Charitable legacies: The time to act is now

Hand drawn vector illustration of charitable symbols
18 Apr 2023

In the next 30 years, a record £5.5 trillion is set to be transferred between generations, as either inheritance or gifts. Michelle Wright thinks legacy giving is a neglected area of fundraising.

‘Hazardous substance risk’ behind museum closure

01 Dec 2023

A museum was prevented from reopening after a health and safety inspection discovered  "hazardous substances risks", according to a heritage organisation.

The Wirral Transport Museum and Tramway was closed on 20 April by Wirral Council following an inspection by the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), which found “significant contraventions of health and safety law” both in the building and in the procedures of how the museum and tramline operated.

Big Heritage,  which finalised its takeover of the museum on 17 November from the Wirral Council, said that the closure had been an "inconvenience, but no inconvenience supersedes public safety and the risk to life of visitors and volunteers".

In a statement, Big Heritage said: "We have every sympathy with volunteers and visitors who have been frustrated at this situation.

"But we can attest that Wirral Council took the results of the inspection very seriously and have spent considerable time and resources to address the issues raised as quickly as possible."

The company said procedures had been implemented to monitor and record a range of health and safety and control of hazardous substances risks. It added that a model railway donated 20 years ago has been removed from display as it posed a serious fire risk.

Big Heritage has announced plans to raise over £5m to transform the museum and double its size.

A Wirral Council spokesperson told the BBC: "Ahead of the transfer of the building, there were several issues identified by the council and the ORR report that needed to be addressed and which required the facility to remain closed so the work could be carried out safely.

"The security and upkeep of the building is now in the hands of Big Heritage CIC, while the council-owned heritage trams are on loan to them, with specific contractual requirements around their safety, security and maintenance.

"The council is committed to providing ongoing support to all parties with an interest in the future success of the Wirral Transport Museum."

Spending down: Opportunity or risk?

Calculator on phone while person does finance, business, audit and accounts
15 Nov 2023

In spending down their assets, trusts and foundations are making a strategic change of direction which could pose a threat to the charity sector, says Ben Wilson.

Exclusive: Donor revenue for cultural sector falls by a quarter

The exterior of the Royal Opera House
02 Nov 2023

The amount of money being donated to UK cultural organisations dropped sharply last year.

Charity seeks support for musician development programme

01 Nov 2023

A talent development organisation has launched a fundraising appeal to support the next generation of jazz musicians.

The Tomorrow’s Warriors charity aims to raise £100,000 through its #IAMWARRIOR appeal to help sustain its free-to-access Young Artist Development and Emerging Artist Programmes. 

Music Week reports that the organisation relies on the support of funding and donations to continue to deliver its learning programmes that provide music education to the next generation of jazz musicians, with a focus on young women and those from diverse and low-income backgrounds. 

Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective are among jazz musicians to have previously benefitted from the programme.

DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson said: “Tomorrow's Warriors occupies a unique and vital space in our cultural landscape. Their work in helping positively shape future generations is of critical importance, especially in light of the tribulations we currently face." 

Former NPO’s fundraiser enjoys sell-out run

16 Oct 2023

A theatre that lost its regular funding from Arts Council England (ACE) has finished a sell-out run of a musical aimed at securing its future.

The Watermill Theatre in Newbury, Berkshire, lost £464,000 of funding when ACE announced it was not part of its refreshed National Portfolio last November.

For the last twelve weeks, the venue has staged its largest scale production to date - an immersive production of Lord of the Rings, performed across a stage in the auditorium and a stage in the gardens.

The venue says it sold more than 17,000 tickets with almost half bought by first-time visitors.

Executive Director Claire Murray told the BBC the success has allowed the theatre to “look to the future with confidence”.

“As we move forward without statutory funding, it's vital that we explore how we can grow our income and reach more people.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter for The Watermill, and I'm pleased to say the success of The Lord of The Rings and the support we've had from audiences over these last few months, allows us to make exciting plans and look to the future with confidence.”

Ticketmaster agrees fundraising drive for Music Venues Trust

12 Oct 2023

Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is launching a charity upsell option to support Music Venues Trust (MVT).

For one month starting 17 October, to coincide with MVT’s annual Venues Day, anyone buying a ticket on Ticketmaster will be given the option to donate directly to the music charity.

Ticketmaster has agreed to run the initiative annually and is pledging to match all donations received.

MVT CEO Mark Davyd told IQ the upsell will provide a practical method for fans to support grassroots music venues.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Ticketmaster team for putting it in place,” he added.

“Ticketmaster matching all fan donations is a powerful message for the whole industry about the support our sector needs and the will of the music community to provide it.”

This year, MVT’s Venues Day will be marked with an event at London’s The Fireworks Factory, inviting delegates from across the UK’s grassroots music venue sector to workshops, discussions and presentations.

The event offers support to people running grassroots venues and connects them with services that can help them.

