How to make your ideas ‘sticky’

By Bernard Ross Some ideas are ‘sticky’ – that is they seem to very quickly and easily acquire status and circulation. Some of these ideas are natural – that is they have grown up seemingly spontaneously – and some have been created – consciously designed by advertising executives, marketers or charity fundraisers. This article explores […]

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How to convince your boss you should attend the National Arts Fundraising School

So you’ve decided you want to come to the National Arts Fundraising School. Coming on the School is possibly the most expensive investment you/your organisation could make. So you might experience some resistance from senior managers or volunteer Board members in your organisation. Below we list some of the possible reasons you could offer to […]

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30 years running & £350M raised… is it REALLY worth the hype?!

It’s crazy to think that the National Arts Fundraising School, or NAFS as it’s affectionately known, has been running for 30 years. Because 30 years ago, arts & cultural fundraising was a totally different space. Remember when Tony Blair got his guitar out, declared that music is power and set up the National Foundation for […]

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Alumni views

Alison King, Chief Executive, Turtle Key Arts

Alison King, Turtle Key Arts

Jenny Coombes, Freedom Festival


Zarko Koneski, British Council Macedonia


What will I get from the National Arts Fundraising School?

So you’re interested in coming on the National Arts Fundraising School and joining our elite Alumni of arts fundraisers at the top of their game… fantastic, we’d love to see you there. But just in case you need further convincing, here are 10 things you’ll personally get from the School. Six days of intense learning […]

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The five common questions about the National Arts Fundraising School

Maybe the challenges you face are more regarding your own questions about the National Arts Fundraising School. Below we tackle some of the common ones. Do call or email us if you have other questions, we’re always happy to help you decide whether it’s the course for you. 1. Will I be the youngest / […]

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Five reasons not to come to the National Arts Fundraising School

Before you try to persuade someone to support your attendance at the School ask yourself five key questions. If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of these then you won’t benefit. If you answer ‘no’, then you definitely should come. And if you’re not sure, call us to have a conversation – we’re happy to […]

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Halloween? Spooks? Witches? Creepy Crawlies? Hah! The real Halloween terror is within…

In this blog, fundraising guru and School Director Bernard Ross talks fundraising fears in this halloween blog… At this time of year I see a lot of blogs based around the idea of an arts organisation’s worst nightmare. The nightmare varies from losing NPO status, to a major donor reneging on a gift, to a […]

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NAFS Alumni event Sep 2018

The Power of the Network

With over 1,800 people trained through the National Arts Fundraising School over the past 30 years, the alumni network is an amazing source of advice, guidance and support when you leave the school. As an Alumna myself (and now lead tutor on the School) I’ve experienced this first hand. So when the latest Alumni event […]

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Lucy McNally

Alumna interview: Lucy McNally shares her story – NAFS and beyond

Lucy McNally attended the National Arts Fundraising School in 2016, three years after joining LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) as Development Manager (Individual Giving). We caught up with her to find out what impact the School had, and how she’s getting on in her new role (and sector) as High Value Partnership […]

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Suzanne McLellan

Fundraising in the arts might feel like an uphill battle… but to challenge is to change

One of our newest Alumni, Suzanne McLellan, Marketing and Audience Development Manager at The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr describes her experience on the School: On April 15 2018 I swapped my Scottish seaside stomping ground and native Glasgow for the English countryside for six intensive days of training at the National Arts Fundraising School. How did […]

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Ayr Gaeity

Live from NAFS: Dana’s blog (day 5 & 6)

Small changes, big changes… Today’s blog will be my final blog – because I feel like it sums up the whole week in one simple act. You may ask yourself – how quickly can the learning on NAFS be implemented? The answer? As quickly as you read that last sentence. The brilliant Suzanne McLellan desmontrated the […]

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Live from NAFS: Dana’s blog (day 4)

Communication is key Day four at NAFS prepares our attendees for the all important pitch (if you know someone who has been on the course… ask them about the pitch task!) and our communications expert Jules Bellingham takes attendees through the part of the ‘ask’ that, ironically, we think about the least… the physical experience […]

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NAFS Apr 2018 day 1

Live from NAFS: Dana’s blog (Day 3)

The business of fundraising Company giving has had a lot of press lately: most recently an artist led campaign that meant BAE recalled their sponsorship of the Great Exhibition of the North – which means that cultural organisations have to consider whether they want to pursue corporate support at all, let alone how they want […]

