Tactics for addressing challenges
• Think about repackaging what you offer. Is your heritage building also a warm, safe space for people to use and therefore playing a greater community role that deserves funding in addition to its heritage function?
• Think ‘outside of heritage’. Don’t be afraid to take a more commercial approach to generating a surplus from activities. The surplus is still used by your organisation for social good.
• Be sure to include sufficient revenue costs in projects, or seek funding for revenue activity as this is the core element needed to keep the organisation going.
• Look at which streams of income are increasing. Focus group participants agreed that legacy-giving is increasing and is a relatively low-input method of fundraising (though unpredictable and involving a lengthy timescale before returns are realised).
• Look at the composition of your Board and the skills of the Board. Are there people who can help with fundraising through direct experience or their networks? Does the composition of your Board need to change to include different skills or appetite for positive change?
• Up-skill Board or senior leadership to move from a risk-averse culture to one of risk-management.
• Build relationships and form partnerships to increase capacity.
• Invest in communication (advocacy, engagement and outreach) to ensure that your purpose, case for support, or services are reaching a wide audience.
As a closing question, people were asked what they are optimistic about. The stand-out response is “the kindness of others and their willingness to give time and money”. With this in mind, be positive about the year ahead. We hope you will gain inspiration and ideas from this snapshot of the challenges and opportunities currently facing heritage fundraisers, and we thank the facilitators and focus group participants for sharing their views and experience.