Blog 2015/16

Week 42: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru 

One final blog as I leave Venue Cymru after 10 wonderful months as an A & B Cymru Creative Intern…

It is Monday 8th August and coming in to work today, I felt emotional knowing it to be my final week at Venue Cymru as an A&B Cymru Intern. After having a week holiday in Scotland, I am feeling very refreshed for my final week here.

My final major fundraising task was to complete a grant application for a proposed Textile and Art project for ages 50+, building upon Venue Cymru’s work with young people and expanding our outreach to a different age group.  I will have to eagerly wait to hear the outcome in October, after I have finished working at Venue Cymru.

The task of sifting through my work on my computer made me realise just how much I have worked on over the last 10 months and how much I have progressed from my first week back in August.

I am very grateful to Arts & Business Cymru for allowing me to take on this experience and I’m delighted to have been the first Intern in North Wales. I am really going to miss the team at Venue Cymru, who welcomed me right from the start. I’m pleased that I am keeping my connections here, already having signed up to help at take pART8 in January 2017!

So, I’d like to say one final thank you to everyone involved in making the Internship the best experience I could have asked for!

Diolch yn fawr iawn pawb!

Week 41: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This is the last Blog post from me here at RWCMD – and what a ten months it’s been! A rollercoaster of learning, adapting, and working hard has left me feeling grateful and a firm part of the RWCMD team.

Thankfully, there is space for me to be kept on at the College in a specifically designed role, spending half my time with the Development team and half with Marketing. A change in role as well as a variety of new challenges and more responsibility is welcome and exciting. I am looking forward to taking on a more specialised role, and honing my skills. I am so pleased to have found a way to slot into the workplace here, and I’m glad to have a role which will allow me to use a mixture of skills I already have and ones I have learned throughout the internship.

I found that I benefitted so much from working with the previous intern, Louisa, and I am hopeful that a new intern will be placed here for the 4th year to keep that cycle going. A final thank you to A&B Cymru for investing in me, and to the Development team at the College for being accommodating, patient, and good fun. 

Week 40: Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

For a final mentoring session - and the perfect opportunity for Kerys to get her own back after all the hours of creative planning for these meetings - we looked at the art of putting together an effective presentation. Little to my knowledge, she’d booked a meeting room and invited the whole team to watch a presentation I would be giving two hours later on a relevant topic of my choice!

Being given a last minute task like this ten months ago would have left me in state of panic as I wouldn’t have had the time to script exactly what I was going to say, but after the experience I’ve had this year through interacting with supporters and managing my own projects, I’ve learned to step away from the script every now and again and start to trust my own instincts. Ultimately, donors want sincerity not a staged performance. In the spirit of this, I thought I’d reflect on my time at the Centre and all that I’d learned along the way which was a lovely way to round off the internship.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy and I can safely say that this year has been my biggest challenge to date. Whilst I didn’t really know what the role of fundraiser entailed when I applied to the internship, I seem to have stumbled across my perfect career path. I get to write, mix with interesting people, think creatively, see world class performances and be moved and inspired on a daily basis. 

I’m so grateful that my time at the Centre isn’t coming to a close today. Instead, it’s an exciting conclusion to the internship and I’m very excited to start my two new roles next week. It’s been a privilege to work in such an inspiring organisation with such a fun loving and hardworking group of people who are now friends as well as colleagues. Diolch yn fawr for welcoming me into the family from the word go and for making the transition from university to the real world so enjoyable.

Last but not least, a huge thank you Arts & Business Cymru for pulling my application out of the pile and placing me in the perfect organisation to start my career. This scheme really is the biggest stepping stone out there for Arts graduates in Wales and I’ve no doubt that the internship will continue to thrive in the years to come.

And to the next cohort of interns, enjoy it, grab it with both hands, learn from the people around you, interact with your fellow interns and most importantly challenge yourselves. You’ll be surprised at what you’re able to achieve. 

Week 39: Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi

As the sun shines and fans blow in the balmy  offices at Artes Mundi, the gears have steadily been increasing over the past year (and particularly the past months), in preparation for the 7th cycle of the exhibition and prize and all of a sudden, October doesn’t seem so far away. It has been fascinating to watch each department and aspect of the exhibition evolve and grow - from the first hints of what the exhibition could be, to a fully deliverable project, the opportunity to fundraise for the organisation has seen me learn about the entire process, as well as individual aspects.

I will be staying at Artes Mundi as a creative intern for an extra month and so the shock of finishing the internship is still at least a little while away.

In the mean time, there is still much to be learnt and the past weeks have seen me explore a relatively new side to fundraising; I have been charged with delivering the second phase of Artes Mundi’s application to The Big Give Christmas Challenge, meaning that I am responsible for rallying pledges to our cause. This is my first experience of individual giving and I have been spending time working on text to be included in our newsletter, emails, website and social media as well as gathering details of individuals to be contacted and learning the joys of Mail-merge. With a deadline and pledge target to achieve, this has been a brilliant opportunity to test my ability of working independently and under pressure, and I have enjoyed the process immensely so far.

I realise the internship is drawing to a close, but I won’t say my farewell to Artes Mundi just yet. I will however thank everyone at Arts & Business Cymru for the incredible opportunities I have received in the past year. It has been so much more than I could ever have expected, and I look forward to the next steps.

