artsVest Alberta Guidelines 2017-18

artsVest Program Overview

artsVest is Business for the Arts’ national flagship program, funded by federal and provincial and/or municipal governments, that works directly with small to mid-sized arts organizations, equipping them with in-depth training, tools and mentorship relationships. These components are thoughtfully created to build sustainable partnerships between arts and businesses and to spark sponsorship opportunities. As an added incentive, artsVest participants can apply for matching grants – for every one dollar raised in sponsorship, Business for the Arts will match it with another dollar – doubling their sponsorship opportunity.

Every year, selected municipalities across Canada partner with Business for the Arts to bring the artsVest program to their communities. In order for an arts organization to qualify for artsVest matching funds, its municipality or province must be a designated artsVest community. This year’s national communities are:

  • British Columbia (Select communities)
  • Saskatchewan (Province-wide)
  • Ontario (Select communities)
  • Toronto (City-wide)
  • Nova Scotia (Province-wide)
  • Alberta (Province-wide)

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and application process for bringing artsVest to a community, please contact Claire Hefferon Payne, National Program Director, at (416) 869-3016, ext. 225 or claire@businessforthearts.org.

What does participating in artsVest give my organization access to?

In order to support participants as they work to secure sponsorship opportunities, artsVest provides access to Ongoing Training, Matching Fund Incentives and Program Support.

  1. Ongoing Training

artsVest uses multiple training components to guide  arts organization through their sponsorship cycle, from developing a their sponsorship plan to creating a sponsorship proposal.

a) Online Training Resources – These can be accessed by participants at any time throughout the artsVest cycle!

i) Sponsorship E-Learning Course: Six in-depth online sponsorship modules introduce the fundamental concepts of sponsorship to artsVest participants. These modules allow participants who are new to sponsorship to learn about sponsorship basics, and are also great for those more experienced with sponsorship who wish to refresh their skills and knowledge. These modules allow participants to learn at their own pace, and share what they learn with their team. To view course outlines, click here.

ii) Resource Bank: The artsVest team has put together a resource bank filled with helpful tools and templates that you can use towards your sponsorship efforts and activities. These documents can be easily edited and adapted to the needs of your organization, and can help organizations who are new to sponsorship implement sponsorship processes and systems without having to start from scratch.

iii) Marketing, Branding and Social Media Webinars: artsVest has created three instructional videos that can be viewed by participants at any time throughout the artsVest cycle. Tutorials explain how to utilize marketing to leverage their brand, and thereby, their sponsorship potential.

b) Live Training Events – These events will be delivered live by the artsVest team and our roster of artsVest Mentors over the course of the artsVest cycle. To meet the volunteer mentors, click here. To see your region’s timeline, click here. When possible, it is strongly suggested that two individuals from an organization attend the training activities, including a board member.

i) Live Sponsorship Workshop: At the beginning of the artsVest program cycle, arts organizations attend a live workshop led by an expert in corporate sponsorship. Here, organizations are introduced to corporate sponsorship and learn about how to secure and nurture long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses, and diversify revenue streams. In some communities, Advanced Sessions are also delivered for organizations who are returning to artsVest. Attendees are also given detailed instructions on how to successfully apply to continue in the artsVest program. For arts organizations intending to apply for the artsVest program, above workshop/session attendance is required.

ii) Live Webinars: These online webinars are delivered by artsVest Sponsorship mentors, and touch on a wide variety of subjects. Some webinars focus on introductory subjects and will complement the learning that sponsorship beginners gain from artsVest Online Training Resources. Other webinars focus on advanced sponsorship subjects, and will be primarily relevant to those who have some previous experience with Sponsorship.

iii) One-on-One Mentorship Sessions: artsVest participants can access highly individualized support from our team of expert artsVest Sponsorship Mentors, by scheduling up to two One-on-One Mentorship Sessions whenever they need extra support. Need some feedback on a proposal? Stumped about how to make a pitch to a potential sponsor? Why not speak to an expert? These sessions can happen over the phone, online or in person, depending on the needs of the participant and the preferences of the mentor. This exchange will provide arts organizations with a special opportunity to pose direct and unique questions to seasoned fundraising professionals.

iv) Live peer-to-peer mentoring workshops: artsVest participants will attend live workshops facilitated by artsVest staff in their communities, where they will build relationships and share insight with one another through guided peer discussion and evaluation activities.

2. Matching Fund Incentive

In addition to Ongoing Training, a predetermined amount of Matching Funds are allocated to each participating artsVest organization based on their application to the program.

