Three years ago I discovered that I loved fundraising for the arts. I had just finished my work experience with Business to Arts after an MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at UCD, and had started a new role as Fundraiser at the Irish Architecture Foundation. Due to circumstances my career path deviated for a few years after that, but I spend every moment trying to find my way back. When the Fundraising Fellowship was advertised, I was excited to see an opportunity to return to arts fundraising, particularly in a format where I could receive training while carrying out the role, and at the appropriate level for my experience (which is difficult to find).
After years of applying for similar roles, I was ecstatic to find that I had been offered a place on the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin as Marketing and Fundraising Executive for Fishamble: The New Play Company. Despite months of work permit issues, with the unrelenting support of Fishamble and Business to Arts I was able to begin this role.
In terms of the programme itself, the combination of presentations, feedback and external advice has helped focus our strategies. Being able to compare notes with the other Fellows has also been useful. Although challenging, the tight deadlines motivated me and my company to create strategies in a short amount of time, which has been hugely beneficial for pitching to potential sponsors and communicating a strong message as we begin our 30th year with an exciting programme and a major new play initiative A Play for Ireland.
The main challenge so far has definitely been time management. In my four months of working here, we have had a world premiere, toured productions, created a new website, and launched a 2018 programme with a major new initiative. As a person who has not worked in theatre previously, this was doubly challenging as I was only just starting to understand the mechanisms of this sector while creating and implementing new strategies. However some of the best things about working with Fishamble are their endless patience, humour and knowledge, how much they trust me with the work I want to do, and the encouragement and support I receive for every new step. Being able to get things done quickly, efficiently, and with the trust and support of an amazing team makes for very satisfying work. Having Business to Arts available to consult with has also helped shift from a planning stage to implementation in record time.
Now that new structures are in place, our next steps are to focus on implementing our Fundraising and Marketing plan, and look ahead to 2019 and 2020.
I am truly delighted to be part of the Fundraising Fellowship with Business to Arts and Dublin’s Culture Connects, and especially to work with a company as warm, wonderful and fearless as Fishamble. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.
By Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan
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.0