Week 38: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru 

Well… I cannot believe that I am sat here writing my final A&B Cymru Blog!
I think the Creative Internships scheme is great and I am glad to see it running again in October for a new set of interns.

Venue Cymru has proven to be a really good match for me. In just 9 months on the Internship, I have learned a great deal about fundraising and working in the arts. Something I have really enjoyed is being placed in a vibrant organisation where I have also been able to get involved with my music and educational interests. Here is just a small list of what I have experienced both in fundraising and in other areas by being placed at Venue Cymru.

  • Writing 5 grant applications
  • Writing letters to charities (one of which was awarded £2,000 towards a current project)
  • Developing the Corporate Club
  • Learning about different sponsorship options at venue Cymru
  • Writing letters to the public/businesses
  • Networking
  • Corporate nights
  • Mentor meetings
  • Assisting with marketing tasks
  • Performing at take pART
  • Running a music workshop with BBC National Orchestra of Wales. (Gaining a business donation for this)
  • Helping at children’s events such as take pART
I had a great time helping Gwenno and Louise at the Ymuno Festival opening night on 1st July. Great networking event, great festival and great example of business and arts partnerships


On Tuesday 12th July, I at long last graduated from Bangor University as Master of the Arts in Music by Research. It was very fitting, as my time at Venue Cymru and in fact, North Wales sadly draws to a close!

Although I am taking a huge step and moving with my partner to Yorkshire at the end of August, I am taking a breadth of experience with me which I will put to good use. Using my new found networking abilities along with the support from my business mentor Kristen Gallagher and the A&B Cymru Manager, Gwenno, I am looking to pursue arts fundraising alongside working part time in a primary school.

Finally, (as I feel sad writing these last words), I would like to thank everyone in Arts and Business Cymru, both in South Wales and North Wales for the wonderful opportunity to be part of this scheme. I will remember these 10 months forever and will take all my developed skills with me for my future career.

Supporting Wales with some of Team Venue Cymru!

Week 37: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Before starting the internship, I remember looking through the blogs of last years’ interns, and feeling particularly nervous reading the final blogpost from Louisa Turner (RWCMD’s last intern). She described event managing The President’s Dinner, an annual high-profile event at the College to celebrate the successes of the students, and to thank and acknowledge the generosity of the College’s supporters. She talked about the need for attention to detail of all aspects of the event; taking charge of the itinerary, making sure catering was just right, that the performers were on-time, knowing the names and faces of all guests attending… It certainly sounded like a very stressful task.

In the past month I am glad to say that I have well and truly faced my fear of events, and managed this year’s President’s Dinner with success. Surprisingly, I found the adrenaline (and exhaustion!) of the night exhilarating, and soon realised that although one person is responsible for managing an event on the day, it is the hard work and collaboration of so many people that make an event successful.

One week after the President’s Dinner, I worked as Event Manager at another Development event – a reception held as a soft launch for a suite of scholarships in the name of Sir Geraint Evans, held before the first student performance of Falstaff. This particular reception had had a lot of tricky components, and since then I have come to a fairly obvious conclusion; meticulous planning and preparation are key to a smooth running event.

In the last month of my internship I can already feel the gear change in responsibility and capability, and I am undoubtedly much more employable in the arts than I was 9 months ago. I can already feel this last month flying by, and I am so looking forward to exciting future plans. 

Week 36:  Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

After what feels like no time at all, we’re into the final month of the creative internship and I’m just not ready to leave Team Dev! Thankfully, I’m not going to have to any time soon. From the beginning of August, I am excited to be starting a yearlong secondment as part time Business Development Officer here at the Centre. After only nine months, I’m so grateful that my colleagues have the confidence in me to step up and take on this new challenge. I’m very much looking forward to bringing everything I’ve learned this year to a more specialised role which is going to be heavily led by account management. The next few weeks are going to involve juggling a handover and finishing up my internship objectives so there’s going to be lots of caffeine involved.

As if the thought of starting one new job isn’t daunting enough, I’m a glutton for punishment and come August will also be joining the team at National Dance Company Wales, following their creation of a part time fundraising role. This is a huge step for the organisation (and for me!) and marks the start of a new development that I am extremely excited to be a part of. NDCW’s commitment to placing a fundraising culture at the heart of their organisation has huge potential and I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold for them. Working in a smaller organisation with a fundraising team of two is undoubtedly going to bring new unforeseen challenges but it offers a real opportunity to make my mark and that is hugely exciting. 

Week 35: Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi

This month’s post is short and sweet as I am about to head off for a week for the first time since Christmas and have lots to do before then! Tasks that once daunted me now feel like second nature and so responsibility has increased steadily! Speaking with friends and peers, I have begun to notice that I am starting to talk with a knowledge and experience of fundraising that I never thought I could attain in such short time and this thrills me no end!

As the months speed by, I find it hard to believe that my time as a Creative Intern is drawing to a close and I can’t imagine not being a part of the Artes Mundi team. But as I begin the next chapter, working with my business mentor to maximise impact on my C.V., I can’t help looking back at my new achievements and skills in awe that I have developed so much in the past months, and in what has felt like such a short time I have become skilled to pursue a career that I never could have this time one year ago. I know this will sound incredibly cliché but I can’t help mulling over in my mind: give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. Well, teach a woman to fundraise, and she can do anything in the world!

