Week 3: Lucy Purrington, Sherman Theatre
First day nerves are to be expected, it’s very typical to feel anxious. After receiving the guided tour, introductions to staff members and finally sitting down at my new desk, my emotions were not so typical; not what I had expected. I relaxed, as if it was my 3rd or maybe 5th day as the staff talked me through how to set up my own computer log in, email account and chatted enthusiastically about future community projects, productions and The Cherry Orchard, (this needs to be seen!)
Each introduction inspired a wealth of enthusiasm upon explaining what my job role would be as a ‘creative intern fundraising for the arts.’ It was clear that each team member held the fundraising department in high regard. And, as the days unfolded and I became more familiar with the Sherman 5 and community engagement projects, I saw why.
The tremendous work that the Sherman does wouldn’t be possible without the funds to support it. From community projects encouraging disadvantaged and disabled people to engage with workshops, theatre productions and supporting emerging talent with sponsored assistant director positions, funding is crucial. And what better way to learn the trade than to give me full access to the application process and, pardon the cliché, throw me into the deep end. I feel very fortunate to be here, during an exciting time of change as the Sherman looks to explore new contemporary ways of fundraising.
Week 2: Johnny Dawson, Hijinx Theatre
Being the first new intern to write this is pretty daunting. At the time of doing so, I’ve been working at Hijinx for four days – most of that time being spent trying to absorb as much information as possible about the organisation. What do I say at this point? I’ll start with this: it’s amazing to be working again! Better yet, I’m absolutely thrilled I get to do so with such a dedicated, welcoming team who work towards achieving such an important vision.
That said, I will be jumping straight into the fundraising. In the run up to Christmas, I will be focused on raising money for Hijinx’s community groups – Odyssey and Telemachus – which includes an application to Aviva’s Community Fund due early next week. This will also include a bid to Children in Need, as well as other Trusts and Foundations. Since telling the stories of how a charity can help its beneficiaries is so key to fundraising, I’ve spent a large part of my first week getting to know the actors and participants Hijinx works with, specifically visiting the Odyssey and Telemachus groups. It’s truly been a privilege to meet these people, and I can’t wait to go back again and visit them next week.
Thinking more long term, I’m going to be looking at other Trusts and Foundations to contribute to core costs, as well as setting up a new Friends scheme for the organisation.
Week 1: Eleanor Prescott, BAFTA Cymru & Sinfonia Cymru
It feels truly fantastic to be back on the internships programme for another 10 months of fundraising. I’ve had a refreshing break, but am excited now to be welcomed into two new organisations (yes two!) for this Strand 2 internship. I now reside with Sinfonia Cymru for 3 days a week, and BAFTA Cymru the other two, so expect a hefty double blog every 5 weeks from now on!
As with the beginning of my first year internship, which coincided with City of the Unexpected, it’s straight in at the deep end (my favourite way to learn!). I’m looking forward to Sinfonia Cymru’s upcoming Curate #BowDown event at Tramshed Tech on 7th October and the BAFTA Cymru Awards on the 8th. It’s guaranteed to be an intense weekend, but as a fundraiser, no doubt a brilliantly hands-on experience.
I will capitalise on this; making the most of the opportunity to understand these events inside out, scope out fundraising possibilities for future ones, and gain insight into the wider ethos of each organisation put into action. From Strand 1 I’ve learned that a great fundraiser understands well the impact of the work that their organisation does, and I believe I can convey the best understanding in my applications, sponsorship pitches and other funding opportunities through having viewed the impact first-hand, utilising events like these as a chance to go in with fresh eyes and adapt my view to that of a potential funder unfamiliar with the organisation.
With Sinfonia Cymru, my immediate focus over the next month or so is preparing and submitting some key trust applications and assisting the Director in completing others, where I am hoping to prove a valuable addition to the team with my previous experience. But I am also looking forward to exploring new funding avenues over the next few months as well, researching the possibilities of text giving and legacy campaigns, and helping put together some literature for our Friends & Patrons.
With BAFTA Cymru, my starting focus will be assisting on a couple of events this week prior to the awards next weekend, getting a feel for how the smaller BAFTA Cymru events operate – a Career Clever event which I attended on my first day (a scheme which supports those hoping to break into the film and television industry) and the Nominees Party for the upcoming awards tonight. The big challenge ahead of me in the coming months will be encouraging high-level donations, particularly attracting new members of the Academy Circle, as cultivating major donors, as opposed to corporate sponsors with very different motivations for giving, is something I have limited experience of currently, although I have previous experience of stewarding existing relationships whilst at Wales Millennium Centre. I’ll also undertake the challenge of securing trusts and foundations support, when the glam and moneyed appearance of the BAFTA’s can overshadow the charitable work which they do in the eyes of a grant maker.
All in all tons to be getting on with, and best of luck to the Strand 1 starting their internships this week!