Catalyst Evaluation Year Two

Catalyst Evaluation Year Two

By BOP Consulting


Find out more about Arts Council England's Catalyst programme - designed to help arts organisations increase private giving - in this second evaluation report, which covers the entire programme.

Report 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 build the capacity and ability to fundraise, so they can access more funding from private sources and eventually further diversify their revenue sources. This is in line with Arts Council England’s long term ambition to support organisational resilience in the cultural sector. The evaluation is longitudinal and set to run until November 2016. This year 2 report is the second 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. 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 increasing arts organisations’ resilience


As with year 1 of the evaluation, the second year has utilised a mixed method approach to understanding the degree to which Catalyst has met its objectives. This report includes wholly new areas of work.

  • The analysis of Arts Council England management data for tiers 1 and 2. Although tier 3 is not included in the data set (as it contains no data on private giving), tiers 1 and 2 cover £60.5 million of the planned total £68 million Catalyst arts funding. It is also the most complete and consistent data set that is available to the evaluation in trying to assess how much private money has been raised through the Catalyst scheme and by whom.
  • The inclusion of tier 1 organisations in the qualitative research – individual interviews were undertaken with all 18 tier 1 beneficiaries (x3 are included here as case studies).
  • The inclusion of a small number of comparators with in the arts that did not receive Catalyst funding – four interviews were undertaken with arts organisations that were unsuccessful in their Catalyst bids, covering all three tiers.

These tasks are in addition to widening and deepening research with organisations in tiers 2 and 3, gained from:

  • a second round of case studies – some of them re-visiting organisations from year 1 (x3), and some entirely new (x7), with more emphasis on the experience of the smaller organisations involved in tier 3
  • material gained on the ground and through subsequent structured feedback from the two learning events that BOP ran in February 2015 to facilitate peer-to-peer learning amongst Catalyst beneficiaries. These events were attended by a just over 100 different arts organisations in total
  • consulting with a further small group of donors who had given toCatalyst campaigns.

Each task has delivered either fresh insight, or a deeper and more nuanced perspective on the year 1 findings.

Download the report to read more

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Catalyst Fundraising Philanthropy
Resource type: Research | Published: 2016