For Seminar Two of Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin, in partnership with Business to Arts, we had guest speakers Iseult Byrne & Rowena Neville of Dublin’s Culture Connects with Tanya Townsend, Sponsorship Manager, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, and Aoife Flynn, Head of Audiences and Development at IMMA. In the morning, the Dublin’s Culture Connects team discussed their longer-term focus on engaging new communities and local Councillors in the work of Dublin’s Culture Connects. We also had a master-class in consumer-brand sponsorship of the arts from Tanya and an introduction to arts marketing and fundraising at IMMA from Aoife.
Presentation 1: Tanya Townsend –Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards (BGESTAs)
Through her drive of the BGESTAs sponsorship, Tanya provided an overview of how:
- corporate sponsorship programmes & projects are developed
- sponsorship campaigns are activated
- the success of a sponsorship campaign is measured
Presentation 2: Aoife Flynn – IMMA 1000 Campaign
Through her role as both Head of Audiences and Development for IMMA, Aoife provided an overview of how
- How the IMMA 1000 campaign was conceived and implemented
- How IMMA researches potential sponsors and top tips for meeting sponsors
- How IMMA captures audience data, and how it is using that data in its marketing strategy?
Following the morning’s sessions, the Fellows had received a range of practical methods to engage, inform and get continued buy-in from funding/fundraising stakeholders.
See the full case study by Business to Arts on IMMA’s fundraising programme HERE
Practical Sessions : Understanding Strategic Plans & SWOTs
For the afternoon’s practical session we asked each of the Fellows to arrive with a good understanding of their organisation’s strategic plan and management accounts/financial reports. In general, we felt that strategic plans for arts organisations could be enhanced by:
- Providing an overview of Board members or the types of Board members that are sought for an arts organisation
- Greater analysis of the position in the arts sector of an arts organisation, including an analysis of its audiences, competitors and/or collaborators
- Incorporating a critical path or a greater clarity about the timeframe for achieving an arts organisation’s aims and objectives
- Articulating what (additional) resources are required to achieve sustainability
Each Fellow presented a comprehensive SWOT of their organisation and did a brilliant job at this. Some of our observations in relation to presenting SWOTS for arts organisations (generally) are:
- Do not forget about the type/calibre of ‘art’ made, produced or facilitated by an arts organisation when presenting a SWOT. It might be useful to consider separating an overall ‘organisational’ SWOT into three separate SWOTS for ‘artistic programming’, ‘marketing’ and ‘finance/operations’.
- Try not to place too much emphasis on any one area (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats) and try to identify if these are perceived or real SWOTs of your organisation
- While strengths and opportunities are common areas of focus in marketing and fundraising, potential funders and other stakeholders might be more interested in helping address/overcome weaknesses and threats.
The Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin programme is a partnership between Dublin’s Culture Connects and the New Stream Fundraising Capacity Building Project operated by Business to Arts. It offers part funding toward the employment of full-time fundraising or marketing & fundraising human resources contracted over a 24-month period and the recruited Fellows will take part in a structured programme of training and mentorship as part of the Fellowship.
 Bord Gáis Energy and IMMA have been identified as a leading a leading arts sponsor and a leading arts ‘rights-holder’ in the Business to Arts ‘Arts, Festival and Music Sponsorship – Summary Report (2015 & 2016)0