Week 34: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru

It is unbelievable that I now have less than two months left at Venue Cymru and as an A & B Intern!

The past month has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I have experienced and achieved during my 8 months so far at Venue Cymru. I have also identified what I am aiming to achieve between now and when I finish on 12th August, to make the most out of the remaining time here.

Over a month has passed since the Arts & Business Cymru Awards Ceremony in Cardiff. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of helping at such a big event (probably the biggest event I have been involved with to date). I enjoyed teaming up with the South Wales interns and the A&B staff to be part of the evening. It was inspiring to hear about the various partnerships between businesses and the arts and to join in, celebrating their success. I was actually quite nervous leading up to the event, not knowing what to expect. The evening was so well organised by A & B that I was soon able to relax into the role and enjoy the experience.

Looking back to when I went into the office on Monday 6 June, I was disappointed (but not surprised) to receive my first email to inform me that I was unsuccessful in a grant application.  Being one of my first grant applications and knowing the competitive nature, I knew not to dwell on it, but take the useful experience and skills forward to other applications and work.  To cheer me up on my Monday morning, my general manager informed me that my approach to the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies charity had resulted in a grant of £2,000 towards a current project run at Venue Cymru. I was delighted to have contributed in fundraising to a good cause and this has given me a confidence boost in approaching other grant applications and charities!

As Sophie spoke about in her blog, the2016/17 Internship programme is open for applications until 20th June. It was great to be the first A & B intern to be based in North Wales. I have had such a positive experience by being on this programme and I hope that there will now be more budding fundraisers to take the internship on in North Wales!

Week 33: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Working my way through a to-do list is one of my all-time favourite things. Having a visual representation of tasks I have accomplished and my future goals laid out provides a great sense of accomplishment and further motivation for me. As the end of the internship is fast approaching, I have been reviewing my intern job description to weigh up what I’ve done, and how much I have left to do in the next short 2 months.

What is so reassuring is how many points I am able to tick off, and how much more I feel like I have accomplished above and beyond the job description.

  • Individual giving administration
  • Researching Major Donors
  • Implementing Digital fundraising initiatives
  • Creation and maintenance of records
  • Researching Corporate Sponsors
  • Stewarding Corporate partners
  • Researching and writing Trust and Foundation applications
  • Assisting with the production of marketing materials
  • Writing Press Releases and Blog posts
  • Events events events!

The application process for 2016/2017 Creative Internships has just begun. For anybody who wants a foot in the door to arts administration, who is passionate about the arts in Wales, who love fundraising (or as in my case, have no idea about it, but feel strongly about sustaining and making the arts more accessible), I would thoroughly recommend the scheme. By providing the support of regular income whilst placing you in an environment to learn, question and network, the scheme certainly opens up innumerable opportunities to work and to develop in the arts. Super excited to meet the 4th gen. interns!

Week 32: Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

It's that time. The end of the internship is fast approaching and it is time to start making those life affirming decisions. Thankfully, I have a circle of hugely supportive people around me who not only have helped me to develop my own understanding and respect for this field of work but have helped me to become more self-assured and confident in my own ability. I was welcomed into the WMC family from the word go and have learned so much from being embedded in such a diversely talented team who have gone out of their way to help me get the best out of my experience.

Outside of the office, my monthly meetings with business mentor Paula Morris have provided a sounding board, enabling me to test ideas and discuss anything and everything in a confidential environment separate from the Centre and this is one of the key benefits of the A&B scheme.  Paula’s vast experience and insight into the business world has stretched my own thinking and has been hugely helpful for expanding my own personal network and approaching future employment.

But the fun never stops here and the internship shows no sign of slowing down. This week we are amidst Cardiff's first international Festival of Voice. Five days in and I can say that I have worked in an individual giving, business development and research capacity. I worked the inaugural Festival launch, welcoming our funders to the Old Library, I've seen pop up opera, hosted corporate guests, sang Roald Dahl inspired songs with 3,000 children across Wales and watched Patrick Jones’ tale of a choir for individuals living with dementia with new music commissioned by the Manic Street Preachers. This week perfectly demonstrates how the role of fundraiser continues to excite and challenge in the most unexpected ways and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week is going to bring. 

Week 31: Corinne Cox, National Museum Wales

It’s now the end of month 8 and I don’t think any of us can quite believe how quickly the internship has gone.

Taking a step back to reflect on progress made is always a useful part of the month and looking back over the internship as a whole it’s clear that I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about fundraising over the last 8 months. I think the best part about working at Amgueddfa Cymru has undoubtedly been the amazingly talented development team I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside and the sheer diversity of the work and projects that I’ve had the opportunity to get stuck into; the team have given me real ownership over my projects and various aspects of the daily operation of the department, all of which have been a truly invaluable experience.

Preparations are currently underway for our next event for the Museum’s Patrons (and the last one that I will be involved with as part of the internship). This event is part of a campaign around a specific element of the St Fagans capital redevelopment where we hope that the Patrons will pledge their support towards elements of the fit out of Llys Llewelyn a Medieval Prince’s Court. With only two weeks to go we’re currently working on the practicalities of organising payments as part of the evening and ensuring that this runs smoothly.

