Rosslyn Chapel launch for new digital toolkit to boost Scottish heritage sector fundraising skills

(pictured L-R) Arts & Business Scotland Head of Programmes Carl Watt and Rosslyn Chapel Trust Director Ian Gardner review the new digital toolkit website in front of historic Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian.
(pictured L-R) Arts & Business Scotland Head of Programmes Carl Watt and Rosslyn Chapel Trust Director Ian Gardner review the new digital toolkit website in front of historic Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian.

A new interactive digital toolkit to help people working in Scotland’s heritage sector to develop their fundraising skills has been launched at Rosslyn Chapel.

The launch follows the conclusion earlier this year of a four-year training programme, ‘Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage’ (RSH), specifically designed to build up knowledge and skills in fundraising within the heritage sector.

Led by independent charity Arts & Business Scotland in partnership with Archaeology Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland, greenspace scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, the RSH programme was funded by The National Lottery and successfully delivered fundraising training and advice to 804 individuals from more than 519 heritage organisations throughout Scotland between its launch in 2014 and its conclusion in March 2018.

Coinciding with the launch, hosted at historic Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, the partners behind the RSH programme have also released the findings of a major new report into the current funding landscape for Scotland’s heritage sector.

Entitled “The State of Heritage Funding Now”, the specially commissioned report highlights the ‘double whammy’ effect of decreasing lottery funding as a result of declining National Lottery ticket sales and a fall in local government budgets for cultural and related services, which is compelling heritage organisations to look elsewhere for alternative sources of funding. Despite this trend, the new research shows a continued strong reliance by the heritage sector on grant and lottery funding with only a third of heritage organisations surveyed currently sourcing any funding from corporate support and levels of corporate support remaining broadly static within the sector over the past four years.

Commenting on the launch of the “Inspiring Fundraising” digital toolkit, head of programmes at Arts & Business Scotland Carl Watt said: “Running over the past four years, Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage was a hugely successful training programme for the Scottish heritage sector. Following its conclusion, the partners wanted to create a long-term legacy in the form of an online resource that heritage organisations can continue to access in the future as a means of further building up organisational knowledge and skills around fundraising.

“It’s great to be hosting the launch of the new toolkit here at Rosslyn Chapel, representing as it does so many different aspects of Scotland’s hugely varied heritage sector, from archaeology and the historic built environment to green space, museum curation and arts heritage. With diminishing funds coming from traditional grant and lottery sources, this is a critical time for the heritage sector to explore ways of tapping into alternative sources of funding. I’m sure this digital toolkit will be a really valuable resource to help Scottish heritage organisations to achieve that.”

Ian Gardner, Ddirector of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, commented: “The funding landscape for heritage organisations such as Rosslyn Chapel is changing quickly as traditional sources of funding diminish and we look for ways to access alternatives such as corporate support, partnerships with business and legacy giving.

“This new digital toolkit will be invaluable in giving our team a wealth of practical advice on all aspects of fundraising in a format that is accessible and easy to digest.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Thanks to players of the National Lottery, hundreds of heritage organisations across Scotland have learned skills which are vital to secure and grow their business. This new digital toolkit will allow many hundreds more to benefit from that learning, strengthening the sustainability and longevity of the heritage sector.”