Non-grant finance and the heritage sector

The heritage sector is forecast to have lost £500m per annum of funding since 2010. We conduced this research on behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund to understand the heritage sector’s interest in, and access to, non-grant sources of finance, and the attitudes of potential social investors.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, the largest funder of the UK’s heritage, commissioned us to conduct this research as they are keen to provide heritage organisations with more support to understand and evaluate new business models and alternative finance.

Below are the research questions we explored:

  • To what extent are heritage organisations engaging with social investment? How does this compare with voluntary organisations operating in other fields?
  • What are heritage organisations‘ attitudes to social investment?
  • What are the opportunities, risks and challenges of social investment for the heritage sector?
  • What needs to happen to enable the sector to have access to social investment opportunities and to take advantage of them fully?
  • What are social investors‘ views of organisations operating in heritage as potential investees?

Our research had two phases:

  • Phase one involved a literature review and interviews with heritage organisations and social investors.
  • For phase two we surveyed almost 1,000 heritage organisations and followed up with selected respondents to provide case studies.

This report summarises our findings and highlights both challenges and opportunities for the future.

This research was launched at the joint HLF and RSA event Heritage Exchange 2014, where Dan Corry also presented a provocation on impact in the heritage sector.