Llys Llewelyn

Even during my short time at the Museum it is unbelievable to see just how much the site has changed in the last eight months. Looking at the reports I have created as part of stewarding our grants it is inspiring to see just how the site has transformed over this time thanks to the support of committed funders of the project.

My mentoring sessions have continued to be extremely beneficial and I’m pleased that I’ll be continuing to work with my business mentor following on from the internship. Even for someone who would call themselves self-motivated it is invaluable to have this additional level of support and someone else to hold yourself accountable to when it comes to personal and professional development on the days when you otherwise might let things slip.

Being an A&B Creative Intern has no doubt been an invaluable experience and vital stepping stone into the industry. The scheme is a great way of enhancing the accessibility of progressing into the sector and has stood me in good stead for the future. Thanks A&B :)

Week 30: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru

A Story of Tom Jones The Musical arrived at Venue Cymru on Tuesday 10th May for a 5 night run. Venue Cymru hosted a corporate networking event on the opening night. We collaborated with other Conwy Council run departments such as Parc Eirias and Corporate Marketing. Each department invited some of their current supporters as well as new potential sponsors.

The aim of the event was to bring departments together and provide the opportunity to network. The evening began with an introductory speech from our general manager, Sarah Ecob. This was followed with a speech by a Venue Cymru/Theatr Colwyn supporter, Andrew Bowden from Cartrefi Conwy. He spoke about his experience of sponsorship and in particular, of the ‘Digital Inclusion’ project which helps Cartrefi Conwy tenants learn digital life skills through photography workshops. (This project has been shortlisted for the upcoming Arts and Business Cymru awards in the Arts, Business and Health category). Howard Vaughan from Brenig Construction spoke positively about his experience of working with events through sponsorship in order to get his company name out to the public at the early stages.
The evening gave the opportunity to network before the show, during the interval and post show. The feedback was positive and the evening successful, with people from across North Wales and with various sponsorship interests coming together.

One of my roles leading up to this event was to complete our corporate membership document which we began renovating when I started the internship. This now offers 3 (instead of 2) levels of membership and ensures that the businesses are getting a broad range of benefits as well as ensuring that Venue Cymru do not ‘undersell’ the membership. Thinking back to week one of the internship, myself and three colleagues attended a workshop at our venue called ‘Slingshot Sponsorship’. This was delivered by a very experience lady called Jackie Fast. It was a really useful workshop to throw me straight into the world of Sponsorship and the rest of the team felt inspired to rethink our membership scheme. The document I had been working on was launched at the Tom Jones event and we will be working to attract more businesses to our renovated membership scheme.

Since my last post, I have submitted all three of the grant applications I was working on and now I have some time to wait until I hear the outcomes!

 I am looking forward to the Arts and Business Cymru Awards which is fast approaching and will enjoy celebrating the range of successful arts and business relationships!

Week 29: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Taking some annual leave has given me a chance to step back from the RWCMD offices and have a good think about the internship as a whole. This month I have had a lot of time to reflect on my favourite things about being an A&B Creative Intern so far.

Without a doubt, my favourite part of the internship has been having the security and the space to explore all different aspects of fundraising, whilst being able to shape my role to suit my capabilities. Recently I have been able to use my interest in design and print to enhance and reformat some of our regular correspondence with donors. By redesigning newsletters and working with Marketing to format emails with more visual impact, we encouraged more engagement with current donors whilst providing clearer links to market our website, trafficking donors back to the website to areas that would benefit them the most. Reviewing donor correspondence is an important part of stewardship, to ensure that donors are looked after and kept up to date on the work that your organisation is able to do thanks to their contributions. The A&B Training session with Spindogs (‘Writing Copy for the Web’) certainly helped to give me more confidence in asserting my own skillset, which I’ve been able to use to enhance our fundraising correspondence and to hopefully engage more fully with our donors in a clear, modern and meaningful way.

I have also been able to put my background in illustration and print to use by helping print souvenir Photobooks to send as ‘Thank You’ gifts to guests who came to the RWCMD Buckingham Palace gala in February (see here for that busy month’s blog!), as well as helping to update and print our Connect membership information booklets.

Bridging the gap between fundraising and marketing has been something I have really enjoyed, as it has allowed me to confidently bring my own skillset to the table to contribute to the work of the department. As RWCMD is an organisation big enough to have both marketing and fundraising departments, it is easy to separate the two, however in many smaller organisations the roles overlap. For this reason, this has also been hugely positive as a preparatory exercise as we near the end of the internship, to make sure I have had as much practical experience as possible.

Week 28:  Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

I’ve always enjoyed following the London Marathon coverage, watching other people test themselves to the limit whist being able to sit in the comfort of my own home with a cuppa in hand, feeling both thoroughly sluggish and full of admiration for the participants. This year, I got to watch the largest annual fundraising event in the world, knowing I’d played my own very small part in it.

Wales Millennium Centre is involved with the Marathon’s silver bond scheme which guarantees a place in the London Marathon every five years to raise money for our Community Outreach Programme; this year we received our second entry to date. My community fundraising objective from the Centre has been to manage this place from start to finish, from circulating an application form, selecting a successful candidate and creating a welcome pack to managing all communications with our runner, supporting and advising on his fundraising ideas, writing and scheduling social media posts and carrying out the practical tasks such as organising a running vest or a photo opportunity and overseeing the JustGiving donations.

