There are two ways of supporting culture by entrepreneurs and private persons in Poland: sponsorship and patronage. Sponsorship is the act of providing support in return for marketing benefits. Patronage, on the other hand, is a disinterested activity. CSR (corporate social responsibility) is also developing more and more, causing large companies to start actively operating in the area of culture. In recent years, crowdfunding platforms have appeared in Poland. Both individuals and organisations use them. However, this is not a certain type of fundraising. Whether a project is financed in this way is influenced by so many factors that it is impossible to take care of all of them. Nevertheless, many artists choose this method of financing because it gives freedom of creative expression and independence when publishing their works.
The National Centre for Culture initiated (together with PKPP Lewiatan) the creation of the Cultural Sponsoring Code. The code has been officially signed by the Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski, the CEO of Lewiatan – Lech Pilawski and the President of Warsaw Stock Exchange Ludwik Sobolewski on 5 December 2011. The code is a set of rules for sponsoring cultural events for both sides. The code has no legal force, it acts only as guidance and its usage is completely voluntary.
The starting point for the Cultural Sponsoring Code was a report entitled “Sponsoring of Culture” prepared in December 2010 by TNS OBOP on the commission of the National Centre for Culture and PKPP Lewiatan. The research covered 401 cultural institutions of various types and from various regions (PAPI method) and 400 companies with over 10 employees (CATI method). From the summary of the report, one can draw a conclusion that sponsoring in the field of culture is not a strongly rooted form of support in Poland. Out of the 400 questioned companies, only 126 supported cultural projects in 2009.
Institutions, on the other hand, are strongly dependent on public financing, which influences the ability to obtain funds from other sources – both international (e.g. EU programmes) and private. In 2009, 2 out of 3 cultural institutions interviewed benefited from sponsoring. For NGOs, the majority appreciates the benefits of sponsoring (77%), yet many seem to have problems with successfully gaining private co-financing. This is due to the lack of interest interest of private entrepreneurs in culture. They admit that they rarely initiate cooperation. Moreover, the sponsoring funds are earmarked mostly to projects with strong media potential: music and theatre festivals, concerts and events as well as exhibitions. Educational projects seem to be further down sponsors’ priority lists. Sponsors very rarely engage in projects in the field of cultural heritage.
Financing of private audio-visual media
The market of private audio-visual media is very diverse. It can be divided into three groups: broadcasters, media concerns and social/religious stations. The first type finances its activities almost completely from advertisements. The only noticeable additional incomes are SMS services. The second type has more diverse income sources, yet advertisement still plays a key role. An example of the third type is TRWAM religious television, owned by Lux Veritas Foundation. The annual reports of Lux Veritas do not state the exact structure of income for the television. However, it is possible to assume that a significant share is constituted by viewers’ donations and voluntary work.
It is worth mentioning that the National Broadcasting Council, responsible for licensing, does not require annual financial reports from private media, even though it has that right.