Arts Fundraising Fellows – Learning the Lessons

Arts Fundraising Fellows – Learning the Lessons


Our Arts Fellowships are proving to be a popular element of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme. Many arts organisations across the UK have expressed an interest in hosting a Fellow, and people already working in the arts are really keen to hear more about the training opportunities we’re offering to Fellows. The Fellowship has clearly met a strong need in the arts sector for the recruitment and retention of more ambitious, talented and entrepreneurially-minded people in arts fundraising.

We were delighted to recently be able to recruit four new Arts Fundraising Fellows in the South West of England, with support from Arts Council England and the University of Exeter, to work alongside the Cause4 fellows and those placed in the North as part of the Dare initiative in partnership with the University of Leeds.

Our four Fellows: Matt Ashdown, Miriam Battye, Georgina Brown and Robin Peters, took up their roles in December 2013 and have already undertaken a number of intensive training sessions.

We were keen for the Fellows to be placed in host arts organisations which were geographically and artistically distinct, and so are working with Hall for Cornwall in Truro, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival and Circomedia in Bristol.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is one of the host organisations for the Arts Fundraising Fellows.

We can already begin to see the impact that the Fellowship programme is having, on the individual Fellows, their host organisations, and the arts as a whole. I’d summarise the key points coming through as follows:

  • The Fellows are benefitting greatly from having access to a bespoke training programme which they can immediately utilise in their work for their host organisations. They can also draw upon the support of specialist Cause4 staff, and of each other – they are forming powerful action learning networks which we hope will last through their careers. However, fundraising success only comes through practice – no amount of theoretical application–writing will prepare someone for having to raise funds for an international exhibition which is about to premiere at their organisation in six months’ time.
  • The host organisations are able to work with an ambitious individual who is determined to make a difference during their year with the organisation. The Fellow is not merely an additional fundraising staff resource; they bring into their organisation new ideas, up-to-date knowledge, contacts and support through their training, working with other Fellows, and working with Cause4 and Dare staff. The Fellows are interested in seeking out new opportunities and doing things slightly differently, which is exactly what the host organisations were hoping for from the programme.
  • The wider arts sector is also beginning to reap the benefits of this programme with host organisations being challenged to think about how fundraising and income generation should be at the heart of all arts business planning and how to use their Fellow placement. As a result of this, we believe that the amount of funds raised for the arts through contributed income sources will increase.

We’re looking forward to beginning work on our second year of Arts Fundraising Fellows soon. If you are interested in becoming a Fellow, or are an arts organisation who would like to host a Fellow, please contact us.

You can follow our Fellows’ progress through their regular blog posts, and also follow them on Twitter via @artsfundraising.