The National Opera Studio (NOS) is supported by Arts Council England and by a growing number of individuals, companies, trusts and foundations. The Studio actively seeks private donations, grants and sponsorships to support core activities and projects. This policy clarifies the ethical principles that underpin our fundraising, outlines the methods by which these should be delivered, and ensures openness to all our stakeholders, artists and beneficiaries. It applies to all donations and sponsorship whether from individuals, businesses or trusts and foundations.

The Studio also regularly hires its spaces, the income from which directly supports our work. While we are not responsible for the business practices of any organisation or individual that hires our spaces, we undertake to ensure any risk these hires may cause to our reputation, policies, and working practices are mitigated and/or prevented.

Our key principles of responsible fundraising are:

  • We have honest relationships with our donors and sponsors; all communications are truthful and transparent.
  • All monies raised are used exclusively for the purposes specified and in accordance with our stated mission and purpose.
  • Donors or sponsors support our values of accessibility and equality, no relationship can be to the detriment of these values.
  • All fundraising initiatives reflect our values and do not compromise the reputational standing of either ourselves or our donors
  • We adhere to all the Fundraising Regulator’s codes of practice to ensure best practice, transparency and accountability.

Acceptance Principles

NOS recognises some sources of support or potential support may create a risk of causing damage to the Studio’s reputation.

NOS will review all potential donations of more than £10,000 and, where appropriate, will refer them for approval as a matter of urgency (see Due Diligence below).    

The Studio will not accept funds where:

  • The donation is made anonymously through an intermediary who is not prepared to identify the donor or there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the donor has acted unlawfully in acquiring the funds.
  • Acceptance of the funds would significantly damage the effective operation of the Studio in delivering its mission by:
    • creating unacceptable conflicts of interest
    • causing material damage to the reputation of the Studio
    • causing undue harm to the Studio’s relationship with other benefactors, partners, artists or stakeholders

In addition there may be reasons to review or conduct due diligence on a donation – for example:

  • Where a donor is known for activities which directly harm individuals; e.g. tobacco, gambling and addiction or fossil fuels.
  • Where a donor is known for unethical employment practices such as breaching working hours, failing to pay minimum wage, or otherwise infringing employee rights.
  • Where a donor has a poor reputation for equal opportunities and diversity.

These principals will be applied to donations of more than £10,000 which come from a Corporate, a Trusts or Foundation, or from an individual donor. 

  • All potential hires are subject to the same principals.

Due Diligence

To further ensure that significant donors do not carry any reputational damage or risks to NOS, we will conduct a screening process, subject to GDPR, for:

  • any source proposing to make a contribution of over £10,000
  • any source where any member of the board of trustees or an employee has raised a concern
  • funding offered for a specific project where the source insists that a particular third party is used as a partner or supplier on the project
  • funding that has unusual or disproportionate conditions attached

Should a prospective supporter be deemed to be contentious, they will immediately be referred to the Chief Executive, the Chair and appropriate Trustees for further review.

Where necessary, further information and advice will be sought from third parties, such as professional search firms, international due diligence providers, and individual contacts who may have further knowledge of prospective supporters.