Knowledge Centre Blog

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin: Seminar 2 Overview By Andrew Hetherington

July 18, 2017 11:07 am

Seminar 2

For Seminar Two of Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin, in partnership with Business to Arts, we had guest speakers Iseult Byrne & Rowena Neville of Dublin’s Culture Connects with Tanya Townsend, Sponsorship Manager, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, and Aoife Flynn, Head of Audiences and Development at IMMA.[1] In the morning, the Dublin’s Culture Connects team discussed their longer-term focus on engaging new communities and local Councillors in the work of Dublin’s Culture Connects. We also had a master-class in consumer-brand sponsorship of the arts from Tanya and an introduction to arts marketing and fundraising at IMMA from Aoife.

Presentation 1: Tanya Townsend –Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards (BGESTAs)

Through her drive of the BGESTAs sponsorship, Tanya provided an overview of how:

  • corporate sponsorship programmes & projects are developed
  • sponsorship campaigns are activated
  • the success of a sponsorship campaign is measured

Presentation 2: Aoife Flynn – IMMA 1000 Campaign

Through her role as both Head of Audiences and Development for IMMA, Aoife provided an overview of how:

  • IMMA 1000 campaign was conceived and implemented
  • IMMA researches potential sponsors and top tips for meeting sponsors
  • IMMA captures audience data, and how it is using that data in its marketing strategy?

Following the morning’s sessions, the Fellows had received a range of practical methods to engage, inform and get continued buy-in from funding/fundraising stakeholders.

See the full case study by Business to Arts on IMMA’s fundraising programme HERE

Practical Sessions : Understanding Strategic Plans & SWOTs

For the afternoon’s practical session we asked each of the Fellows to arrive with a good understanding of their organisation’s strategic plan and management accounts/financial reports. In general, we felt that strategic plans for arts organisations could be enhanced by:

  • Providing an overview of Board members or the types of Board members that are sought for an arts organisation
  • Greater analysis of the position in the arts sector of an arts organisation, including an analysis of its audiences, competitors and/or collaborators
  • Incorporating a critical path or greater clarity about the timeframe for achieving an arts organisation’s aims and objectives
  • Articulating what (additional) resources are required to achieve sustainability

Each Fellow presented a comprehensive SWOT of their organisation and did a brilliant job at this. Some of our observations in relation to presenting SWOTs for arts organisations (generally) are:

  • Do not forget about the type/calibre of ‘art’ made, produced or facilitated by an arts organisation when presenting a SWOT. It might be useful to consider separating an overall ‘organisational’ SWOT into three separate SWOTS for ‘artistic programming’, ‘marketing’ and ‘finance/operations’.
  • Try not to place too much emphasis on any one area (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats) and try to identify if these are perceived or real SWOTs of your organisation
  • While strengths and opportunities are common areas of focus in marketing and fundraising, potential funders and other stakeholders might be more interested in helping address/overcome weaknesses and threats.

The Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme is a partnership between Dublin’s Culture Connects and the New Stream Fundraising Capacity Building Project operated by Business to Arts. It offers part funding toward the employment of full-time fundraising or marketing & fundraising human resources contracted over a 24-month period and the recruited Fellows will take part in a structured programme of training and mentorship as part of the Fellowship.

[1] Bord Gáis Energy and IMMA have been identified as a leading a leading arts sponsor and a leading arts ‘rights-holder’ in the Business to Arts ‘Arts, Festival and Music Sponsorship – Summary Report (2015 & 2016)

Thoughts on commencement of the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme by Jim Culleton Artistic Director Fishamble: The New Play Company

June 30, 2017 9:36 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe Photography

I am delighted and honoured that Fishamble is one of the partner organisations participating in the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin Programme.

Fishamble will celebrate its 30th birthday in 2018, and is looking forward to marking this stage in its history with a prolific programme of productions, national and international touring, and a range of training, development and dramaturgical initiatives.  With this busy programme of work, the time feels right to expand our Fundraising and Marketing impact.

