Blog 2019/20

Week 12: Millie Bethel, Rubicon Dance 

Happy New Year! Here’s a look back on what I got up to during December:

At the start of the month I visited a care home where we provide a weekly dance session for residents. I was lucky to see a session where we were accompanied by the Keith Little Ensemble, a group who we started working with through our partnership with Music in Hospitals and Care. The live music they provided was so uplifting and it was great to see each person so engaged, no matter what their ability was.

The Forgotten Coin Fundraiser also came to an end in December, and at its close we had filled two collection boxes and an extra tub! Two of our participants, Jillda and Val, kindly volunteered to help us sort the coins.

We raised an amazing £110.80 in British coins alone, and the remaining foreign coins are now ready to be converted. I was blown away with the community support during the campaign and it has been so encouraging to see its success.

For the last part of the month I created social media content to highlight the great work Rubicon had done throughout the year. These posts ran for 12 days, encouraging people to give to our Aviva Crowdfund under the title of #12daysofgiving. As well as raising awareness, creating the posts also helped me to understand the work of Rubicon more fully.

As 2020 starts I look forward to creating content for our upcoming School’s Festival, continuing to develop our website, and thinking up some new fundraising ideas.

Week 11: Izzy Boulton, Wales Millennium Centre

The last few weeks at the Centre have been jam-packed with Celebrations! We have lots going on here over Christmas so I’ve been getting super-involved across the organisation.

We held a Community Lantern Parade a few weeks ago where community groups we work from across South Wales conducted paper lantern workshops and brought them to the Centre for an incredibly vibrant parade, which was led by samba group Barracwda. As part of the event we also had performances by our choir, Sing Proud Cymru, who work with people with care experience, from young people to foster carers. It was lovely to see where the money we raise goes and I love welcoming people from the Communities we support into the Centre for food and entertainment at Christmas.

I also helped facilitate a Supporters Event where our members experienced a private tour of Carl Chapple’s exhibition ‘Painting Dance’ and were welcomed to take part in a drawing workshop with live ballet dancers, before seeing Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Les Misérables. After the show we celebrated the 15th Birthday of Wales Millennium Centre under ‘The Museum of the Moon’ installation by Luke Jarrod. I have also stewarded a number of Corporate hospitality events, as part of our partnerships with businesses who help to support the Centre.

An extra bonus this week was that I got to have a backstage technical tour of the Centre during Les Misérables rehearsals and walked right to the top of the Centre, to the fly floor which was such a treat!

Week 10: Florence Gygax, Welsh National Opera 

Warning: this blog is very Christmassy.

Woolly jumpers, mince pies and tinsel: Christmas has officially arrived in WNO. Earlier this month, we held our annual Christmas Concert Celebration, bringing together our Community Chorus and Youth Opera, to perform a selection of festive pieces alongside congregational carols. It was a lovely opportunity for the invited businesses to discover another side of WNO and to have a better understanding of the breadth of our work.

As the New Year approaches, we are already looking at our Spring season, and the special Opening Night organised around the production of Les vêpres siciliennes. This event will allow our supporters and guests to mingle and chat with WNO staff and to appreciate the high quality of WNO’s mainstage productions.

I’m also looking at the preparation of a Spring corporate event in North Wales, to introduce businesses to our far-reaching Youth and Community work in the region. Thanks to my business mentor and colleagues, I understand better how to present this event as something meaningful and beneficial for businesses, and it helped me start thinking about its structure and our objectives.  

As it is my last blog of the year, I also wanted to share with you what these past two months had already taught me on fundraising. But ultimately it all comes back to this: be kind, listen to people’s passions and goals, keep your mind open for any opportunity to help. It sounds so simple, and yet this is something I’m learning every day.

Week 9: Greta Bettinson, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

It’s my Birthday and today we celebrated with cake in the office!

We’ve been working hard too, promise! I am trying not to count down the days until I hear back from my first funding application and am keeping myself busy with various other applications and more research. This month I have written applications and letters to five Trusts in support of NEW: (RWCMD’s new writing season), scholarships and an outreach puppetry performance - these are all new Trusts that I have found using the FundsOnline and Charity Commission websites.

I have also been continuing research into support for our North Wales Young Actors Studio, REPco (RWCMD student enterprise company), and potential American prospects. There may be thousands of Trusts and Foundations out there but finding those that have the capacity as well as the propensity to fund projects such as these can become quite a lengthy process and whilst I have found some really exciting prospects I have also been saving some for upcoming projects that may be a better fit. My meetings with my Line Manager and Arts Mentor have been really beneficial in that aspect and as I am starting to learn more about the College, partnering Trusts with projects is becoming much easier.

