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A Catalyst for change

ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK

What can we learn from recipients of Arts Council England’s Catalyst Evolve funding? AMA’s Associate Editor, Sara Lock, captured some of the key points from the first Catalyst learning day of 2017.

Arts Council England launched Catalyst Evolve to support organisations with a limited track record in fundraising to attract more private giving. The fund is part of a wider ambition to create a more sustainable and resilient arts and culture sector.

During the learning day, led by BOP Consulting, funding recipients shared stories of challenges and positive change. While each story was unique, there were a number of recurring themes and steps that could be applied to any organisation.

Take a step back
Taking a step backwards can feel counter-intuitive when trying to achieve progress but for many recipients it was an essential part of the process. As one aptly put it: “How can we expect people to fund us when we don’t know who we are or what we stand for?”

This first step wasn’t about grantees reinventing their organisations. It was a case of them finding the right language to clearly and concisely articulate what they do and why. It was about telling their story in a distinctive way that would enable them to stand out.

Vision statements are widely used by cause-led charities to boldly articulate the difference they want to make in the world. The use of ‘Vision’ statements in the arts and cultural sector is far less prominent. Some organisations articulate business-orientated ambitions, such as becoming the leading organisation of their type. Some have a mission but not a vision and others simply choose not to share these statements with the world.

For many Catalyst Evolve recipients, developing a compelling vision statement was the first step in embedding fundraising in their organisations. Several said they felt they were now communicating more like cause-led charities. Some had taken it further by learning to speak clearly and concisely about the impact of their work.

One of my favourite stories of the day was from the CEO of South Asian Arts UK (SAA), Keran Virdee. She ensured every member of her team had a slick ‘elevator pitch’ by making them describe SAA to a member of the public in a one-floor elevator ride. The literal interpretation of an ‘elevator pitch’ meant her team had no choice but to get immediately to the point of SAA’s work.

Involve the whole team
Funding recipients from previous Catalyst rounds have stressed the importance of embedding fundraising across the whole organisation. Those who’ve been particularly successful have reported strong top-down leadership and support from the board. Others have referenced the importance of front of house staff feeling confident asking for donations.

Catalyst Evolve recipients are already achieving success by bringing marketing and fundraising staff together. A more consistent tone of voice and more engaging messaging were just two of the benefits reported. Often, part of the battle is making people aware that your organisation needs financial support; taking a joint marketing and fundraising approach to communication is helping recipients achieve that shift in perception.

Grantees have also highlighted success in working with board members to access new networks and engage potential supporters. Catalyst has provided a focus for organisations to involve board members in fundraising. While not all organisations have that opportunity, arranging a staff and board away day dedicated to fundraising could provide a similar focus.

Build processes and consistency
It’s still relatively early days for Catalyst Evolve participants but they are already beginning to establish new processes and a more consistent approach. Many of the participants talked about having previously done a bit of fundraising here and there when they could fit it in around other tasks. They talked about making a transition from one-off campaigns or fundraising events to a more consistent and connected approach.

If you are putting all your fundraising energy into one-off campaigns or fundraising activities, think about how you could connect giving opportunities. Catalyst grantees are beginning to build ladders of giving to encourage higher level gifts from previous donors. Focusing on donor care and keeping accurate records of donations has enabled them to start building private giving and streamline their processes.

Be kind to yourself
The final point I took from the day was the importance of being kind to yourself. Perhaps the overriding feeling in the room was one of reassurance. Several grantees aired frustrations at not having achieved as much as they’d hoped, only to find they were certainly not alone.

Until you see those big cheques coming in, fundraising may feel like a thankless task. Building strong foundations for fundraising can take time but, as stories from previous grantees revealed, it pays dividends in the long-term.

The day ended with an important reminder that you don’t have to get everything right from the start. If your fundraising campaign isn’t working, you haven’t failed. Take a step back, tweak it and carry on. Every mistake you learn from brings you a little bit closer to a successful campaign.

 

This article was written by Sara Lock and originally published on CultureHive.

Image: Phoenix Dance Theatre, photo credit Richard Moran.

One-to-one surgery — Google Analytics

Image courtesy of Enfeild Council © Carly Michael

What is it about?

This is a one-to-one surgery session with digital expert Devon Smith. This is a chance to delve deeper into Google Analytics.

You can discuss how you’re currently using Google Analytics to inform your marketing. Devon will then work with you to explore the best ways you can exploit its potential in the future.

What will you gain?

  • Tailored and practical advice on how to get the most out of Google Analytics
  • Expert knowledge around getting impactful and actionable insights from analytics
  • Best practice for acting on your analytics in a meaningful way

Who is it for?

Anyone who wants one-to-one advice on Google Analytics from an expert in the field.

The speaker

Devon Smith
Co-founder
Measure Creative

Please note:
Places for these one-to-one sessions are very limited. To secure your place you’ll need to sign up online. More information about registering will be sent round via email to all delegates in June. Please let us know as soon as possible if you’ve signed up and can no longer attend so someone else can make the most of this opportunity.

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Championing the audience — how to successfully influence across your organisation

Image courtesy of Stellar Quines © Eoin Care

What is it about?

This session will explore how arts marketers are the voice of their audiences. You’ll discover how you can use your audiences insight to inform and influence colleagues and activity across your organisation. Laraine will share examples drawing on her own experience of leading teams at arts organisations.

What will you gain?

  • Tips for influencing internally so marketing is an integral part of business planning
  • Practical advice for reflecting on your work and how to best communicate your ideas
  • Insight into how best to champion the audience in your organisation

Who is it for?

Arts marketers looking for help to gain momentum for their ideas.

