Harnessing support for fundraisers. Blog: Rosario Bellolio


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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 in 2018 the Institute of Fundraising 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.

We’re working in partnership with the IoF’s volunteer-led group network including the culture sector network, blackfundraisers UK (BFUK), sole fundraisers, IoF regional groups and young arts fundraisers. Together we’re delivering a programme that includes networking events, peer-learning opportunities, access to onward education opportunities, and mentoring. The latter launched in early February 2019 – the year-long mentoring schemematching early career fundraisers with senior or director level development professionals from a wide range of organisations in the arts and cultural sector across England. The application window is open and we welcome entries from art sector professionals from across England to apply for either mentor or mentee roles.

Mentor applications are open from 6 February 2019 and close on 1 March 2019. Mentee applications are open from 12 March 2019 and close on 3 April 2019.


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.

Read more about the RAISE: Arts, Culture & Heritage programme

Apply for the 2019/20 RAISE mentoring programme.


RAISE: Arts, Culture & Heritage is the national rollout of the Institute of Fundraising Culture Sector Network, funded by the Arts Council England. The 4-year programme aims to support arts and cultural fundraisers based in England through peer to peer learning, bursaries opportunities, networking events and access to onward education.

Led by the Institute of Fundraising, RAISE was founded to support professional development across England, fly the flag for the charitable case for culture, empower arts and cultural sector fundraisers to achieve higher levels of fundraising practice, and to support the drive for greater inclusivity, diversity and representation within the sector. www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/raise


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