ITC’s annual conference on Wednesday marked the launch of the ‘Fundraising Forum’ a quarterly free peer support session for Chief Executives, theatre companies, and professional Fundraisers to share knowledge and skills, access expert advice and keep up to date with developments in the performing arts.
Marking the beginning of dialogues that will happen throughout the year, between producers, theatre companies and funding bodies, the conference opened up new potentials for peer learning, generous sharing, as well as recognition of the excellent resourcefulness and creative approaches to fundraising in the independent theatre sector. The holistic nature of fundraising was explored, with much emphasis being placed on the need for artists to be engaged as equal partners and funders not to be treated, in the words of Moira Sinclair of Paul Hamlyn ‘as cash cows’. Clear articulation, collaboration and honest discussion between funders, artists and boards are essential to enable the sector to carry out it’s important vision and promote social change.
Prior to the launch of the forums and conference ITC carried out a survey to gain further insight into the sector’s fundraising experiences. From the research the key findings were:
- 93% of the Independent Theatre Sector rely to some extent of fundraising activities to generate income for their companies.
- The Arts Council England/Wales/ Creative Scotland remains the core frontline funders of actual art production with 63% using Arts Councils project funding and 25% of ITC members consisting of NPOs/RPOs.
- The most prevalent trusts and foundations that respondents engaged with were Esmee Fairbain, City Bridge, Heritage Lottery Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
- Other trusts and foundations referred to included; The Backstage Trust, Garfield Western Foundation, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, John Thaw Foundation, Ragdoll Foundation, True Colours Trust, Tudor Trust, Ashden Trust, Creative Europe and Green Leader.
- Other fundraising activities/sources referred to were Fundraising Events (33%), and Corporate Sponsorship (27%). 22% of respondents raise funds through their Boards/ Trustees whilst only 14% target high net worth individuals.
- Over half the respondents said that their most positive funding relationship to date was with Arts Council England with a further 5% citing Arts Council Wales.
The research to date is a snapshot of the landscape of fundraising for the Independent Theatre Sector. The diverse range of funding methods and sources of income offer huge potential for peer to peer learning and the aim of the upcoming Fundraising Forums is provide this, deepen the sector’s understanding and increase engagement both between artists, producers, fundraisers and with funding bodies.
The first of the Fundraising Forums will take place on Thursday 26th April and will be co-hosted by ITC’s partner and hub member The Albany. The speakers will be Gavin Barlow, CEO of the Albany and Claire Saddleton, Director of Theatre at Arts Council England who will discuss the new National Lottery Project Grants and the ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Fund. Please visit itc-arts.org for further details.