Blog 2016/17

Blog 2016/17

Week 33: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Over the previous month I have been working on a body of research involving community and additional fundraising streams. I’ve been focusing my research on QR codes, text giving, crowdfunding, social media fundraising, payroll giving and give as you shop campaigns. I’ve been looking specifically at the different funding streams that are out there, how people are using different tools to raise money and how fundraising in different charity sectors works in comparison to the arts. I’ve also been looking into fundraising events from all around the UK to see what other organisations are offering and to see what we can offer as an organisation to raise funds for Sherman Theatre. Exploring any potential ways to engage with supporters and prospective funders.

In the coming weeks I’m looking to attend more training days at Legal & General, as well as compile a list of any in house training I wish to receive from Sherman Theatre in before the end of my internship. For instance although I have used Excel before for basic jobs I could use some training in all the various formulas you can use to make your spreadsheets more effective.

As the internship is nearing the end I’ve also been meeting one to one with Sherman Theatre’s Chief Executive Julia Barry to go through the job application process and to learn from her wealth of experience in recruitment. In our previous meeting we discussed suggested amendments to my CV and how to address competency framework in a job application. I intend to use the last weeks of my internship to consolidate my learning and experience within the organisation. 

Week 32: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month I have been focusing on the strategic planning for the next steps in our fundraising at NTW. ­­We have been evaluating our successes this year so far, and gathering input from the board to inform our decisions for our next steps. With NTW’s new season of work, including the recently announced ‘We’re Still Here’ in Port Talbot, we will be continuing to work with new artists, new communities and exploring new subjects. This gives me a great opportunity to find ways of ensuring our fundraising efforts work alongside our productions and connect with new audiences.

Alongside this I have been working on trust applications, building on our marketing plan for our campaign and researching further possibilities for diversifying our income streams. This week I have also begun Welsh lessons at NTW again! These lessons are a really great experience and even learning just some basic conversational Welsh will be really valuable working in Wales.

In the next month, I will also be attending the Institute of Fundraising’s training regarding the changes to the data protection regulations which will be implemented in 2018. These changes will impact how fundraisers handle data and communicate with donors and the training can ensure that NTW can put any changes into action before the regulations change.

It’s hard to believe there is only around 3 months left of my placement, I’m looking forward to see what else I can fit into my remaining time here!


The summer term is a busy period for events at RWCMD, so the past few weeks have been spent preparing for them. In a couple of weeks we are hosting the President’s Dinner, an occasion for us to get supporters of the college together to celebrate our Principal’s ten years with the college before she leaves at the end of term. This will be the first event I will be managing at the college, ensuring everything runs smoothly on the night and our guests have a great time. Although the prospect of managing an event with over 100 guests is rather intimidating, this is sure to be a really valuable experience and will hopefully be an enjoyable evening for everyone!

I am also working on trust applications which I will be submitting in the next couple of weeks, and continuing with my research through Grantfinder. With only a few months left of the internship I will be trying to fit as much as possible into my remaining time here and preparing for my next steps after my placement!  

Week 31: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

The past month has been a personally challenging one for me outside of the internships programme, but it is often during difficult times that we are provided with opportunities for reflection and personal growth. So as the internship moves into the final few months I am conscious of focusing on how to get the most out of the remaining time, as well as prepare for job applications and interviews, already benefitting from a session with A&B on interview and CV skills.

In happy news, we’ve also had some lovely new faces join our team here at the Centre, who I have recently been helping to train up on Tessitura and pass on valuable skills I’ve learned, which in turn has strengthened my own understanding of using the systems. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed success in the last few weeks with a couple of trust applications for Tiger Bay, and for community project support - and am waiting to hear back on a couple of significant corporate supporter and sponsorship proposals I have been dedicating a lot of my recent time and effort into following the 5 Steps to Sponsorship course last month.  

In the month ahead, I’m looking forward to the launch of our Radio Platfform youth programme here - which is a project that I am personally really passionate about. I am looking forward to seeing what the radio group has been putting together, and mixing with some of our supporters and prospects for Radio Platfform support.

Week 30: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

The past few weeks has seen quite a bit of change at The Gate!

First of all, it has seen the rather exciting transformation of our café space, thanks to incredible support from The Jane Hodge Foundation.  Originally furnished with hard wooden restaurant tables and chairs that were both impractical and uncomfortable, the space is now much more friendly and inviting. We now have long communal tables, benches and lovely stackable chairs, armchairs for the cosy corner and a freshly painted bar. We are thrilled with it!

The past few weeks has also seen me deliver my first community activity that I’ve worked on for some time alongside our generous sponsor, Western Power Distribution.  A year-long programme of free monthly community sessions called ‘Brew’ kicked off this week with a wonderful tea party that was enjoyed by local residents. With added support from many suppliers including Tesco, Parsons, Eames Vintage Tea Hire and Dough, we were able to go the extra mile with sandwiches, several varieties of cakes, beautiful tea sets and an all round lovely afternoon.

In the past week we have also received the incredible news that The Oakdale Trust will be supporting our week long Summer Youth Theatre Camp in August. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to deliver this project and the support of The Oakdale Trust means that we will be able to offer bursaries to attend the camp and work with a director and theatre production company who are outstanding at what they do.

