Welcome to Apollo's Muse!
A source of blogs, articles and handy tips for Arts Fundraisers

Here you will find blogs and articles covering a wide range of topics connected to arts fundraising. We hope these will provide you with inspiration and ideas. We’d love to hear any comments you have, or any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover!

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I like tenuous Valentine’s-Day-themed fundraising blogs,

So I wrote one for you.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 14th February 2019

When someone gives money to your cause – whether it is £1 or £1million – they are taking the exhilarating, terrifying leap of saying “I love you”. Your Thank You is your way of saying “I love you” back. No pressure, but how you respond has a huge bearing on whether your relationship with this supporter is going to flourish and bloom or wither and die.

Find out how to make the most of this opportunity by making your Thank Yous SUPER!

First published on Flight of the Fundraiser – 29th January 2019

What can a loud screech at the end of an orchestral recording teach us about thanking supporters? Could it explain why so many supporters complain that they haven’t been thanked, when every fundraiser insists they always thank for every gift?

This blog looks at what makes experiences memorable, with some thoughts on how this can be applied to the way we thank people for their donations.

First published on UK Fundraising – 10th January 2019

Have you ever read something over and over again and still been none the wiser what the writer was trying to say? As fundraisers we send out lots of messages every single day. We may think we are communicating clearly but do our supporters really understand what we are talking about?

This Halloween we are taking a look at the terrifying curses that plague arts fundraising. This first blog explores the The Curse of Knowledge and the steps you can take to ensure clever never gets in the way of clear.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 29th October 2018

There’s nothing shameful about needing your supporters help to achieve your organisation’s dreams & ambitions. So why are so many arts organisations embarrassed by their need to fundraise?

The second part of our ‘Three Fundraising Curses’ series looks at The Curse of Embarrassment and the steps you can take if your organisation (or someone within your organisations!) has become embarrassed about fundraising.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 30th October 2018

If there is one thing the arts and culture sector should be good at it’s telling a story. So why is so much arts fundraising material devoid of emotion, intrigue, drama and conflict? Why is so much arts fundraising material boring?

The final part of our Halloween trilogy looks at The Curse of Boring and the steps you can take to make your fundraising story really sparkle.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 31st October 2018

Meeting a potential supporter – whether it’s an individual, company or trust – can be a daunting experience. Here are ten things you can do to feel more confident when meeting your prospects.

Written for SHARED Enterprise – June 2018

For those battling with the #BeastFromTheEast, here’s some Friday/Snow Day fun – 5 things fundraisers can learn from snow-based movies

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 1st March 2018

Cartoon dogs Scrappy and Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo is holding Scrappy Doo's tail to hold him back

Membership and Friends schemes are a staple of the arts fundraising world. But just because something is popular doesn’t meant that it is right. In fact, many schemes are completely inappropriate. So, how do you know if a Friends scheme is right for your organisation?

Are your Friends holding you back?

Cartoon of two men. One is saying "We need some new jargon, the public are starting to understand what we're talking about!"

David shares some Top Tips when writing funding applications, based on the Peer Review session at the Arts Trust Fundraisers conference 2017.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 13 November 2017

A cowboy rides a horse in the desert. A quote says "Generally, you ain't learning nothing when your mouth's a jawing"

Being called a rogue or a cowboy is often used as an insult. In this light-hearted blog, David looks at whether fundraisers can learn anything from some of history’s famous rogues and cowboys.

First published on UK Fundraising – 16 June 2017

A To Do list. The only entry on the 'to do' list says "Everything!"

Fundraising is not free money. It takes an investment of time and effort. So how does this work for small organisations with just one or two staff to do everything?

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 31 March 2017

A giant yellow post-it note, saying "What is fundraising?" in large letters

In this short blog David looks at what fundraising is and, more importantly, what fundraising is not.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 22 March 2017

A flip chart saying Happy New Year 2022

If you are developing a new strategy or business plan, changing your mindset can help you see new routes to success and help you avoid failure. This blog looks at how imagining the project’s conclusion can help.

First published on Charity Connect – 5 January 2017

A surfer tackles a large rolling wave

While people around the world are already giving up on their New Year’s Resolutions, this blog explores the fleeting nature of motivation and what it means for us as fundraisers.

First published on Charity Connect – 3 January 2017

A parody of the National Lottery and Arts Council England logo. The words "Lottery Funded" have been replaced with "Under Funded"

As Team GB take the Rio Olympics by storm, this blog looks at what the arts and culture sector can learn from the way the athletes have been acknowledging the support of the National Lottery.

First published on ApolloFundraising.com – 19 August 2016

15 over-lapping vinyl records

A “humorous” look at what fundraisers can learn from 5 pieces of music, based on Howard Lake’s ‘Tip of the Pops’ session at the Institute of Fundraising’s 2016 National Convention

First published on UK Fundraising – 14 July 2016

A black and white photo of Muhammad Ali

Following the death of Boxing’s “greatest”, David looks at how fundraisers can draw inspiration from Muhammad Ali’s many memorable quotes.

First published on UK Fundraising – 7 June 2016

A cartoon brain is hooked up to a laptop. A picture of the brain also appears on the laptop's screen

Behavioural economics is changing our understanding of how donors make decisions. This blog looks at how you can use learnings from the field of behavioural economics to increase donations through your website.


First published on UK Fundraising – 15 April 2016

A Venn Diagram of two overlapping circles. The left circle is a pound coin, saying Fundraisers. The right is shaped like the Death Star, saying Stars Wars fans. Where the two overlap it says "People Who Should Read this blog"

This is a light-hearted look at the lessons fundraisers can learn from the popular film franchise, without mentioning “the force”!


First published on UK Fundraising – 9 November 2015

An opera production image. A group of characters look surprised as a will is read out

In October 2015 David guest-hosted an online discussion on legacies for #MuseumHour. This blog is a write-up of the discussion, sharing thoughts and examples from across the museum sector.


First published on Management Centre’s Knowledge Base – 20 October 2015

A screenshot of a webpage with the message "Error 404 - Page Not Found"

There has been a lot of excitement about digital fundraising in recent years. This blog looks at some of the strengths and weaknesses of using digital channels in individual giving.

First published on UK Fundraising – 16 August 2015

A singer is dressed as Alice in Wonderland, in a blue dress, white apron and white stockings. The quote says "Sometimes I've believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast"

A reflection on the importance of creative thinking to overcome challenges in arts fundraising.


First published on Management Centre’s Knowledge Base – 22 July 2015

An introduction to new approaches to securing funding for arts projects, with a focus on the brilliant work being done at Live Theatre in Newcastle.


First published on Management Centre’s Knowledge Base – 17 June 2015

A black and white image of a young girl. She holds her hands out. She is holding gold coins.

As more organisations turn to individual giving, this blog looks at the four internal cultures you need to be successful in this space.

First published on Management Centre’s Knowledge Base – 28 April 2015