Payment Standards

How to Use Payment Standards

Organisation Categories

Visual arts, craft and design organisations play a pivotal role in supporting creative experimentation and development. They often provide in-kind and financial support to artists and arts workers, such as through administrative support, career development, publicity and artist fees. These organisations range from micro artist-run spaces to established national institutions.

Each organisation has a different capacity to offer services, opportunities and payments to artists and arts workers. With this in mind, NAVA has developed a guide to help organisations determine recommended payments relative to their capacity. Organisations can use this guide to determine the category (large, medium, small or micro) that aligns most closely with their size, budget and sources of funding. Organisations can apply this category throughout the Payment Standards section when negotiating and benchmarking payments they make to artists and arts workers.

How to Use Organisation Categories

The table below is a guide to help organisations determine which of the following four categories aligns most closely with them:

  • large

  • medium

  • small

  • micro

Each category features key factors and attributes. Organisations can determine their category based on where they meet the most number of factors.

The four key factors to consider are:

  • full-time equivalent (FTE) employees

  • all-activities total annual operating budget

  • total annual operating expenses – government or private funding

  • total annual projects/programs income – government or private funding

If an organisation meets the factors of two different categories equally (for example, two factors from 'Small' and two from 'Medium') please use your own judgment to decide which category aligns best. This may also mean adjusting where you sit on the recommended low-to-high payment ranges provided for each category throughout the Payment Standards section.

Case Study

XY Arts meets the following key factors: 

  • full-time equivalent employees (6 full-time + 3 part-time = 7.5 FTE employees): Medium category

  • all-activities total annual operating budget ($2 million): Medium category

  • total annual operating expenses (3 different sources = $600,000): Large category

  • total annual projects/programs (approximately $350,000): Medium category

XY Arts meets three out of four of the 'Medium' category key factors.

Arts Organisation Table


Key Factors

FTE Staff

(Full Time Equivalent)

All Activities
Total annual Operating Budget

Total Annual Operating

(Gov or Private Funding)

Total Annual Projects/Program

(Gov or Private Funding)


Mostly volunteer

Under $100,000

No operational grants

Under $50,000



$100,000 - $349,999

Under $150,000

$50,000 - $99,999



$350,000 - $2,999,999

$150,000 - $499,999

$100,000 - $499,999



$3,000,000 and above

$500,000 and above

$500,000 and above

Case Studies

Organisation Category 1

Field Space is an Artist Run Initiative (ARI) which is volunteer run and receives no operational funding. They meet the definition of a micro organisation. Field Space receives $150,000 from the Australia Council to deliver a special one-off project. Although this amount of funding meets the definition of a medium organisation, the ARI continues to have no operational funding or staff. The ARI defines itself as a micro organisation and pays artist fees at the micro rate for this specific project.

Organisation Category 2

Bila gallery has three staff, an annual operating budget of $300,000 and receives $200,000 per annum from the local government for its annual operations. Bila meets the definition of a small organisation due to its staffing level and operating budget, yet its operational funding meets the definition of a medium organisation. As Bila gallery mostly meets the key factors of a small organisation it pays artist fees and loan fees at that rate. 

The following year, Bila is successful in its application for $200,000 to deliver an artistic program. The gallery now defines itself as a medium organisation and pays higher artist fees and loan fees.