Having delivered the first Brew session, my focus now returns to core funding priorities, and sponsorship for our Christmas Production that in many ways is the highlight of our year and magical time in the building. Recent training courses with A&B Cymru have prepared me well for working in the field of sponsorship and I look forward to working in partnership with more businesses. 

Week 29: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

This month I’ve been focusing on completing my research on trusts and foundations, formatting research profiles and updating information. From the time I have spent researching these organisations I’ve discovered how extremely varied they are in their different approaches to grant giving. It’s also been interesting to look back at my earlier work and to see how the past few months of fundraising experience has made a difference to my work and to see how much I have learnt since my internship began. I’ve also been working on my project idea for a future Lottery application, through the Awards for All funding programme. Since my last blog I have met with Sherman Theatre’s Chief Executive, Julia Barry, to discuss the project and how to move forward with it over the next few months.

I’m also delighted to announce that my first ever application was successful! Sherman Theatre has been chosen by the Co-Op Community Fund as one of their local causes for the next six months, raising money to support our deaf and hearing impaired audience members through the Deaf Theatre Club. Through the Co-Op Community Fund, Co-Op members are able to give 1% of everything they spend to support local charities. If you would like to help Sherman Theatre to raise funds then please click on the following link and pledge your 1% to us:

It continues to be a really busy time here, with lots happening both here in Cardiff and out on tour. Iphigenia in Splott has just been performed at the Schaubühne in Berlin and preparations are underway for its month long tour to New York, as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival in May. Killology, our co-production with Royal Court Theatre, received a great response and sold out its run here in Cardiff. It opens in London in May and I’m really looking forward to a helping with a cultivation event at the Royal Court in June.

Aside from fundraising, I’ve also had the opportunity to join the Sherman Players, a drama group actors aged 18+. As part of the group I am working on an upcoming production of The Government Inspector directed by Sherman’s Youth and Community Associate, Anna Poole. 

Week 28: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month seems to have flown by and I now have less than 5 months left of my internships! At the end of March I was able to go to Rhyl in North Wales for the NTW production, Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in Dreaming, created by artist Mark Storor. The production was as surreal as it was beautiful, and I really enjoyed seeing how it had all come together. It was amazing hearing how many people from Rhyl had told their stories and wanted to get involved, and it was so great to see how many people from the community came to see the production. This community focus within NTW’s work makes it all the more important to find more funding, and reach more communities across Wales.

In the past month or so I have been working on research for a trust application, researching further ways to diversify our income, and reflecting on the progress of our Invest in New Ideas campaign so far so we can develop it further. I have also attended A&B Cymru training courses on lottery funding and corporate sponsorship which have both been incredibly helpful, and have provided me with information and skills to apply to my work across both organisations.

Now we’ve passed the half-way point in our internships, I’ll be focusing on planning the next 4 1/2 months and how I can achieve as much as possible in the remaining time.


At RWCMD I have been focusing on writing two trusts applications, as well as attending meetings with potential corporate sponsors and continuing with on-going research tasks. It has been great to see and learn how relationships with businesses can build, and how those relationships are developed over time. The A&B Cymru sponsorship training was really useful to bring into my learning at RWCMD, especially with elements such as how to set the price of your sponsorship, and how to match a project with the right sponsor. It was interesting to see how everyone in the training session priced the sponsorship differently, as it really shows how difficult it can be to put a price on how valuable a relationship is for both parties.

I have also been meeting with my business mentor, Anna, who has been helping me plan for after my internship. We have been looking at how I can prepare myself for applying for jobs and planning to make sure I have the skills employers are looking for. It has been useful to speak to Anna about what I would want out of a job and confirm my ideas about what I want to do next. 

Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be submitting my applications and starting the planning for our summer events at the college! 

Week 27: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

Over the past few weeks, I`ve been learning the ropes of account management here at the Centre, arranging meetings with corporates, booking in tickets, getting to grips with adding on their contributions in Tessitura (tricky!) and benefitting from one of Arts & Business Cymru’s training courses on sponsorship, which is helping me to shape a proposal I am currently working on. During the course there was an engaging talk from Pat Ashman of Principality Building Society, who gave the attendees some valuable insight into the business perspective of a sponsorship. I found the course particularly useful because it had a mix of presentation about fundraising guidelines from the perspective of the arts organisation, discussion from the viewpoint of the business, and also group activities which enabled me to put the new skills into practice.

We also held a supporter event here at the Centre a couple of weeks ago around Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes which gave me the opportunity to put some names to faces at last. Getting to know the supporters hardly feels like work and is more of an enjoyable part of it, but there is a lot of work that goes on beforehand to ensure that they receive the best hospitality we can offer and added benefits such as Q&As with dancers from the show and post-show set tours can be delivered. All in all it was a successful evening, with one supporter who previously held firm that he was a not a fan of dance shows ensured us his mind had been changed by the end of The Red Shoes - and he’d be back for the next one.

Lastly, I was delighted to discover that my first trust application for our community outreach work surrounding Tiger Bay has been successful! 

Week 26: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

I am now more than half way through the internship, a point for a certain amount of reflection. It has been a packed 6 months full of events, an exhibition, hosting Plus Tate and a very busy fundraising schedule. I did not realise quite what we have been able to achieve in that time until reflecting at my half way meeting.

