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Arts Council England Catalyst Programme effected sustainable change, says final evaluation

Arts Council England Catalyst Programme effected sustainable change, says final evaluation

has published the final evaluation report for the Catalyst programme, which funded training and development of fundraisers.

The research was undertaken by BOP Consulting, and found that the Arts Council England Catalyst Programme, which launched in 2012 and ended in summer 2015, raised significant money for the sector, as well as a legacy for participants in terms of increased skills, confidence and the longer-term resilience of the sector.

Findings from year one showed that the programme’s support gave organisations the confidence to experiment, and helped increase internal resources, skills and capacity, which led to most organisations approaching new donors and the share of revenue from private giving increase. Year two’s evaluation showed that while not all organisations had reached their match finding targets, significant sums had been raised, with match welcomed by participating organisations.

The Year three evaluation assessed the degree to which Catalyst has helped to develop a long-term culture change/shift in the participating organisations towards fundraising.

It found that 86 per cent of organisations have continued to launch campaigns, and to invest in capacity building activities like training (72 per cent) and consultancy (47 per cent), as well as activities that build support bases, such as membership schemes (46 per cent).

The report also reveals a commitment across the majority of organisations (88 per cent) to maintain or increase the level of resources allocated to fundraising, and a greater focus on planning, effectiveness and monitoring of fundraising.

Considerable organisational change has also been undertaken by grantees. 87 per cent of organisations now have a written fundraising strategy with clear targets and goals (compared to 30 per cent in Year 1), while 52 per cent of organisations recruited new Board members, and 48 per cent of organisations have developed new dedicated fundraising posts. 37 per cent of organisations have been able to sustain new roles and 22 per cent have been able to sustain at least some new roles, and 64 per cent of organisations report that they have increased their planning timeframes for fundraising.

Arts Council England’s total investment in the scheme was £70 million, including a commissioned grant of £2 million allocated to the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy training programme.

Last year, Arts Council England used the learning from the first two Catalyst Evaluation Reports to inform a new £17.5 million funding programme, Catalyst Evolve, that built on its initial Catalyst investments. This new funding programme is supporting 140 projects with organisations that have a limited track record in fundraising to help them attract more private giving.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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