I saw this interesting article on arts sponsorship a few weeks ago, and am so thrilled that Michelle Wright (programme director of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme) and I agree on a subject currently full of hot debate!
We are used to working in a multi-funded environment, where corporate investment and philanthropy feature alongside bidding for statutory grants, and contributions from trusts and foundations. These all contribute towards much needed income generation to help organisations to continue to design and develop activities that match their charitable objectives.
The debate on corporates investing in schools and the arts, particularly creative learning and young people, brings a balance of ethical responsibility that can be hard to achieve. Some have felt that their integrity could be diluted, and that the corporate ‘sharks’ would be hungry for tangible business benefits, whilst trying to shape their own growth and not be concerned by that of the organisation.
It would be irresponsible not to consider potential hazards, but a setting can take steps to ensure that they actively and responsibly manage any risk through a Fundraising Policy. A policy is no magic wand, and it will not stop people questioning or disagreeing with your choices, but what it does do very successfully is demonstrate that as a setting you are consistent and take your position and responsibilities seriously.
What’s more, it shows that you have created a safety net that allows you to be in control of your activities and corporate collaborations. The policy also acts as another platform, enabling you once again to express your values and ethos – both internally and externally.
The value of the role that businesses can play in organisations is immense for both parties, leading to a rich social and economic climate. Companies need to do more with less in terms of marketing budgets and their immediate spend, and many organisations are in a great place to assist them with their communication and targeted sales. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get McDonald’s to sponsor your programme of Dance! It means that there is a great opportunity to make choices, build partnerships that matter and unlock investment to help both businesses and organisations, and make tomorrow a better place to live, work, play and perform!
RIO Consultants offer bespoke income generation support. If you are interested, please get in touch! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Elinor Eaton, RIO Schools Consultant