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Live from NAFS: Dana’s blog (Day 2)

“One of the most powerful words in fundraising is ‘imagine’. Imagine if you could change this today. Imagine if you could stop this forever. Imagine if you could make this happen.” Day two at the National Arts Fundraising School kicks off with Director of the school, Bernard Ross, encouraging our attendees to re-imagine their own […]

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Live from NAFS: Dana’s blog (day 1)

Fresh from day one of the first of our 30th anniversary Schools in 2018, tutor Dana Segal shares her thoughts… Look out for her daily blogs coming this week. The arrival of 29 fabulous chief executives, producers, artists, fundraisers and artists brings out not just the sunshine but also passions that exists across the arts […]

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Lucy Blythe

Alumna interview: Lucy Blythe’s story – over 25 years of fundraising

Lucy Blythe is one of the outstanding fundraisers of her generation – having held the most senior roles at a number of leading arts and cultural agencies including the RSA, The Victoria And Albert Museum and Kew Gardens. Across these agencies she has led a number of successful high-profile campaigns and projects. She is currently […]

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Using behavioural economics in arts & culture fundraising

Dana Segal, NAFS tutor and =mc Partner Consultant blogs on her experience at the Change for Good using Behavioural Economics seminar, and discusses how and why arts organisations should be looking to use these techniques in their fundraising. The accompanying book is now available, find out more, join the book tour and buy your copy […]

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5 questions for your training provider

Thinking about investing in arts fundraising training? 5 tough questions to ask your supplier before deciding

It’s never been more important to invest in skills and knowledge about private fundraising in the arts. These are tough times. The arts council faces more pressures than ever, lottery income is falling, we are leaving the EU and its cultural investment, LAs are withdrawing from arts support and even competing for funds up as […]

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Rachel Cockett

Perfect timing – Rachel Cockett, Director of Development, Birmingham Museums Trust

Shortly after she took up her first fundraising role at Birmingham Museums Trust, a promotional leaflet falling out of a magazine led Rachel Cockett to the National Arts Fundraising School at the exactly the right time. Find out how it gave her the skills and confidence to take the Trust to a whole new level […]

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Marina Jones, Royal Opera House

Getting to the top – Marina Jones, Royal Opera House

This blog celebrates the journey of one of the UK’s most successful arts fundraisers – Marina Jones, Head of Trusts & Foundations at Royal Opera House. Read on to discover what she gained from the National Arts Fundraising School, and how it helped her achieve her fundraising goals.  

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Colin McKenzie, Director, House of Illustration

It began at the Barbican… my 29 year NAFS adventure

When the National Arts Fundraising School (NAFS) opened it’s doors in 1988, Colin McKenzie was one of the first participants. Read about his fundraising journey since then and find out why he’s still benefitting from the programme, nearly 30 years after attending.  

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Brain cubed

Myth No 5: The rational case for the arts drives donations

In the final part of the #5Myths of Arts & Culture Fundraising blog series by National Arts Fundraising School Director Bernard Ross, he touches on the use of behavioural economics in fundraising. There’s been a massive growth in desire to justify the social or economic impact of the arts and culture. (And to prove the […]

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Generation Y

Myth No 4: Millennials are mean (or millennials are magnanimous…)

Part 4 of #5Myths of arts & culture fundraising from National Arts Fundraising School Director Bernard Ross. ‘Millennials’ – or Generation Y – is a general term for a demographic that includes anyone born from early 1980s to mid 1990s – a number of whom are now turning 30 or even closing on 40. There’s […]

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Myth No 3: Crowdfunding will solve the cash crisis

Third blog in the series of arts & culture fundraising Myths (#5Myths) by Bernard Ross. This time, crowdfunding… The headlines and hashtags leap out – mostly from social media, and especially Twitter – with claims that crowdfunding will replace or massively supplant ‘conventional’ fundraising. These headlines and claims offer hope, often to small organisations, about […]

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Wolf of Wall street 2

Myth 2: The rich will save us all

Introducing the second blog from the 5 myths of arts & culture fundraising series (#5Myths) by Bernard Ross.  Even as the corporate myth slowly starts to fade it’s been replaced by another – if slight – variant. Rising over the crest of the hill, see the new Knight in Shining Armour astride a unicorn – Sir […]