I have just drafted and completed two Trust & Foundation applications and am in the process of applying for funding from overseas sponsors for a major project coming up in the Autumn. I have been updating the CRM database over the past couple of months and have been interested in using technology and business collaboration tools to make the workplace communication more efficient. I found the Nesta / ACW Digital Innovation in the arts very valuable as it gave so much information on workplace communication and the advantages of recording data for fundraising purposes. I recommend reading the reports of the creative partners (including G39/Artes Mundi) that took part in this project.  I have had the opportunity to attend various training dates including the A&B Cymru training as well as Tech training on Google Analytics. I am also in the process of reporting on a major online giving campaign.

The Artes Mundi team have been busy fundraising for interim projects and looking ahead to Artes Mundi 8. Nominations for Artes Mundi 8 launch on April 4th so keep an eye out on our website.

In the last few weeks I’ve been offered a great opportunity and have accepted a Development Officer position in South Wales. I am thrilled to be able to take the skills I have learnt through the Creative Internship Programme and apply them in a fundraising role. I would like to thank A&B Cymru, the Artes Mundi team and my mentors, for the overwhelming support I have received during the internship. 

Week 25: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It’s been another busy month, and I think I’m starting to realise that there probably won’t ever be a quiet month with this job.  Every quiet moment is a moment to step back and once you do, ideas and possibilities flood in to fill any empty space.

Recently, I’ve tried to look at the bigger picture, and as a result am keen to improve our systems for individual giving and corporate sponsorship. Attending a session with A&B Cymru yesterday on successful sponsorship strategies, I feel a renewed determination to make sponsorship work for The Gate, and it was incredibly helpful that A&B Cymru had invited Pat Ashman of Principality Building Society to come and talk to us. It was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and hammer out any queries attendees had, punctuated by practical tasks to make sure we could apply our new knowledge.

I’ve also really benefited this month from working with The Funding Centre, where I have learnt so much that is applicable to my work at The Gate. Going through the process of putting together a membership scheme, I have also found a renewed sense of urgency in working on something similar with The Gate.  

Week 24: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Since my last post I have mainly been focusing on developing of a new project for a potential Awards for All application. I have been tasked with the research and development of this project, which has been particularly exciting as it has meant I have taken the lead on its creation, in addition to developing new skills writing an application for lottery funding.  I’m excited to see how the project will take shape and am proud to think that I could potentially see something I’ve designed taking place at the Sherman, a theatre I’ve attended since I was very young.

Alongside developing my Awards for All application, I have also been building up a body of research on corporate trusts and foundations, to add to a general prospect list.

It has been a busy few weeks at the theatre, with rehearsals and performances of 11 different productions since my last blog! Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on rehearsals for The Last Ambulance, a new play by Sherman Theatre’s Associate Artist Conor Mitchell, produced in collaboration with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and directed by our Associate Director Gethin Evans. I studied Theatre and Drama in university, but haven’t been in a rehearsal room for some time.  It was a brilliant reminder of why I’ve chosen a career in the arts. Seeing Gethin in the creative process and getting to know the cast was thoroughly enjoyable and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the work performed at the college later this month.

I recently assisted with an A&B Cymru Members event for A Play, A Pie and A Pint: World Domination, the fifth in our series of Sherman Theatre co-productions with Òran Mór. The event was sponsored by Broomfield & Alexander and it was a great opportunity for me to meet A&B Cymru business members and add to my experience of working at events.

Week 23: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

6 months have completely flown by and I’m now at the half-way point in my internship. I’ve been really enjoying my time at NTW, and I’m now planning my remaining months here to make sure I squeeze as much as possible into these 3 days a week. I’ve been finding it really useful to take a step back and look at everything I have achieved so far here, and what else I want to learn from the organisation. It’s also been a great opportunity to look at our fundraising as a whole and develop our plans as we make progress.

I’ve been focusing a lot on research in the past couple of weeks, making sure I’m fully prepared for the applications and projects I’m working on. I also attended the A&B Cymru  Lottery Funding training course which gave a really great background to different kinds of Lottery Funding, which will inevitably be useful in the future.

We are now in the run up to NTW’s first production of 2017, Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in dreaming, in Rhyl, North Wales. Inspired by the people of Rhyl, the production takes place across the town as a promenade style performance. The team at NTW are all busy planning and preparing for the production at the end of March, and I’m excited to see how the artists have responded to the community it’s within. 


In September, RWCMD had its first US Acting showcase of recently graduated North American and Canadian Acting and Musical Theatre students to the New York entertainment industry. RWCMD is attended by an increasing number of international students, and in response, they are building stronger international relationships.

As part of this growth of our networks in the US, I have been looking at the possibilities this holds for the Development team, and how we could further expand our network of supporters in the future. This research has given me more of an insight into the attitudes American people may have regarding individual giving. Philanthropy, especially within education, is remarkably different in the US and Alumni donations are much more widely expected than in the UK. In areas such as LA and New York, where the performing arts and film industry are prevalent, it is important for students to have the chance to network and make their presence known within the industry. This raises the profile of RWCMD, and as such, creates the opportunity to show our contacts in the US why they should support our students.

As well as this focus on our international networks, I have also been working on trust applications and research for corporate sponsorships, and working with the team on a variety of upcoming projects at the college.  In the next few months I’ll hopefully be working on more events too, giving me the opportunity to plan events for our donors and learn more about event management. 