What are ‘Matching Funds’?

When your organization secures sponsorships from the private sector during the artsVest cycle, artsVest will match the sponsor’s investment up to a certain amount that has been predetermined for your organization. The Matching Fund Incentive is a tool that can be used in tandem with artsVest training by participating organizations to spark sponsorship opportunities and build sustainable partnerships between arts organizations and businesses.

Once approved for the program, organizations have approximately seven months to successfully secure business sponsorship and submit documentation outlining their new business partnership, resulting in matching funds. The matching fund allocation is as follows:

Available for Alberta: $318,500

Organizations will be pre-approved by a local jury for up to $5,000.

3) Program Support

We don’t want you to miss out on any of the artsVest program opportunities. That’s why an artsVest Program Manager will be available to you throughout the artsVest cycle to help you make the most of artsVest training, and to support you as you work to unlock artsVest matching funding by securing sponsorships from the private sector.

What is the actual time commitment that is required to participate in artsVest?

Participation in live training components is mandatory for organizations who wish to receive matching funding:

  • Live Sponsorship Training Workshop (101 or Advanced): Mandatory for all organizations wishing to participate in artsVest! (Approx. Four (4) Hours.)

  • Live Webinars: You can choose which webinars are relevant to you and your team; however we require you to participate in a minimum of two webinars over the course of an artsVest cycle. (Approx. two (2) hours per webinar.)

  • Live One-on-One Mentorship Sessions: Organizations will are required to access two separate hour-long mentorship sessions with sponsorship experts that may be utilized at any time throughout the artsVest cycle. (One (1) hour per session.)

  • Live Peer to Peer Mentorship Sessions: Organizations must attend both Peer-to-Peer mentorship sessions in their community. (Approx. Three (3) hours per session.)

The total time commitment required of organizations wishing to access matching funding is approximately 16 hours over a 10 month period. Failure to participate in mandatory training components will result in your matching funding being redistributed to other organizations in your community!

Remember, you can divide this commitment up between all representatives from your organization who are participating in artsVest. This commitment doesn’t necessarily need to be met by a single individual.


How artsVest Works

Click here to see the timeline of activities for participating organizations

Step One: (1.5 month period)

  • artsVest is launched in participating municipalities; BftA staff run workshops and provide support.

  • Arts organizations are invited to attend the Live Sponsorship Workshops delivered by a Business for the Arts sponsorship coach and local mentor.

Step Two: (1.5 month period)

  • Following the workshop, arts organizations in every community submit applications to participate in the program, which includes the in-depth training pre-approval for up to a maximum $5,000 from the artsVest matching funds, depending on the size of the community and available matching pot. Applications to the program are only accepted from organizations that attended one of the live workshops.

  • An independent tri-sectoral jury (private, arts and public) reviews the applications based on set criteria and award a portion of the $5,000 maximum accordingly. Assessment criteria are centered on Training Need and Commitment, Organizational Capacity and Experience and Sponsorship Realization Strategy.

Step Three: (6-7 month period)

  • Arts organizations are notified of their successful program status and now have between 6-7 months of training and working to secure their sponsorships in the community.

  • During this period, the organizations will receive Ongoing and Live training to offer support with the sponsorship steps that organizations are following.

  • Arts organizations utilize their training and present sponsorship opportunities to businesses and offer artsVest matching dollars as added incentive to double the impact of every dollar sponsored.

Step Four: (3 month period)

  • The Sponsorship Confirmation Agreements are submitted to BftA signed by both participating parties, along with copies of cheques and deposit slips and in-kind invoices. Any matching funds are distributed according to the matching funds grid on under ‘Sponsorship Confirmation’ below.

  • All participating organizations submit Online Final Reports.

Step Five: (1.5 month period)

  • In-person debrief sessions are organized in each community where participants have an opportunity to share the lessons learned, challenges faced and success stories.

  • Community leaders, participating arts organizations and businesses are brought together for an event at the close of the artsVest year to celebrate the new partnerships, garner feedback and success of the program and fortify the relationships that have been built.


artsVest Eligibility

Arts Organizations – Eligible

  • Must be located in a community where the artsVest program is operating as predetermined by local governance and provide programming, products or services that are accessible to the public. (Regional chapters are not eligible when their head office is incorporated elsewhere.)

