Launching the Friends of the AAM

AAM Head of Fundraising Simon Fairclough updates us on the AAM’s family of supporters, and unveils the Friends of the AAM

People always look quizzical the first time I tell them that concerts lose money.  It is hard to believe that, even when a hall is completely sold out, the cost of getting the Academy of Ancient Music on stage to perform exceeds ticket income by many thousands of pounds.

Yet the reality is that when you or I book tickets for a concert the price we pay rarely covers more than a third of the cost of our seat.

How is it, then, that we’ve all been enjoying world-class performances from the AAM over the last four decades?  Who has made up the difference?

For many years the other two thirds have been covered by members of the AAM Society — wonderful, generous individuals who care passionately about the AAM and donate between £250 and £20,000 every year towards its work.

The regular support of our Society members is the backbone of our financial strength: without it we would quite simply be unable to continue to perform.  We are incredibly grateful to them all.  But we have an ambitious vision for the future, and we’ve recently been augmenting their support with additional funding which is enabling us to achieve even greater things.

In 2011 we were fortunate to secure regular support from Arts Council England for the first time in our history.  Over the last eighteen months we’ve been equally lucky (and incredibly grateful!) to secure a number of transformative, six-figure donations from private funders.

This funding is enabling us to make a step-change in all aspects of our work.  We’re building up our recently-established AAMplify new generation programme, which nurtures the audiences, performers and arts managers of the future; we’re enriching our concert programmes in Cambridge and particularly in London, where we’ve recently been appointed as Associate Ensemble at the Barbican; and we are now working on the establishment of our own record label.  It’s an exciting journey!

Looking ahead, our biggest priority is to make the step-change permanent — and the very best way to do so is to build up even further our ‘family’ of individual supporters.  While income from institutional funders can fluctuate, support from a large group of individual donors is incredibly stable.

For a while, some of the people at the heart of our audience have been encouraging us to establish a new supporters’ group, the Friends of the AAM.  I am delighted that we’re now in a position to do so.  From just £2.50 per month you can get more closely involved with the orchestra, meeting the musicians and receiving exclusive updates on our work while also supporting the music you love.

Because the AAM is a charity we can claim Giftaid on your donation, boosting its value by 25%.  Even better, we’ve received a challenge grant to get us started which means that every pound you donate over the next two years will be matched: give us £30 or £60 and it’ll be worth £60 or £120 to us, plus gift aid. Multiply that figure by a two or three-figure number of Friends, and you’re already at an amount that would go a long way to making an otherwise-impossible project possible.

If 1,000 people gave £2.50 per month, their support would be worth over £400,000 over ten years with Giftaid.  That’s enough to underwrite our AAMplify new generation programme, or to support our wonderful Music Director’s work with the orchestra. The Friends will be an important part of our future: we’d love to welcome you as a founder-member.

- Find out more about the Friends of the AAM and join now here

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