Knowledge Centre Blog

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin: Helium Arts, Director Report Year 1

June 27, 2018 11:00 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe Photography

By Helene Hugel

Since Helium Arts have been participating in Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin, we can report a variety of achievements.  Overall in 2017, Helium Arts income increased by approx 10% in 2017. In kind support has increased by 50% and earned income tripled.  We doubled our funding from the Arts Council and were designated as a Strategically Funded organisation in 2018. Helium Arts’ patient support group partners doubled over the course of the time, and the Fellow successfully negotiated a transition with a corporate partner after the past funding partnership came to an end.

In the first half of 2018, Helium Arts has been invited by unsolicited funders and a high capacity donor to submit multi-annual proposals.  Helium Arts are very busy meeting with prospects often twice a week, and pitching and presenting activity has doubled.  As regards, human resources, the Fellow was responsible for Helium Arts engaging a CE Worker who is filling the role of Arts Administrator. The CE Worker has now been given a year extension from May 2018. Helium Arts has also engaged interns over the course of the year to support the Fundraising and Communications functions. Helium Arts has also maintained a significant increase in volunteer engagement since  2016.

We have also learnt many things on the way.  We have learned the importance of clear and consistent messaging shared with everyone across the organisation.  We have learned that fundraising is everyone’s job, with roles big and small.  We developed a new fundraising and communications strategy, developed connectors, and better fundraising systems.

We wouldn’t have learning without challenges to overcome.  When we look at the year ahead, we see challenges such as needing to balance short-term organisational needs (including income) with longer term ambitions and goals.  We also see the challenge around balancing the multiple income streams we have defined, which includes activities to promote community fundraising, corporate giving, and individual giving as well as finding time for grant writing. As one person cannot carry out all these activities at one time, it is important to prioritise and define the key actions which will give better return. In general, the Fellow has the challenge in negotiating the lack of human resources within Helium Arts, particularly those resources to support delivery around communications.

Helium Arts Senior Management Team and Board are helping the Fellow to overcome these challenges by prioritising fundraising at board meetings, engaging in weekly fundraising meetings to maintain focus and agree priorities, and improving systems and structures which will help the organisation work more efficiently and effectively with few resources.

Thank you to Business To Arts and Dublin’s Culture Connects for creating this wonderful initiative which we feel has the potential to transform our organisation. Please follow the below links to find out more about our fundraising and communications objectives:

Helene Hugel

Artistic Director

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin: Fishamble, Director Report Year 1

June 26, 2018 11:44 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe PhotographyBy Jim Culleton, Artistic Director

It is almost a year since Fishamble began as a partner on the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin – Business to Arts’ New Stream programme in partnership with Dublin City Council’s Dublin Culture Connects.  We were thrilled to appoint Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan as our Fellow, to join our small core team.  Her role as Marketing & Fundraising Executive has completely transformed Fishamble’s ability to reach its marketing potential and to generate sponsorship relationships, as well as developing our Friends’ programme.

Chandrika’s contract and KPIs include targets in relation to marketing Fishamble’s productions, on tour, throughout Ireland and internationally.  They also include targets for increasing Fishamble’s Friends’ scheme, and these targets have been met, with our ‘family’ of supporters growing steadily.  From the FFD seminars, we learned a great deal about focusing our message and conveying it in a concise, clean way. We used these learnings to create a brand new website, a new newsletter for followers and Friends, a variety of sponsorship collateral, a 30thYear document, and a new corporate membership programme. We will be working with Publicis in creating a rebrand of production artwork to support out institutional marketing strategies. We also held two major events that complemented our institutional marketing: a 30th birthday event to launch A Play for Ireland [APFI] and a New Play Conference, with national and international delegates.

One of the main targets, of course, is to secure sponsorship, and generate relationships with companies, which would be mutually beneficial for them and us.  I am delighted that these goals are being met. Publicis Ireland is confirmed as a continuing sponsor of the company, and Tesco Ireland, Irish Rail, and ICLA are all confirmed, so far, as sponsors for Fishamble’s two-year APFI initiative, which is developing 30 new plays, in association with 6 venues, across the country.

This sponsorship has been secured with the help and guidance of Business to Arts, and Fishamble’s board members, who gave their wholehearted commitment to helping us identify possible suitable partners, through a prospecting process.  They shared their contacts, to introduce us to people from those companies we identified, and began our discussion about what relationships might be possible.  In securing our current sponsorship deals, some of our key learnings have been:

  • Realising the importance of a clear message and acting quickly on what works. e.g. marketing documents, Fishamble’s new website, previous sponsorship relationships;
  • Prospecting through Board members and Mentors has been hugely beneficial, with their generous sharing of connections and resources;
  • Knowing that if you don’t ask, you don’t get: once we started actively asking, we got engagement very quickly;
  • Remembering that we have a lot of offer, for good value, to sponsors; careful consideration of how to frame this has helped us secure sponsorships.