  • Must be an incorporated, not-for-profit society and/or registered charitable arts organization and have a publicly accountable structure with an active Board of Directors. If the organization does not meet this criteria, they may apply under the umbrella of a local non-profit designated by the arts organization and Business for the Arts. For details, contact your Program Manager.

  • Indigenous arts programs, collectives and organizations which are not incorporated may apply under the umbrella of the local governance of their choosing, with consultation with the Program Manager.

  • Must have been in existence for a minimum of two years with active programming

  • Must be an arts, heritage, or cultural heritage organization, with either a) arts as its primary mandate and core activity, or b) at least 50% of ongoing activities and organizational budget dedicated toward the arts.

  • Collaboration and partnerships between two or more arts organizations are eligible; one organization must be selected to represent the group as a whole.

  • Must be an organization with an operating budget of less than $1.5M for the last two years

  • Must have attended an artsVest workshop in the current year

Arts Organizations – Ineligible

  • Individual artists

  • Religious institutions

  • Health, social service, and sports organizations

  • Government agencies and political parties

  • Educational institutions (with the exception of independent, non-profit arts schools)

Business Sponsors – Eligible

Once organizations are given a pre-approved matching fund amount, sponsorships must come from businesses which are eligible. Specifically, they will be:

  • Located in the province  where the artsVest program is operating. Where a local cheque cannot be written, we will accept cheques from a corporate office located elsewhere. Should they not be located in the province, but have a vested interest to sponsor locally, please contact the artsVest BC Program Manager to check eligibility.
  • Publicly traded or privately owned; this includes owner-managed businesses, limited partnerships.
  • Registered with CRA as a business (for-profit)
  • In the instance of a foundation, must be attached to a corporate for-profit business (e.g., RBC)
  • Some co-operatives are eligible (e.g., Credit Unions). Contact your Program Manager to discuss.
  • Shared governance organizations, such as a Port Authority
  • If a non profit exists for commercial purposes and to support for-profit businesses, they may be eligible – check with your Program Manager to confirm. Examples include BIA, Tourism Board, Board of Trade.
  • Individuals if they can confirm the below in writing along with your submission
    • The reason they are writing a personal cheque is that there is no associated business bank account,
    • Business name, and
    • CRA business number*

*Exceptions will be made for Brokers who are not able to register with CRA, but are registered under their parent company (Example: real estate agents and mortgage brokers)

Business Sponsors – Ineligible

  • Individuals

  • Other non-profits

  • Government organizations

  • Educational institutions

  • Unions

  • Service Clubs (Rotary, Lions, etc)

Sponsorship Agreements – Eligibility

  • Must be a true sponsorship partnership, showing mutual benefits for both parties

  • Must have been agreed after the workshop date (see exception for returning organizations under ‘Sponsorship Confirmation’)

  • Only cash or in-kind sponsorships are eligible

  • Sponsorships must equal at least $200 in artsVest matching funds in order to be eligible (see matching fund table below under ‘Sponsorship Confirmation’ for calculations)

  • Donated gifts/services will not be matched. This includes but is not limited to; donated gift cards, raffle prizes, cash gifts, professional services and standard discounts

  • Tax on sponsorship agreements will not be matched

  • Conflict of interest may arise where family members, board members and those close to the organization are involved and may be further researched. If this applies to your situation, please email a statement of conflict to your Program Manager.


artsVest Application Process

All applicants must complete and submit the relevant artsVest Program Application online. A list of questions that organizations will be required to answer is available for download in .doc format to allow applicants to gather their answers before beginning the application process, as the online application must be completed in one online session at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3895979/artsVest-National-Application-2017-18.

Organizations submit an application for an assumed maximum of $5,000 and will be juried accordingly. Submitting an application does not guarantee the applicant will be awarded any amount.

Program Application Form must be submitted electronically by 5 pm local time on the deadline date. Incomplete applications will not be considered. See the artsVest Timeline for key submission dates.

artsVest Program Application Form – Outline

Page 1 – Organizational Information

The applicant is asked to provide the organization’s official name, incorporation information and describe the organization’s mission and central activities.

Page 2 – Part I: Training Need and Commitment Assessment

Over the course of the artsVest cycle, your organization will have access to a variety of training components including 10-12 hours of mandatory in-person and online live training activities, and access to a comprehensive selection of resources. These training components are as follows:

  • Individualized Mentorship Sessions (online live training)

  • Peer Training Workshops (in-person live training)

  • Webinars (online live training)

  • E-learning Modules (resource)

  • Marketing Webinars  (resource)

  • Sponsorship Resource Bank (resource)

In this section of the application, you will describe an organizational participation strategy that demonstrates how you intend to make good use of the artsVest training components listed above. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with artsVest training offerings prior to filling in this section of the application, so that you may communicate a detailed and strategic plan. For artsVest training component information, please refer to ‘Ongoing Training’ and ‘Live Training’ above.

