top of page
Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
A Catalyst for Change?
image gradient

Image Credit: Michael Afonso

A Catalyst for Change?

What we've learnt from the Catalyst Programme in it's 3-year journey. An insight into successful fundraising practices in the arts sector.

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.

LOCATION

Europe

CLIENT

Arts Council England

SECTOR

Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI)

EXPERTISE

Between 2012 and 2015, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England invested £100 million to help the cultural sector raise money from private sources. 


BOP evaluated Arts Council England’s strand of investment, £68 million, which benefited over 400 cultural organisations across England – from the large to the small, the urban to the rural, and across diverse art-forms.


So what have we learned? Our detailed findings are available in three annual reports (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3), but here are some of our overall reflections on the long journey.

First, the main assumptions that informed the design of Catalyst have been borne out. At the heart of these is the idea that improving fundraising is not simply a matter of buying in a fundraising post, but instead requires a much broader and more profound process of organisational change and culture change. Our reports make explicit what this transformation has consisted of, how and when it has happened, and what were the main challenges to the process.


Catalyst also provided match-funding to help incentivise both donors and arts organisations to increase giving revenues. Match-funding proved an extremely positive element of Catalyst: it boosted arts organisations confidence and made them feel more empowered when pitching to donors, and donors in turn responded to the fact that their money could go further. Here, the Catalyst findings reflect the wider experience of match-funding across the charity sector.


However, the very success of the programme and the match-funding prompts the question as to what happens when the funding ends? Did the organisations ‘fall off a cliff’ and revert to their previous situation?


As our evaluation continued for a year after Catalyst ended, we were able to explore this. We found that, on the contrary, organisations had kept fundraising and most of them plan to increase their fundraising activity in the near future. The structural changes grantees made with the support of Catalyst, such as establishing a greater consensus around, and extended responsibility for, fundraising across the organisation, recruiting for new fundraising posts and Board members, and drafting new fundraising strategies, suggest that they are better equipped to fulfil their fundraising ambitions.


Arts Council themselves have also learnt greatly from the first round of Catalyst investment and have adapted the follow-on tranche of Catalyst investment, Catalyst: Evolve (which we are also evaluating), accordingly. The new three-year programme combines the most successful elements of the first round (i.e. money for capacity building and match-funding) with a greater focus on smaller organisations with less experience of fundraising.


Beyond assessing the design of the programme and its impact on grantees, our research also contains a wealth of material on what constitutes good practice within cultural philanthropy and fundraising. In particular, the 32 case studies completed across the evaluation illustrate the importance of the following success factors:


  • Designing a compelling case for support

  • Developing a mission and vision-led fundraising strategy

  • Identifying fundraising assets

  • Developing fit-for-purpose governance

  • Establishing a culture of fundraising within the organisation

  • Understanding donor motivations

  • Using consistent and effective messaging

  • Deploying a tailored approach to relationship management

  • Designing an innovative case for support


More detail about these can be found in the Good Practice and Case Study chapters of the Year 3 report. The Year 3 Executive Summary can be found here.


Through Catalyst BOP is building up a uniquely powerful body of evidence on what makes for successful fundraising in the arts. In these economically challenging times, this will be of urgent interest not just to the cultural sector at home, but also internationally, as cultural leaders in countries such as The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Korea and Australia turn to the private sector to support culture and look for what works in policies that encourage greater cultural philanthropy and sponsorship.


__


Arts Council England’s Catalyst programme was the largest direct public policy intervention to support cultural philanthropy and fundraising in the UK, and beyond.

Catalyst Evaluation Year Three

Catalyst is a £68 million culture sector-wide private giving investment scheme aimed at helping arts organisations build the capacity and ability to fundraise, so they can access more funding from private sources and eventually further diversify their revenue sources.

Project Report

Catalyst Evaluation Year Three - Final Report

The report outlines the findings from a major study into the international activity of the Arts Council England-supported cultural ecosystem.

International Activity Report

Arts Council England

BOP Consulting was appointed to outline a pilot for a Creative Worker Income Guarantee for Brighton & Hove, working on behalf of the University of Sussex and the ABCD Cultural Recovery Programme. 

Cultural, Creative and Collective Recovery: Exploring a Creative Worker Income Guarantee

University of Sussex

The report on how global cities tackle climate change with cultural policies and programmes. Insights from the World Cities Culture Forum's latest report.

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability – Special Report Prepared for WCCF Global Conversation

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Unique case guide is co-produced with the participating cities of WCCF, highlighting city examples and a global cities approach to evidenced-based policymaking.

Culture Counts: New Approaches to Evidence Based Cultural Policymaking in World Cities

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Working alongside CRAIC, a new research and collaboration centre at Loughborough University, we conducted an extensive survey of virtual production assets throughout the United Kingdom to map the country’s growing ecosystem.

Mapping the UK's Virtual Production Ecosystem

Loughborough University

The World Cities Culture Report (WCCR) 2022 builds on the ground-breaking 2018 and 2015 Reports. It gives insights on the major challenges world cities facing.

World Cities Culture Report 2022

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

BOP's contribution to the 2nd edition of the report UNESCO's Global Creativity Report, examining policies safeguarding the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good

UNESCO

Our strategy will guide the creation of a new digital service aiming at supporting and developing the creative scene in Downtown Kingston.

Leveraging the creative potential of Downtown Kingston through technology

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Arts Council England

BOP’s updated Handbook for the Inter-American Development Bank sets out strategies for sustainability and urban resilience

Creative and Cultural Industries and Urban Revitalisation in the post-COVID era

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We investigated the potential impact of AI for European cultural and creative businesses. Explore the transformative opportunities AI brings to industries.

Opportunities and Challenges of AI for the Cultural and Creative Industries

European Commission

Published today: ‘Design for Good: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards’, a new publication from the RSA, co-authored by BOP

A History of Bright Ideas: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

Research in the Gulf Co-operation Council States in collaboration with British Council and BOP Consulting helps identify opportunities for festival development.

An evidence-base for the growing Gulf festivals sector

British Council

Our research into the museum workforce is launched, emphasizing the importance of conscientiousness and advocating for a diverse and well-supported sector.

Conscientiousness, optimism, and curiosity

Museums Galleries Scotland

BOP’s report on creating a healthy night-time economy for the Nanjing City Government demonstrates the importance of cross-cutting policies.

Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities

Nanjing Creative Center

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital reveals how visual arts enhance the patient, visitor, and staff experience.

Creativity in health settings

GOSH Arts

How is China influencing the future of Cultural Tourism? China's cultural infrastructure projects are redefining the global tourism landscape.

Cultural Infrastructure for the 21st Century

Chengdu Media Group

Our new report for UNESCO sets out the huge global impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector. We estimate $750 billion lost for the CCI and 10 million job cuts.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural and Creative Industries

UNESCO

Our analysis of the strengths and challenges of music in the Midlands report published for Arts Council England.

Hitting the right notes in the Midlands

Arts Council England

New handbook 'Making Space for Culture' explores how world cities address the challenge of preserving cultural infrastructure while promoting growth.

How can cities make space for culture?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Related Projects

Research, Data and Insight

SHARE PROJECT 
Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

bottom of page