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Fundraising and Philanthropy

Museums need to be increasingly creative when it comes to diversifying their income streams but this can be a complex and time consuming area to grow.  These events offer detailed guidance, new insights and skills development across a range of fundraising activities which support people working in museums to cultivate sustainable funding streams.

To date ASPIRE has run four training workshops on Fundraising and Philanthropy

Introduction to Fundraising and Philanthropy: Fit to Fundraise

This general introduction session aimed to discover what areas of fundraising and philanthropy colleagues working within the museums sector would find it most useful to discuss, as well as discussing how organisation can ensure they are 'fit to fundraise'.

The day covered the difference between capital, activity, unrestricted and endowment fundraising; grants from trusts, foundations and government; capital and activity fundraising projects; unrestricted funds and how to increase it; enabling trustees and volunteers to lead and support fundraising.

Speakers: Judy Niner from Development Partners and Tess McCormick, Head of Development, Ashmolean Museum.

Access top tips from our Fit to Fundraise event.

Building Communications for Fundraising Success

This seminar explored utilising communications to support an organisation's development activities, looking at social media, improving stewardship and managing donor relations, as well as targeting appeals to the right audiences using the right communications tools.

Speakers: Susie Billings, Donor Engagement Manager, Ashmolean Museum and Sarah Casey, Appeals and Data Manager, Ashmolean Museum.

Access top tips from our Fundraising Communications event.

Individual Giving: Friend, Patrons and Major Donors

This event looked at how museums can best develop friends and patrons schemes that make a valuable and worthwhile contribution to the organisation, and are attractive to new and potential Friends and donors, keeping them involved and interested.  It also looked at researching and cultivating major donors and building the relationship between the museum and the donor.

Speakers: Natasha O'Farrell, Patrons and Friends Manager, Ashmolean Museum, Polly Nuttgens, Development Administrator, Ashmolean Museum, Verity Slater, Director of Communications and Development, Modern Art Oxford, Katherine Proudlove, Communications and Development Assistant, Modern Art Oxford, Emily Magnuson, Major Gifts Manager, Ashmolean Museum, Anh Nguyen, Major Gifts Manager, Ashmolean Museum.

Access top tips from our Individual Giving event.

Trusts and Foundations

This specialist event on Trusts and Foundations looked at matching projects, programmes and acquisitions to the appropriate grant-giving body; identifying appropriate funding schemes and opportunities, understanding what trusts and foundations are looking to support; making an eloquent case for funding, managing the applications process and building on success.

Speakers: Helen Duncan, Trusts and Foundations Manager, Ashmolean Museum; Liz Hardingham, Research and Trusts Officer, Ashmolean Museum; Sally Colvin, Collections Coordinator, Museums Association; Paul Mainds, CEO, River & Rowing Museum; Helen Vincent, Development Manager, River & Rowing Museum; Bill Bruty, Director, Fundraising Training Ltd; Tom McNeil, Trusts and Foundations Officer, Oxford University.

Access top tips from our Trusts and Foundations event.

Legacy Giving

In this event we looked at the research behind Legacy Giving, and case studies of starting a new legacy giving scheme for a cultural organisation, and the experiences of a more mature legacy giving programme.

Speakers: Claire Routley, consultant at Legacy Fundraising and holder of the world's first PhD in legacy marketing; Abigail Wilde, Development Manager for Individual Giving at the ; Elaine Bentley, Development Manager at Pallant House Gallery and recipient of the Legacy 10 award for excellent in legacy fundraising.

Access top tips from our Legacy Giving event.

Membership Schemes and Corporate Giving

The context and dynamics of funding has changed fundamentally for museums in recent years.   The current economic situation may get better, but the changes to funding structures will be lasting and arguably even more competitive.  Museums need to get better at asking for money whilst focusing their attention on increasing and diversifying funding sources. This event aoimed to spark ideas, share and develop knowledge, and increase confidence around fundraising and philanthropy.

Access top tips from our Membership Schemes and Corporate Giving Event.


As funding becomes scarce and competitive, cultural organisations must diversify their incomes, and have looked to crowdfunding as a way to mobilise their often significant fan bases for support. But with so many crowdfunding initiatives now out there, how can cultural organisations stand out from the crowd and garner support. How should not-for-profits engage with the incentives programme. Should cultural organisation be using established platforms like Kickstarter, or applying crowdfunding initiatives in a bespoke way?

Access top tips from our Crowdfunding Event.

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