On this last point, we have enjoyed working with sponsors to give added value to the relationship, for instance: celebrating Tesco Ireland’s sponsorship by catering events, launches and conferences with Tesco Finest refreshments; running a course on team building and making pitches with employees of Publicis Ireland.

Over the next 12 months, we imagine some of the main challenges we will encounter as part of the Fellowship programme are:

  • Time management: with APFI and productions for 2019/20 already at the planning stages, we will need to continue with meetings and prospecting, as well as marketing tasks;
  • 2020-2021 plans: beginning discussions with potential sponsors on suitable projects in the future;
  • Maintaining existing and new sponsor relations;
  • Developing a stronger Friends recruitment plan.

The Senior Management Team and Board are committed to helping Chandrika to overcome these challenges, by discussing ways we can help, exploring how our artistic plans can generate mutually beneficial relationships for Fishamble and our sponsors, and providing support for prospecting, meetings, and creating proposals.

We are very grateful for the support of the FFD, which has made all this work possible. More information about Fishamble’s fundraising and communications objectives can be found here:

 Jim Culleton

Artistic Director

Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland organisations announced

March 8, 2018 6:00 am

Garry Hynes, Artistic Director, Druid Theatre; Katherine Licken, Secretary General, Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht; Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts; Fiona Clark, Chief Executive, Cork Film Festival.

Business to Arts in partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht announced the two successful organisations who will participate in the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme. After an open call for applications in November 2017, Cork Film Festival and Druid Theatre 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 2 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 cultural organisations with skills to build fundraising capacity in their organisations.

Fundraising Fellowship Ireland is informed by the two-year Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme, which was created by Business to Arts in partnership with Dublin City Council’s Dublin’s Culture ConnectsThis programme of activity is associated with the New Stream programme, a fundraising capacity building project operated by Business to Arts, which is now in its 8th year.

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

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive of Business to Arts states:

“Working with the Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht, we welcome Cork Film Festival and Druid Theatre to the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme. This Fellowship builds on our existing partnerships, addressing long-term human resource issues facing the arts sector. Both organisations selected will develop and enhance their fundraising capacities through our intense programme of training and mentorship. We look forward to working with both organisations and hope our combined networks and resources will have a significant impact on their fundraising strategies for many years to come”.

Minister Josepha Madigan T.D., states:

I am pleased to be working in partnership with Business to Arts in relation to the Fundraising Fellowship programme. Our partnership will support the successful applicants and also bring a wider awareness and consideration of the importance for culture bodies to develop this expertise to strengthen their programmes and mission.”

Garry Hynes, Artistic Director, Druid Theatre states:

“We’re delighted to have been selected for the Business to Arts Fundraising Fellowship. We’re looking forward to both the learning and the challenges that lie ahead, and the outcomes of this fantastic initiative, which will undoubtedly lead to further growth for us as a company”

Fiona Clark, Producer and Chief Executive, Cork Film Festival:

“We are truly delighted to have been awarded a Fundraising Fellowship Ireland Bursary. This will play a major part in helping us to realise our strategic ambitions over the next few years, in the build up to our 65th anniversary in 2020. The status and ambition of the Festival cannot grow without developing meaningful partnerships and increasing resources; participation in this programme will support a period of intense and sustained capacity building which will directly contribute to our artistic development on multiple levels.”

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin – Thoughts from Muriel Foxton, Marketing Fundraising Executive, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

December 11, 2017 12:06 pm

8594 RRP 0145 copyIn May 2017, I took up the role as Marketing and Fundraising Executive at TBG+S, made possible by the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme. Our challenge at TBG+S is that our ambitions to develop our programmes outweigh the resources we have available. We are heavily dependent on public funding. Further, a reliance on volunteers and internships has meant a level of fragility for TBG+S. The Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin will help us to become more sustainable. The programme of training and mentorship with Business to Arts began in June with monthly seminars covering everything from marketing plans to strategic plans and membership programmes to corporate sponsorship.

The seminars so far have featured guests speakers and advisors Tanya Townsend, Sponsorship Manager at Bord Gáis Energy; Aoife Flynn, Head of Audiences and Development at IMMA; Eamonn Carroll, Membership Relationship Manager, RDS; Eithne Harley, Director of Integrated Marketing, Accenture; Noel Hiney, Independent Communications Expert; Sarah Costigan, Director of Fundraising, Little Museum of Dublin and Bevin Cody, Corporate Reputation Manager, ‎ESB – who have provided valuable insights into their areas of expertise and feedback on our work.

