Knowledge Centre Blog

Thoughts on Commencement of The Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland Programme by Sharon Rollston, Chief Executive, Music Network

July 15, 2020 1:47 pm

Sharon RollstonMusic Network is delighted to be participating in the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland Programme 2020-22. This opportunity comes at a critical time for the music sector and indeed for the arts across the board both here in Ireland and globally. Alongside other industries we’re grappling with a myriad of challenges and uncertainties in the wake of Covid-19, constantly adapting to the ever-evolving scenarios that present. In the context of such seismic shifts, initiatives like Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland are more valuable than ever in helping to increase much-needed investment in the arts, and we very much welcome the opportunity.

As a national music touring and development organisation, Music Network’s mission is to make high quality live music available and accessible to people throughout Ireland regardless of their location or circumstance, and to support the career development of musicians.

Everything we do stems from our mission: from our work in music education, to supporting musicians at varying stages of their development, to providing concerts, audience development and music-making activities through our valued network of partners. Our geographic reach, through our National Touring Programme, is extensive, and over the past 34 years we have contributed significantly to music development throughout Ireland.

Our vision is that of a culture which increasingly values live music as an integral and beneficial part of our everyday lives. Our values are centred on excellence, accessibility, partnership, equality and sustainability.

We want audiences to experience the very best of live music from world-class musicians in their own communities. We want to help musicians build successful careers in their chosen field. The past few months have brought home the power that music and the arts have to carry us all through testing times, and strengthened our resolve to continually seek new and creative ways to bring musicians and communities together in the future.

The diverse nature of our work presents many opportunities to support specific programmes of interest including education, commissioning and artist development programmes. Through the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme we aim to strengthen existing partnerships and create meaningful and mutually beneficial new partnerships with individuals, businesses and philanthropic organisations that can help us to extend our reach and achieve much more.

2021 marks Music Network’s 35th anniversary, and the beginning of a new chapter in our development. We are currently in the process of writing an ambitious new strategic plan for the period 2021-2025. It is timely therefore to welcome our Fundraising Fellow Catherine Hearn onto the Music Network team. We’re looking forward to working closely with Catherine, particularly in relation to a number of exciting new programmes earmarked for development.

We also look forward to working intensively with Business to Arts over the next two years to build organisational capacity in fundraising, enhancing our relationships with existing supporters and forging new partnerships that ultimately diversify our income streams and enable the sustainable growth of the organisation.

We’d like to thank Business to Arts and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for this valuable opportunity.

Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland is a partnership between Business to Arts’ New Stream programme and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Lime Tree Theatre & Music Network Announced As Two Organisations Set To Take Part In Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland (2020-2022)

March 11, 2020 9:47 am

Business to Arts in partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht have announced the two successful organisations who will participate in the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme. After an open call for applications in November 2019, Music Network (Dublin) and Lime Tree Theatre (Limerick) have been selected.

The Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland offers both organisations matched-funding (maximum of €15,000) toward the employment of full-time fundraising or marketing & fundraising human resources, contracted over a 24-month period. The two recruited Fellows will take part in a structured programme of training and mentorship developed by Business to Arts as part of the Fellowship. The aim is to equip the recruited fellows and their organisations with skills and funding to build fundraising capacity.

The objective of Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland is to enhance previous investment by cultural organisations in their strategic planning and fundraising. The programme helps to address the lack of human resources dedicated to fundraising in the selected arts organisations.

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive of Business to Arts states:

“With the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht, we welcome Music Network and Lime Tree Theatre to the next round of the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme. This Fellowship builds on New Stream’s priorities to address resource issues facing the cultural sector. We look forward to working with both organisations and hope our combined networks and intelligence will have a significant impact on their fundraising strategies. Both organisations selected will develop and enhance their fundraising capacities through our programme of training and mentorship”

Louise Donlon, Director, Lime Tree Theatre states:

“The Lime Tree Theatre is delighted to have been awarded this Fellowship and looks forward to working closely with Business to Arts on what will be a key element in the further development of the organisation. This role will allow the theatre to expand its business and secure investment in its cultural programmes.”

