In-Kind: As Achates celebrates its tenth birthday we consider how in-kind support is an under valued opportunity

As Achates celebrates its tenth birthday we consider how in-kind support is an under valued opportunity

This month Achates is formally celebrating its tenth anniversary with a party for the clients and friends who are able to join us. Raising a glass to acknowledge the amazing and diverse cultural organisations we have worked with, the change we have supported them in bringing about, and the remarkable team at Achates whose dedication and skill is, to my mind, unparalleled, seems only right.

In fact, our celebrations actually began back in January with an exceptional gift to the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation to enable it to launch The London Ticket Bank and a new Thought Leadership Lecture, more details about which in due course. We also continue to support initiatives such as the Litfest International Women’s Day Lecture amongst other commitments.

As I noted in my brief speech at the party, this means that over the ten years of its existence by donating at least 10 per cent of its pre-tax profits Achates has given more than £200,000 in financial support to the sector. But the figure I am perhaps most proud of is the in-kind support the Achates team gives, which, whilst harder to account for accurately, represents at least double this sum. At the time of writing this includes support from our Recruitment division for the appointment of a new Director of the Palestinian music charity, PalMusic and last year it included forty-eight pro bono workshops on the announcement of the ACE NPO results, and seven Achates Philanthropy Prize Bursaries.

The in-kind figure is harder to account for accurately because whilst we send pro bono invoices for time donated, this is a practice we have implemented regularly only in the last five years so our records are not as detailed as they might/should be. However, even now we have calls from new clients who mention that they received in-kind support in the early years of Achates when I worked pro bono one day a week.

What concerns me is that the sector probably isn’t making the most of the in-kind support small companies like Achates are giving. I make this point not because we respond to requests for pro bono – that is by invitation only – but because the 2022 Private Investment in Culture Survey showed that in England 29 per cent of support from corporates was in kind. Whilst the organisations which/that receive this support are clearly grateful and generous in their positive feedback, I am always surprised that they generally neither count this donation as income in their accounts as our pro bono invoice enables or acknowledge it as a way of encouraging other corporates to do the same and build new relationships. At a time when the 2023 UK Giving Report showed that giving to culture has more than halved to less than 1 per cent and corporate support of culture is in free fall with a 7 per cent decline in the last PIC’s data set, this seems a missed opportunity to demonstrate that companies are supporting the sector and to encourage others to do the same.

Achates always tries to punch above its weight with our support as well as our work, so encouraging cultural organisations to acknowledge and celebrate the support they receive seems like a great way to get more companies to do the same and I can’t think of a better way than that to mark our tenth birthday!