Last week, MVT announced the first acquisition under its Own Our Venues scheme, aiming to safeguard the future of grassroots music venues through a community ownership initiative.

Vagina Museum to reopen after exceeding fundraising target

10 Oct 2023

London’s Vagina Museum will reopen on 4 November after a successful fundraising drive.

The museum was forced to close its doors in February after its property guardianship ended.

It has relocated to multi-storey premises in Bethnal Green after surpassing an £85,000 fundraising target with donations from more than 2,500 people.

Its new home features three gallery spaces. The ground floor will house temporary exhibitions, while a pair of upstairs galleries will feature a permanent exhibition and community gallery.

When the museum reopens, initially only the ground floor will be accessible as lift access is not yet available.

The museum’s Head of Communications, Zoe Williams, told The Guardian fundraising efforts had been a “make or break scenario”.

“We genuinely didn’t know how successful it would be, especially in the cost-of-living crisis when so many people in our community are really feeling the pinch. It’s just wonderful.”

Campaign to save Edinburgh Filmhouse launched

18 Sep 2023

Edinburgh Filmhouse has launched a campaign to secure its future, after it agreed a short-term lease with the building's owner to allow fundraising to take place.

The cinema closed its doors in October last year following the collapse of its parent company,  the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), which ceased trading amid rising overheads and reduced business.

The fundraiser is being spearheaded by the newly formed charity Filmhouse (Edinburgh) Ltd, which has entered into a 6-month interim lease with the building’s owner, Caledonian Heritable. During that time, it hopes to raise an initial  £1.25m for essential refurbishment to reopen in 2024.

If successful, the charity will take on a 21-year lease to operate the cinema independently, with a café bar to help support it financially.

Caledonian Heritable, which owns other hospitality businesses in Edinburgh, has already started upgrading the fabric of the cinema. The company has pledged to gift all projection equipment to the new Filmhouse, including the customised analogue 35mm and 70mm projectors.

After the announcement of the agreement between Filmhouse (Edinburgh) and the privately-owned Caledonian Heritable, national funding body Screen Scotland confirmed it had awarded the charity £60,000 to support its planning and development work.

Screen Scotland has been working with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish government to ensure a future for independent cinema in the city since CMI’s collapse, which also resulted in the demise of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

Culture Minister Christina McKelvie said: “The Scottish government is absolutely clear on the value of cultural cinema and the importance of ensuring its future.

“I am delighted to see that work to secure its future is progressing, and I am grateful to all involved for their ongoing hard work and dedication.”

Vogue World raises £2m for London-based arts organisations 

18 Sep 2023

A fundraising event staged by fashion magazine Vogue has raised £2m for London-based arts organisations that saw their support cut by Arts Council England (ACE). 

Promoted as an event to "celebrate a mix of opera, dance, theatre and fashion", Vogue said it will donate 100% of net proceeds from ticket sales to 21 arts and cultural organisations in London in the form of grants. 

Those set to receive the grants include the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet, Southbank Sinfonia and the Rambert Dance Company. The funds can be used for anything related to their core mission and objectives.

The recipients comprise three types of organisations, including larger institutions classed as  ‘Vogue World cultural partners’, which helped to produce the event. Donations will also go to organisations that support freelancers and small companies in London that have recently received funding for the first time or had their funding reduced.

In a press release, Vogue said: “In addition to ticket proceeds, Vogue is working with a number of organisations and donors to increase donations to the fund through individual contributions.”

Vogue Editor Anna Wintour previously said the decision to give proceeds from the event mainly to London-based organisations was a response to arts funding being shifted outside the capital for the 2023-26 National Portfolio after ACE was required to reduce funding for London-based organisations by 15%.

“The arts are under threat in the UK, and Vogue World will be a timely reminder of how important they are, how vital a part of our lives, and how much they need our support,” Wintour said.

“The London art scene is so important economically to the city. So many people come to London as tourists to appreciate the art scenes.”

The 37-minute show, held at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Thursday night, was directed by Stephen Daldry and included a host of well-known actors and musicians who paid tribute to the importance of the arts.

Derby venue launches fundraising appeal for urgent repairs

30 Aug 2023

An arts venue in Derby is trying to raise funds for urgent repairs.

The Quad cinema and gallery, which recently received an emergency loan of £150,000 from the city council to help it with rising energy costs, said it needs to raise £30,000.

An online appeal launched in July has so far attracted just under £2,500.

The venue said the loan from Derby City Council was "really helpful" but that the site, which opened in 2008, is "suffering from wear and tear".

Quad's management team explained: "We really need to update specific equipment to improve accessibility for all our customers and also to remain as environmentally sustainable and efficient as possible.

"This fundraising is critical for us to raise money to replace equipment in Quad which is outdated or nearing replacement, in order to keep our facilities up to standard."

Royal Ballet School widens membership scheme

06 Jul 2023

The Royal Ballet School has launched a digital membership programme to widen access for those wanting to support its operation.

