Knowledge Centre Blog

2016 New Stream Capstone Event

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe Photography

Brett Egan, President of the DeVos Institute at the University of Maryland with Aoife Flynn, IMMA, Nathalie Weadick, IAF, Andrew Hetherington, & Deborah Kelleher, RIAM

Monday, October 24th saw Business to Arts and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland host the 2016 New Stream Capstone event at the Kevin Barry Rooms at the National Concert Hall. Simon Taylor, Chief Executive, NCH was on-hand to welcome attendees and guest speakers included Brett Egan, President of the DeVos Institute, Emma Baudey, Arts and Culture Programme Manager Environment, Social & Governance EMEA Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Ray Yeates, Dublin City Arts Officer Dublin City Council.

Representatives from cultural organisations all over Ireland were in attendance as well as representatives from Business to Arts’ wide membership and sponsorship base. IMMA, Irish Architecture Foundation & Royal Irish Academy of Music current participants of the programme presented their case studies.

In his speech Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive of Business to Arts noted the following:

Since New Stream began, our objectives have been to strengthen the skills of the Irish arts and cultural sector to generate new revenue from a variety of sources. To achieve this, we set out to create relationships with world-leading partners that would help us build a programme of activity that would be relevant and deliver.

We started our partnership with Michael Kaiser and the DeVos Institute in 2011 when we were just two years into the development of New Stream. When we published our second annual evaluation of New Stream, we had identified a range of organisational factors that were impeding fundraising results among those early participants. These needed to be addressed and supported in the long-term programme.

Our partnership with the DeVos Institute, helps to address arts management capacity and fundraising performance.

With the DeVos Institute, we have focused on:

  • Long-term strategic & artistic planning by participants
  • The development of institutional and programmatic marketing  campaigns
  • Providing support and advice to Boards and new Human Resources dedicated to marketing and fundraising
  • Creating and implementing fundraising plans that have realistic expectations for the organisational resources available
  • Encouraging funds raised to be reinvested in the development of the organisation’s programming and capacity.   

During our relationship, we’ve worked with 30 organisations who have collectively raised more than €15.3 million during that time. This represents approximately a €20 return for every €1 invested in New Stream by its many funders. Representatives from most of the 30 organisations are here today and in early 2017 we will publish the next annual evaluation of the programme.

  • Our partnership with the DeVos Institute and the wider New Stream activities are a unique programme which have had a consistent focus and measurement over sustained period of time.
  • Our activities in this programme are research-led. Each year the data analysed via our evaluation process and the feedback we receive have pointed to  consistent trends and themes emerging in arts fundraising and management practice
  • Case studies that we present help to situate learning from the programme for other participants. With them we showcase the resourcefulness and leadership in the progress of cultural enterprises in Ireland
  • Among New Stream’s participants, I believe there is an overall desire to move beyond the ‘crisis management’ of recent years to a more ‘strategic management’ phase
  • Board involvement and engagement will be critical for success with strategic development, the visibility and reputations of organisations and their fundraising achievements
  • The evolving corporate governance environment in Ireland and media scrutiny of all non-profits means that Boards will be more proactive and will come under greater pressure to benchmark and measure their organisation’s performance in certain business areas
  • This new era must acknowledge that most arts and cultural organisations in Ireland are small to medium enterprises. They face issues that many SMEs face in relation to the attraction and retention of talent. In general, this means that succession planning and the development of new staff will be an ongoing activity for Chief Executives and Boards
  • In some organisations, it is clear that human resources remain stretched or at critical points. Multi-tasking is common and marketing and fundraising achievements have been diluted as a result.
  • Where fundraising personnel exist, a challenge is presented by their relatively high turnover rates, their movement within the arts sector and to other non-profit organisations.


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