Knowledge Centre Blog

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. 

Fundraising Fellowship Ireland – Year 1 Thoughts From Aoibhie McCarthy, Marketing & Development Officer, Cork Film Festival

May 16, 2019 9:50 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe

Cork Film Festival (CFF) is Ireland’s first and largest film festival, a local, national and international celebration of cinema, in Cork each November. The 63rd edition in 2018 successfully presented 400+ events and screenings of the latest and best Irish and international titles, over 10 days. We welcomed 18,000+ film lovers, a 22% increase in visitor engagement. Cork is where filmmakers want their work to be seen- we received 3,600+ film submissions from across the globe and a further 1,000 were viewed and curated by our expert team, to present the very best in world cinema. The programme elicited an overwhelmingly positive response from the public, media and film sector and was universally recognised as a world class offering, representing a palpable step change for CFF. As one of our attendees put it, “this was by far the biggest, boldest and best festival to date!”.

The focus of Year 1 of the Fellowship has been this successful delivery of the first stage of our ambitious three year plan, a development roadmap for sustainable growth. As I enter Year 2, CFF is expanding programmatically, geographically and demographically to meet the demonstrable need for quality cultural cinema in Cork and Munster year-round. With the support of Business to Arts, we are seeking partners who match our ambition. 

The 64th edition will expand to 11 days, from the 7th – 17th November 2019. Premieres of significant international titles are planned for two high-impact Opening and Closing Galas, bookending 120+ feature films, for which CFF seeks Gala and Presenting Partners. We will present 9 Awards to filmmakers, 3 of which are Oscar®-qualifying. Award Partners are sought to support excellence in short filmmaking through our Oscar®-qualifying Grand Prix International Short and new Grand Prix Documentary Short Awards.

CFF supports future filmmakers and nurtures future film audiences. We offer an extensive Schools Programme, attendance at which more than doubled in 2018. CFF seeks a Schools Programme Partner to support its expansion from 4 days to 2 weeks, to meet growing demand from Secondary Schools and to include Primary Schools. Our Family Programme enables children (and grown-ups!) to enjoy stories told by the world’s greatest storytellers on film. CFF invites a Family Programme Partner to join us in inspiring the next generation.

As we look to the future, we celebrate our illustrious past through our archives of 64 years collated material, which tracks not only the history of the Festival, founded in the 1950′s alongside Cannes, but offers insights into the development of modern film. In 2018, we partnered with UCC to digitise our collection and we now seek an Archive Partner to make this unique resource publicly available in 2020, to mark our 65th anniversary.

If you would like to learn more about how you can partner with CFF please contact me at or at 021 4271711 / 0863509668.

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

Fundraising Fellowship Ireland – Year 1 Thoughts from John Mc Evoy, Development & Marketing, Druid, Galway

May 14, 2019 10:07 am

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabe

I am now almost 12 months into the two-year Fundraising Fellowship Ireland programme. In that time Druid’s fundraising and development activities have developed a more focussed and nuanced approach to everything from prospecting, qualifying and cultivating potential supporters to the stewardship of and communication with, existing Corporate Supporters and Druid Friends.

The Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland programme has been instrumental in helping me develop a more strategic approach to all of Druid’s development activities in both Ireland and abroad. The regular seminars provide a great grounding and understanding of the more important aspects of fundraising. During the next stage, ongoing engagement with experienced mentors will greatly assist in putting everything into practice.

Over the course of the past 12 months, Druid’s focus has been primarily to:

  • Implement processes and procedures to streamline a rigorous approach to all fundraising undertakings from CRM systems to marketing materials and on-line engagement
  • Foster an appreciation of the value and importance of development for future sustainability at all levels throughout the organisation; introduce a range of support and sponsorship opportunities for both individual and corporate supporters with deliverable impact outcomes and tangible benefits at all levels
  • Initiate long term support opportunities for specific projects identified as key to helping Druid achieve its long term ambitions as we build towards our 50th anniversary in 2025

Although there is still much to do in this regard much has been achieved. Druid’s development income in Ireland increased more than 3-fold from 2017 to 2018. Over the past 12-15 months Druid has greatly increased its engagement with businesses and corporates not just in Galway, but throughout Ireland. In that time, we have welcomed on board almost 30 new business and corporate supporters who support Druid as Corporate members at levels from €1,000 to €10,000.

The next step is to engage with corporates who are interested in 3-5 years partnerships in key areas of activity such as New Writing, Irish and International Touring and the Druid Ensemble. We are also further developing the Druid Friends programme as well as initiatives for Transformational Partners interested in supporting at a more sustained and involved level. As part of our international touring we have also significantly developed our International Friends of Druid programme with a renewed focus on international fundraising – specifically in the US.

Druid is now resolutely on the path to developing meaningful partnerships with individuals, businesses and corporates interested in supporting our long-term ambitions. As a multi award-winning national and international theatre touring company, supporting Druid enables us to: continue to develop ambitious, memorable and original theatre; bring first-class professional theatre to communities throughout Ireland; tour the best Irish theatre and theatre artists to prestigious international venues and festivals; nurture the next generation of Irish theatre talent and showcase their work to larger and more diverse audiences at home and abroad; act as a cultural ambassador for Ireland, bringing Ireland’s rich theatrical heritage to new generations and new audiences.

Come on board and be part of this success and ambition. For more information on how your business or corporate can benefit from partnering with one of Ireland’s leading cultural brands please contact me on | 087 7019627 or check out the various corporate support opportunities on our website.

