Catalyst Evaluation Year One

Catalyst Evaluation Year One

By BOP Consulting


Gain insight into Arts Council England's Catalyst programme designed to help arts organisations diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources.

Executive Summary

In April 2014, BOP Consulting was commissioned by Arts Council England to undertake the evaluation of their Catalyst programme. Catalyst is a £68 million culture sector-wide private giving investment scheme aimed at helping arts organisations diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources. The evaluation is longitudinal and set to run until November 2016. This report is the first published output from the evaluation.

Background and aims of the programme

Fundraising from private sources, philanthropy and endowments has long been understood as an important income-raising approach in the American arts and cultural sector and in other UK charity sectors. However, awareness of this has only relatively recently gained traction within the English arts and cultural sector. For Arts Council England, the Catalyst scheme represents one of the key measures that it is putting in place to 'help create a more sustainable, resilient and innovative arts sector'.

The programme consists of three 'Tiers', each with differing processes and emphases, and aimed at organisations with differing levels of existing practice and expertise in engaging in philanthropy and fundraising. This first part of the evaluation only covers Tier 2 (Capacity Building and Match Funding) and Tier 3 (Building Fundraising Capacity only). Tier 1 (Endowments) will be included in the remaining tasks of the evaluation.

The Arts Council England Catalyst programme aims to:

  • build the capacity and ability of arts organisations to fundraise
  • incentivise giving to the arts, particularly from new donors
  • support a long-term culture change/shift in arts organisations towards fundraising
  • contribute to an increase in the diversification of income sources, thereby increase arts organisations' resilience


The evaluation takes a mixed method approach. The substantive research contained in this report has been generated from:

  • interviews with stakeholders - covering the sponsoring government department, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and representatives from related and parallel programmes currently being run in the arts and heritage sectors
  • literature review - an overview of arts philanthropy in the UK: the current landscape of private investment, and the barriers and enablers to fundraising in the arts
  • in-depth interviews with 12 donors - covering a range of different trusts and foundations, both arts specific and more generalist, as well as High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs)
  • case studies with Catalyst recipients - 13 organisations from Tier 2 (x9) and Tier 3 (x4) were chosen to investigate qualitatively if (and how) Catalyst-supported projects have brought about change in organisations' strategies, processes and finances
  • A detailed online survey of 143 Tier 2 and Tier 3 Catalyst recipients - to identify what arts activities and purposes organisations have put their Catalyst funds towards, and to quantitatively investigate the outcomes to date of Catalyst

Wider context

Landscape of private investment in the arts in the UK

According to the latest Arts & Business survey, private funding totalled £660.5 million in the cultural sector in 2011/12. Of this, individual giving accounted for 57 per cent, trusts and foundations 26 per cent, and business investments (both giving and sponsorship) accounted for 17 per cent.

Download the report to read more

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Catalyst Fundraising Philanthropy
Resource type: Research | Published: 2016