Fundraising Fellowship of Ireland 2020 -2022: Case Study
Increasing sustainability through strengthened relationships & community impact
Case Study: Lime Tree Theatre | Belltable, Limerick
New Stream – Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland
Lime Tree Theatre | Belltable are two venues based in Limerick city. Founded in 1981, Belltable is a 220-seater theatre space that acts primarily as a creative development hub. The Lime Tree Theatre is a 510 seat theatre that opened in 2012 on the campus of Mary Immaculate College. Together they create a dynamic cultural venue that produces and presents high-quality cultural experiences by supporting artists and collaborating with regional and national partners. With the onset of Covid-19, Lime Tree Theatre closed its doors in 2020 and commenced the Fellowship in an uncertain period of flux.
Before the Fellowship, the Lime Tree Theatre did not have a team member dedicated to fundraising. Without a strategic focus, fundraising happened on an ad-hoc basis and without direct Board engagement. Although there were a number of successes, such as an existing Friends programme and previous partnerships, Lime Tree Theatre sought a new focus through the Fellowship, in order to work towards a more sustainable future for the venues. Through her role as Marketing Manager, Gill Fenton had played a key part in the work around sponsorship and fundraising, planning events and meeting potential funding partners. The Fellowship enabled an organisational re-structure so that Gill could focus on development alongside her marketing role. From the outset, the pandemic hit the Lime Tree Theatre especially hard as it is a venue that functions mainly as a receiving house for live performances. Shutting its doors posed an enormous challenge, both programmatically and institutionally. A key part of its fundraising activity involves inviting prospects into the space to experience the building and the artistic programme: with regular cancellations of events, this was no longer possible. Facing regular challenges, Fenton had to find new ways to enliven prospect conversations and stakeholder engagement virtually. This includes a special 10th Anniversary in 2022. By focusing on an institutional milestone, Lime Tree Theatre was able to enhance its fundraising strategy, and focus on the future with confident messaging.
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“Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland has enabled our organisation to refresh our marketing and fundraising strategies. The Lime Tree Theatre celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022 and we are confident in our strategic approach to this significant milestone.”
Gillian Fenton, Marketing & Development Manager, Lime Tree Theatre | Belltable
‘Participating in the Fundraising Fellowship, Ireland has added significant capacity to Lime Tree Theatre as we embark on a new and exciting phase in our development as a leading cultural institution. The Fellowship has given us great confidence in our ability to find and work with new partners who recognise the importance and value of our mission.’
Louise Donlon, Executive Director, Lime Tree Theatre | Belltable