Catalyst: Capacity Building

The Catalyst: Capacity building programmes formed part of a broader partnership between HLF, DCMS and Arts Council England. We set out to encourage more private giving to culture and heritage, and to build the capacity and skills to fundraise from private donors, corporate sources, trusts and foundations.

The grants supported organisations to build fundraising capacity to enable them to attract more private giving to arts and culture.  The aim of the funding was to help create a more sustainable and resilient cultural and heritage sector.

Our four year evaluation, culminating in the final report published today, found that organisations gained an increasing appreciation of fundraising and an understanding of its importance.  Groups also reported skills development, increased confidence, cultural change and increased networking. Our final report found that The Catalyst Umbrella programmes alone have supported the heritage sector in raising an additional £9 million so far (as at March 2018). On average for every £1 awarded by HLF £3.82 has been raised by programme beneficiaries.

We found that organisations are in a better position to bring about long term change when they are able to effectively respond to a changing environment. Organisations need to retain talented staff, promote appropriate skills at all levels, for both staff and volunteers, have a focus on good governance and have the support to enable change to take place.  With the right skills, knowledge and experience organisations can become more effective and improve their fundraising practice

Focusing on activities associated with capacity building, such as developing a method for measuring outcomes or having succession planning, are a positive step in preparing for long term sustainability.  Developing new policies that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation will all help it meet its aims.  Increasing fundraising confidence and capacity within an organisation will ultimately help its resilience.