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

Fundraising Fellows Complete Two-Year Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin Programme With Business To Arts & Dublin City Council Culture Company Raising Over €580,000 Attributed To Three Fundraisers

February 9, 2019 12:08 pm


Fundraising Fellows Muriel Foxton (Marketing & Fundraising Executive, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios); Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan (Marketing & Fundraising Executive, Fishamble: The New Play Company); and Anna McCarthy (Development Manager, Helium Arts) with Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts, and Iseult Byrne, Interim CEO, Dublin City Council Culture Company, at 14 Henrietta Street. Photo: Conor McCabe

Fundraising Fellows Anna McCarthy (Development Manager, Helium); Muriel Foxton (Marketing & Fundraising Executive, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios); and Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan (Marketing & Fundraising Executive, Fishamble: The New Play Company) have graduated from the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme. The programme, which is a joint programme created by Business to Arts and Dublin City Council Culture Company (formerly Dublin’s Culture Connects) aims to develop the pool of fundraising expertise in Dublin-city based cultural organisations. The graduation was held at 14 Henrietta Street.

As part of the 24-month Fundraising Fellowship Dublin programme, the Fellows worked in a fundraising or marketing & fundraising role within an arts organisation. The programme saw 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, Dublin City Council Culture Company and industry experts, to build capacity and to diversify revenue streams. As part of this, leading Irish and international experts offered masterclasses to develop knowledge and understanding, offering practical and real life expertise. The Fellows also worked with Calcutta Run, Common Ground, Dublin Cycling and 100 Archive imparting their expertise to these organisations, thus increasing the reach of the programme to community organisations in Dublin city.

The Fellows have raised a combined €580,000 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:

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive of Business to Artsstates:

“This two-year programme has enabled Business to Arts and Dublin City Council Culture Company to provide an intensive programme of training and support to four arts organisations. It has enabled each organisation to implement their long-term fundraising and marketing strategies. Each Fellow has secured additional funding for their organisation and we are very proud of their achievements to date. Having a dedicated human resource who is focused on building partnerships and new relationships is critical for organisations who want to develop their fundraising potential and invest in their capacity”

At the graduation, Iseult Byrne, Interim CEO, Dublin City Council Culture Company said:

“Capacity building is a core value of Dublin City Council Culture Company (and its predecessor Dublin’s Culture Connects) so we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work in partnership with Business to Arts on developing this programme. Not only has the Fundraising Fellowship Dublin resulted in additional funds raised for the organisations involved, but more importantly, it has invested in developing and sharing a skillset that will impact positively on cultural and community organisations long after the programme has ended. We look forward to following the careers of the Fellows in to the future and wish Business to Arts every success as they grow this initial Dublin programme in to a national Fundraising Fellowship project.”

Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland – Thoughts From Aoibhie McCarthy, Marketing & Development Officer, Cork Film Festival

December 4, 2018 2:20 pm

Business to Arts Picture Conor McCabeCork Film Festival is Ireland’s first and largest film festival, a local, national and international celebration of cinema taking place over 10 days in venues throughout Cork. I joined Cork Film Festival in June 2018 in the new Marketing and Development Officer role, made possible through the Fundraising Fellowship. Having worked in multidisciplinary arts organisations in Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and Galway, I was excited at the prospect of joining one of the longest established festivals in Ireland which, after a period of renewal and refresh, was entering an ambitious new phase in its development, building towards its 65th anniversary in 2020 and the goal of making Cork the destination of choice for great storytelling on film.

The 63rd Cork Film Festival took place from the 9th-18th of November and welcomed over 18,000 attendees, representing a 22% increase in audience engagement on the previous year. There is a clear and demonstrable appetite for excellent cultural cinema in Cork and Cork Film Festival has sought to meet this need by focussing on presenting a top quality international artistic programme, expanding its impact with year-round activity, and growing its reach geographically to host film events in Cork County, as well as the City and, ultimately regionally. The challenge for Cork Film Festival as we look to grow with our audiences and offer filmmakers a wider platform for their work, is to identify partners who will support and match our ambition and the Business to Arts Fundraising Fellowship offers us the opportunity to meet this challenge by refining our unique cultural offering to attract further public, corporate and philanthropic partners.

The Fundraising Fellowship Ireland programme of monthly seminars began in June, offering expert insights and tailored guidance in meeting the challenges and maximising the opportunities for Cork Film Festival. It also offered the opportunity to share knowledge with two fellows from Ireland’s longest established arts organisations, Druid Theatre Company and Dublin Theatre Festival. The Fundraising Fellowship has offered us access to a unique network of regional arts development executives with whom we can pool knowledge, share advice and pitfalls. Business to Arts have invited guest speakers to each of our seminars to offer us the benefit of their expertise and insights, in different sectors and regions, to inform our approach to building a compelling case for corporate support for our organisations. Invited guest speakers have included Tracey Keogh, Innovation Community Manager, Bank of Ireland, Fiona Keys, Senior Employee Communication Specialist, Medtronic, Eamonn Carroll, Membership Relationship Manager, RDS and Eoin Gunn, Head of Business Banking, AIB.

Early stage successes of the Fellowship have included new corporate members of the Festival in 2018, including Irish Rail who have joined us as presenting partners of our Illuminate Mental Health Film Programme, for which we have also secured additional funding of €35,000 from Creative Ireland’s National Creativity Fund to expand this programme to young people in Munster in 2019/2020. The Fundraising Fellowship has enabled the Festival to dedicate resources to deepening and enriching our longstanding partnerships and to explore opportunities for new areas of synergy with our business supporters.

Aoibhie McCarthy

Marketing & Development Officer

Linked in

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

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