU membership, public funding procedures and access to public funds, etc., being the significant factors. Nevertheless, some characteristics of public and the availability of alternative funding sources seem to be shared by the entire SEE region. As to open a new venue of research, related to funding of cultural and arts activities in the region, the following research questions are formulated:

  • What are the funding and fundraising patterns of independent arts organizations in Croatia and Serbia?

  • Is it possible to associate those patterns with the managerial professionalization in the independent arts organizations?

These questions are addressed by a qualitative research approach, in order to obtain initial research results, which might drive the further research in the SEE region, as well as to formulate the draft managerial recommendations.


The Context(S) For Independent Arts Development

The public funding for arts was quickly developing during the1950s and 1960s (Byrnes, 2009). The public funds have been highly dependent on the institutional context and the cultural circumstances, with three solutions emerging. The first one is exemplified by the state funding, such as in the case of French cultural policy, which can be still described as centralized and tied to the national prestige. At the other hand, the state funding is also found in Sweden, but it is based on egalitarian principles, largely decentralized and inclusive of small and independent organizations. The second model involves sharing of the public costs for culture by the state government (including a part of the lottery revenue proceedings), regions, municipalities and other local governments, such is the case of Italy (Trupiano, 2005). The third solution is mostly based on a mix of market forces and philanthropy, such as the case in the US, although its federal government started to financially support fine arts in 1965, with the establishment of the National Endowment for Arts, along with different agencies at state and local levels being involved, as well. This has created much more incentive for the American organizations to get involved into fundraising and entrepreneurship (Zimmer & Toepler, 1999).

The public support for arts has been dwindling globally, with most of artists and arts organizations being subjected to, at least, some level of market pressure. In the Anglophone world, this has been the norm since the 1980s, i.e. the Thatcher/Reagan era (Wu, 2002), which has been further emphasized by the development of the private foundations and the prominence of ‘business-like’ principles in non-profit funding (Kressner Cobb, 2002; Alfirević, Pavičić & Najev Čačija, 2013). The private funders often viewed their donations as ‘social investments’, requiring convincing results from the grantees, as to show the organizational efficiency in spending funds and achieving the promised objectives. This leads to further commercialization of the arts organizations (Hughes & Luksetich, 2004; Kerlin & Polak, 2011) and introducing the entrepreneurship agenda (Preece, 2011; Dragićević Šešić, 2013a).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mission Drift: An inadequate situation for a non-profit organization (NGO), in which the trade-off, required by the need to generate its own revenue through social entrepreneurship, or secure the funding from external sources, compromises the initial organizational objectives and mission.

Capacity Building: Training and other activities, directed toward achieving a higher level of a non-profit organization’s (NGO’s) ability to achieve its objectives and, ultimately, its mission.

Independent Arts and Culture Sector (Organization/Organizations): Non-profit organizations (NGOs) and institutions, active in artistic and/or cultural organizations, both formally and in reality free from the dictate of state, or other significant social actors, influencing the official cultural policy, or exerting the unofficial influence to the fields of arts and culture.

Fundraising: Collecting voluntary financial, or in-kind donations, required to implement a charitable, or socially oriented activity (action, project), or fund a non-profit organization (NGO), with a socially oriented mission.

Management Professionalization (Non-Profits): The process of introducing paid, full-time managerial staff, into the voluntary/non-profit organizations, emphasizing the rationality in operations and the use of standard managerial tools/approaches (which are usually transferred from the profit sector organizations).

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