Archive for November, 2015

COMMENT: Inquiry – Hard Times for the UK’s Regional Museums

Monday, November 23rd, 2015


In an article originally published in Apollo magazine’s September issue, Jake Wakefield examined the numerous issues facing our regional galleries and museums.  As an organisation supporting and championing the interests of museums and galleries across the North West region, we at the NWFed were interested to read what Jack had to say on the key issues he felt regional museums and galleries are facing in the current economic climate.

Highlighting the importance of our regional collections as the first major creative influence to numerous local school children, families and other community members which has included people such as L.S.Lowry, whose artistic love for D.G Rossetti’s portraits he encountered in Manchester Art Gallery perhaps influenced his decision to become an artist. This importance our regional collections play within their local and wider communities is something not reflected in the cuts to their core funding which continues at a rapid pace.

Regional museums and galleries are consistently being asked to do more to help sustain their own sources of income – improve their cafes and shops, raise money by licencing their collections, renting out their spaces, applying for private grants, encouraging donations – but all of these actions together only make up a small percentage of the income they need to sustain their function within the local community.

National collections in London seem to have greater access to private funding, so how do we draw funders away from London and into our regional museums and galleries? As Jack states when closing his article, “small acts of philanthropy will make a much bigger difference outside London”; but how do we make this happen?

We welcome your comments and thoughts on this issue below.

To read the full article, Click Here

COMMENT: Fundraising Negotiating – Dark Art or Being Empowered to Get it Right?

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

With the on-going threats to funding within the museum, heritage and cultural sector the need to diversify funding sources has become a key concern for many fundraisers working within the sector, but if organisations want to secure long-term, sustainable funding from corporations their fundraisers need to be empowered to negotiate and build partnerships.

In response to this issue, Culturehive recently published a conversation between Sarah Winchester and Beth Upton who now runs the ever-expanding Money Tree Fundraising Consultancy; a group of talented fundraisers whose expertise lies in high value (major) giving – large donations from companies, trusts and individuals – and supporting charities to set-up, grow and maintain their income.  Below is an excerpt from their conversation in which Beth divulged her top tips for being a good negotiator and what she feels are the common down-falls in negotiating with potential corporate funders:

Like me Beth enjoys the thrill of a good negotiation but immediately understood why fundraisers might need support getting it right: “Often people take the first offer, not the best one”. In her experience, she went on to explain: “charities can be so grateful for any offer of financial support they do not negotiate at all”. In other cases the focus on financial targets for fundraisers can undermine the process: “some are fearful of losing vital income so may undervalue their organisation in a bid to hit the numbers”.
Too much emphasis solely on the financial target, for whatever reason, will leave negotiations dead in the water. A negotiation is the beginning of a partnership and as with any relationship it is important to be flexible. Although Beth and I acknowledged that flexibility was difficult for a lot of charities – limited resources often mean limited options – we also felt that there was another barrier facing many organisations when fundraising from businesses, that they are in control of: “charities don’t value companies, especially since the recession”. This idea that non-for-profit organisations have the moral high ground and therefore should keep a polite distance from corporations was something we both recognised.
In its worst form it can be a potent mixture of dislike and fear: “you can be business-like without being profit driven” Beth stressed. If charities want to secure long-term, sustainable funding avenues from corporations their fundraisers need to be empowered to negotiate and build partnerships with them, “we know how they (the companies) can meet our needs, but we rarely find out how we can meet their needs”. It has to be a two way street.

To download their full discussion from Culturehive’s website, Click Here.

NEWS: Whitworth Named Best European Emerging Cultural Destination of the Year

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

On 9 October 2015, NWFED member, the Whitworth Art Gallery was named the best emerging cultural destination in Europe at the 2015 edition of the prestigious Leading Cultural Destinations Awards at a ceremony in London.

This year, the Leading Culture Destinations awards were divided into five categories with winners selected for:  Exhibitions and Programming, Architecture and Spatial Design, Digital Experience, Eat & Drink and Shop.  The awards have also been expanded to include categories for Emerging Culture Destinations from all over the world of which the Whitworth was selected as the European winner.

A platform created to explore, recognise and promote the world‟s best destinations for cultural experiences, following the announcement, Maria Balshaw, the Whitworth’s Director explained what this award means the Whitworth and those involved in its recent transformation:

“We were thrilled to accept the award, an accolade that places the University of Manchester’s Whitworth firmly on the European cultural map. The Whitworth re-opened its doors on 14 February this year following a £15 Million redevelopment project by MUMA, transforming the 126 year-old Whitworth into a 21st Century gallery in the park and has since welcomed over 300,000 visitors through our doors. We are delighted to have these achievements acknowledged by this award.”

Highlight the practices and solutions that raise the standards of the cultural sector worldwide, making the Whitworth’s win a further cementing of their importance within the North West’s cultural venues.