Partnerships Programme – Learning from Trusts & Foundation Event for the Arts


As part of the new Partnerships work headed by Adam Lopardo we recently organised a day of insight, sharing and surgeries with local and national Trusts and Foundations for over 100 cultural organisations in the North of England.

The day was well received by the participants and is a model we are aiming to roll out for the North East voluntary and community sector.  Below and on the Culture Partnership blog are reports from the day. Whilst they are from an arts perspective many of the tips and insights are relevant to all groups applying to Trusts and Foundations and are well worth a read.

Here, Beth Harvey, DARE Fundraising Fellow Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, shares her thoughts.

“What made this event particularly successful was the amount of structured debate and conversation between participants. The day was opened by an introduction and welcome by Adam Lopardo from Community Foundation followed by a brief presentation by Sarah Maxfield of Arts Council who introduced ideas of diversifying income streams to become more resilient. In times of austerity and reduced public funding, competition for funds is high, so this day presents an opportunity to learn more about how to ensure applications are successful.”

Making an application:

  • Do include information about the non-arts benefits of arts and culture projects
  • Do include evidence like youtube clips, images and case studies
  • Think about your legal structure, grant givers sometimes insist you are a “registered charity” but, “If your organisation’s objectives are exclusively charitable and income is over £5k, you’re legally an (unregistered) charity”

The panel sessions allowed the audience to question some of the assumptions of trust fundraising, with some myths brought to light:

Being successful:

  • [Arts] organisations do not necessarily need a good track record of previously funded projects.
  • They do not need a former relationship with the Trust or Foundation.
  • Knowing someone on the inside does not increase chances of success.
  • Trusts and Foundations do not take into consideration Arts Council funding.
  • Each application is considered independently and judged on a case by case basis.


The main lessons learned from the day were:

  • Do not be afraid of rejection, and to try again.
  • Trusts and Foundations need [arts] organisations to fulfill their objectives.
  • Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice.


Overall the day taught us to be brave, and to understand that grant givers are only human. “Not a fat-cat in a bowler hat, and not a Margaret Thatcher lookalike”

Posted on 12/05/2015 @ 4:54 pm
Filed under: News,Uncategorized