Funding cuts and an uncertain economic landscape are challenges familiar to every small charitable organisation but, similar to those within the wider sector, arts, culture and heritage fundraisers continue to demonstrate a great capacity for resilience. Arts focussed organisations offer great examples of how creativity, flexibility and strong belief in the cause are vital to help ensure success in tough times, but we need to work more closely together.
While working as a fundraiser in small arts charities, I have experienced the challenges that small organisations face on daily basis such as relying on project-based income and the lack of staff resource dedicated to fundraising. Fundraising expertise, working with volunteers and confidence levels connected to asking for money are issues I see shared with the wider sector.
Within the arts, a particular challenge is that individuals with creative leadership roles have to juggle operational matters alongside creative direction. Another challenge is raising awareness of the actual and very real need for a charitable case for culture. Reduced time on the artistic development can lead to internal and external tensions, fundraising activities may not always be a preferred first choice and sparks of inspiration and energy are welcomed.
In this context, it’s vital for all small charities to harness the support and knowledge available in the sector. That’s why the Institute of Fundraising have launched a new programme ‘RAISE: Arts, Culture & Heritage’ with support from the Arts Council England.
The four-year programme is supporting organisations and individuals that raise funds within the arts, cultural and heritage sector in England. In recognition of the vital role small organisations play, RAISE activities have a particular focus on supporting individuals working within small charities. We are also working specifically to support sole fundraisers and to help towards increasing access and diversity offering early career fundraisers and those that self-identify as BAME opportunities to engage with us through our activities, which include bursaries and running events outside Great London.
Working in partnership with the IoF’s volunteer-led group network including the culture sector network, blackfundraisers UK, sole fundraisers, IoF regional groups and young arts fundraisers, the programme includes networking events, peer-learning opportunities, mentoring and access to onward education opportunities.
We’re not helping organisations to survive, but to thrive
A strong and financially sustainable cultural sector creates a society in which all can flourish, with all the economic and social benefits that the cultural industries provide. Working with the Arts Council, the Institute of Fundraising are committed to helping spread the word that #culturematters.
Small Charity Week is a great opportunity to celebrate arts, culture and heritage organisations and the important work they do to build a healthier, fair and empowered society, AND to raise the charitable case for the arts, culture and heritage.
Civil Society Media would like to thank the Institute of Fundraising for their support with this article.
Rosario Bellolio is programme coordinator for the RAISE at the Institute of Fundraising. Her background is in the cultural sector in Chile and the UK, and she holds an MA in Arts and Cultural Management at Kings College London.