The school is offering memberships of £65 a year - or £45 for Young Members - extending the options for support to young philanthropists or those based overseas.

The new programme is part of a push to raise funds vital to ensuring the organisation’s survival. Funding from the Department of Education has remained at a standstill while running costs have risen, the school said, leaving a shortfall that requires it to raise over £1m in donations annually.

Members and Young Members will be offered exclusive behind-the-scenes access to ballet classes via Zoom, a bi-monthly newsletter with photos, videos and stories, and discounts on Royal Ballet School shop and video-on-demand products. 

The funds raised will contribute to the school’s General Fund, which is used to cover the running costs of its studios, facilities and accommodation, to fund healthcare provision, to pay salaries and to maintain its historic buildings.

Manchester's Factory venue sells naming rights for £35m

21 Jun 2023

The new £210m Factory International venue in Manchester has been renamed Aviva Studios in a naming rights deal worth £35m.

The insurance company Aviva has secured the rights, with the new name also paying homage to the famous Granada Studios which previously stood on the city centre site.

The venue's much heralded original name was a reference to the Manchester record label Factory, home to bands such as New Order, Happy Mondays and A Certain Ratio.

The Factory brand will not be completely lost, as the venue will be still be home to arts content providers Factory International – producers of the Manchester International Festival.

Manchester City Council – a major investor in the venue – will recieve the majority of the £35m, having approved capital budget increases on the understanding that some of this could be recouped through such deals.

Council Leader Bev Craig said: “Manchester people are very pragmatic. They know that in this modern world to pay for things you need money to be able to do that."

Some of the money from the Aviva deal will help fund plans for £10 tickets and skills training programmes at the futuristic OMA-designed venue.

AI and the future of arts fundraising

Chatbot icons
14 Jun 2023

Amid recent concerns about the safety of artificial intelligence, Ben Wilson looks at its potential as a resource for fundraising, and the ethical questions it throws up.

Foundling Museum makes 'urgent' appeal to secure future

Visitors in Introductory Gallery at the Foundling Museum
01 Jun 2023

The institution is seeking £1m in additional funding by September to secure the long-term future of its building and collections.

Vagina Museum reaches fundraising target for relocation

26 May 2023

The Vagina Museum has exceeded a fundraising target to allow it move into a new premises situated between two railway arches in East London.

According to an online crowdfunder, over 2,400 donations have helped the museum surpass its £85,000 target.

The organisation's director, Florence Schechter, had said the museum would face permanent closure if the target was not reached.

The museum has been homeless since January after being given less than a week to vacate the premises it held for less than a year, causing the museum to operate digitally in the interim.

In an update shared on Twitter, the museum thanked all donors, adding that is had been "really touch and go": "If we didn't reach the target, we would have had to wind up".

"We're busily preparing design and fit-out work for our new home. And we're planning new exhibitions as well as levelling up our permanent exhibition," the statement added.

The fundraiser will remain open until early June, with additional proceeds going towards the musuem "opening its doors in an even stronger and more secure position".

How can arts organisations improve online giving?

People sat together around a black table in an office. They are smiling and laughing. On the table, there is a mug, post-it notes, and a notebook.
02 May 2023

In the competitive field of fundraising, digital gift giving has been experiencing a boom, as Stephanie Clark explains.

Concert for musicians in need hit by copyright charges

25 Apr 2023

A London charity concert for musicians in need has been hit by a copyright claim from the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

The event held at Cadogan Hall on 1 April was in aid of Help Musicians and starred Dame Evelyn Glennie and BBC Radio 4 announcer Zeb Soanes.

While it mostly consisted of humorous arrangements of out-of-copyright classical pieces, PRS is charging the organisers more than £1,000 for two short pieces by Earl Okin that are still in copyright.

The royalties would amount to nearly half of the charitable earnings from the night. 

The event's organiser, Rainer Hersch, said the move by PRS was “pretty shocking, especially given this concert and the beneficiary, Help Musicians, which is the backstop for freelance musicians in this country”.

Okin, meanwhile, said he does not want the money and that he will donate it to the charity if he receives it.

A PRS spokesperson said: “We are working with the composers whose works were included in the 1 April concert at Cadogan Hall to ensure that they can identify all earnings from this concert.

“From our experience, this makes onward donation simpler for all involved.

“PRS for Music works closely with Help Musicians, including recently co-ordinating efforts to support music creators through the pandemic."

Wisbech museum to charge visitors due to 'financial crisis'

View of the entrance to Wisbech and Fenland Museum
18 Apr 2023

Historic museum introduces admission charges for the first time in its history, warning that its future beyond the end of the current financial year is in the balance.

Income generation is harder than ever

Royal Shakespeare Theatre view over River Avon, 2015.
18 Apr 2023

All arts organisations are under pressure to diversify income. In the latest in our series of case studies looking at strategies being adopted to tackle this, Catherine Mallyon shares her insights from the RSC.


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