Week 22: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

As the weeks pass by, I’m finding myself continually challenged in new ways at work which is proving deeply rewarding on a personal level as well as a professional one. Since my last blog, I’ve been delegated corporate accounts to manage – a task which I am about to throw myself into wholeheartedly. I’ve also submitted my first trust application which I worked on from scratch – researching the trust and proposing a project match for the grant, then writing and collating all the information for the application myself. It was no small task, but all the more satisfying now that it’s complete - and will be followed now by some external trusts and foundations mentoring with Richard Tynen at The Funding Centre, arranged by Arts & Business Cymru. Without the help of Robert, my business mentor, and Owain, my mentor at the Centre, I also wouldn’t have been introduced to a new corporate contact and currently be liaising with them to scope out support for our creative learning activities.

Because I enjoy having the opportunity to get stuck into a variety of tasks, I’m lucky at the Centre to be part of a team who continually make me feel involved and set me new challenges as well as allowing me to challenge myself and supporting me every step of the way - and the support that I get through Arts & Business Cymru and my fellow interns also provides another valuable touch-point for self-reflection and improvement. This part of the internship is something I really value and I think that although my day-to-day workload is increasing as the months go by, and it can be easy to skip past mentorship - sitting down with my colleagues and feeling like they have confidence in me to take on new things and are considering valuable next steps for me to take is a big positive.  

Before the next blog entry, I hope, having been shown the ropes of account management, to be fully involved with that and introduced to the partnership contacts. I am looking forward to an upcoming event that we are putting on for our corporate supporters too. Until next time…

Week 21: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

I've had a busy past month with the Artes Mundi 7 conference and awards at the end of January. Alongside this we hosted two PLUS Tate events, when directors of the Plus Tate network galleries came to Cardiff for the conference, awards and various other seminars. There has been an enormous amount of press coverage following the announcement of the winner John Akomfrah with his piece 'Auto Da Fé' . Bedwyr Williams was awarded the Derek Williams Purchase Award for his work 'Tyrrau Mawr' which will be on permanent loan to National Museum Cardiff.

The awards were not only the culmination of lots of hard work from the whole team but a great opportunity to maintain existing relationships with sponsors and cultivate new donors and links for the future. This was a great opportunity to develop my own project management and event planning skills. 

I'm in the process of drafting my first trust application and developing exciting corporate partnerships made earlier in the year. We are now in full swing developing fundraising strategies and planning for Artes Mundi 8. 

Week 20: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It seems hard to believe that already the internship is coming to the half-way point. Only working 3 days a week for The Gate, weeks go by much faster and a month is only 12 working days meaning that prioritising time is a crucial skill. Preparing a document for trustees summarising all fundraising that has taken place since I started and planned for the coming months, it slightly shocked me to see in writing all that we had so far managed to get done. I think with this internship, it’s not until you stop to take stock that you realise exactly how far you’ve come or how much you’ve had the chance to learn and build experience.

We continue to be incredibly busy with current fundraising projects focusing on capital needs, exciting new projects and programming and core needs as we build sponsorship, apply to trust and foundations and looking at individual giving that will all hopefully enable us to continue to offer more for the community. It’s all hugely exciting and I honestly can’t wait to see what we can pull off. In the meantime, lots to be getting on with!  If you fancy lending a helping hand and happen to be in the John Lewis upstairs café in coming weeks, vote for the Gate to receive a share of their funding!

Week 19: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Returning to work after the Christmas break, we have been busy preparing to open our spring season programme. One of the best things about working in a theatre like the Sherman, is that you get to experience such a wide range of shows and get to meet a whole host of casts and creative teams. There is already a real sense of excitement around preparations for two of our upcoming productions: Killology, our co-production with Royal Court Theatre, and our community production Love, Cardiff - A City Road Story which has been supported by the Heritage Lottery fund.

The main focus of my workload has continued to be the creation of a guest list for all upcoming Sherman events. I would say it is almost finished but, as a guest list it will always be a working document, to be added to and updated. I am also starting to help collate information for reporting to funders who helped to support some of the projects that took place around our Christmas productions.

Before Christmas I met again with my Business Mentor’s colleague Sandie, for a one to one session on public speaking and presentation skills. In January, I attended the first Cardiff Business Club event of the New Year held at the Hilton Hotel. The speaker at the event was Aileen Richards, the first woman on the board of the WRU, and it was really interesting to hear about the wealth of experience she has gained from working all around the world.

Week 18: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

In the past month, I have been working on a variety of different tasks at NTW including submitting two trust applications, continuing to work on our Invest in New Ideas campaign, and starting the planning for our next steps in individual giving.

In the spirit of the new year, and as we approach the half way point in our internships, I’ve been focusing on what I want to achieve throughout the remainder of my placement and what skills I want to strengthen in order to secure a job in fundraising for the arts. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend further training, such as on safe guarding and child protection, learning invaluable skills which I will take with me wherever I work next. It has also been a good time to reflect on what I have learnt so far and realize how much I have already learnt from NTW.

One of the best things about the Creative Internships is having the support to help guide you through new areas of work. This month I have met with my business mentor and attended a TEAM panel meeting, both of which have given me the opportunity to hear a different perspective on the work I’m doing, and get feedback which can help me grow and develop as a fundraiser. This has been really useful when looking at our current individual giving campaign, and thinking of what else we could do in the future.


