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Last week BOP attended the Arts and Culture Finance Fair, organised by the Arts Impact Fund (AIF). The Fair focused on social investment in the cultural sector, showcasing how cultural organisations can deliver social, artistic and financial returns.


We took away these three big messages from the day:

  1. Social investment is an important and relatively untapped source of funding. While funding from public bodies or longstanding private Trusts and Foundations is increasingly scarce, the social investment market keeps growing. Titchfield Theatre, a theatre organisation and an AIF grantee talked about how their applications for funding kept being rejected by both private and pubic bodies. The Theatre has now secured £150K from the AIF which will help them fund refurbishment work.

  2. Social investment loans can help build organisational resilience. While loans take time and resources to set up, they provide cultural organisations (particularly those small and medium sized) with the long-term, regular funding they often lack. This kind of funding helps unlock executives time and enable organisations to think, plan and act more strategically. Preparing social investment loan applications also necessitates that organisations develop more accurate business plans and better articulate their unique contribution to society. As we have noted in our Catalyst Year 1 report, in the current funding environment these are key competencies.

  3. Cultural organisations are open to social investment, but they need support to secure social investment loans. In its first year of operation, AIF put £3 million into social investment loans, having received a high number of applications. This shows that many cultural organisations are open and ready for alternative sources of finance, but that they need the tailored and hands-on approach of organisations like the AIF to give them with the confidence and assurance to apply for commercial loans. Jamie Watton, Artistic Director at South East Dance, also an AIF grantee, said:


“They took us through the journey step by step. Every step of the process is designed to ensure the organisation is ready to take on the loan.”

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By BOP Consulting

Rossella Traverso

Associate

Rossella has four years experience of working in research and evaluation. She holds particularly strong qualitative research and project management skills.

Rossella Traverso - Associate | BOP Consulting

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Rossella Traverso

Rossella Traverso

Associate