The idea for the Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole Fundraisers’ Network was the result of several arts fundraisers in the area meeting and realising it was for the first time. Dorset has a really successful collaboration of arts organisations across the county called Dorset Arts Trust, but it’s usually attended by directors, programmers and education officers – the meetings are rarely relevant for fundraisers. Therefore this group is a way to meet others, share resources, spark collaborations, and strengthen arts fundraising in Dorset.
There are also already discussions about saving money by sharing joint subscriptions or posts. Few organisations in Dorset have dedicated fundraising posts, so the network offers an opportunity for training, giving people time to be more ambitious (rather than focusing on the day to day) and bringing fundraising to the fore. This network comes from a strong background of collaboration between organisations and an understanding that by working together we can achieve more.
For the second meeting, the network would like to bring in a speaker who can inspire and get people excited about fundraising.
Dorset has a successful history of collaboration and partnership working e.g. collaborative projects such as b-roads (http://b-side.org.uk/opportunities/b-roads-youth-employment-programme), a county-wide collaborative audience development plan, a cultural tourism action plan, and shared programming and education officer roles between venues.
However, fundraising is decidedly lagging behind – organisations report that they lack the capacity and knowledge to try new things so they stick to trusts and foundations applications as a more safe route. Having two hours as a network committed to thinking about fundraising raises the possibility of being more ambitious and thinking beyond the day-to-day.