Knowledge Centre Blog

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

Introduction to Marketing for Community & Arts Organisations

April 5, 2017 9:54 am


On Tuesday May 9th 2017 we will be hosting an Introduction to Marketing for Community and Arts Organisations with our Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin partner Dublin’s Culture Connects. The seminar will take place at the Dublin City Council Wood Quay offices from 6-9pm.

This introductory seminar is designed to discuss, develop and enhance skills in the area of marketing for local and community-based organisations.

Pre-registration is essential. Places can be booked by emailing

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

Ethical Considerations in Sponsorship

January 13, 2016 3:33 pm

By Jane Brennan

The Irish sponsorship market was estimated to be worth €152m in 2015, representing a record high, and is on track for continued growth in 2016. Arts sponsorships form an integral part of that market, with 68% of sponsors viewing arts sponsorship as being capable of greater customer engagement than other types of sponsorship (Arts, Festival and Music Sponsorships Survey 2015, Allianz and Business to Arts). There are exciting opportunities out there for sponsors and cultural rights-holders alike, but these should be considered against the current environment of increased transparency and accountability in business practices. Now is therefore an opportune time to consider what ethical considerations may arise in arts sponsorship, and how best to deal with them.

Some considerations for Sponsors

  • Arts sponsorship offers a truly unique way to engage with new and potential customers in their leisure time, outside of traditional marketing channels, and has the additional benefit of positively giving back to the community. Consider how you can capitalise on or leverage your association with this uniqueness and positive message, rather than overwhelming it entirely with your own marketing message, which might turn the audience off.
  • In extreme cases, arts organisations have found themselves the subject of negative publicity and protest where sponsors appeared to drown out an event or project with their own branding or agenda, rather than genuinely appearing to want to help create a great event for the audience, or to support the arts. Such negative publicity is detrimental to sponsors and arts organisations alike.
  • Be respectful of the autonomy of an artist or arts organisation, in particular over curatorial decisions. If the quality of work on display or being performed was part of what attracted you to it in the first place, don’t try to influence decisions in ways that could diminish that quality.
  • Networks are an integral, necessary and, for the most part, positive element of the business world. For example, a member of an arts organisation’s board may also work in a company that sponsors that organisation, and the sponsorship might have come about because he or she is passionate about the organisation’s work. However, it is important to be aware of the potential for conflicts of interest to arise in such circumstances. Having a conflicts policy in place will assist, but not guarantee, that such conflicts do not occur.

Cultural Rights-holders’ Considerations

  • As sponsorship, unlike philanthropy, involves a commercial exchange and therefore requires give and take, be realistic about what you can deliver effectively to a sponsor. Be mindful at all times of your mission, your audience, and your core values and don’t agree to anything that compromises them. A good barometer for successful decision-making when negotiating a sponsorship is whether you would be happy for your discussions and decisions to be in the public domain – as it may well be, if you find yourself subject to a freedom of information request.
  • Particularly where funding or time is short, it may be tempting to enter a sponsorship partnership without the usual consideration of what is being exchanged and whether the brand alliance is right for your organisation. Remember that to end a sponsorship that is not proving beneficial takes leadership, and could attract publicity which creates negative sentiment, which damages future sponsorship discussions with corporates who might seek sponsorship opportunities elsewhere.
  • When considering a potential sponsor, research the company well and consider whether the partnership could send out mixed messages to your audience. For example, could your organisation’s integrity, reputation or even mission be jeopardised by publicly endorsing environmentally sustainable business practices, whilst also accepting sponsorship from a sponsor that engages in environmentally harmful practices?
  • Good governance means not just signing up to codes of practice, but adhering to them too. It may be more beneficial to adhere fully with one code of practice than partially adhere to several. Consider what’s most important to your organisation and what you can realistically commit resources and time to, and determine, on that basis, what codes are suitable. Similarly, if you have ethical fundraising guidelines in place, use them! Best practice is only best practice insofar as it is actually practiced.
  • Reassess current, and in particular, long-standing sponsorships at least annually to ensure that they remain acceptable in the current economy and business landscape.

Jane Brennan is a company lawyer with a strong interest in ethical business practices, governance, sponsorship and the arts

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