16 November 2015back

Creative Internships Blog Week 6

Clio Ryan, Artes Mundi

Six weeks in and it’s hard to even see the starting line from here.

From early morning mist to sheets of rainfall, in the blink of an eye, the seasons have well and truly changed. In what feels like no time at all, I feel as though I am finally starting to appreciate and understand the hugely diverse role and varied responsibilities of a fundraiser. While I remain in the early stages of my training, I believe that in the past 6 weeks I have come to understand a great deal of what fundraising entails.

From speaking to other Creative Interns about their experiences so far, it seems clear that the journey is proving different for each of us. The Artes Mundi team is relatively small in comparison to the Development Department at some of the larger organisations and working alongside Lianne Toye, we have a lot of ground to cover. Unconfined by defined and specialist roles, we jump from Trust and Foundation work to Corporate Sponsorship, Friends or Member’s Schemes and Individual Giving to Major Gifts all in a day’s work. This constant flux of activity and ever evolving streams of funding makes each day something new and exciting as we attempt to fill the ‘wheel of fortune’ pinned to the notice board.

Working with such a broad spectrum of funders, what remains constant across the board is the importance of developing relationships with those who you are approaching for funding.  From meeting with representatives of Trusts to discuss submitting an application to meeting with businesses to explore possible ground in common and scope for symbiosis, it is crucial to form and nurture all relationships, new and old.

Timing is another factor of importance for each specific area of funding. Just as you must be aware of deadlines for Trust Applications, or the financial calendar of any corporate you wish to approach, you must also be aware of the timescale of when a project will take place and when you may be required to provide final evaluation reports. Artes Mundi is a biennial contemporary exhibition and art prize, operating as a cyclical event and while the aims of many Trusts might perfectly match our own aims, as a biennial, it is of particular importance that we match the timing of each application to our own programme of events, carefully choosing the opportune moment to make an approach.

Knowing the organisation that you are fundraising for goes beyond a necessity. In order to maximise possible funding sources, you must be an expert in your organisation and be able to constantly evaluate projects and possible funders.

Supplementing the hands on experience I am gaining by working as an intern, are the Arts & Business Cymru training days that each of the Creative Interns are invited to attend alongside the Arts & Business Cymru Members. These intensive courses have offered additional support and training in specific fields of fundraising, exploring techniques and tips on how best to approach each individual strand of fundraising. Incredibly each topic covered at these training days has perfectly coincided with tasks and activities I have been carrying out at Artes Mundi and so have formed a perfect source of information that I constantly draw upon.

Walking to and from work has become a normality now and I feel I am beginning to become familiar with the landscape of fundraising in Wales. Reflecting on the time I have spent at Artes Mundi, I could never have anticipated the journey so far and look forward to all that is to come!

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