Describe your role at RCS?
We know that there are many people and organisations in Scotland and beyond passionate about supporting young people who want to pursue a career in the performing arts, both on and off the stage. Our aim is to work with them on the best way to do that, whether it’s creating a new scholarship for a specific subject, supporting our programme of student performance or investment in new and innovative projects in widening access, for example.
In a typical week, the Development team, which consists of me, Stasi Schaeffer and Rachel Walker, will do anything from speaking to one of our regular Company of Donors members about renewing their membership, to writing applications to grantmaking bodies to organising a fundraising event.
How can people support RCS?
We are very flexible about how people can support us and it’s important that our donors feel that their wishes are being respected. Giving is very personal. People who want to become involved can become a Company of Donors member for only £4 per month; they can also support our students through scholarships and bursaries or leaving the Conservatoire a gift in their will.
We also have wonderful sponsorship opportunities for companies and grant-making organisations. Our partnerships, such as the ones we have with Gleneagles and Corney & Barrow wine merchants, are bespoke and we ensure they work both for the Conservatoire, the students and the organisations themselves
How important is fundraising to organisations like RCS?
Arts education has enormous fundraising challenges. Sometimes people think ‘the arts’ is something esoteric or rarefied and therefore not for them but if you have ever been moved by a piece of music, riveted by a TV drama, roused out of your seat by a foot-stomping musical or gaped open-mouthed at a piece of acrobatics in a panto, then you love the arts!
Everyone involved in these art forms was taught somewhere like the Royal Conservatoire, or learned from someone taught somewhere like here.
Without safeguarding that for the future, what will we be watching on TV, or seeing in our theatres or listening to on the radio?
How are donations used?
Every donation goes to support the student experience. This includes teaching, curriculum development, scholarships, grants, bursaries and prizes for our undergraduate and postgraduates. We support young people who may need financial assistance for our Juniors programmes; widening access and ensuring that young people of ability from all backgrounds can study here is vitally important.
What’s the impact of fundraising?
One of the best things about my job is seeing the mutual respect between our students and the donors who support them. It’s very much an equal partnership and many of our scholars and donors remain friends once they have finished their studies. I know of a few donors who travel round the world seeing ‘their’ former students perform. It’s a privilege for donors to be able to play their part in nurturing young talent and our students are incredibly appreciative of the financial support, which allows them to concentrate on their studies.