Launched last month, the Young Arts Fundraisers group is engaging an emerging generation of cultural sector fundraisers.
At the Science Museum on 14th September, the word on many senior fundraisers’ lips was: “I wish something like this had existed when I started out.”
The occasion was the official launch of Young Arts Fundraisers – a new professional network for emerging cultural sector fundraisers.
We all know that cuts in government funding are subjecting cultural organisations across the UK to tough times, and that wise organisations respond by investing in philanthropy as a sustainable income stream. But we don’t yet know in the cultural sector how we can join forces to support the emerging generation of fundraisers as they become the highly skilled professionals who will lead their organisations through challenges with confidence and acumen. Young Arts Fundraisers aims to equip these new and youthful fundraisers with the cultural leadership skills required to do just that.
In January, some one hundred young arts professionals gathered at the Foundling Museum to discuss the future of arts fundraising in a panel discussion supported by Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy and in partnership with Young People in the Arts and the IoF Cultural Sector Network. This was the brainchild of Fanny Guesdon (Brunswick Arts) Matthew Ross (University College London) and Chris Powell (London Symphony Orchestra). It was also a pilot. The organisers wanted to test interest in what they suspected was a great unmet need for a peer-to-peer professional network aimed specifically at fundraisers early in their careers, with a specialist and in-depth focus on the cultural sector. The event was a sell-out, and the planning began.
Young Arts Fundraisers officially launched on 14th September with a reception hosted by the Science Museum and supported by the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme. Over seventy arts professionals, established and emerging, heard colourful stories that exemplified young fundraisers’ support needs from Amanda Rigali (Director of Strategic Development, Cause4) and Martin Kaufman (Chair, IoF Cultural Sector Network). Guests also engaged in pilot speed-mentoring sessions with senior practitioners from major arts organisations including the Natural History Museum and the London Handel Festival.
Young Arts Fundraisers is now revealing its launch season of carefully curated monthly events, organised by a strong committee representing the V&A, Tate, National Gallery, Sadlers Wells, London Library, National Youth Orchestra, Serious and Artangel. Highlights will include panel discussion events in partnership with the IoF Cultural Sector Network, Young People in the Arts and the Foundling Museum to address pressing issues for the sector, in addition to a series of networking drinks, exhibition private views, and further speed-mentoring. The network is also developing a structured mentoring programme with the IoF Cultural Sector Network.
Young Arts Fundraisers has ambitious plans to develop a London, and ultimately UK-wide membership that connects, engages and educates its diverse group of members. It also plans to raise the profile of fundraising with the help of a growing number of partner organisations. So, as a young generation comes to the fore in cultural sector fundraising, they now have the network they have needed for so long, and we follow their progress avidly.
Young Arts Fundraisers’ next event is on 10th October at LIBRARY members’ club.
Tickets are free and are available now.
Alexandra Davis is Development Manager at the London Library
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