Charitable Giving Manager, London Philharmonic Orchestra
How did I get into it?
I worked as Assistant Venue Manager for a live music venue in the Midlands and then went to the University of Southampton to study Music. At Southampton I became heavily involved with the University Symphony Orchestra (SUSO), elected as Orchestral Manager in my 2nd year and President in my final year. Following advice from the ABO and my lecturers I secured work experience placements with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Orchestra of the Swan. As a result I wrote my dissertation on the future of the symphony orchestra and the impact that education programmes could have on audiences of the future. As part of this I set up an education programme that took SUSO into Southampton schools.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
After graduating I went to work for the BSO, where I held two different positions. In my first role as Fundraising and Membership Officer I was responsible for the running of BSO's individual giving membership scheme. As well as the day-to-day management of the scheme and its events I also had to implement campaigns to attract new members and cultivate the current members so they upgraded their membership level.
I then became Development Officer, and worked with both the Orchestra’s major donors and corporate sponsors. I was responsible for stewarding existing relationships as well as doing detailed prospect research into BSO’s audience database. From this research I determined prospective high net worth individuals who we could then cultivate to become major donors. For the corporate side of my job I worked to secure prospective sponsors and delivered over 20 corporate sponsorship packages. This required networking, prospect research, event management and account management for each company.
Audience development has always been important to me and whilst at BSO I set up BSO Vibes, a membership scheme for 14-25 year olds. BSO Vibes is all about giving young people the opportunity to get closer to the music through meeting the players, open rehearsals, master classes and artist interview sessions with renowned conductors, soloists and musicians. As well as running the membership scheme and arranging the events, I managed all of the online PR and marketing for the scheme. It was amazing to see BSO Vibes grow from an idea through to having over 100 members in its first year and Julian Lloyd Webber coming on board as the scheme’s Patron.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
In September 2012 I started at the LPO as Charitable Giving Manager. As with BSO my role is very varied. I am responsible for the stewardship and cultivation of the higher-level Benefactors and overseeing the running of the Friends scheme. I also manage various fundraising campaigns such as the annual appeal, legacy giving and donations towards LPO’s ACE Catalyst Endowment fund.
A key part of my job involves fundraising through trust and foundations for the Orchestra’s varied Education & Community programme and core costs. This involves trust prospect research into the right trust to approach and preparing funding proposals for trustees. Once the trust has agreed to a grant I steward the relationship. This may be through inviting them to see concerts or the education and community work they have funded, as well as updates and evaluation reports on the project.
Why work in Development?
Although working as a fundraiser can be challenging, I really believe that Development is a great career choice that is very rewarding, with lots of career path prospects. You need to have great people skills, be very organised, have a keen attention to detail, think strategically and be enthusiastic but able to handle the knock backs that come your way. If you are passionate about the future of the Arts then Development is a great place to be!