In the past month I have been planning what else I want to learn over the rest of my time here at RWCMD. One of the areas I haven’t had a lot of experience with is corporate fundraising, so in the past few weeks I have been focusing a lot on the research this entails. I have been looking at possible opportunities for corporate sponsors, and ensuring that our values are in line with the organisations we might work with.

When looking to build relationships with businesses, we need to do comprehensive research into the values and branding before deciding if it is a relationship we want really to build. This is an area of research I enjoy really doing, seeing the opportunities for creating relationships with mutual benefit, and how these partnerships/ sponsorships can make a tangible difference to both organisations and the communities they support.

Over the next few weeks I will also be working on a trust application, researching further prospective trusts and starting to think about the events which I will be running later in the term. I’m now at a point in the internship where I can really appreciate how much I’ve learnt as a Creative Intern, and be confident that I can put my knowledge to use whilst continuing to learn over the remainder of my placements.

Week 17: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

Happy New Year from the Centre! I am now in the fourth month of my internship, and as 2017 begins I am taking the opportunity that a new year presents – as many of us do - to reflect on what I’ve achieved in 2016, and more importantly what I hope to accomplish in the coming year through the rest of my time here. This means going back over my objectives, planning mentor meetings to review my progress, and always considering the areas where I would like more experience and saying yes to as much as possible.

Just before Christmas, I was able to finish and submit my first couple of trust applications, and the coming months will see me writing more of those - which I am looking forward to getting stuck into as the Development team works hard on fundraising for Tiger Bay. I have also written my first project report, reflecting on City of the Unexpected… I can hardly believe that sunny weekend was four months ago.

Since I started, I have taken on a multitude of tasks and I’m starting the year with new responsibilities too – I am now in charge of compiling the guest list for our supporters lounge. This involves pulling daily reports from Tessitura that identify which ticket buyers are entitled to use the lounge on a particular performance, and a further activity report to show if there are any specific requirements that a guest might need, or to clarify whether or not a guest has specified that they will or will not use the lounge. Then I compile the information in Excel and distribute it to the relevant teams via email. This is not only beneficial in strengthening my Tessitura skills, but I get to know the preferences and names of our major donors and supporters much better as well.

On the corporate side of things, I have been attending partnership renewal meetings and getting a sense of the common conversations and questions that arise, as well as attending prospecting meetings surrounding Tiger Bay and (hopefully) watching new partnerships blossom – even potentially now cultivating corporate sponsorship by myself. I’ve been thrown straight into the New Year with more responsibility than before, but I’m loving every second of it, and am striving for success in 2017.

Week 16: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

Christmas has been an incredibly busy time for us, and as well delivering our Christmas Show that saw over 8,000 come through our historic doors in under 4 weeks, we finished 2016 with a number of funding successes. This has been great to be involved with and, for example, with the installation of a brand new projector from the BFI Community Cinema Equipment Fund, it’s great to feel like I am making a tangible contribution to the organisation. The physicality of what fundraising can achieve is certainly a huge advantage of this line of work and for anyone interested in making ‘a difference’ I would say that it can be hugely rewarding (less easy to swallow are the applications that involve months of waiting only to receive a ‘no’…).

Diving straight in, as another year begins, we have already begun to mention January 2018. The new year brings with it a lot to do, and as we look ahead, already I’m starting to feel like time is starting to fly.

Working primarily on trusts and foundation applications this week, I’m beginning to feel like I really know what I’m doing and I’ve really enjoyed working with my manager on fundraising strategy. I’ve always enjoyed the research aspect to the job and I find it really exciting to explore the possible options. As always multiple strands are ongoing simultaneously and the diversity of workload also helps to make the day-to-day workload exciting.

Week 15: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

January is a very busy time in the Artes Mundi calendar as we are building up to the final few months of the exhibition and in two weeks the announcement of the winner of Artes Mundi 7. 

The prize awarding event preparation has been underway for some weeks and I’ve spent a large portion on my time making sure that we have key sponsors and funders represented at the awards. This is an exciting opportunity to show the exhibition and the prize at its best and has the potential to lead to new support. I’ve also been on hand to help organise the event and liaise with the production teams and PR team that will help to co-ordinate the night. 

During this preparation I have also been working on various individual giving strategies. We have seen the success of Artes Mundi’s Big Give campaign, as well as developing other individual giving schemes in time for the awards event in two weeks. I have been researching potential corporate partners going forward into the next prize and looking at developing current partnerships with corporates. 

I think it’s natural for the beginning of a new year to bring reflection and anticipation for what's to come but I feel like this year will see me continually learning new skills, training and personal development in 2017. 

Artes Mundi conference at The Reardon Smith Theatre on January 25th. 


Artes Mundi Prize awarding on January 26th. Look out for the announcement. 

Week 14: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Since my last post we have been busy getting ready for Christmas, with two family shows running simultaneously. The Emperor’s New Clothes, which is performed in both Welsh and English for our younger audiences, has returned to the Sherman after touring to venues across Wales. I was lucky to accompany the cast and stage management team to a performance in Pontypridd, helping them with the get in and out of the set and costumes. I also attended both the dress rehearsal and press night of The Borrowers. It was great to experience the work at every stage of production, getting to see the whole piece come together for press night and to see the audience reaction.

In the office I have been working on creating briefing notes for guest lists and have also submitted my first application for funding. I just have to wait until April to know whether it has been successful! 