Sharon Rollston, Chief Executive, Music Network:

“Music Network is very pleased to have been selected for Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland. We look forward to working together with them to develop and diversify funding streams which will support our artistic ambitions across an exciting portfolio of programmes, including the National Musical Instrument Resource, Learning & Participation, Contemporary Irish Commissions and new work for Child & Family Audiences.”

*Applications are now closed 

Fundraising Fellows Complete Two-Year Fundraising Fellowship Programme Raising Over €772,000 Attributed To Three Fundraisers

February 13, 2020 10:09 am

Business to ArtsLast night, Fundraising Fellows Aoibhie McCarthy (Marketing & Development Officer, Cork Film Festival); John Mc Evoy (Development Executive, Druid); and Fiona Garvan (Development Executive, Dublin Theatre Festival) graduated from the Fundraising Fellowship programme. The programme, a partnership between Business to Arts, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Dublin City Council Culture Company, aims to develop the pool of fundraising expertise in Irish cultural organisations.

As part of the 24-month Fundraising Fellowship Dublin programme, the Fellows worked in a fundraising or a marketing & fundraising role at their arts organisation. The programme saw Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Dublin City Council Culture Company fund 50% of each role, with the partner organisation matching that figure. Over the two years, the Fellows took part in an intensive programme of training and mentorship, worth in-excess of €80,000 per institution led by Business to Arts and industry experts, to build capacity and to diversify revenue streams. As part of this, leading Irish experts offered masterclasses to develop knowledge and offer practical and real life expertise.

The Fellows have raised a combined €772,000 directly attributable to their role in their organisation. Three case studies have been published highlighting the challenges, implemented strategies and outcomes of the Fellows and their organisations participating in the course. Each can be viewed here:

• Druid Theatre Company
• Cork Film Festival
 Dublin Theatre Festival

To date over €2 million has been raised by Fellows who have participated in the programme. These include Helium Arts, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Fishamble: A New Play Company alongside the three organisations mentioned above.

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive of Business to Arts states:

“This two-year programme has enabled Business to Arts; the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; and Dublin City Council Culture Company to provide an intensive programme of training and support to three arts organisations. We now have six Fellows that have graduated from the programme. Each Fellow has secured new funding for their organisation and we are very proud of their achievements to date. Developing sustainable fundraising ability in the arts takes time, resources and partnerships with all stakeholders. We thank the Department of Culture and Dublin City Council Culture Company for their foresight and investment in the programme”

At the graduation, Conor Falvey, Assistant Secretary Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht said:

“I wish to congratulate to Business to Arts on the resounding success of the Fellowship Scheme which has promoted a new approach to arts funding, strengthened the confidence and the capabilities of the Fellows and of their organisations, and achieved impressive results in 2018 and 2019. The values represented by their effort echo the values stated in the recently launched National Cultural Policy Framework Culture 2025.”

At the graduation, Iseult Byrne, Chief Executive, Dublin City Council Culture Company said:

“Capacity building one of our core values so we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work in partnership with Business to Arts on developing this programme. We are delighted to see how the programme has had an impact Dublin Theatre Festival, increasing the funds raised and the development of new partnership for the organisation. Perhaps more importantly though is the investment of Fundraising Fellowship Dublin in developing and sharing a skillset that will impact positively on cultural and community organisations long after the programme has ended.”

For details on the Fundraising Fellowship programme please click here.

Applications For Organisations Interested In Participating In Fundraising Fellowship Ireland – Now Closed

October 7, 2019 7:42 am

FFI Logo

Business to Arts is commencing a second round of the 24-month Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme in partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland will offer two cultural organisations 50% part-funding toward the employment of full-time ‘Fundraising’ or ‘Marketing & Fundraising’ human resources over a 24-month period. The recruited Fellows will be supported by a structured programme of training and mentorship with Business to Arts as part of the Fellowship. The aim is to equip the recruited fellows and their cultural organisations with skills to build fundraising capacity in their organisations.

