Knowledge Centre Blog

New Stream Year 7: An Insight Into Fundraising Capacity Trends In Ireland

2016 marks the end of the seventh year of operation of our New Stream programme, which has been supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, The Ireland Funds, Accenture, The RDS and Business to Arts’ wider corporate membership-base. 2016 also marked the completion of our third in-depth partnership with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland (DVIAM).

Andrew Hetherington looks at Fundraising Capacity Trends In Ireland

As we have come to the end of the third cycle of work with the DVIAM, this evaluation provides a focus for the re-evaluation and future direction of New Stream. Over seven years, a relatively small cohort of organisations have invested considerable time and financial resources in their fundraising capacity. We recognise the commitment made by the 42 organisations involved.
When it comes fundraising from private sources in the arts sector, there are some general rules I believe Business to Arts can say with authority:

• The employment of FTE (full-time employees) that are dedicated to professional fundraising in cultural organisations will have a direct impact on the amount of funds raised sustainably by cultural organisations.

• For implementation of professional fundraising in cultural organisations to be sustainable, it requires constant buy-in, direction and implementation from both executive and the board of cultural organisations.

• Multiple forms of fundraising (eg. friends/membership schemes, event-based, sponsorship, major gifts/philanthropy) are more relevant for different sizes and capacities of cultural organisations.

• Where different forms of fundraising are proving successful for larger cultural organisations, the separation of responsibilities across multiple FTEs should have a direct impact on the amount of funds raised sustainably.

• Attracting and retaining professional fundraising talent will be a constant challenge for all non-profit organisations.

• Actively developing fundraising capacity and succession planning for professional fundraisers in cultural organisations is the responsibility of both executive and boards of cultural organisations.

• Case-studies of fundraising successes and challenges in cultural organisations provide valuable insights and benchmarks for other organisations to learn from.

Business to Arts and other Government, Local Authority and NGO stakeholders can work more collaboratively to enhance sustainable fundraising practice with cultural organisations and enhance policy related to this area.

As Business to Arts enters its next five-year strategic period from 2018 – 2022, our response to the above is to evolve New Stream, focusing on a pilot series of Fundraising Fellowships focused on both National, Regional and City-Specific cultural organisations. With our partnership with Dublin City Council and Dublin’s Culture Connects, we have already commenced this.

I believe New Stream has had a considerable and positive impact on fundraising in the cultural sector in Ireland. Our data and research developed over a sustained period of seven years is unique in Ireland (and perhaps the world). It is a vital tool to inform our own policy and strategy in relation to fundraising, sponsorship and philanthropy in the cultural sector.

Business to Arts extends our sincere thanks to Michael Kaiser and Brett Egan of the DVIAM for their long-term input into the direction of New Stream. We also recognise the impact of Tom Suddes and Georgina Neal of the Suddes Group and For Impact on the first three years of New Stream. Tom will be missed. This phase of New Stream would not exist without the foresight and care of my previous colleague Rowena Neville and many other supporters of Business to Arts over the past seven years. The Business to Arts team are looking forward to the next phase of New Stream between 2018-2022.

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