What the arts needs now…….irrigation!

By Amanda Rigali on

Peter Raymond image for blog postWe all like a good saying. It can amuse, inspire or motivate. For a couple of years now I’ve been sitting at my desk with the mantra ‘The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts’ placed strategically on my wall in my immediate line of sight. Since freeing myself from the corporate world of marketing and becoming a consultant I’ve slowly evolved into an ‘educator’. To avoid confusion I don’t take lessons, mark homework or inhabit a staff room. I irrigate deserts.

My latest irrigation is for the benefit of one of my passions, the arts. Having established the much lauded (not my words!) ESA (European Sponsorship Association) Diploma, a 4 year-old distance learning course for those that wish to guarantee a successful career in sponsorship and/or sports marketing (which by the end of this year will have graduated over 200 students), I wanted to use some of the best material, push the boundaries and make a difference. Not because I’m an egomaniac, but because it has become abundantly clear that the Diploma (however wonderful it is) is not conquering the desert, hitherto known as arts and culture. After all, the Diploma was created for those wishing to make a career in sponsorship, the vast majority of whom will conduct a relationship with sport. Sport is not the arts and never will be.

Having spent many years, before the creation of the Diploma, inventing and finessing sponsorships for the arts I became obsessed with its (often under-estimated) enormous creative potential. I also became aware that there are many in the arts and cultural sector that just don’t get sponsorship. This has a serious consequence. It deprives the arts of much-needed additional revenue that is definitely available to it due to a lack of commercial knowledge and acumen. The corporate world is increasingly looking out for cutting-edge initiatives to make its businesses and brands stand out in our ever-increasing commercial jungle. Arts and culture have access to very specific target markets that businesses are desperate to reach. The arts also have the potential to offer very creative solutions which can form the bedrock to such partnerships. The only things holding back this nexus are a lack of imagination, confidence and commitment.

Hence the brand new ESA Arts Sponsorship Certificate…………

This is not another course all about fundraising. It is a course that will help you to understand everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sponsorship and how to apply it into your marketing plans with much more chance of success. I sincerely believe that any arts and cultural organisation that does not have someone who is able to unlock additional revenue streams through the power of sponsorship is really missing a trick.

So, if you have a cultural oasis that needs irrigating, the Certificate (a 3-month distance learning qualification incorporating assessed learning and monthly seminars to aid learning from some of the industry’s most experienced practitioners) starts on September 21st…….


If you’d like to learn more about the course please feel free to attend our Taster event in central London on Monday, September 7th (4.30-6.00pm).



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.

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