Heritage Endowments evaluation, July 2019

The Heritage Endowments evaluation is tracking the progress of grantees over four years as they run their fundraising campaigns.

Key learning messages from year two

At the starting point make sure your trustees become your campaign champions, internal stakeholders understand and are supportive of the endowment campaign, you make the best of your volunteers, including your Trustees and their address books, and write a robust case for support with clear vision for long-term sustainability.

There are various approaches you can use to grow your endowment including gaining new Patrons and members by setting up new schemes or changing the key messages for existing schemes, organise events to extend the outreach to major donors, taking part in public events to raise the profile of your campaign and developing campaign tools and gifts for specific target audiences.

Time, resources, capacity, starting with a new donor base and the current political and economic climate have been identified by our grantees as challenges for growing their endowment campaigns. A significant number of these challenges can be addressed by streamlining fundraising activities and setting priorities to make sure teams with limited time and resources are focusing on areas of work that they think are more likely to deliver positive results within the available timeframe.


In March 2017 £10.35million was awarded to 15 organisations through Heritage Endowments, a matched funding programme, designed to support heritage organisations to build an endowment and bring additional private money into the heritage sector.

Building on our learning from the Catalyst: Endowment scheme, Heritage Endowments offered grants of £250,000, £500,000 or £1m in matched funding and the opportunity to apply for up to 10% of the grant requested on top to help resource campaigns.

Commissioned in December 2017, the Heritage Endowments evaluation is tracking the progress of grantees over four years as they run their fundraising campaigns. In-depth interviews, baseline statements, summative surveys, individual donor interviews, learning events and webinars are being employed to assess the impact of the programme, analyse progress in building endowments and gauge how sustainable endowments in the heritage sector are.

The first two learning events were held for all grantees in April 2018 and April 2019 and the outcomes of the events are summarised in the Key learning messages 1 and Key learning messages 2 papers. The papers set out learning so far and capture the grantees' discussions around setting up and progressing an endowment campaign, the successes, the challenges and solutions to overcome these.

In Spring 2020 we will be publishing the evaluation interim report. This evaluation is building new evidence but also corroborates findings from the Catalyst Endowments programme evaluation.

Attachment Size
HE key messages - 2019 194.03 KB
HE key messages - 2018 185.18 KB