Arts fundraising training – the fundamentals

By Amanda Rigali on

Amanda-150We’re now shaping the kinds of training we’ll offer within the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme.  There will be training opportunities for people across the arts sector, at all stages of their careers, from our graduate Fellowships programme through to Governance training sessions for Chairs of Trustees and CEOs.

We sent out a short Arts Fundraising Training Questionnaire over summer to gather people’s views on the kinds of arts fundraising training they’ve previously had, and what they’d like to have in the future.  We had hundreds of responses, with lots of people taking the time to contribute detailed points.  We’d like to thank all of those who responded, and will soon be announcing the lucky winners of an iPad Mini and iTunes vouchers!

We’re going to spend some time to analyse the findings, but there are already some clear themes coming through which will be the bedrock of our training programme.  Unsurprisingly, a number of these findings mirror those in the Report on Social Enterprise Training in the UK for the School for Social Entrepreneurs:

We can provide the training, but attendees need to give their time and some financial resources:

Almost a quarter of respondents had never undertaking arts fundraising training; a further quarter had had no training in the past year.  This is at a time when the nature of arts income generation has been changing pretty fundamentally.  The Social Enterprise Training Report suggests that this mainly due to lack of time, but also about people under-valuing the true cost of training.  Whilst all of our training will be subsidised, it won’t be free – we expect participants to make some time and financial commitment to the programme.

Go light on theory, heavy on practice:

Those who had attended training courses often talked about the value of its practical application.  Participants want tools that they can apply directly to their work the next day.  The Social Enterprise Training Report echoes this, with people wanting to hear from ‘expert practitioners’ who can offer grounded, practical advice and guidance.

Arts fundraisers are keen for any training to have practical applications for their line of work, especially with the new challenges of sustainable income generation.

Arts fundraisers are keen for any training to have practical applications for their line of work, especially with the new challenges of sustainable income generation.

It’s all about communication:

Fundraising and income generation are fundamentally about selling your work to a range of people.  Arts professionals have got used to managing relationships with a set clientele over a period of time, and now realise that they have to reach out to different people in new ways, which can be daunting.  They want to know how to cultivate new donor relationships, explore new networks and refresh the way they talk about their work.

It’s lonely out there … :

Fundraising and income generation are challenging areas to work in, and people working in this field often feel unsupported – whether they are a freelancer or part of an organisation.  Respondents often talked about the need to increase their own confidence, to have the opportunity to network with people facing similar issues, and to learn about new ideas and different ways of working.  We’re going to ensure we offer lots of opportunities for networking, but at live events and also via digital platforms.

We’d welcome your views, is the above what you expected?

For news on our training programme as it develops, follow us @artsfundraising.

Posted by Amanda Rigali

Amanda is Director of Strategic Development at Cause4, and Head of the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme. As well as running the Programme, Amanda runs fundraising training sessions for cultural professionals across England and offers intensive strategy support to a range of charities.