Knowledge Centre Blog

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin: TBG+S, Director Report Year 1

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe PhotographyBy Cliodhna Shaffrey, Artistic Director

The first thing to say about Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin, beyond doubt, is that it gave Temple Bar Gallery + Studios a new level of confidence. A shift from precarity to something you might even call sure-footed. As if, for the first-time in a long-time – with the addition of a full-time member of staff, (whose work focuses on development and communications -key areas for change and progress), we could really believe in what is said about us: -   ‘a leading light of the visual arts in Ireland’, ‘a core part of the national visual arts infrastructure’.

It is not that we doubted this impression, these words ring true. Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is a leading light for visual artists in Ireland, and it has been from its beginning. But rather, the high-wire act of trying to keep things steady; to take care of the promises made to artists, to ensure that glimpses of dreams outlined in strategies might become a reality, to swim with the dreaded tide of ‘more for less’ in the hope that all the activity propped up by Jobbridge and volunteers would pay off, can take its toll. This high-wire act is tough and tiring. So, the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin came at a time when it really could make a fundamental difference. It gave TBG+S this remarkable form of support and invested in an individual, (Muriel), who would grow, evolve, learn new things, gain real expertise, and put this learning into play to become a core full-time member of TBG+S’ team. This is the key achievement of the Fellowship, and it makes the position of Fundraising and Marketing Executive an indispensable and essential role in the Organisation.

Grant applications and venue hire are performing well. We are working towards developing three-year sponsorship programmes with existing Corporate Sponsors. New Corporate Sponsors are sought for new campaigns, and here we are prospecting a number of Companies via our Board. The introduction of the Commissioning Circle brought one donor. To activate this new funding stream we have added a donor link on our website and prospecting through the Board.   We have more clarity and focus in fundraising to sustain and strengthen the Organisation and engage staff and the Board in achieving targets.

Audience figures are slightly exceeded the target of 26,000 at 26,470 in 2017. A new neon sign, especially designed for the Gallery window will bring another impetus to our remit – with words in a circular format to read – ‘Art is for Everybody is for Art’

Key learnings include:

  • Investment in full-time member of staff in strategic and developmental position with mentorship over two-year period is seeing solid results in such investment
  • Working in a strategic way to diversify income.
  • Involving the Board and the establishment of a Fundraising subcommittee
  • Development of new campaigns and understanding that this is a slow and on-going process and role the Board can play here
  • Telling our story and getting key messages across to impress with concrete material – statistics and substance, use of anecdotal and testimonials, excellent documentary images and films
  • The value of building relations with sponsors, ensuring positive staff engagement and understanding why they are interested in the partnership
  • Placing fundraising as a core part of the development and bedrock to the organisation – this includes public funding via available grants and corporate sponsorship
  • Reviewing aspects of the Supporters Club – understanding this programme better
  • Working across the team to develop new strategies to connect to new audiences

More information about TBG+S fundraising and communications objectives can be found here: 

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