Aside from Trusts, I have also been developing my knowledge of Corporate Sponsors through my mentoring sessions and am currently writing a report on the College’s Orchestras for our John Lewis Partnership. I am looking forward to the first meeting with my Business Mentor next week and everything that’s to come in the New Year!

Week 8: Millie Bethel, Rubicon Dance 

Another five weeks of my time here at Rubicon has whizzed by! The support I have had from the whole team has been brilliant and my meetings with my arts mentor, Tracey, give me the time to appreciate everything that I have done each week.

At the end of October I attended Art @ the Senedd with my fellow interns. Some of Rubicon’s students performed alongside Only Boys Aloud, and it was a real wow moment to see their piece in such an amazing building. I also had the opportunity to mingle with people from the arts and business worlds.

This week I went along to the Careers Wales Creative Pathways event in RWCMD with the Rubicon team. We spoke to lots of students about our GCSE and Full Time Courses and gave out a lot of sweets!

This month I was also really excited to plan, launch, and promote our November community fundraising campaign – the Forgotten Coin Fundraiser. The idea is that people can donate old British pounds and pennies, or any kind of foreign currency. I was a bit nervous that we wouldn’t collect anything, but we have already exceeded our goal to collect 5kgs of coins because of the community’s brilliant support. With two weeks left we have already collected 13kgs!

As this month draws to a close I am starting work on my first big application to a trust. I am excited to see how this goes, and hopefully raise some more money to renovate our amazing new centre.

Week 7: Izzy Boulton, Wales Millennium Centre

Since I wrote my last blog post I have learned so much - and I’m not even two months into the internship yet! I’ve spent the last few weeks learning a variety of new skills and processes. I’ve gained a greater understanding of the structure of fundraising and the different channels Corporate Fundraising, Individual Giving and Trusts & Foundations use to engage people and encourage them to support.

I previously mentioned that I had a Corporate Cultivation event coming up, and that was a really great experience to be a part of. We welcomed 20 guests to the Centre to see the Eddie Izzard Wunderbar show. Some of these guests were existing corporate supporters, and some were prospective corporate supporters. It was great to meet them in person and hear about their experience of membership at Wales Millennium Centre, and it was really special to hear existing members championing membership, helping to inspire the prospective supporters. It was a great learning opportunity to be a part of the planning right through to the production, and the evaluation of our event highlighted things that went well and things to be improved that we can use for future events.

This week, I also met my Business Mentor for the first time - Hayley Hughes, director of Celtic HR – which was great. I’m really looking forward to learning more about business practice, and meeting with her again later this month – the Welsh dragon cappuccino we had in the Senedd was a bonus!


Week 6: Florence Gygax, Welsh National Opera 

Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it’s already been one month since I embarked on this internship. I am currently working on my very first proposal, and I have received an incredible amount of support from Arts & Business Cymru and my arts and business mentors, in addition to my co-workers and my line manager at WNO; not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. To top it off, I have just started Welsh evening classes, and I could not be more excited! Learning a language is like opening a door to a hundred new friends and thousand new stories; learning English has led me here, and I cannot wait to see where Welsh will take me.

It would be wrong to assume that my role only requires me to sit in an office. Last Tuesday, for example, I had the chance to catch up with my fellow interns at the Cardiff Development Forum, which took place in St Fagans. It was a great opportunity to exchange experiences and learn about the challenges faced by arts fundraisers in Wales, and how to overcome them.

 I was also happy to chat with Cardiff University staff last week during the filming of a video testimonial for my course – MA in Global Cultures. This allowed me to reflect on what passions, ignited by this course, encouraged me to pursue this internship in the first place and what my hopes are for the future.

Week 5: Owen Jones, Literature Wales 

One of the great things about fundraising is the variety of projects you get to be involved with. I’ve been working at Literature Wales for over a month now, and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to involve myself in so many different projects while trying out a variety of fundraising approaches.

Recently, I’ve been trying to increase the merchandise sales from the Literature Wales online store. These sales are great, because it provides unrestricted income for the organisation. Over the past month I’ve updated the website and promoted an early Christmas sale through a series of Facebook adverts targeted at specific demographics.

I’ve also been thinking about corporate sponsorship, specifically for the Children’s Laureate Wales post. Working with the project lead, I’ve written a short pitch to send out through the Arts & Business Cymru bulletin, and over the coming month I’m hoping to develop a more detailed pitch to target specific companies. I’ve also been working on applying to trusts and foundations for our Platforming Under-represented Writers project, researching companies and writing a shortlist of potential funders.