My business mentor Lynne has introduced me to her colleague Sadie, who will be assisting me with my presenting skills and building my confidence in public speaking. Being able to present information to a diverse audience is a skill that all fundraisers need to master. Although I am used to being on stage and have no confidence issues in performing somehow that confidence doesn’t seem to carry through to public speaking. I know that training with Sadie is going to be hugely beneficial for me and will have a massive impact on my confidence.  

Week 13: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Despite being a National organisation, NTW is still a young company with quite a small team, so there are areas of fundraising yet to be explored. When looking into the approaches which NTW might take, or even when I am working on applications and individual giving, one of the main aspects we need to consider are the ethical implications and how these methods lie within our company’s morals and values.

At NTW, values are at the heart of everything. Every action is considered with the environmental impact in mind, and they make a huge effort to ensure everything is in line with their values, from the soap in the office, to equal opportunities when employing new staff.

Having worked for large organisations previously, I was used to these decisions being made at a senior level and the consideration not being as present in day-to-day work. I am now learning to look at all areas of my work from a wider perspective, which is a great way for me to make everything I write and do well-considered and accurately representative of the organisation, a skill which will be invaluable in a career in fundraising.

I’ve also had the opportunity to attend an access forum, set up by staff at NTW to create further discussions on how organisations can make their work more accessible, and how to look at accessibility as part of a project from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought. This was a really informative and eye opening forum, and just one example of how NTW is providing me with a well-rounded and truly valuable experience.


This past month at RWCMD has been a really great opportunity for me to get a much stronger understanding of everything that happens here and how insanely talented the students are. In the past few weeks I have been to seen the Dame Shirley Bassey tribute concert, ‘The Big Band: 100 years of Jazz’, The Christmas Brass concert and even a behind the scenes Opera performance.  

Working at and attending these events have given me the chance to meet some of the members of our individual giving scheme, Connect, and some of our other supporters and see how invested they are in the students education.  The opportunity to watch the students perform, and even speak to the students about their course and performances allows donors see the direct impact their support is having.

I have also been using Grantfinder, a research tool we have recently got which I will be using over the course of my internship. So far I have found it to be a brilliant tool and will be making sure that we are aware of all funding which is currently available to us, a research task that is often too cumbersome for a busy fundraising team to keep up to date. I will also be using this information to be making trust applications to support the College’s work and will hopefully be making my own application soon!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas! 

Week 12: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

As we head into December the Centre has been getting into the Christmas spirit… and our donation boxes have had a seasonal makeover. The Grotto opened over the weekend for families and as Christmas is a time of giving it’s a good time to remind our community that the Centre is first and foremost a charity. So if you happen to be passing along the concourse this December - especially with little ones in tow – be sure to stop by our Santa or our elf boxes and give in the spirit of the season.

The last five weeks have been packed with activities – A&B Cymru turned five and celebrated at the Sherman, and us interns got some experience of setting up and running an event as well as time to network with some of A&B Cymru’s guests and get to know each other better, a fun evening as well as a valuable one for all of us. I’ve also recently received CMS training in order to change our supporter webpage copy on the content management system, gone along to a meet and greet with the cast and crew from Wonderman which is coming up this month, and shadowed in contract renewal meetings for corporate partners. One of our supporters even took the time to talk to me in depth about their contract and explain anything I didn’t understand, which was unexpected but highly appreciated.

I’m personally excited at the moment about what the year ahead holds for Tiger Bay, our new musical, which I have been helping organise sponsorship and community fundraising packs for so far and will continue to help fundraise for throughout the internship.

Lastly, Nadolig Llawen from three generations of A&B Cymru interns at the Wales Millennium Centre. 

Week 11: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

I’m enjoying delving deeper in the development programme here at Artes Mundi and it’s been a busy month since opening the doors to the exhibition. I’ve been mainly focusing on current campaigns whilst looking at different streams of fundraising and alternative approaches to maximise exposure and in turn support for the prize.

I’ve been working on an individual giving campaign The Big Give, the UK’s largest online funding initiative which enables donors to have their donation doubled during a 72 hour period. This has meant lots of preparation and working closely with the marketing team to diversify our online audience and make the most of the short campaign.

This goes live on Tuesday 29th November!

Artes Mundi is a PLUS TATE partner which enables us to take part in many events and forums facilitated by TATE.  This week we were invited to take part in a cultivation event in the Switchouse at the New Tate Modern. This was an opportunity to invite current and potential donors to see The Radical Eye: Modernist photography from Sir Elton John. The exhibition itself was fantastic and the evening was a good opportunity to network with donors based in London.

I have also been busy planning the awards ceremony which takes place on the 26th January after the conference. For this we’ve been able to cultivate new partners and sponsors which has been a really good experience and hopefully the start of an exciting new partnership for us.

It doesn’t feel like it’s only been 11 weeks since starting here at Artes Mundi. I feel like I’ve learnt so much in this short amount of time and I’ve found it hugely valuable having a business mentor to talk through the programme.

Week 10: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

Speaking recently with my business mentor, the incredible Gwenda Williams, I was slightly shocked to realise that I am only just entering my 10th week here at The Gate.  I’m really really enjoying my time here, and in particular, I’m enjoying the opportunity to lead on developing some new strategies in a well supported environment.