Page 3 – Part II: Capacity and Experience Assessment

Over the course of the artsVest cycle, you will be working as a team to secure sponsorship funds from businesses in order to access the matching funds allocated to your organization through the artsVest program.

In this section of the application, you will share information about your organization’s financial history and current internal resources, which will ultimately impact your capacity to secure sponsorship.

Page 4 – Part III: Realization Strategy

Over the course of the artsVest cycle, you will be working as a team to secure sponsorship funds from businesses in order to access the matching funds allocated to your organization through the artsVest program.

This section of the application allows you to identify a sponsorship goal (dollar amount) and demonstrate a well thought out plan to achieve it. The plan should be realistic and unique to your organization. Your focus should be on presenting a strong realization strategy, as the quality of this strategy is more important than the actual dollar amount of the goal.


artsVest Program Approval Jury Process

All artsVest program applications are assessed by an independent panel consisting of artistic peers, private community investment professionals and fundraising professionals who will make recommendations for acceptance to the artsVest program based on the below criteria. An applicant’s success in obtaining artsVest matching funds depends upon the jury’s final evaluation and the funding available within the program.

Assessment Criteria

Part I: Training Need and Commitment Assessment (40 Points total)

Organizational Need for Training – 20 points

  • Training is relevant to the organization and individuals participating

  • Current sponsorship experience level of the individuals participating and the need assessment for sponsorship training

Organizational Engagement and Commitment to Training – 20 points

i.e. availability/willingness of staff/board members/volunteers to participate in mentorship and make use of resources available through the artsVest program:

  • At least two staff members (one senior and one junior) and at least one board member or volunteer are available and willing to participate in the program* (3 board members and volunteers can be identified for volunteer run organizations or organizations with limited staff members).

  • Organization has a clear plan on disseminating knowledge gained from artsVest training with their team/board

Part II: Organizational Capacity and Experience Assessment (40 points total)

Organizational Capacity to reach sponsorship goals – 20 points

  • Fiscal responsibility and financial stability

  • Number of paid staff

  • Number of board members

  • Board is engaged with fundraising

  • Time committed to engage with sponsorship activities

Organizational Fund Development Experience – 20 points

  • Amount $ generated via contributed revenue (not including government grants) relative to the budget

  • Number of sponsorships secured each year and $ generated

  • Organization’s history in sponsorship (not individual as indicated above)

Part III: Sponsorship Realization Strategy (20 points total)

Clear goals and objectives of the proposed sponsorship and appropriate strategies for realization – 20 points

Next steps in securing sponsorship are clearly defined and thought-out.

Benefits for each (2) prospective sponsors are tailored to the specific needs of the business are clearly defined and how the business can use the partnership to accomplish their specific goals is clearly demonstrated.

The proposed partnership demonstrates a mutually beneficial relationship and shared interests. Synergy and strategic fit in creating a sponsorship relationship is determined.

Right to Reassessment

There is no appeal of jury members’ decisions regarding the merit of an organization’s activities or their recommendation of an award amount. Reassessment will only be considered in specific cases where there is substantial evidence of procedural errors and/or when the original application was not assessed according to the stated evaluation criteria.


Sponsorship Confirmation & Allocation of Funding

If an organization is approved for the program, it will receive an email informing them of the program’s next steps, pre-approved amount and the Terms and Conditions of funding. Matching fund payments are disbursed upon submission of Sponsorship Confirmation Agreement forms with supporting documentation as well as the Online Final Report (to be sent during program period).

The amount of matching funds that an organization is pre-approved for cannot be changed; however, the organization can submit documentation from multiple sponsors in multiple categories and are encouraged to submit beyond their pre-approval amounts. Organizations are not required to submit documentation for sponsors outlined as prospects in the initial Program application form if said sponsor was not secured.

Sponsorship Confirmation: Supporting Documents for Cash and In-Kind sponsorship

For Cash Sponsorships: 1) Proof of Payment + 2) Proof of Deposit

1) Proof of Payment

For all methods of payment, proof must include all of the following or it will not be accepted:

☑ Business name
☑ Arts organization name
☑ Transaction number
☑ Date
☑ Amount

Cheque / Money Order Copy of the front of the cheque that shows above details.
Cash / Credit Card Copy of receipt issued by arts organization signed by the business that shows above details. Please provide corresponding invoice number.
Online Transfer Transaction record that shows above details. Please provide corresponding invoice number.

