This post was updated in July 2018 (originally written in 2011).
For several years they had an office or representation in every state, and worked mainly with key arts organisations who received funding from the Australia Council, but also provided advice and support to individual artists and non Ozco funded arts organisations on request.
One of the best things that Artsupport offered was access to prescribed ancillary funds (now known as Private Ancillary Funds – PAFs), as they developed a good list of these which had an interest in supporting the arts. In order to qualify for money from PAFs you need a) to be an organisation and b) to have both DGR and TCC status. Note that Artsupport did not just hand over contact details for these funds – that is why they used to be called private ancillary funds, but if you made your case for support to Artsupport and they considered that one of the PAFs they were aware of may be interested, they acted as an introduction service for your arts organisation.
Artsupport also had some good and clear tax advice for artists and arts organisations in their Arts Guide to Philanthropic Gifts and Tax: The Dry Stuff which clearly articulates the difference between gifts and sponsorships and how to calculate which part of an event/fundraiser entry is tax deductible. I use the guide quite often – and it is also applicable to non-arts tax queries in relation to fundraising.
Their website had some great case studies of both organisations and individuals who used their services to increase their development dollar, (some in conjunction with AbaF’s (now Creative Partnerships Australia) Australia Cultural Fund). In the past I would have encouraged you to explore their web presence, especially their resources and links, and to get in touch with their representative in your state as they generally had the skinny on what was going down in arts funding and arts philanthropy and opportunities.
The staff were very well networked across the arts and the philanthropy all around the country – most of them had a strong personal background in the arts: Anna Draffin in Melbourne had worked at Heide and the St Kilda Festival, Fiona Maxwell in the Brisbane office managed the Next Wave Festival and Gillian Harrison did great work with indigenous arts organisations in the Northern Territory.
I can’t omit the Director of Artsupport Australia, Louise Walsh, who worked unceasingly to promote the arts to the philanthropy sector, and develop relationships with trusts, foundations and smaller funds, keeping the arts on their radar, and stressing the importance of their support.
Artsupport was rolled into the merger of Australia Business Arts Foundation into Creative Partnerships Australia in 2014. Unfortunately the focus on developing the capacity of arts fundraisers has not continued in the new structure.
I’d love to hear your feedback on how your interactions with them were.