As Margaret mentioned in her Chairman’s update, I am writing to bring everyone up to date with work on the EES fundraising strategy.

As you know, work has been progressing on a new legators’ circle, a new supporters’ structure, new fundraising literature and a series of events to promote what we do.  We have been taking this work forward largely through an internal Fundraising Working Group made up of Trustees, with the benefit of advice from a professional fundraiser kindly recommended by EES member Keith Raffan, and a report commissioned from Andrew Bednarski, a professional fundraiser who is also a former EES staff member and former EES Trustee.

The Fundraising Working Group is an interim group, set up to help the EES develop longer-term fundraising plans and governance.  Two meetings took place in July and September.  The second time, the Fundraising Working Group meeting was followed by a meeting with Keith Raffan to discuss outreach.  We have found this format, plus the benefit of the discussion with members after the AGM, very useful – so much so, that we decided to formalise the outreach meeting as an Outreach Group, extend its life and widen its membership to include other perspectives from outside the Board of Trustees.

Keith Raffan continues to be a member, and provides very helpful advice and support from his media and parliamentary experience, as well as advice on other high level networks.  New member John Billman, Chair of the Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society, brings his professional marketing experience, as well as the perspective of a local Egyptology society.  Finally, Tilly Burton of the Essex Egyptology Group, brings the EES volunteer perspective to the Outreach Group.

The purpose of the Outreach group is to help the Fundraising Working Group develop proposals for a longer-term fundraising strategy and governance.  Outreach Group members can provide valuable practical support to our small and very busy staff team, and also act as a link between the Group and the wider EES membership. 

We had a lively and very useful discussion at the first meeting in November.  There were many and varied suggestions about different things the EES could do to raise funds, and how volunteers might be able to add capacity to the team.  However, we also recognised that we are in the process of reinventing ourselves as an Egyptological Research Institute, with a defined mission and a programme of work designed to deliver that mission.  Our fundraising strategy must clearly drive that transformation and deliver that mission, so we must prioritise the activities that have the most impact on those two things.

Two more meetings are planned, in January and March.  We already have a very good discussion going about an integrated media and marketing strategy which makes best use of our new website to gain new members and new donations.  I am looking forward to firming up this discussion into an action plan.

Later in the spring, the Fundraising Working Group will feed the outcome of the discussions into the Board’s annual Strategy Day deliberations.  Following this discussion, the Fundraising Working Group will propose the longer-term fundraising governance arrangements to the Board.

I will keep you updated.