As part of the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin Local Community Engagement programme, TBG+S has partnered with Calcutta Run which raises vital funds for the homeless in Dublin and Calcutta, by donating to the Peter McVerry Trust and The Hope Foundation. The 12-month training and mentoring programme shares our new skills and knowledge with smaller community organisations. I recently got the opportunity to receive mentorship from Anne Mathews, who shares her invaluable advice and expertise on communications and PR.

As a result of the programme, I developed TBG+S’ first fundraising plan. This gives the organisation targeted ambitions to work towards in a focused way. The Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin ultimately transfers knowledge and gives time to focus on fundraising and our aims; to progress our ambition and achieve excellence in our artistic programmes, advance our capacity to invest in artists and increase visibility and accessibility.

In 2017, TBG+S has partnered with two new corporate sponsors. Central Bank of Ireland sponsors our education programme Creative Generations which focuses on two artists’ residencies in two inner city schools – Synge Street CBS Secondary School and O’Connell CBS Primary School. TBG+S studio artists Andreas Kindler von Knobloch and Maria McKinney worked with the children to create new collaborative artworks. The sponsorship marked the movement of Central Bank of Ireland from Dame Street to its new HQ at North Wall Quay.

Award-winning architectural practice Henry J Lyons sponsored the recent Dublin Art Book Fair 2017: Art and Architecture Interwoven, which allowed us to strengthen and develop Ireland’s only art book fair. The Fair, with a booked out programme of curated events, saw more than 2,500 visitors over the weekend.

Plans for 2018 include the launch of a new fundraising initiative which will support TBG+S to augment production budgets for exhibiting artists, to achieve their full ambition. A new sponsorship opportunity seeks a corporate partner to invest in the making of a career-defining solo exhibition by an Irish artist. Exhibiting at TBG+S marks a cornerstone in the career path of visual artists, their work often goes on to be exhibited throughout the world. The Fundraising Fellowship has helped me to set a frame around what is distinctive about what we do to support the work of artists and, to consider how we articulate our story to those who may be inspired to support our work.

- Muriel


Follow Muriel @murielfoxtonLinkedin 

For more information on TBG+S click here. 

Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin – Thoughts from Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, Marketing & Fundraising Executive, Fishamble: The New Play Company

December 11, 2017 9:39 am

8594 RRP 0133 copyThree years ago I discovered that I loved fundraising for the arts. I had just finished my work experience with Business to Arts after an MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at UCD, and had started a new role as Fundraiser at the Irish Architecture Foundation. Due to circumstances my career path deviated for a few years after that, but I spend every moment trying to find my way back. When the Fundraising Fellowship was advertised, I was excited to see an opportunity to return to arts fundraising, particularly in a format where I could receive training while carrying out the role, and at the appropriate level for my experience (which is difficult to find).

After years of applying for similar roles, I was ecstatic to find that I had been offered a place on the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin as Marketing and Fundraising Executive for Fishamble: The New Play Company. Despite months of work permit issues, with the unrelenting support of Fishamble and Business to Arts I was able to begin this role.

In terms of the programme itself, the combination of presentations, feedback and external advice has helped focus our strategies. Being able to compare notes with the other Fellows has also been useful. Although challenging, the tight deadlines motivated me and my company to create strategies in a short amount of time, which has been hugely beneficial for pitching to potential sponsors and communicating a strong message as we begin our 30th year with an exciting programme and a major new play initiative A Play for Ireland .

The main challenge so far has definitely been time management. In my four months of working here, we have had a world premiere, toured productions, created a new website, and launched a 2018 programme with a major new initiative. As a person who has not worked in theatre previously, this was doubly challenging as I was only just starting to understand the mechanisms of this sector while creating and implementing new strategies. However some of the best things about working with Fishamble are their endless patience, humour and knowledge, how much they trust me with the work I want to do, and the encouragement and support I receive for every new step. Being able to get things done quickly, efficiently, and with the trust and support of an amazing team makes for very satisfying work. Having Business to Arts available to consult with has also helped shift from a planning stage to implementation in record time.

Now that new structures are in place, our next steps are to focus on implementing our Fundraising and Marketing plan, and look ahead to 2019 and 2020.

I am truly delighted to be part of the Fundraising Fellowship with Business to Arts and Dublin’s Culture Connects, and especially to work with a company as warm, wonderful and fearless as Fishamble. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.



Follow Chandrika @chandrikanm & Linkedin

To learn more about Fishamble: The New Play Company click here


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