Here at the Gate, we have a really varied programme, and it is certainly new to me to working to fundraise for many different activities at the same time - I’m thoroughly enjoying the varied approach to fundraising that this requires. I’ve been looking into improving individual giving and developing systems in place to maximise exposure and income from this stream. I’ve also been looking into the physical space around the building and how best to use this to let visitors know what we do, and to encourage support in any way possible.

Another aspect that I’m working on is sponsorship and I have recently had my first meeting with a potential supporter. I’ve never led a meeting of this kind before and have to admit that I was more than a little nervous, but realised that (as almost everyone had told me before hand) it really is just about having a conversation and meeting people who hopefully are enthusiastic about what you do or what you’re trying to achieve. As usual, trust and foundations remain an ongoing element of my daily work and I continue to enjoy this aspect and planning a timetable of our needs and deadlines to work towards.

Week 9: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Since my last post I have been assigned a Business Mentor by Arts & Business Cymru. I have already met with my mentor several times, accompanying her to an event at Cardiff Business Club, where I got the opportunity to see how local businesses meet and network, and have visited her offices at Legal & General where they held an event for Wales Action Week. It is an event to dispel any myths around who can be at risk of homelessness, the contributing factors and the importance of employers understanding some of the housing difficulties employees could be facing.

In the office I have been doing some comparable research, looking specifically at individual giving and membership schemes. We are looking at developing our own membership scheme at Sherman Theatre and want to identify ways we can offer a unique, ‘money can’t buy’ experience for potential members. As a first point of research, we have been looking at what other organisations have to offer. Last week, I visited Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol with my manager, Emma. They have a very successful membership scheme and we talked to their Fundraising Manager about how they cultivate support from their members.

I have also been working on writing cases for support, focusing on Killology, our upcoming co-production with the Royal Court Theatre, and some other exciting productions that will form part of our artistic programme in 2017. In the run up to Christmas I will be helping to co-ordinate our Christmas Schools Appeal, which has already attracted support from local organisations, and will be helping to organise the office filing and database systems, having just received training how to use Patronbase.

Week 8: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

At National Theatre Wales I have been working on an online giving campaign, trying to help diversify the funding streams and find an approach to individual giving that’s in line with NTW’s current relationship with their supporters.

Since starting my internship at NTW it has been clear that this is an organisation that celebrates new ideas. It embraces the new, changes with the times and works hard to understand and reflect the communities it finds itself within.

That’s why we are fundraising for the growth and exploration of new ideas, not just for the final production you see at the end of the project. The production might be the destination but it’s not the only aim, and it’s not the only part of the process which needs funding. Exploring ideas and growing them into creations can be an expensive process, and we need to raise the money for our next season, which our new Artistic Director Kully Thiarai will announce in the Spring.

We want to hear and develop more ideas, work with more people, explore new places and experience new communities – and we are fundraising for this through our Invest in New Ideas campaign. Have a look at what I’ve been working on and see the ways that donations can help our creative process. 


The Creative Internships are a great opportunity to face challenges and learn on the job whilst being in a supportive environment. One of the challenges I’m facing at RWCMD is learning how to write for new audiences. I’m currently working on a piece of writing which needs to be personal and informal, whilst asking for donations. This isn’t something which comes naturally to me, and every time I try and write informal text it feels strange.  In my mind, this kind of conversational writing only works when it is a two way conversation. Yet I read informal text every day, through social media, adverts and marketing, and don’t feel the same when I’m the reader.

It all comes down to writing confidently, knowing your audience, and having the ability to put yourself in their shoes and see what it is they are looking for, what might spark their imagination, and what might be their motivation to give. Being able to write for different audiences is hugely important when it comes to donor communications. To be able to determine what kind of writing your audiences will respond to maximises your chance of receiving donations and maintaining a strong relationship with them.

Writing for a variety of audiences gives me the opportunity to learn how to adapt my writing, and really consider the audiences I’m addressing.  Hopefully this is something I can continue to learn and practice throughout the rest of my internship! 

Week 7: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

Over a month into the internship now and how time flies! The last few weeks at the Centre have been full of opportunities to learn new skills – from being trained up in Tessitura, learning about accounts management - to attending an A&B training course on writing digital copy with Spindogs. This training has been very useful for updating the community fundraising information on our website, and I’ve been able to take a lot from that day to use for that project, where I have some training booked in soon for changing the content on the site.

At the moment, the big projects I’m working on (as well as updating the website) are recreating our corporate end of year reports to make them more visual and digital, and researching ways to update the Centre’s Adopt-a-Slate scheme and putting together a business case for this. I`ve also met my business mentor, and had a chat to him about his ideas and advice that he can offer me throughout the internship. I am now looking forward to working with both my mentors and the rest of the team at the Centre going forward to achieve my goals and objectives. As well as this, the Development team are keeping me busy with a variety of things - I’ve had a go at shadowing on the phones in the ticket office, as well as chatting to donors and members in our supporters lounge during the Aberfan memorial performance. Getting to know some of our major supporters was very enjoyable, and during the setup of the lounge beforehand I inadvertently ended up holding open stage door for Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon as well – an unexpected highlight!

Week 6: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

A huge part of the last 5 weeks has been building up to the Artes Mundi exhibition opening. I’ve been working on cultivating sponsors and making sure that all Artes Mundi’s supporters are invited to see the show. So this week has been very busy in the offices of Artes Mundi as Thursday night we launched our seventh contemporary art exhibition prize.