Our runner, Steven Taylor, who raised an amazing £100 a mile, applied for the place through an Admiral communication. Admiral is a principle supporter of the Centre so this became a wonderful opportunity to integrate a corporate element into the objective and further develop our relationship with them. Thanks to our Admiral contact Hannah and runner Steven, I have also ticked off an office goal. I am no longer a) baffled by how the phone even makes a conference call or b) intimidated by the thought of leading a conference call from my desk. Small victories!

Being able to see a project through from start to finish (October to May) has been an eye-opening experience and one that I have learned a great deal from. Whilst I often found myself needing to refer to the IOF code of practice for answers, for example, when advising our runner about the do’s and don’ts of bucket collections and raffles, being given the responsibility to make my own decisions (and mistakes) has given me a much more realistic understanding of community fundraising and building working relationships. 

Week 27: Corinne Cox, National Museum Wales

It’s been another busy month at the Museum!

This week my Business Mentor arranged for me to have a mock interview with arts company NoFit State Circus, where he is a trustee. This was a really invaluable experience and made me more aware that soon enough it will be time to consider life after the internship! Despite being slightly nerve-wracking it was a really useful opportunity to practice my interview technique in a safe environment and have constructive (and immediate!) feedback on how I’d performed and have a rerun at certain elements in light of this feedback. I still have lots to work on but it was really beneficial to get some practise, just one of the many reasons this aspect of the internship has been so useful.

As part of the theme of thinking about the future as part of my first session with my new arts mentor Maria, my monthly meet ups with my Line Manager Chris and conversations with other members of the team, we’ve been discussing how they all got involved in Fundraising in the first place. For me, learning from the experiences of others plays a large part in my own development and this again proved useful to reflect on.

Below are a few thoughts from one of my colleagues Annabelle:

What drew you to fundraising in the first place?

I began a community arts charity with a friend in Hereford and we had to raise funds to develop the work we were doing with disadvantaged groups there, so necessity, I suppose!

What is the fundraising achievement that you are proudest of and why?

Funding the replacement of a church roof with improvements to the building such as better disabled access and an exciting project illustrating the story of the people associated with the church and its history back to its mediaeval origins.  It was a lot of money in a competitive sector, but I fully funded the project with a surplus to carry forward to a second phase, installing modern facilities such as heating.

What is it about trusts and foundations that drew you to this area of fundraising?

Together with Lottery applications, which I have done as well, they were appropriate to the projects I was trying to fund.  I enjoy identifying why the project is worthwhile and explaining it to potential funders.

What would your advice be for someone looking to begin a career in fundraising?

You will need to be able to cope with rejection, and learn to read the question and answer it.

There’s also been a lot of change internally within the Development Department since I started at the Museum last October. As part of this it was really useful for me to sit in on the shortlisting of one of the new posts, the Major Gifts Officer. It felt quite strange being on the other side for once and this again has definitely helped me consider the job application process and how to make your application stand out.

With the A&B Cymru Awards just around the corner it will be nice to have all the interns together in Cardiff again to compare our experiences and think about the future. In the meantime I’m sure we’ll all be making the most of our remaining time at our arts organisations!

Week 26: Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi

This month has been important one for me in progress of my internship. I feel as though I have well and truly found my footing at Artes Mundi and with the addition of a new staff member to the small team, I am now, officially not the most recent person to have joined. This has been timed perfectly with an improved sense of self-ability in my role and in completing tasks, I now feel as though I understand better the many processes and steps that must take place in order to fund any activity. As many other months previously, we have been hugely busy and my activities have been incredibly varied between aspects of fundraising and have included the submission of my first trust application on behalf of Artes Mundi. I have also focused on corporate relationships and have enjoyed the process of exploring in depth individual ‘sponsorable’ aspects of the exhibition. Meeting with other fundraisers, I now feel confident to discuss topics that at the commencement of the internship were completely foreign to me.

In a personal way, I also feel as though this month marks a crucial point in the internship, whereby I finally feel a sense of balance between working full-time and maintaining my creative interests. Having left university last summer, this internship has been my first experience outside of full time education, and I feel as though it has allowed me the perfect transitional period whereby I have been able to adapt and understand in a much more general sense, about the operations of an arts organisation that I greatly respect and admire and am better placed to understand how incredibly varied artistic outcomes can be achieved. I have also highly benefitted from working in an environment where artistic discussion and debate flourishes, and director and curator Karen McKinnon readily offers insight and information on contemporary artistic practice.

I feel as though all aspects of my interests are perfectly falling into balance with one another, and after a short period of adjustment to working full time outside of education, and all that this entails, I now feel a renewed sense of balance and awe at how much I have gained so far and I greatly look forward to making the most out of my remaining time at Artes Mundi.

Week 25: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru

March was a busy but very rewarding month!

I was fortunate enough to attend the Trusts and Foundations Symposium in Cardiff on 9th March which was one of the most useful events I have been to so far. The symposium fell at a perfect time as it was the same week that I began work on three very different trust applications. All the speakers were very insightful and gave extremely useful advice about approaching trust applications that I have taken on board with my own work. 

I also had my half way meeting in March where I was able to reflect on all that I have learned and achieved so far in my time at Venue Cymru. The meeting also helped me to refine my targets giving me more defined aims for the next 4 months.

