Ella Bumby - Development Assistant, Lawrence Batley Theatre

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Ella Bumby

Ella Bumby a Development Assistant at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, shares with us what made her consider arts fundraising as a career option and how the start of her career is going.

My defining moment

After graduating from university in 2019, I wasn’t sure what path I wanted to go down, but I knew I wanted to work somewhere within the arts and culture sector.

In an attempt to get some experience before I started job hunting, I began volunteering at my local community arts festival. As my involvement grew from stage management to a more organisational and event management role, along came my first experience of writing a funding application. As a team, we knew we wanted to work harder to make the festival a more inclusive and accessible event for the community, but we needed funding to do this.

I worked with volunteers from across the festival committee to identify areas of development, put together plans and a budget, then wrote the narrative on our planned focus on accessibility, inclusion and widening the community outreach of the event.

It was exciting knowing that my work could have a tangible impact on how people accessed the festival and would help to break down barriers to engagement to arts and culture. The bid was successful, and watching the project materialise over the next few months and knowing I played a part in making it happen made me hugely proud.

This was a defining moment and one that made me consider arts fundraising as a career option.

A diverse and rewarding role

As a Development Assistant at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, writing funding applications is now a big part of my role. I love hearing an idea for a project and playing a part in developing it into a funded project.

As I’m in an entry level role, my job is really varied, meaning I’ve started to build up a range of skills that spans across individual giving, corporate, and trust and foundations. For quite a junior role, working in fundraising means I get a broad and detailed view of the whole organisation, and I get to work quite closely with all departments including Finance, Marketing, Front of House and Participation.

The joys of fundraising

The biggest highlight of my first year of fundraising was working on our annual Christmas Heroes fundraising campaign. The campaign raises money to allow us to invite children and families in our community, who otherwise may not be able to visit us, to see our Christmas pantomime.

Coming out of the pandemic – but now with the growing cost of living crisis – we weren’t sure how our audiences were going to respond to the campaign. We were blown away by the response. We smashed our target, receiving the highest number of donations and raising the most amount of money since the appeal began.

Sitting in the audience with a group of Ukrainian families who were gifted Christmas Heroes tickets was such a heart-warming experience. Being able to bring the absolute joy of pantomime to children and their families at an often-difficult time of year was hugely rewarding, and really hit home for me the impact of the campaign.

Ella Bumby
Ella Bumby
Development Assistant, Lawrence Batley Theatre
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