Creative New Zealand is trying to encourage philanthropy as a way of keeping the arts industry vibrant.
The government agency has set up Creative Giving, a three-year, $1 million programme helping arts and cultural organisations find and increase funding from private donors.
The initiative was welcomed by Guy Mallabone, president of Global Philanthropic Inc, who said government support of arts and cultural organisations dwarfed the contributions of individuals.
"Donors are not being given enough opportunities to invest in these amazing arts and cultural organisations."
Arts patron Denis Adam said a growing number of Kiwis were interested in helping the sector, and it needed their support.
The 88-year-old philanthropist, known for his contributions to arts in Wellington, believes New Zealanders are charitable and generous.
"I do think that more New Zealanders, certainly male New Zealanders, are likely to support sport [more] than the arts. But there's a fairly large minority, a growing minority, that are interested in the arts."
Arts Foundation executive director Simon Bowden said arts organisations had to approach prospective donors rather than expecting contributors to come to them.
"We do believe people want to contribute to the arts ... [It's about] helping arts organisations make contact with people who will make donations."
It was important to get donors contributing in the short-term, even with small amounts, because they were likely to give more as their affluence increased. But they would only give to organisations they had a positive relationship with.
The Creative Giving move has been given the tick of approval from Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson.
"It will provide tailored, one-to-one advice to cultural organisations that will help them attract more private investment over and above government funding," he said.
Mr Finlayson was instrumental in setting up the 2009 Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce, which looked at ways to encourage more private sector support for the arts.
- The Dominion Post