Knowledge Centre Blog

Fundraising Fellowship Ireland – Music Network, Director’s Report Year 1

Catherine Hearne

Now that we’re one year into our Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland with Business to Arts, it’s timely to reflect on our fundraising journey since welcoming Fundraising Fellow Catherine Hearn onto Music Network’s team in June 2020.

It’s been a difficult year for the arts in Ireland as elsewhere in the world. As an organisation dedicated to developing and promoting live music and supporting musicians, it’s been a huge challenge for Music Network, but one we’ve risen to with energy and imagination, and turned to the best possible advantage under unprecedented circumstances.

Necessity being the mother of invention, many new projects sprang from hurdles encountered along the way. Our Board of Directors also developed a new strategy for the period 2021-25 in 2020, now being rolled out. The strategy emphasises the continued need for organisational agility – staying flexible, dynamic and constantly adapting and innovating to remain responsive to the changing environment. This applies to all areas of our work, including fundraising, which has come into greater focus for both board and executive since commencing the Fellowship. Given that board involvement is critical to its success, fundraising has become a topic at every board meeting, and individual board members, particularly those with corporate contacts, have been assisting us with making connections with potential supporters of our work.

The value of having a team member dedicated to development and fundraising, enabling us to take a planned and consistent approach to the diversification of income streams, has been significant. Catherine has played a central role in communicating our achievements to Music Network’s Friends, successfully growing these important and valued supporters of our work.

Tasked with supporting the growth of our National Musical Instrument Resource, Catherine has been imaginative in developing a highly successful Crowd Fundraising Campaign to build the funds needed to establish a National Bank of Instruments for Older People. The creation of her role has also enabled us to broaden out the range of opportunities we can pursue including applications to grant giving bodies. Working alongside our Communications team, Catherine has developed engaging ways to communicate our impact clearly and concisely through video, presentations, case studies and our online communications channels. These have been vital tools, for example in our capital campaign to replace our touring vehicle, which is also a current fundraising focus.

Despite the challenges of the past year, in particular the high level of flexibility demanded of the organisation, we have sought to ensure that development is as integrated with Music Network’s planning as possible. A lot of important groundwork has been done which will stand Music Network in good stead, particularly when we are able to present live concerts and events for our supporters again, hopefully later in 2021.
We’re looking forward to our second year in working on this programme with Business to Arts whose mentorship and support of Catherine over the past 11 months has been invaluable both to her and the organisation.

Find out more about our fundraising objectives at

Sharon Rollston
Chief Executive Officer

Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland is a partnership between Business to Arts and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.


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