‘Mother Goose’ workshop

On 20th March, I delivered a music workshop alongside a visual artist, in collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The aim was to engage the children in music in the (long term) hope of building a younger classical music audience. The workshop introduced the children to pieces being played in the afternoon concert, discussed the role of the conductor, rhythm activities etc. before they got to try different instruments from the BBC NOW. 38 children attended the workshop, most of which then attended the concert.

Comments from parents included ‘fun, hands on’, ‘brilliant, all the presenters were wonderful with the children’, ‘really enjoyable and informative’, ‘great to engage young children in classical music’. The sponsor was really pleased with the outcome and would like to see another workshop taking place alongside the concert series. Overall, a success!


Children queue up to have a go on instruments with BBC NOW musicians!

BBC NOW musicians describing their instruments 

Arts and crafts with Wendy Couling

I was delighted that one of the A&B Cymru awards nominations that I submitted regarding the partnership between View Creative and Venue Cymru at take pART was shortlisted for the 2016 awards! I will be eagerly awaiting the result at the awards when working there myself!

I am currently busy working on three grant applications, one of which I am sending on Monday 11th April. I will be busy finalising my other 2 applications which I am submitting at the end of April, so it has been a very busy month learning about and writing trust applications!

Week 24: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Self-reflection, project management and online giving

This month has been all about self-assessment. The A&B Cymru Half Way Review meeting gave me the chance to do some all-important reflection: how far have I come?, what have I learned so far?, have I reached my goals?, and where do I want to go from here?

What’s glaringly obvious is that, within a relatively short amount of time, I have learned an incredible amount about fundraising, about the arts in Wales, about arts organisations as a whole, and about admin/office work. I have worked on a variety of exciting projects, felt like a real part of a team, and have certainly settled in. Thankfully office life is far less awkward than the initial introductory photo implies!

Being a part of a supportive team has meant that I have had the opportunity to dabble in all aspects of fundraising, as well as giving me the space to really think about what direction I would like to take my fundraising career.

One of the challenges of the internship has been to find tasks where I can use my skillset to my best ability, and contribute to the working of the department. Luckily, I am in a position where my team members are incredibly supportive of this, and actively try to find tasks which would suit my personality.

I am a creative person, and I thoroughly enjoy having creative control over things, working on projects that involve elements of design, creative writing and visuals. I have been given the mammoth task that is updating the ‘Support Us’ pages of the RWMCD website. A task which is long overdue, and has been worked on by every member of the team (as well as dedicated Arts Management Students on work placement!), my role is to now collate all this information and plan how to move this project forward. It is a job that is as much about research, project management and project delivery as it is about creativity, and is a welcome challenge to complete before the 10 months are up.

Fortunately, the A&B Cymru Training Sessions on ‘Writing Copy for the Web’ came up at exactly the right time, and I have been able to pick the brains of industry experts from Spindogs on how best to develop our online presence (thank you!). I have also taken charge of setting up a ‘JustGiving’ Charity page for the College, in order to maximise online giving, and to raise our profile as a charity as well as being a conservatoire.

A shift to more emphasis on online giving will provide the department with more possibilities for income revenue streams, with little administrative costs, and will hopefully mean that I am able to contribute to the department long after the internship finishes.

Week 23: Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

Only the Brave take on the marathon task of producing a new musical! 


Café Gondrée (from the show) complete with gramophone

Mural designed by Helen Bur

After months of preparation, this week the Centre’s transformation into a 1940’s backdrop pre-empts the exciting launch of our first original musical, Only The Brave. Based on true stories about real people, (whose relatives are going to be sitting in the audience!), this home-grown production dramatises the events that opened the gateway to winning the Second World War.

In an organisation that is now adding a producing arm to its body, roles within the Development department are sure to evolve. The creation of new work is the perfect platform for cultivation and provides us with an opportunity to engage with a new audience. However, it is also vital that our current supporters feel a part of this milestone at the Centre. For this reason, we are hosting two separate events during the show’s run as both parties generate different motivations. The first event for our corporate and individual supporters is a celebration, to involve them in the Only The Brave journey that they have invested in, thereby deepening their access to the Centre and continuing to engage with them on a personal level. The second event, for prospects, press and producers is to demonstrate the show’s potential and the Centre’s capabilities.

During the run up to these events, preparation has been KEY and collaboration between departments has been integral to pull off such a mammoth task. The last three weeks have been a marathon effort and, despite being hugely enjoyable, putting two consecutive Development events together has been a real challenge. My role within these events is a strategic one that is steered towards research and reconnaissance. Leading on the biographies for our Prospects and Press Night has involved creating a portfolio for 120+ people and this has really tested my research and analytical skills. I have learned along the way that there are a number of creative avenues to explore when obtaining information. There are all sorts of resources available to scour through from company data, newspaper articles and forums to social media platforms and search engines if you have the patience. The research strand of fundraising is an area I am particularly enjoying for its strategic value which has been demonstrated in the run up to the Only The Brave events as the biographies have been essential to lay down the groundwork for creating and developing prospective relationships. Alongside this, I have also been preparing a final trust application for Festival of Voice so managing the two tasks has required very strict time efficiency (which is something I am definitely improving on).

