Arts & Business Northern Ireland and Cymru

Research commissioned by the Foundation into the state of the voluntary sector in Wales indicated that, amongst other concerns, the sector struggles from the lack of a trained fundraising resource. This led to the Foundation being instrumental in the creation of a new fundraising internship that was developed by the sister organisations Arts & Business Cymru and Northern Ireland.

Art and Business team

Both organisations have 30 years’ experience in driving dynamic collaborations between the arts and business sectors. They work with private sector businesses to help them find arts based solutions to business challenges and help strengthen the arts by connecting them with business and facilitating improved business skills through their mentoring and board matching programmes.  Via training, advice and support, A&B build confidence and skills within the arts in the areas of fundraising and income generation. At the heart of their work is the belief that the arts have the power to transform and change lives on both an individual and corporate level.

For some time, Wales and Northern Ireland has experienced a lack of professional arts fundraisers, though the need to ensure a varied funding mix is crucial to survival. A&B Cymru and Northern Ireland sought a way to attract new graduates into a career in fundraising.

The Foundation therefore supported the pilot Creative Internships programme which created full time paid internships for fundraisers in leading arts organisations in Northern Ireland and Wales.   The first cohort of interns raised funds which represented a fourfold return on investment on their salaries – new jobs were created for arts graduates and new income was secured for the arts organisations.

Having seen how successful the initial pilot was, the Trustees were delighted to make additional grants to both organisations to support the continuation of the scheme which is currently in its third year. Currently 17 graduates have completed a one year internship, of whom 14 are now in full-time fundraising roles and two have embarked on a second year internship.

“The vision and support shown by the Foundation in becoming the first funder to commit to the initiative was a direct catalyst to securing support from other funders.” Rachel Jones, CEO A&B Cymru.