I applied to be a fundraising fellow because I worked in fundraising before and I’ve seen the impact that it can have on arts organisations. This seemed like a really good stepping stone for me to be able to develop my skills and broaden my knowledge in the area. I applied to be a fellow because I’d worked in the arts for a number of years in box office and front of house roles and I could see the impact that cuts were having (like more expensive ticket prices). I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to help these big organisations, and the smaller ones, to keep delivering on their impact. One thing I’ve found most valuable and attractive about the fellowship is the professional development. It’s been absolutely exceptional. We’ve had some really high-level trainers across the voluntary and arts sector come to train us and talk about different areas of fundraising. So it’s really given us the whole 360 degree insight into what it takes to fundraise and what personal skills are needed. One of my proudest achievements of the fellowship: In my very first week at Sage Gateshead I helped to write a trust and foundation report for a community music project that’s run there. It unlocked another another £5000 funding for the project. Just the feeling of contributing to something like that, it was amazing. The Fellowship is preparing me for a career in fundraising through an intensive program of training. We’re covering all aspects of fundraising so we can really get a chance to taste everything and see what we like the most. Practical experience at our host
organisations is probably the most valuable resource we have. We can try everything, we can see how it works in a real-life situation and we can take that to our jobs beyond the fellowship. There are so many different skills which I now I know you need to be able to apply for fundraising. I’m getting to work in just about every area fundraising that there is whether it’s events, trusts and foundations or corporate support. I’m getting a grounding in every different aspect of arts fundraising. One of the projects I’ve been working on
is Individual Giving at Tate Liverpool. They have quite an underdeveloped individual giving scheme so I’ve been doing a lot of research and database analysis into what kind of individuals have supported in the past and who we could go to in the future to raise funds. We’ve got a cultivation event coming up which I’ve initiated where we’ve invited a number of the people I’ve identified through prospect research with the aim of recruiting a few new patrons. One thing I’ve found suprisingly different to my expectations of the fellowship has been my experience of corporate fundraising. I see now that actually, it’s not just about engaging one or two corporate companies. It’s actually about engaging the whole civic and business communities in a city and engaging them with the narrative and story or your organisation. The advice I would give to future Fellows is to grasp every opportunity you possibly can. You’re introduced to new people all the time and these are people you can keep in touch with through the rest of your career. So if you’re serious about it I would snap every opportunity, follow up everyone you meet with an email and just try and keep the links and contacts there. Advice I’d give to future Fellows would be to listen to everything that’s said around you, people at your organisation, at training and donors. There’s some great tips you can pick up from people so really absorb everything throughout the year. But also bring your own ideas to the table. Don’t be afraid to suggest things because they might just be taken up and taken further.