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Seminar 2: Getting to Know Your Organisation!

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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.[1] 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.

[1] 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)

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