Funding sources, Fundraising, Finance

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group raise £10k-£20k per year with Funds Online

We spoke to Alex Walker, Digital and Development Co-Ordinator, at Birmingham Contemporary Music Group on how they use Funds Online to find new trusts, foundations and funders.

What your charity does and what you do within your role?

The organisation I work for is Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG). We are a performing ensemble of 20th century classical music. The main part of our work is performing concerts of contemporary music. We also have a big learning programme where we do a lot of learning work with children out of school, free of charge, as well as with children in school. Additionally, we have some other larger learning projects that we run.

My role is Development and Digital Co-ordinator. I assist the head of development to raise money for the organisation from trusts, foundations and individuals. Part of my job also includes creating digital assets as content for our audience.

Since the pandemic (in the last 12 months) how have you found your use of Funds Online? Has it changed in this period?

We are using Funds Online in a similar way. I use Funds Online intensively during periods where I am looking for funders. Periodically, I go on and review the funders and run the searches I have saved. The records on Funds Online are updated regularly. Other members of my team also use Funds Online to look for funders, trusts or foundations.

How do you use Funds Online?

We have quite a few saved searches, which we have built up over the years. These are for funders in the West Midlands, Birmingham or any that give specifically to contemporary or classical music or the performing arts. It is a tough gig to fundraise for contemporary music. Any fundraising for the arts is difficult as the pool of money is small. The saved searches help to narrow down these funders.

Does Funds Online make your use of time more efficient?

Absolutely. The first port of call is Funds Online to search for funders, trusts and foundations. I find that smaller trusts and foundations often don’t have a website, so Funds Online is useful to find their information.

How much have you raised as a result of Funds Online?

We raise £10,000-£20,000 per year through Funds Online. If we get particularly lucky with finding new pots of money which we are able to access, the first time we are often made aware of them is through Funds Online.

What is your favourite feature of Funds Online?

I like the feature where you can save searches and funders to your dashboard. Saving the searches is handy because you can get specific with the criteria. If I do something different or a more elaborate search, being able to save them is really useful. Also, having all the contact information for funders at a glance is really useful.

Will you be likely to continue to use the site once your subscription ends?

Yes, we have had it as long as I have been working at BCMG which is 6 years, there is no other site like Funds Online.


About Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is one of the world’s foremost new music ensembles. Over three decades, BCMG has developed the music of today for the audiences of tomorrow. The ensemble has commissioned over 175 pieces of music from the world’s finest composers and emerging international talent. Many of the works have been commissioned through its innovative pioneering Sound Investment crowd-funding scheme to which over 500 donors have contributed more than £300,000; many of these works have subsequently found their way into worldwide repertoire.

Find out more on their website.