Raising our game
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Image: Launch photo of RAISE: Building Fundraising Capacity at the Arts Council. Arts organisations participating in the initial pilot are the Irish Film Institute, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Na Piobairi Uilleann, the Galway Arts Festival, the Model Gallery in Sligo, the National Chamber Choir, Wexford Festival Opera and the Gate Theatre.

Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland: An Update Report
Prepared by  was published in October  2012
Read full report here

Raising our game

Minister Deenihan has been furthering an agenda to promote a new culture of private fundraising, most recently with the launch of the Arts Council’s RAISE: Building Fundraising Capacity. A pilot scheme that provides professional support from the consultancy companies 2into3 and Networking Matters to eight organisations that have committed to raising more than €250,000 a year in private investment, it features eight companies, among them the Galway Arts Festival and the Gate Theatre. The scale of those companies and the target suggests a focus on big players with big backers, but, a day after RAISE’s launch, Minister Deenihan made a speech that held broader implications.

Pointing out that income from philanthropic donation accounted for just 3% of the total income for arts organisations, Deenihan’s encouragement for developing philanthropic connections
underlined bleaker forecasts for Government subsidy. “This year I have allocated more than €63 million to the Arts Council in direct support,” he said. “However, it is abundantly clear that the pressure on funding that my Department faces for 2013 will have an impact here...Therefore, at a time when taxpayer funding to arts and culture is under pressure and decreasing it is more important than ever that organisations seek to tap whatever reserves of private support may be in place for funding.”

This puts the Arts Council in an interesting position. The RAISE initiative was requested from the Arts Council by Deenihan, although the art of soliciting private sponsorship is hardly the organisation’s forte. A few days later, the Arts Council released a new report that assessed the economic impact of the arts in Ireland and, more specifically, the dividend of its own €60m subsidy from the Exchequer, which supports 2,270 jobs, an annual turnover of €184 million and returns tax revenue of €42m. Where the Arts Council’s RAISE clients may petition for philanthropic subsidy to supplement diminishing state grants, the Arts Council, as a state agency, cannot. Its statement also explained that cuts to its budget, since 2008, have resulted in “very significant jobs losses… and proportionate losses of VAT and other taxes to the Exchequer”. RAISE may be a start, but fundraising may not be for everyone.

Peter Crawley is News Editor of Irish Theatre Magazine


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