Capacity building evaluation: Reflections from two Umbrella projects

Today we have published the first evaluation report which focusses on the Catalyst capacity building programmes: Catalyst: Umbrella and Catalyst: small grants.

The report gives an overview of how Umbrella projects are delivering their programmes and notes the strong rationale and need for the programme. Fundraising remains a challenge for heritage organisations but the nine Umbrella projects are working across the UK to support organisations to develop skills to fundraise and diversify income. The Umbrella projects are expected to deliver over 15,000 learning and networking opportunities by the end of the programme.

You can read some of the headline findings from the research into the early impacts of Catalyst: Small grants in Dr Stephen Connolly’s blog on the community.

To mark the publishing of the report I wanted to share some reflections from two of the Catalyst: Umbrella projects:

The BRICK programme

The evaluation report recognised that building the confidence of people working in heritage organisations is key to increasing their capacity to fundraise. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust’s BRICK programme aims to provide training opportunities and support for thousands of individuals and groups involved in the regeneration of historic buildings and sites.

Biljana Savic, Programme Director said “The BRICK programme has concluded it’s very successful first year. We ran 10 regional training workshops attended by 418 people, a national conference with over 180 participants, and provided mentoring and partnership brokering support to 16 projects across the UK.

So far our training sessions have covered a wide range of topics, from project governance, marketing & PR, to options development, business planning and innovative finance. The attendee feedback indicates an average increase in confidence levels in dealing with issues covered in the first year’s training events of 29%.

Launched in September 2014, our digital platform BRICKwork provides free access to a wide range of heritage regeneration resources, discussion forums, an events calendar and a social networking site for people and project groups involved in the sector. There is a huge appetite across the country for the type of training and mentoring advice we provide, with the demand by far exceeding our capacity. We therefore encourage all to join BRICKwork and make use of the online resources, peer-to-peer learning and pro bono support opportunities provided by the hundreds of members who are already a part of it.

For further information and to join go to”

The SHARED Enterprise programme

Delivered by SHARE Museums East, the programme offers focussed support enabling museums to develop productive partnerships with the private sector, develop commercial opportunities within their organisations and facilitate the sharing of good practice.

Miranda Rowlands, SHARED Enterprise Project Officer said “The strength of SHARED Enterprise is our bespoke approach, tailoring training opportunities to meet the needs of museums of all shapes and sizes, from large, local authority services to small, volunteer-run, independent museums. There’s a strong culture of collaboration, sharing experience and networking between museums in the East of England region; it’s a real privilege working with them.  One year into the project, the first three cohort groups are complete and all now have written fundraising strategies which they didn’t have before.  Whilst the longer term effects won’t be felt for some time, by taking a strategic rather than a reactive approach, several participants have already gained support from internal stakeholders and external funders. 

SHARED Enterprise is also supporting museums to explore mutually beneficial business partnerships, develop governing bodies’ fundraising potential and generate more income from commercial operations. I’m looking forward to sharing the learning from the project at our conference next year, jointly presented with Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Catalyst project, ‘Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy’. The conference will be held at the Museum of London on 2 March 2016 and will be open to delegates nationally.  Keep an eye on our website and follow @SHARED_Ent on Twitter for booking information.”

You can find a list of all the Umbrella projects here and read the evaluation report here.



  • Photo of people in discussion at the SHARED Enterprise 'Building Business Partnerships' event at Ipswich Museum
  • Photo of an attendee taking part in an activity the SHARED Enterprise 'Building Business Partnerships' event at Ipswich Museum
View Gemma Thorpe's profile Gemma Thorpe Sep 2 2015 - 11:06am
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