Arts Funding Information
So I read with some incredulation that Barnet Council are considering withdrawing their funding of Arts Depot (who do some of the best community outreach / audience development in London) and two days later that the much respected Isle of Wight Carnival Education Centre is at risk of being taken over as a 'council communications and training centre'.
Arts Depot are on the ball and have already launched their lobbying campaign - it's great comms to have got out on the ebulletins so quickly and to have provided all the relevant contact details and a lobbying letter (attached) - making the public's life as easy as possible to support you is definitely the way to go however...
Having read the letter I was disheartened at the impact and lack of talking the politician's language there is - here are just two of the vital key messages directly taken from the letter:
"Overall it makes a contribution to the borough’s quality of life which greatly exceeds its cost to the local taxpayer."
"The education and outreach department worked with over 5,000 individuals and groups including young people with disabilities, refugees, young offenders, people with dementia and those excluded from mainstream education."
These messages are so important but to be truly effective and heard amongst emotive issues such as health and education cuts they need to be hammered home in language and terms the powers that be can't ignore and not feel like over enthusiastic and/or vague arts speak.
So being able to say that for every £1 Arts Depot get from the council £x is plowed back or generated or how much the contribution is from every tax payer (my guess is pretty insignificant) for the tangible (the key word here) benefits is much more effective than simply stating it 'greatly exceeds cost to the local tax payer'. Similarly a brief case study of how engaging with Arts Depot genuinely changed a real person's life- hearing their story in their words makes the organisation that bit more real and the work shine that bit more.
As a sector we have got to get comfortable with our own impressive facts and figures and building business cases if we're not to be patted on the head and sidelined. It would be great to hear of any good examples of successful lobbying and how organisations are tangibly demonstrating public value and impact...