The scale of the Only The Brave operation and the work that every member of staff has put in to make the production and the events revolving around it a success is difficult to put on to paper as we have all been living and breathing the production every day. As my family and friends will tell you, I have become a walking advertisement for the show and cannot wait to see the final product. The week ahead is the result of a whole organisation coming together and I am so proud to say that I am a part this iconic moment in Welsh theatre. 

Week 22: Corinne Cox, National Museum Wales

Happy Half Way!

This week marked the half way point of my 10 month internship at Amgueddfa Cymru and I can honestly say I don’t know where the time has gone!

It was really useful to have the opportunity to reflect on just how much I’ve learnt (over such a short period of time!) at my half way meeting earlier in the week where myself, my line manager, business mentor and arts mentor all came together to discuss progress made and next steps to pin down how I can make the most of my remaining time at the Museum, which will no doubt fly by!

For the second half of my internship I have moved over to the grants team which I am enjoying immensely already; from working on my first trust application for the Museum, researching potential funders, attending an EU Funding Seminar (!) and identifying potential projects that fulfil the priorities of eligible distributing environmental bodies identified during our landfill scoping exercise it has already been a fantastic opportunity to see how this side of the team operates and the systems and processes the grants team have in place to ensure this runs smoothly. There have also been a great deal of team changes since I started back in October which has allowed me to get involved with various aspects of the day to day running of the department as we work to fill these gaps.

The trust symposium last week couldn’t have come at a better time, corresponding perfectly with my switch to the grants team. It was an invaluable opportunity to hear first hand from the trusts themselves about what they are looking for and how we can improve our approach to all aspects of the process from project ideation through to writing the application itself. One aspect which I felt was particularly important was linking the work that arts and cultural organisations are doing with wider impact. With pressure on funders, and especially public sector funders, to account for every penny they are spending, highlighting the additional agendas that engagement in arts and cultural activities can fulfil such as skill-building, economic impact, helping people back into employment, addressing health and well-being agendas will be increasingly important to the sector. Continuing to compile research which evidences these cross-governmental benefits will be paramount to the sustainability of the sector.

This focus on wider impact is something which we have been increasingly considering at the Museum. This is not only useful in terms of reflecting on our impact but also informs future applications when we will have a growing base of evidence to support claims about the difference we are making as an organisation and the lives we are changing. As we focussed on at the Symposium the sector needs to provide a strong voice and provide evidence of the difference it can make across agendas. 

Week 21: Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi

This week’s blog post comes at a significant point in the Creative Internship; this month marks the halfway point of our time in each respective organisation, and in many ways, I feel it offers an opportunity to reflect on my time so far at Artes Mundi.  I truly feel that I have learnt an incredible amount in the past months, and thought that I could share a tiny amount of the knowledge and experience that has been passed on to me. So here you are, my 3 top tips for prospective fundraisers! 

  • Research
  • Relationships
  • Support

 1.       Research:

(This involves more than one area as research will be relevant to everything you do, but I have focused on particular examples.)

It might be obvious to most, but it is of the utmost of importance that you firstly and foremost know your own organisation like the back of your hand. Know all of the activities, where your strong points lie (have you won any awards for specific projects/ departments?) where you are looking to grow, and the focus and mission statement of the organisation. If it helps to know, this can take longer than expected!

You also need to ensure that you ‘know who you are dealing with’, so to speak. If you are applying to a trust or foundation, know in explicit detail who they are and what the key areas, preferences and specialisations are. Do these match your own organisational aims or mission statement? I have learnt that it simply will not work if you attempt to force similarities for the sake of filling a funding gap. The information you find on the trust should inform how you frame your application and this is where knowing your own organisation becomes of particular use. You should know if the trusts criteria match your organisation, or whether perhaps,  it seems just right for a particular project. Always look at what they have funded previously as this will clarify any doubts you might have; if they have funded similar projects or organisations under identical criteria, then you know that it might be relevant for you.  Either way, the research you undertake will answer the question of whether you should apply to the trust or foundation at all. The same principal is applied to prospective business sponsors, individual givers and anything else- it seems obvious, but depth of research is so important.

2.       Relationships

The relationship you have with any funder is also of the utmost importance, whether that be the personal relationship you have or organisational relationship.

 A crucial step in securing any new funding is to start to grow this relationship. If you are applying to a trust or foundation you should always make the effort to form this relationship before submitting any application- while some trusts may allow you to submit un-solicited applications, whenever possible, it’s always worth starting a conversation with them before hand. Find an email contact online and begin there. Arrange to follow-up email conversations with either a meeting or alternatively, telephone call. The same applies for any other funder, slowly build this relationship and don’t rush this process!

It is also important to nurture existing relationships. It can be incredibly damaging to an organisation if this relationship is not correctly maintained and it will certainly result in funding not being renewed.

3.       Support

Finally, you should always support your arguments or applications with any and all relating material if presented the opportunity.

 If you are submitting an application to a funder, or meeting with a new sponsor or individual, always offer supporting material. Think about any literature (brochures, exhibition catalogues, evaluation reports etc.) or printed material your organisation has previously produced. Create something new if nothing already exists- try to include visuals, particularly if you are working for an organisation that specialises in the visual fields. Perhaps there are case-studies that you could use from previous similar projects. Like anything, evidence that supports your arguments or claims only increases their validity and it is always good to have bespoke ‘packs’ for those you meet with to take away and browse after the meeting has taken place. Similarly, when submitting an application, if the trust or foundation offers you the option of including additional information or supporting material, always take this opportunity to proved sometime more in-depth case-studies, visual material, or general information about your organisation’s activities. 