Outside of the office, me and some of the other interns helped out with the Arts & Business event Art @ The Senedd, which was a fantastic experience! The event was a huge success, and getting to see the performances was really inspiring as a reminder of the kind of work our fundraising supports.

Week 4: Greta Bettinson, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Having recently celebrated its 70th birthday, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama currently has an exhibition on display celebrating student and alumni memories. Viewing the exhibition in my first week allowed me to visually walk through the College’s history and gain a deeper understanding of what the College means to its students and the wider community. I am also making the most of seeing as many performances and exhibitions as I can and am beginning to fill up my diary!

RWCMD 70th Anniversary

Back in the office I’ve been putting what I’ve learnt from the A&B Cymru training and MA Arts Management lecture to the test, researching various Trust and Foundations for funding for several ongoing and upcoming projects. On World Mental Health Day (fittingly!), I submitted my first application for the ‘Community Foundation Wales Tampon Tax Fund’, a grant that generates funds from the VAT on sanitary products to improve the lives of disadvantaged girls and women. My application specifically targeted mental health and wellbeing, self-esteem and supporting female students facing hardship. Whilst it’s now a waiting game, it was a great first task to sink my teeth into and I feel like my role is making a change for the good – I am currently working to find other potential support for student’s mental health, whilst researching funders for our Junior College and the College’s acting and writing festival, NEW: 2020.

Linburn Gallery

I have learnt a lot in such a short space of time and am looking forward to the lead up to Christmas!

London Wall Production

Week 3: Millie Bethel, Rubicon Dance 

I can’t believe the third week of the internship is nearly over! The time has flown by and I’m already starting to feel at home here at Rubicon.

I have joined the team at a really exciting time where we are fundraising for our new centre in the old Roath Library. The closeness of the library to our current home in Nora Street means that we can stay close to our community – one of our most important values.

To see this in action I visited several dance sessions last week. These included sessions with primary schools, the elderly, and Rubicon’s Open Contemporary and Street classes. Seeing these sessions helped me to understand the breadth and importance of our work, and has really inspired me as a fundraiser.

Alongside these visits I started to develop our new website, which is hopefully going to increase our digital fundraising capacity. Although I found this a bit tricky to begin with, I now feel like progress is being made and I’m getting to grips with managing the site – which is a lovely feeling!

I have started to develop some community fundraising projects for the lead up to Christmas, sat in on meetings with funders, and attended two training courses about fundraising. My favourite part of these three weeks has been raising my first bit of money for Rubicon during our bag packing event where we raised over £600.

I’m excited to see what the next few weeks hold and to continue learning here at Rubicon!

Week 2: Izzy Boulton, Wales Millennium Centre

With the first full week of my internship coming to a close, I have lots of new information to process! My week has consisted of a tour of the Centre, sitting in on meetings, learning how to use our database, shadowing our ticket lines in the Contact Centre, phoning corporate partners and designing media for our newsletters.

From sitting in on meetings I am starting to better understand the structure of the Development team and the roles that everyone plays. I also feel more confident with how the three strands of fundraising are both similar and different. It’s been great to learn how the Contact Centre works by actually listening in to the calls and learning from real-life situations.

One success of the week was that I was surprised at how quickly I became familiar and confident with the database. I’m not a very ‘techy’ person so it feels like an achievement to already know how to use it; I even booked tickets for a corporate partner over the phone and solved a ticketing issue for a member.

One of the challenges of this week was being given a lot information in a short space of time. I had to ensure I remained attentive as all of the information was important.

In the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to attending my first members’ event at the Wales Millennium Centre and meeting some of our corporate partners and members in person.

Week 1: Florence Gygax, Welsh National Opera 

This is it! I have officially started my internship at Welsh National Opera. Between the papers to sign and the pictures to be taken, I hadn’t had the time to fully realise what a complex but meaningful role I will be undertaking in the next ten months. My first day in the office was very enjoyable, especially since I’ve had the chance to see The Cunning Little Vixen dress rehearsal. Getting to witness WNO’s work first-hand was an opportunity for me to understand why fundraising matters and how crucial the donors’ and sponsors’ support is to keep producing projects that engage with young children, elderly, refugees, etc.

I was very pleased to be able to attend two training courses delivered by A&B Cymru before even starting my internship – Planning a Fundraising Strategy, and A 5-Step Guide to Sponsorship Success –  as it gave me an understanding of the role of a fundraiser within an organisation and the different kinds of fundraising that exist. I was also asked to think about the objectives I wanted to achieve during this internship. It will be interesting to compare my expectations to what I will have accomplished, and this will be a useful tool to assess my work.

I cannot wait to discover what these next ten months have in store for me, and I am very excited to learn about my fellow interns’ experience in their own host organisations.