Grants will be for a maximum of €15,000 per annum over a 24 month period and are aimed at part-subsidising the cost of full-time OR contracted (minimum two-year) Fundraising or Marketing & Fundraising Executive.

For Business to Arts and the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, the overall objective of the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland is:

  • To continue and enhance prior investment by national and regional cultural organisations in the development of human resources and capacity building
  • To create stronger cultural organisations who are committed to long term sustainability, based on business minded planning and a cultural strategy
  • To facilitate cultural organisations in gaining knowledge so they can leverage and increase resources in a long-term and sustainable way thereby maintaining and improving their longevity
  • To address the 6 key barriers identified in the 6-year review of New Stream programme review 2016

Druid Theatre, Cork Film Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival (under Fundraising Fellowship Dublin in partnership with Dublin City Council Culture Company) are current organisations completing the programme. Past participants under Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin include, Helium Arts, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios & Fishamble: A New Play Company.

Applications are now closed.

Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland is a partnership between Business to Arts & the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

Fundraising Fellowship Ireland – Year 1 Thoughts From Fiona Garvan, Development Executive, Dublin Theatre Festival

May 21, 2019 9:30 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe

Dublin Theatre Festival is Europe’s longest running theatre festival. Our mission is to contribute to the vibrant social and cultural life of Dublin. We showcase the best of Irish theatre, bringing world-class international theatre to Dublin whilst supporting artists. Dublin Theatre Festival 2019 will take place from September 26–October 13 2019.

Our annual programme includes theatre, music, dance, opera and visual arts. In 2019 we will present new work by emerging theatre-makers, classic drama by celebrated artists, theatre for children and young people, free artist talks, critical events, public discussions and artist development programmes. We welcome approximately 45,000 Irish and international audiences to hundreds of performances, over 18 days. Half our audience returns every year and we continue to welcome new audiences.

One year into the Fundraising Fellowship, our fundraising activities are focused on implementing a long term fundraising strategy, growing new business and patron networks while maintaining strong connections with existing supporters.

The seminars and mentoring sessions from the Business to Arts team and guests provide assistance with planning and communicating our fundraising objectives in line with our ambitions for the future of the Festival. We have worked to streamline our support and sponsorship opportunities in these key areas: developing and diversify new audiences for theatre; accessibility; artist development and premiering large-scale international work.

To grow our networks, maintain connections and communicate our ambitions and those of the wider sector, we have introduced a series of events with business and arts leaders in conversation. The first of these events, Investing in Culture. Investing in Ireland, took place this month with Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA in conversation with Tony Award winning director and co-founder of Druid Theatre Company, Garry Hynes, hosted by Accenture.

DTF is part of a large-scale European cooperation project, BeSpectACTive, involving audiences in the creative and organisational processes, engaging younger audiences through participation and targeted programming.

We are seeking a corporate partner to support our Open House programme which facilitates access to theatre to community organisations and individuals, who may not otherwise be in a position to participate.

This year we will launch DTF Futures, a fundraising initiative, created to support the next generation of contemporary Irish theatre artists. Through this initiative, we will be able to present daring work to Dublin audiences, improve the ways in which artists are supported by our organisation and the industry, and the way they are valued in society, nurture, celebrate and sustain talent in the performing arts and help theatre-makers – on and off stage – achieve their full creative potential.

Gala Night 2019 – we are currently on sale with tables for our 2019 Gala in October and will announce details in the coming weeks. Gala Benefit Night brings festival artists and members of the business and arts communities together for an evening of entertainment. Previously, we have honoured Cillian Murphy (2018), Fergus and Rosaleen Linehan (2017) and Sinéad Cusack (2016).

2019’s full programme will be announced in July. If you would like to learn more about how you can partner with Dublin Theatre Festival please contact me at or 01 6730621

Fundraising Fellowship,Dublin is a partnership between Business to Arts and Dublin City Council Culture Company. 

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