Artes Mundi has been working with our partners at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter on this international showcase of 6 artists works. Last night saw all these artists, selectors and supporters gather firstly at National Museum and then Chapter.

It was an incredible evening meeting the artists and the many supporters of Artes Mundi without which the exhibition would not have been possible. 

Photographs: Polly Thomas

As a biennial show we have many interim projects running between the exhibitions, including learning and outreach programmes such as IPP and The Trebannog Project. The next stage in this year’s exhibition and the Artes Mundi catalogue is the conference and awards in January. Where the artists will speak about their work and the winner of the Artes Mundi prize is awarded.

So I encourage you to visit ArtesMundi 7 and experience the art selected to represent the Human Condition; this year’s theme.

Week 5: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

As a Drama Student from South Wales I’d often been to The Sherman Theatre to see their edgy, bold work. If you had told me when I was 16 that I’d be working there as part of the team one day I’d have never believed you!

The wonderful thing about this internship is how much I’m actually learning without even realising it.  On the A&B Cymru induction day I heard lots of business terminology that was completely new to me.  I found this quite scary and discussed this with one of the Strand 2 Interns.  She reassured me that no-one expects us to know the answers at this stage – we’re here to learn.  Now, after nearly four weeks I already feel as if my understanding is becoming clearer every day!

In the office, I have been tasked with researching trusts, foundations and local businesses to fund two upcoming projects. We’ve also been working on a cultivation event and installing new donation boxes in our foyer.

I’ve also attended some really useful events in the last month - 2 fundraising training courses, the press night for the Sherman’s current production, The Weir, and a meeting of fundraisers from arts organisations across Cardiff.  The meeting was a great way to meet people working in the sector with all different levels of experience.

It’s been a varied first few weeks and I’m really enjoying being part of the Sherman team.  

Week 4: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It’s a strange feeling today to be writing a blog about The Gate and not Artes Mundi, although equally, I find it hard to believe that I’m only a few weeks in my new surroundings. Perhaps it’s the great difference between the two organisations that makes my experience at the Gate already very different to that at Artes Mundi.

Everything from the physical space, the difference between venue and non-venue based activity, and the difference between the activities of the two organisations stand in stark contrast, yet day to day activities haven’t changed a huge amount; I’m still looking for suitable trusts and foundations to apply to, still working on applications for both project and core funding, still actively considering sponsorship, individual giving and membership.

One of the main differences however, is that while Artes Mundi relies primarily upon fundraising activity, The Gate is currently hugely reliant upon earned income, meaning that fundraising has not, historically, played a huge role in the organisation. I see this as a huge opportunity (and equally a responsibility); hitting the ground running, I am thoroughly enjoying the chance introduce the principals and techniques that I have learnt in the past year.

Meeting my business and arts mentors, I feel incredibly supported in my new role, and must admit I am incredibly excited by the coming year.  Having never had staff to solely work on fundraising before, I hope that over the course of my internship I can make a significant and tangible impact on the organisation, as a catalyst to impact for the better my local community. ‘Empowered’ is my word of the week….

Week 3: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

I’m now starting my 4th week at National Theatre Wales for my strand two internship, and so far it has been a great experience. My placement allows me to work within a much smaller arts organisation so I can gain a stronger understanding of all areas of running an arts charity.

With no full time fundraiser employed, NTW gives me the opportunity to really take initiative and explore potential fundraising areas.  It’s a great way of utilising all the skills and knowledge I have already learnt, whilst finding a way of using my time to its full potential to benefit the organisation while I am here.

The next 11 months hold a range of opportunities to allow me to grow and learn as a fundraiser and make sure every moment is focused on and encourages my professional development. I will be working on a range of tasks, from assisting in writing a development strategy, to exploring individual giving possibilities and making funding applications.

My first week here was somewhat bizarre, as it was the week of City of the Unexpected. It was probably the best time to join the organisation as they are all immensely proud of one another and of NTW as a whole. The community involvement is a hugely comforting reminder that people do care about and appreciate the work created in Cardiff. From the huge numbers of individuals who got involved in the event, to A&B Cymru supporting the project through the CultureStep scheme, everyone found a way of getting involved in the weekend and supporting NTW and Wales Millennium Centre in their ambitious co-production.

I’m excited to see what else NTW has in store, but it is pretty safe to say it’s going to be an exciting 11 months and there is a huge amount for me to learn!


This year I will be doing two creative internships, placed at National Theatre Wales three days a week and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for the other two. This is an incredible opportunity for me to put to use all of the knowledge I learnt from my first placement at National Museum Wales, whilst continuing to develop my skills at two very different arts organisations.

So far, it’s been great.  The tasks I am doing for each organisation complement the work at the other, allowing me to really look at each piece of work from a wider perspective and consider the context of my fundraising activities within the arts scene of South Wales.

The projects I will be working on at RWCMD have been very carefully considered to ensure I make the most out of my two days here, some allowing me to build on the skills I already have, and some giving me the opportunity to learn and develop skills in new areas of fundraising.

One of the learning aspects that RWCMD provides is for me to learn about higher education based fundraising and how arts fundraising and education work together. This is completely new to me, and brings an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities for me to learn from.

I’ve only been here for three weeks, so I’m still at the start of my learning here, however from my experience so far I can already see how rew