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Spike Island Arts Centre

Developing a five-year fundraising strategy and mentoring the new Development Manager  

One of my particular passions is to help charities think strategically about their longer term vision for fundraising. This usually involves developing a fundraising strategy, as well as considering income diversification, and, if appropriate, how to test new ideas and products.  

Spike Island is a charity and international centre for the development of contemporary art and design, that emerged from a need for artists in Bristol to access studio space to support their creative practices.

The board contacted me because, despite having a robust funding model where 65% of its turnover is secured from earned income, the charity needed to consider how to fundraise core income from individuals, companies and trusts and foundations, to ensure its future sustainability.

This was a completely new approach for them, and I'm often contacted by organisations that don't currently do fundraising for unrestricted or core funding, and I'm really happy to closely support them through all stages of this completely new process.  

I will always start by researching the cause, conducting an audit, and considering competitor and comparator organisations. It will then become clear where there are areas of opportunity, which could be engaging a specific audience, developing a bespoke fundraising product, or something more typical such as developing a new individual giving or major donor income stream. I will usually also need to review other parts of the charity such as the communications function, and the data and insight function.

As Spike Island didn't already communicate with its supporters using language that encourages donations, I spent time developing their case for support - critical for a fundraising program to successfully increase core funding.  

Finally, I mentored their Development Manager over a number of months - a completely new role for the organisation - supporting them to understand the strategy I'd drafted and to begin to put it into practice, as well as to make it their own.  

"Working with Laura over a number of months was refreshing. She quickly understood the complexities of Spike Island, and honed in on the opportunities and challenges for our fundraising strategy. I completely trusted her to guide and mentor our Development Manager, and feel the report she provided was comprehensive and value for money. We now have a really clear roadmap for something that is quite new for us"

Aidan Woodburn, Deputy Director at Spike Island Arts Centre

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