Knowledge Centre Blog

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin: Helium Arts, Director Report Year 1

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe Photography

By Helene Hugel

Since Helium Arts have been participating in Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin, we can report a variety of achievements.  Overall in 2017, Helium Arts income increased by approx 10% in 2017. In kind support has increased by 50% and earned income tripled.  We doubled our funding from the Arts Council and were designated as a Strategically Funded organisation in 2018. Helium Arts’ patient support group partners doubled over the course of the time, and the Fellow successfully negotiated a transition with a corporate partner after the past funding partnership came to an end.

In the first half of 2018, Helium Arts has been invited by unsolicited funders and a high capacity donor to submit multi-annual proposals.  Helium Arts are very busy meeting with prospects often twice a week, and pitching and presenting activity has doubled.  As regards, human resources, the Fellow was responsible for Helium Arts engaging a CE Worker who is filling the role of Arts Administrator. The CE Worker has now been given a year extension from May 2018. Helium Arts has also engaged interns over the course of the year to support the Fundraising and Communications functions. Helium Arts has also maintained a significant increase in volunteer engagement since  2016.

We have also learnt many things on the way.  We have learned the importance of clear and consistent messaging shared with everyone across the organisation.  We have learned that fundraising is everyone’s job, with roles big and small.  We developed a new fundraising and communications strategy, developed connectors, and better fundraising systems.

We wouldn’t have learning without challenges to overcome.  When we look at the year ahead, we see challenges such as needing to balance short-term organisational needs (including income) with longer term ambitions and goals.  We also see the challenge around balancing the multiple income streams we have defined, which includes activities to promote community fundraising, corporate giving, and individual giving as well as finding time for grant writing. As one person cannot carry out all these activities at one time, it is important to prioritise and define the key actions which will give better return. In general, the Fellow has the challenge in negotiating the lack of human resources within Helium Arts, particularly those resources to support delivery around communications.

Helium Arts Senior Management Team and Board are helping the Fellow to overcome these challenges by prioritising fundraising at board meetings, engaging in weekly fundraising meetings to maintain focus and agree priorities, and improving systems and structures which will help the organisation work more efficiently and effectively with few resources.

Thank you to Business To Arts and Dublin’s Culture Connects for creating this wonderful initiative which we feel has the potential to transform our organisation. Please follow the below links to find out more about our fundraising and communications objectives:

Helene Hugel

Artistic Director

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