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Dealing with a Crisis - Dr. Marta Herrero Report Launch

Posted on 28 May 2021

Dr. Marta Herrero's report with the Institute of Fundraising, discusses the impact of Covid-19 on arts and culture fundraising. This survey is the first piece of research on the sector and the first time that the collective voice of UK cultural fundraisers has been heard during the pandemic.

The official Press Release from the University of Sheffiled can be found at the following link: www.ciof.org.uk/dealing-with-a-crisis

Dealing with the crisis: Creativity and resilience of arts and cultural fundraisers during Covid-19’ is a year long collaborative research project that used surveys and in-depth interviews to understand the impact of Covid-19 on arts and cultural fundraisers. 

The Executive Summary below shows the Key Findings at a glance:

  1. Arts and cultural fundraisers have adapted and responded to new ways of working, taking new approaches and changing their fundraising activities during the pandemic. Respondents reported increased social media and digital activity, as well as a rise in more traditional forms of fundraising such as telephone and email.
  2. The primary focus for arts and cultural fundraisers was on maintaining and enhancing relationships with existing supporters. This was complemented with a marked rise in offering supporters enhanced digital or online activities and access to arts and cultural activity such as performances, exhibitions, talks.
  3. When reflecting on the success of new approaches and different activity undertaken during the pandemic, a majority of respondents (55%) reported that the results had ‘met’ or ‘exceeded’ their expectations. However, despite these encouraging results on new activity, overall almost two thirds of respondents (62%) said that they expected their organisation’s income to fall during the pandemic.
  4. The ongoing impact of the pandemic is having an effect on the workload and wellbeing of arts and cultural fundraisers. Almost two thirds of respondents (63%) reported increased workload, and instances of stress and wellbeing-related concerns were raised during interviews, whilst levels of job satisfaction have felt to have fallen during the pandemic. There is a real risk that if staff welfare issues are not addressed, there will be a significant loss of talent from the sector.
  5. Arts and cultural fundraisers would value increased training opportunities, and also feel that there needs to be enhanced government support for the arts and cultural sector with longer-term financial support into the future. Worryingly the survey highlights that some arts and heritage organisations are falling between the gaps of the emergency support available.

"I think the basic skills of fundraising do not change too much. But I think resilience has been incredibly important in the last few months: being able to get knocked down and stand up because you didn’t get a grant or something that was going to happen, or something had to be changed at the last minute because it was impossible to do otherwise. I think that kind of resilience and perseverance has been incredibly important." — Interviewee FR9