Catalyst: Capacity building programme evaluation


The Catalyst: Capacity building initiatives formed part of a broader partnership between HLF, DCMS and Arts Council England. They aimed to encourage more private giving to culture and heritage, and to build the capacity and skills of cultural and heritage organisations to fundraise from private donors, corporate sources, trusts and foundations.

Catalyst: Umbrella grants and Catalyst: Small grants were developed to support organisations to undertake a range of capacity building activities in order to improve their ability to fundraise and diversify their income.

Commissioned in July 2014, the programme evaluation sought to develop a greater understanding of the impact of Catalyst funding.

What we learnt

Catalyst Umbrellas

  • By March 2018 the Catalyst Umbrella programmes has delivered more than 1,500 events to 15,770 participants representing more than 4,100 different organisations across the UK
  • Based on information received from the four of the nine Umbrella programmes that are been able to identify the value of fundraising achieved, the Umbrella programmes have supported the heritage sector in raising an additional £9million so far (£9,004,000 as of March 2018)
  • On average, for every pound awarded by HLF to these programmes, £3.82 has been raised so far by programme beneficiaries.
  • Increased awareness about fundraising, increased information and knowledge about fundraising has been achieved by all Umbrella programmes. In addition, there has been an increasing appreciation of fundraising and an understanding of the importance of fundraising to heritage organisations
  • Beneficiaries have reported better awareness, improved knowledge, and increased confidence and skills as a result of taking part in the programme. The ongoing challenge is the capacity to apply this. There is a need for support in putting things into practice
  • Common aspects of heritage sector need are ongoing support and training around leadership and governance issues, as well as more general capacity building for the sector

Catalyst Small grants

As a result of HLF funding:

  • 80% of Small grantee organisations felt that they were either ‘significantly’ (36%) or ‘moderately’ (44%) better managed with a further 14% indicating that they thought they were ‘marginally’ better managed
  • The vast majority of small grantees (83%) indicated that the organisation’s staff had developed skills to either a ‘significant’ or ‘moderate’ extent
  • Small grantees clearly felt that they were more resilient following the project, with almost 85% indicating they were ‘significantly’ or ‘moderately’
  • In terms of the sustainability of the impacts achieved, over 92% of respondents indicated that the legacy impact from their small grant project was expected to continue into the foreseeable future
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