The speaker

Laraine Penson
Consultancy Manager: Marketing & Communications (North)
National Trust

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Channel “me” — tuning in to user-generated content

Image courtesy of National Football Museum © Chris Payne

What is it about?

This keynote will focus on the new wave of marketing where everybody has their own ‘channel’. Every visitor and audience member is empowered to be their own broadcaster and the mobile phone is a remote control for all – dictating how we live our lives and engage with culture.

Timothy will reflect on his experiences from his own start up, Fanbytes. Fanbytes is a Snapchat video ad network that helps brands reach Generation Z at scale.

The speaker

Timothy Armoo
CEO
Fanbytes

 

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Culture in a polarised world — exploring the role of our own organisations

Image courtesy of Attenborough Arts Centre © David Wilson Clarke

What is it about?

This session explores the role of cultural organisations in our increasingly polarised society.

Are we more averse to exploring difference and conflict? Do we lack an understanding of communities having multiple identities —  family, neighbourhood, culture and nation, often overlapping or disconnecting ?

Our sector talks about the need to diversify and broaden audiences. However, the ‘participation gap’ between well-off and low income visitors is not closing. For example, more people are visiting museums than ever before but they are predominately middle class.

Tony Butler brings his unique perspective to this increasingly important topic.

What will you gain?

  • The chance to discuss the extent to which arts and cultural organisations have a role as unifiers in society
  • Knowledge and advice around how we can better share social and cultural capital, as a sector
  • The opportunity to share your thoughts and hear from other like-minded people

Who is it for?

Anyone looking to engage in meaningful discussions surrounding culture’s role in society.

The speaker

Tony Butler
Executive Director
Derby Museums

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Subtitling on a budget — learning how to Live Caption

SHOW BOAT by Hammerstein,         , Writer - Oscar Hammerstein II, Director - Daniel Evans, Designer - Lez Brotherstoni, Lighting - David Hersey, Choreographer - Alistair David, Music - David White, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK, 2015, Credit - Johan Persson - www.perssonphotography.com /

Image courtesy of Sheffield Theatres © Johan Persson —  Joe and Stevedores in Show Boat

What is it about?

This interactive session will take you through the process of subtitling. It will equip you with the tools, skills and advice for captioning all your organisation’s videos. You can bring your own laptop along to the session to follow key steps.

What will you gain?

  • Knowledge of how to subtitle
  • Top tips for captioning and making videos accessible to all
  • Advice on ensuring your videos are social media friendly

Who is it for?

Anyone responsible for editing or uploading videos on behalf of their organisation.

The speakers

Alic Joy
Marketing and Communications Manager
Stagetext


Melanie Sharpe
Chief Executive
Stagetext

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Steps to success — your guide to planning marketing campaigns

Image-courtesy-of-Santa-Cruz-Museum-of-Art-History © Gabriel-Carlos

What is it about?

In a world where there are always new trends, the simple campaign planning framework can be a bit lost. This practical workshop will lead you through planning successful marketing campaigns.

What will you gain?

  • Insight into the best ways to approach and structure your campaigns
  • Practical tips and success factors for planning effective marketing campaigns
  • Time to think about the right framework for your future marketing efforts

Who is it for?

Marketing officers and executives who plan and implement marketing campaigns for their organisations.

The speaker

Devon Smith
Co-founder
Measure Creative

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Now Trending — quick-fire provocations and sector snapshots 

Image courtesy of Sadlers Wells © Stephen White LightSpace by Michael Hulls

What is it about?

This keynote brings together diverse thought leaders to share quick-fire provocations and inspirations. It will also consider emerging ideas and trends across the sector. Speakers will also challenge you with their predicted opportunities and changes.

You’ll leave with ideas around where to focus your efforts to remain relevant and resilient.

The speakers

Ali Hanan
Founder and CEO
Creative Equals

Jane Cordell
Director
Result CIC

Debris Stevenson
Poet, Performer, Educator

Matthew Xia
Director, Composer, Journalist and DJ

Tony Butler
Executive Director
Derby Museums

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Pressing ‘reset’ — refreshing our arts marketing philosophy

Image courtesy of Cardiff Motorpoint Arena © Busted socials

What is it about?

This session will challenge any complacent attitudes we may have  around arts marketing. It will explore how a rethink could open up ways to re-connect people with new, unforgettable cultural experiences.

James will share how, using fresh thinking, he has built an eclectic roster of clients in just 18 months. Some of his recent work includes the digital redevelopment of new opera company Tête à Tête.

What will you gain?

  • Fresh approaches in arts marketing and strategic planning
  • An insight into new, useful technology and how it can benefit your organisation
  • Advice on how to put in place a long-term brand development strategy

Who is it for?

Anyone keen to understand how to refresh organisational thinking around their brand, campaigns and audiences they traditionally engage with.

The speaker

James Fleury
Founder & Director
Nouvague

 

The Psychology of Loyalty — creating it, nurturing it, keeping it

Image courtesy of Aberdeen Performing Art ©

What is it about?

This interactive session focuses on the latest science around the psychology of loyalty. It will explore the mental processes involved in audiences’ sense of loyalty.

You’ll discover how the commercial sector is using technology including points systems, discounts, and social recognition programs to nurture consumer loyalty. Find out how these ways also apply to the non-profit world.

What will you gain?

  • Top tips for encouraging visitors and audiences to repeatedly support your organisation
  • Case studies examples of successful organisation-wide loyalty programs
  • Practical tools for applying these approaches to your own organisation

Who is it for?

Anyone keen to understand how marketing processes affect brand behaviour and organisational loyalty.

The speaker

Picture of Ron Evans

Ron Evans
Consumer Psychologist and Principal Consultant
Group of Minds

 

 

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