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Unicorns dont exist

Give up on the Unicorn! 5 Fundraising Myths for Arts and Culture…

Bernard Ross, =mc & National Arts Fundraising School Director and fundraising expert speaks out on 5 fundraising myths in arts & culture that you need to address… Here’s a challenging graph. With some challenging information. And challenging implications. The question is, what do we do about the loss of public support since it’s unlikely that […]

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Fiona Mason

19 years post-NAFS and the learning is still having an impact

In this guest blog, National Arts Fundraising School alumna Fiona Mason, now a freelance writer, arts consultant and Development Manager for Pacitti Company, shares her story since attending the School.   It’s a bright, crisp November day in 1998 when I arrive at the country house hotel outside Bath, Gloucestershire, for the National Arts Fundraising […]

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Bernard Ross Director

Stop ‘asking donors for money’ right now

=mc Director Bernard Ross bucks against the latest fundraising trend… and with good reason. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been transported back into the arts and culture world of the 1970s. To be honest it’s not all bad. I mean I could live with the bad hair, the purple nylon velour loon pants, and even […]

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Northern-Broadsides Logo

Creating the fundraising ninjas at Northern Broadsides

In this blog, Kay Packwood, Creative Projects Development Manager at Northern Broadsides shares her experience on the National Arts Fundraising School in 2017. Right – Kay Packwood at NAFS 2017 Working for a company that has a small core of four full time staff means that we all wear many different hats.  So, when the issue of […]

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A journey through film and fundraising

This guest blog is written by National Arts Fundraising School Alumna Deborah Parker, Chief Executive Officer at Cinema For All. We caught up with Deborah at a recent Alumni event and asked her to share her story since attending the School seven years ago: In 2009 I was working for one of the old Regional Screen Agencies in Manchester […]

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Roxie Keon & Dominic Haddock

Day five at the National Arts Fundraising School

After a late night preparing their pitches, NAFS participants are up early on this bright and sunny day in Alfriston to do their Corporate Pitch task. Everyone is looking super smart and ready to pitch to a company for anywhere up to £50,000 – and have six minutes to do so, with their fellow delegates […]

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Dr. Claire Routley

Day four at the National Arts Fundraising School

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The Influential Fundraiser

Day three at the National Arts Fundraising School

Something that strikes me about the way the course is structured and designed is how it enables us all, both staff and participants, to reflect on our learning so far and share experiences, thoughts, reservations, dreams and ideas with each other over the (delicious) meals. The power of peer learning is one of the secrets […]

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The NAFS Mug

Day two at the National Arts Fundraising School

Our session about how to develop relationships with Trusts seems particularly relevant this week, as the Garfield Weston Foundation announce their new strategy – including providing supportive materials for applicants on how to submit a good proposal, and good finances. Trusts are increasingly supporting applicants to make the best of their application – it’s up […]

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Dana Segal

Day one at the National Arts Fundraising School

Dana Segal, =mc’s newest Partner Consultant and co-leader of The National Arts Fundraising School offers up the first instalment of her daily blog.

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Bernard Ross Director

Crowdfunding, Gift Horses and their Dental Work

National Arts Fundraising School Founder-Director Bernard Ross looks at Crowdfunding, and explains why all may not be as it seems… I was recently sent an interesting report on crowdfunding by a participant on the National Arts Fundraising School – and specifically a scheme that’s been successfully run in Plymouth. At first the results look really impressive […]

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Alumna Blog: Zarko Koneski

In this blog, Zarko Koneski, Projects and Communications Coordinator, British Council Macedonia, shares his thoughts on The National Arts Fundraising School 2014.

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Georgina Brown

Alumna Blog: Georgina Brown

In this blog, Georgina Brown, Arts Fundraising Fellow with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, shares her thoughts on The National Arts Fundraising School 2014.

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Alumna Blog: Hannah Kirkham

In this blog, Hannah Kirkham, Project Manager for Locus+ shares her experience on The National Arts Fundraising School 2014. Locus+ is a visual arts commissioning agency that works with artists on the production and presentation of socially engaged, collaborative and temporary projects, primarily for non-gallery locations.

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Bill Vince

Alumna Blog: Bill Vince

As money gets tighter, arts funders are increasingly having to act as fundraising advisers – helping their client organisations to secure their income from a more diverse range of sources.Below is a blog from Bill Vince, Senior Relationship Manager, Arts Council England who came on the National Arts Fundraising School in April 2014.

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