Knowledge Centre Case Studies

DeVos Ireland Case Studies

The New Stream programme has been a partnership with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management (DVIAM) at the Universtiy of Maryland. This has allowed us to deliver the leading arts practitioner training in the world to 33 arts organisations in Ireland, marking the first time DVIAM has worked outside of the US on a multi-year programme.

Evaluation, transparency and sharing of learning are core principles of the New Stream Programme and, in line with this, we are sharing a series of case studies and overall evaluation of the outcomes which reflects on the achievements of the last 4 years.

The case studies demonstrate the breadth of the New Stream programme in that they come from across Ireland and feature a range of art forms and organisation types. The work of  Irish Architecture Foundation, Royal Irish Academy of Music, IMMAClonmel Junction Festival, The Abbey Theatre, Wexford Festival Opera and The Ark has been informed by the methodologies taught by the DVIAM.

Our programme overview shares information on the impact of the Business to Arts and DVIAM partnership in supporting organisations to develop their artistic planning, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, financial planning and board management.

Read our case studies by clicking the organisations link below:

What is the Cycle?

Central to the New Stream partnership with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center is The Cycle.

The Cycle is “a theory of organisational activity that prioritises investment in great art: when bold art is marketed aggressively, an organisation attracts a family of energised ticket-buyers and patrons. The income produced by this family is reinvested in more art that, marketed well, builds a larger, even more diverse family. When the cycle repeats year after year, the organisation incrementally and sustainably builds capacity, presence and health.” Michael M. Kaiser

To understand The Cycle better, it is critical to read the 18 page manual explaining the core aspects of The Cycle, including:

  • The importance of long-term, transformational artistic programming
  • The differences between programmatic and institutional marketing
  • Building and engaging a family of audience members and supporters
  • A strategy for incremental fundraising which increases the organisation’s resources
  • Controlling costs, reinvesting capital and building organisational capacity

Long-term Artistic Planning

  • Sit down and start to dream about the artistic projects you’d like to do
  • Remember big dreams/ideas don’t necessarily have to have big budgets
  • Developing a long-term artistic programme (ie. greater than 2 years) will help all elements of your organisation – marketing, box office and sales, fundraising, finance etc
  • If you think the nature of your main funding sources does not lend itself to long-term planning, consider developing your programme assuming 60% budget in Year 2, 50% budget in Year 3 and so on
  • Do your artistic programme in pencil! Things can and will change based on a variety of factors that you can’t control including schedule conflicts, availability of talent, changes in artistic/programming trends, staff changes etc. Remember, it is not a crime to have to change your organisations plans and priorities regularly

Fundraising in a Challenging Climate

  • Adopt the right mindset by viewing the economic situation as an opportunity, not a reason to give up before starting
  • Get your board ‘on-board’ with the fundraising process
  • Keep those you know close to your organisation with regular (individualised) communication and get to know those who are not yet close in the same way too
  • Think creatively and be flexible with your fundraising approaches
  • Value the donor not the donation
  • Let the donor decide how they can help – this can be done by asking how much they might be able to help with each project
  • Continue to ask! The first (or second) ask might not be the right one… don’t lose courage
  • Take a hard look within your budget at areas for efficiency
  • Bring artists and artistic directors closer to the donors. One simple you might do this is by using resident/performing artist to sign letters and thank funders interested in their art form[/spoiler]


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