Week 20: Hephzibah Leafe, Venue Cymru

Since my last blog post, my attention has steered towards funding applications for various educational and outreach projects at Venue Cymru. This has entailed RESEARCH in a number of ways. I have been thoroughly researching trusts and foundations and building up a portfolio of potential applications for Venue Cymru projects. This has also meant identifying whether I am able to apply through Venue Cymru, as a local authority or whether to apply for projects through the Conwy Arts Trusts which is closely linked with the venue.

The other RESEARCH aspect has been to become familiar with the projects (new and continuing projects) that we wish to apply to for grants. As part of this process, I have become involved with monthly outreach project meetings which have helped me to understand about the projects in which I will be aiming to fundraise for. This is really important for when I am explaining the project and aims etc. on the application forms. I have also been identifying the most appropriate trusts for myself to make an application to, in order to be realistic within my given time frame and to play to my strengths. Therefore, I have indentified a smaller grant making trust which specifically supports music projects for the older generation and an educational trust that operates specifically in north Wales.

Without meaning to make the other interns jealous (!), I have been very fortunate to get a place on the Trusts and Foundations Symposium as a Venue Cymru representative, taking place on 9th March. This has fallen at a perfect time for me as I begin the task of completing grant applications and gives me the opportunity to visit on behalf of Venue Cymru and feed back useful information to my team.

Another project I have been committing time to is a music and craft workshop that I am leading on. I have been organising the event as a way to engage children in classical music through fun, practical activities. This is going to take place in the afternoon on Sunday 20th March prior to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales concert at Venue Cymru. The aim is to engage the children in music and encourage them to attend the concert by introducing them to activities that relate to the pieces that will be played by the orchestra.

Planning for this event has been a positive way of learning new skills. These include marketing, event planning, time management etc. It has taught me a lot more about marketing as I have become aware of the various channels available for reaching the most suitable audiences.

Although it may sound like a small achievement, I was delighted that one of our current International Concert Series sponsors agreed to cover the cost of the visual artist for the workshop, whilst myself and a student from Bangor University are leading on the music workshop with appearances from BBC NOW musicians! The sponsor not only financially supports the concert series, but he actively works with us to encourage a younger classical concert audience.

I am working hard to make this workshop as successful as it can be, for the enjoyment of the children, to encourage the growth of a younger audience (and hopefully develop the workshop as a regular activity) and to please our faithful sponsor!

Week 19: Sophie Potter, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

For me, a huge part of the internship so far has been learning about events organisation. For any sort of event, the management and organisation can be a complicated process, as every detail needs to be meticulously planned.

Hosted by the College’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, a recent event at Buckingham Palace celebrated the achievements of the College with a performance by students, as well as a piano recital from 9-year old Charlotte Kwok from the College’s Junior Conservatoire.

HRH Prince Charles meeting students after their performance at the Buckingham Palace Event

Taking part in organising such a prestigious event has been a real eye-opener, and has set me in good stead for any event organisation in the future! It has been such a positive experience to be able to work with the Development team at RWCMD organising this celebration of the College and its students at Buckingham Palace, and it has been rewarding to feel confident enough in my role to be able to contribute.

Research has been incredibly important whilst organising this event, and I continue to be surprised by the variety of work that fundraising entails. The event brought together a large number of supporters of the College, new and old, and so research and briefing became an aspect of that I was asked to work on. Researching, briefing staff, briefing the Prince on the students and their performance pieces (!), organising accommodation, working with the marketing team on the performance programme… It has been astounding to see just how much planning is involved in an event of this scale!

College Alumni and supporters Michael Sheen and Ruth Jones were among the guests, as well as Dame Shirley Bassey, who supports the College in a particularly innovative way. The funds for The Dame Shirley Bassey Scholarship were raised through an auction, where Dame Shirley’s trademark glamourous dresses were auctioned to support students here at RWCMD. This kind of innovative way of fundraising highlights how creative approaches to fundraising can be.

After all the build-up to and excitement during the event, it’s strange to see how quickly things return to ‘normal’. Now comes the equally important task of following up after the event, and ensuring that we keep guests updated on the amazing work that’s happening at the College.

Week 18:  Rebecca Hobbs, Wales Millennium Centre

Last week was a week of firsts: my first stab at a trust application, my first conference call with our London Marathon runner, my first active involvement in an education project, and my first cronut, a well-acclaimed treat in the office that combines a donut and a croissant and fills up your daily calorie intake.

One of the perks of working in such a diverse organisation is that no week is ever the same. There are so many opportunities to explore your interests and get involved with the amazing projects that are possible because of the money we raise. One of these projects that I’ve been steering my attention to is Land of Song. As a part of our Festival of Voice and the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations, we’re joining forces with the Aloud charity to engage with 250 schools across Wales for a series of concerts inspired by Dahl’s children’s books. With the help of free online interactive singing resources for key stage 2 pupils and free teacher training, the project will culminate the beginning of June with three simultaneous bilingual celebrations at three venues<