Jill Meredith is a Development and Communications Officer for Newham Music. East London Arts Fundraisers Network is a collaborative group of forward-thinking arts and cultural organisations that aim to find new ways to diversify funding and increase financial capacity to produce high-quality, innovative experiences that are accessible to the whole of East London. Supported by Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy’s Funding Network Projects 2017.
In January 2018 Newham Music and East London Dance invited fundraisers from arts organisations across East London for the inaugural training event of East London Arts Fundraisers (ELAF) network. The network was created as a platform for forward-thinking arts and cultural organisations to work collaboratively to diversify funding and increase financial capacity to produce high-quality, innovative experiences that would be accessible to the whole of East London. 26 individuals attended representing 22 organisations, two universities, and included one independent freelancer. We set out to address obstacles that all fundraisers face, regardless of experience: achieving success in fundraising, corporate sponsorship opportunities, and the upcoming changes to GDPR.
The first session, Corporate Sponsorship for Small Organisations, was led by the director of the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) Arts Sponsorship Certificate course, Peter Raymond. The session explored how to make sponsorship work for small organisations who might not have the capacity to manage relationships or have any previous experience with corporates. He focused on practical tips like how to research appropriate businesses that match your organisation’s ethos and mission, how to understand the assets you have at your disposal, and how to develop a sales strategy and sponsorship proposal.
Sarah Gee, Managing Partner from Indigo Cultural Consulting, presented How to be Fundraising Ready and Achieve Success which covered practical resources to utilise when considering funds to apply for, creating individual giving schemes and practising full-cost-recovery budgeting. The presentation included Project Prioritisation Matrix tools to compare rate of interest against societal impact as well as internal impact against societal impact, providing examples of where projects would fall and where funders like to see their projects on the matrices.
Sarah also led the final session of the day: The Joy of GDPR. Many attendees arrived feeling apprehensive and downright confused about upcoming changes to the Data Protection Act and what they would need to do to be compliant with the GDPR of May 2018. Sarah led us through key changes from 1998 Data Protection Act and the main bases of lawful data processing, or reasoning as to why a company would need to hold and/or process data on individuals. She talked us through the Seven ‘Golden Rules’:
- Only use or process data if we really need to
- Don’t hold data longer than is necessary
- Don’t hold and sensitive data unless there is an enhanced business need, you have explicit consent, and the data is deleted immediately after use.
- Don’t store or transfer data outside the EEA
- Have appropriate security measures in place to protect the data, and recover plans should that fail
- Carefully select any suppliers who process data on your behalf and have clear contracts and agreements to hold them to the same standards and principles
- Commit to reviewing data and practices regularly
Following the training day, 20 organisations received individual, personalised consultations with Peter Raymond for themselves and up to two other members of staff. Feedback from these sessions has been positive, with network members reporting feeling more confident in their next steps to securing corporate sponsorship including what type of organisations to approach, what assets from the organisation would be best suited to offer a corporate partner, and how to approach potential partners and make an ask.
Moving forward, ELAF looks to stay connected, providing opportunities for training, networking, and knowledge sharing to all participating organisations. All participants showed interest in staying involved in the network, giving overwhelmingly positive feedback about the first day of training and ideas into the future. As reflected in comments made throughout the day by attendees, open communication with sector peers and potential partners is extremely helpful yet hard to come by when you work in a team of one. We are currently exploring options to create a shared online forum to facilitate a more accessible platform for these discussions and sharing. We are currently working to provide a training session in early June utilising coaching training to help fundraisers have more confidence when making ambitious asks. Newham Music and East London Dance are committed to continue developing the skills of fundraisers across East London to enable widespread access to educational, transformational arts projects.
If you would like to take part in future East London Arts Fundraisers events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.