Showing the outcomes and impact of any project is one of the most important things you can do to inform your funding partner of the impact of their support and help you secure future funding.
ArtsRaise 2023 was the first conference hosted by Fundraising & Philanthropy to focus specifically on arts & culture. Over the course of two days, fundraisers from across Australia heard from Australasia’s leading arts & culture organisations and practitioners. Several speakers highlighted the importance and difficulty of outcomes measurement for the arts sector.
Here are the key messages I took away:
Challenges and opportunities facing the sector
In the opening presentation The Big Picture: Trends in giving and the arts, Jayne Lovelock, Executive Director – Research & Engagement, Creative Partnerships Australia and John McLeod, Philanthropic Services Consultant, JBWere, highlighted that the arts sector is like many other not-for-profit sectors when it comes to challenges and opportunities.
They shared that the top three challenges arts organisations are facing are:
- a lack of personnel and resources (58% of organisations surveyed),
- a lack of time (50 % of organisations surveyed) and,
- difficulty connecting with funders (39% of organisations surveyed)
58% of organisations surveyed identified that knowledge and expertise on who to approach for funding was an opportunity.
Outcome measures to secure funds
In their fantastic presentation Show me the impact, John Smithies, Executive Officer, Cultural Development Network, and Penny Harpham, CEO, Western Edge Youth Arts, explained how using the now internationally agreed measures of Cultural Outcomes developed by John and his team and linking them to Social Outcomes enabled Western Edge Youth Arts to work with their funder to focus on the outcomes they achieve with their work rather than outputs. “Bums on seats” is not the only measure of success; the impact of a small show with community participation can be lasting. These Cultural and Social outcome measures are valuable to securing funds through philanthropy. We know through our partnerships with clients across all for-purpose sectors that, regardless of the sector, funders love measurable outcomes!
Benchmarking data shows Foundations are significant sector funders
In her Benchmarking presentation Learnings from Tessitura Network’s 2022 Philanthropy Benchmarking Project, Amalia Horden, Senior Director – Asia Pacific, Tessitura Network, showed the importance of data to Tessitura’s development and for their clients’ goal setting. An interesting takeaway from a funding perspective was that while the number of Foundations their clients work with was only a tiny portion of their supporter numbers, they still accounted for 25% of the total fundraising revenue. Amalia highlighted that foundations are significant funders, and the growth can be exponential, e.g. if organisations can grow the number of Trusts & Foundations they work with, it will have a huge impact on their organisational revenue!
Telling your story effectively is a way to reach funders
Callum Tolhurst-Close, Director of Philanthropy at the Australian Youth Orchestra made the excellent point of getting your organisation’s narrative right. Building a Case for Support can help your organisation cut through the noise in an overcrowded, competitive market, and particularly with a small fundraising team, you need a great Case for Support that is adaptable to each pitch and conversation that you have with prospective donors.
How Strategic Grants support the arts & culture sector
We are proud to work with many for-purpose organisations within the arts. Our clients have access to their own customised grants calendar through our Grants Expertise Management System (GEMS), which matches funders to their funding needs.
GEMS holds all Trusts, Foundations and Public and Private Ancillary funders in the arts sector – currently more than 1,000!
By using GEMS and working with the Strategic Grants team, our clients save hours of time researching and have access to all the information they need to build strong relationships with funders, in turn helping to secure funds and continue producing impactful art initiatives that deliver cultural and social outcomes for their communities. Oh – we can help you with your case for support, too!