2) Proof of Deposit

For all methods of deposit, proof must include all of the following or it will not be accepted:
☑ Business name
☑ Arts organization name
☑ Date stamp
☑ Itemized amount

Cheque / Money Order / Cash Itemized deposit slip with above details
Online Transfer Screenshot of online bank statement with above details

For In-kind Sponsorships: 1) Invoice or Letterhead

For all in-kind sponsorships, we require an invoice or digital letterhead from the business and includes all of the following or it will not be accepted:
☑ Itemized list of goods provided at fair market value
☑ Business name
☑ Signature (only needed when the business is unable to clearly indicate the sponsorship value on the invoice)
☑ Arts organization name
☑ Date

Business for the Arts reserves the right to request additional documentation to verify the authenticity of the payment before issuing matching funds. An applicant must submit one Sponsorship Confirmation Agreement for each sponsorship obtained.


On the Sponsorship Confirmation Agreement, organizations are asked to designate a category of sponsorship from the table below. Although a sponsorship may fit with more than one of these categories, organizations must select the best category that fits the agreement.

Sponsorship Category Business Sponsor Criteria Cash Sponsorship Match In-Kind Sponsorship Match
A – The New Sponsor The business has never sponsored this local arts or heritage organization 100% 50%
B – The Multi-Year Sponsor A new or existing business is committing to a new multi-year sponsorship with a minimum 3 year term – artsVest will match the  lowest annual contribution. 100% of first year 50% of first year
C – The Increasing Sponsor The business has supported this organization in the past three years – artsVest will match any increase from the most recent year’s amount 100% of increase 50% of increase
D – The Returning Sponsor The business has not sponsored this organization in more than three years 75% 25%

Applicants are encouraged to submit for all sponsorship obtained beyond their pre-approved amount, in the event of extra funds for their community.

Instances in which Matching Funds will not be issued:

  1. Sponsorship took place (invoice and/or cheque date) before the workshop date.

Exception: For returning participants from 2016/17 who are approved for 2017-18, artsVest will retroactively match sponsorships which took place between your previous cycle’s deadline and the 2017 workshop date. You will be matched up to 50% of your 2017-18 pre-approved amount. The remaining 50% must occur after the 2017 workshop date. The resulting match of all sponsorships are according to the matching fund table above.

2. Organizations have participated in less than 10 hours of artsVest Training.

3. Documents confirming sponsorship agreement were submitted after Sponsorship Confirmation Deadline

4. Proof of payment documentation is not sufficient


Acknowledgement of Support

Grant recipients are required to acknowledge the support of Business for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and Calgary Arts Development (Calgary participants only) in equal prominence, proportion and duration as other funding parties who have made similar financial contribution, as follows:

Print and online materials – By reproducing the Business for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and Calgary Arts Developmentlogos and making a written acknowledgement using the following formulation:

artsVest™ Alberta is operated by Business for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and Calgary Arts Development.

Acknowledgement should appear in or on public materials (posters, flyers, postcards), informational materials (newsletter, prospectus, program, agenda, schedule), press materials (press release, press kit), and signage where appropriate.

Public announcements – Acknowledgement should also be made by mentioning support in public announcements and presentations, press conferences and/or speeches.

Sharing what you do – Where possible, we ask organizations that are funded by Business for the Arts through artsVest to provide BftA staff the opportunity to attend and experience their programming.

Once an organization is approved for artsVest funding, it will receive a link to Business for the Arts’ downloadable logo. Organizations may also contact us directly for access to the logo at artsvest@businessforthearts.org or by calling 416-869-3016 x225.


Reporting and Final Report

All successful applicants are required to maintain complete and accurate records of activities connected with the artsVest program. Participants are required to submit an Online Final Report at the end of the program, which will be available on each artsVest region’s website on www.artsvest.com. A 10% portion of an organization’s matching funds will only be released once the artsVest program formally concludes its activities in the community and the Online Final Reports are submitted.


Contact Us

For specific inquiries or to discuss your organization’s eligibility, please contact:

Allison Moore

artsVest Alberta Program Manager

Email: allison@businessforthearts.org

Telephone: (403) 852-8461


Online Application located here.

Program Application Deadline: November 13th, 2017