We have benefitted from the Business to Arts New Stream programme in the past, especially as part of the DeVos programme at the Kennedy Center, which helped us realise the potential Fishamble has to create partnerships and associations with sponsors and Friends, which not only enhance the experience that people have with Fishamble, but also help to diversify the company’s sources of income. Fishamble is keen to maximise on this knowledge, and to expand its network of supporters and its capacity to fundraise.  However, with a very small number of core staff members, and an annual programme of work that typically includes over 200 performances of 7 productions in about 60 venues, this has not been possible until now.  We are not alone in this dilemma, as many arts organisations struggle to find the time needed to dedicate to fundraising, with a small number of staff and a busy programme of artistic activity.  The establishment of the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme in response to this need, is a great credit to Business to Arts and Dublin’s Culture Connects. It has certainly happened at the perfect time for Fishamble.

We are thrilled to have appointed Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan as the Fundraising Fellow, who will be mentored and supported over the next two years by Fishamble and Business to Arts.  We look forward to being part of this new and exciting initiative, as Fishamble grows its network of supporters and sponsors for the future, and as we enter our thirties.

Jim Culleton
Artistic Director
Fishamble: The New Play Company

Thoughts On Commencement Of The Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin Programme By Willie White, Artistic Director, Dublin Theatre Festival

June 26, 2017 11:42 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe Photography

I am pleased that Dublin Theatre Festival has been chosen as one of four cultural organisations to participate in the inaugural Fundraising Fellowship programme. I am also greatly encouraged by Dublin City Council’s investment in building the capacity of cultural organisations to diversify their income streams. The partnership with Business to Arts and the mentoring and training offered to fellows will make for more sustainable organisations and lead to more ambitious programming for our audiences.

One of the core objectives of Dublin Theatre Festival is to contribute to the cultural life of the city by supporting Irish artists in creating new Irish work and by bringing the best of international work to Dublin. Each year we offer a programme of exceptional and engaging theatrical experiences chosen to appeal to the diverse communities that make up our city.

2017 marks our 60th anniversary. We are proud of the role that Dublin Theatre Festival has played in expanding the scope of Irish theatre since its inception in 1957. While we have a rich history, what we are most excited about is what is yet to come. For our anniversary, we are ambitious to further expand the reach of the festival, to see more audiences participating in culture and more artists creating bold new work that challenges and inspires.

We aim to build on our existing partnerships and foster new relationships with communities, businesses, and cultural organisations in Dublin. We expect that our participation in the Fundraising Fellowship Dublin programme will have a significant impact on the long-term fundraising sustainability of the organisation for the years to come and that it will support the development, growth and success of the organisation.

Our goals are to develop connections and grow our network, to increase investment in the organisation in order to facilitate the presentation of work on a larger scale, in tandem with attracting audiences for this work and collaborating with partners to identify new opportunities to animate the city through increased cultural activity

Dublin Theatre Festival is interested in playing a leading role in the development of a holistic and sustainable plan for the future growth of the city and believes that collaboration across sectors is crucial. The cultural sector is an important contributor to the city, alongside economic development, environmental awareness and social inclusion, and has a part to play in the future success of Dublin. We want to position arts and culture as vital to Dublin’s quality of life and its international reputation.

We look forward to working with and sharing learnings with Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Fishamble: The New Play Company and Helium Arts, over the next two years and to engaging with Dublin-based community organisations to assist them in developing their marketing, fundraising and strategic planning skills.

We are delighted to welcome Paula Weir to the Dublin Theatre Festival team as Corporate Development and Marketing Executive. Paula brings a wealth of experience and skills to the organisation, and we look forward to achieving our goals together.

Willie White
Artistic Director
Dublin Theatre Festival

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

April 3, 2017 10:59 am

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.

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin Fellow Recruitment

January 10, 2017 12:24 pm

ffdToday we launch the first phase of our search for individuals interested in participating in the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme in partnership with Dublin City Council’s Dublin’s Culture Connects. Four selected cultural organisations will recruit for new Fundraising or Marketing & Fundraising Executives to participate in the programme.

All recruited Fellows will be required to participate in what is a new and very exciting initiative, from April 2017 until March 2019. This will require the Fellow’s attendance at various workshops, training, and mentoring sessions with Business to Arts and our partners.

For current job specifications relating to the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin please see below:

Details relating to Dublin Theatre Festival & Temple Bar Gallery + Studios will be released at a later date.

For all information relating to the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme please contact Michelle at

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