In October 2012, the Arts Council took an important step towards establishing a revitalised culture of private giving to the arts in Ireland. The RAISE initiative was launched to build capacity for arts organisations to fundraise effectively. The project is designed to offer organisations tools, skills and resources to significantly increase the investment they secure from private sources.
Building capacity to fundraise for an arts organisation requires both a developed plan and a dedicated resource in the form of a fundraiser to make the ‘ask’. The RAISE programme, built on this premise, has involved two phases; an intervention for six large organisations (annual turnover over €800,000) and five medium organisations (annual turnover between €300,000 and €800,000).
RAISE I - Large Organisations
In June 2012, the first phase of the fundraising capacity building award was offered to organisations that sought to fundraise circa €250,000 of private investment per annum and satisfied outlined criteria based on management, governance and artistic standards.
The Royal Hibernian Academy, Na Piobairi Uileann, Galway Arts Festival, Chamber Choir Ireland, Wexford Festival Opera and the Irish Film Institute have undergone a one-to-one consulting process with service deliverers 2into3 to develop a fundraising strategy. Throughout this process the organisations have:
- Identified their fundraising target over a three year period relative to the artistic plans and vision of the organisation;
- Established fundraising targets for philanthropic income and sponsorship;
- Received a prospect research report from Prospect23 following a name generation exercise and/or a wealth screening of the organisation’s database;
- Established a case for support framework for their fundraising activity
As part of the award, 50% of the fundraiser’s salary is covered by the Arts Council for a two-year period. A recruitment process was run by 2into3 for each organisation and resulted in the hire of five senior fundraisers and one mid-level fundraiser.
RAISE II - Medium Organisations
In June 2013, a tailored fundraising capacity building award was offered to medium sized organisations following a rigorous selection process based on similar criteria to RAISE I. The scale of fundraising target for the RAISE II organisations was over €100,000 per annum.
The professional support offered to awardees was 2into3’s group consulting series. The programme was delivered over a series of eight workshops every two weeks in the Arthur Guinness Business Centre and attended by the CEO/senior management and a Board member of the five selected organisations. The successful awardees were the Irish Architecture Foundation, the Association of Irish Choirs, Kinsale Arts Festival, Ouroborous Theatre and the Hawk’s Well Theatre.
The award offered organisations the recruitment, mentoring and 50% of the salary of an art fundraising intern for nine months, with the expectation of each converting to an entry level fundraiser for a further 15 months. The five selected interns have a mix of arts and commercial backgrounds and joined the programme during the workshop series to assist with the development of their respective fundraising plans. Each intern is now placed with their organisation and the implementation of their fundraising plans is underway.
Recording the Lessons from RAISE
Learning from the experience of RAISE organisations is an important element of the programme. Monitoring will take place over the next two year period to record the fundraising activity and private investment levels of participating organisations, as they embark on their fundraising plans to reach their financial and ultimately artistic goals.