Northumbria University

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. It is based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK for students.

The Brief

In 2020 we were engaged by the Advancement Team at Northumbria University to carry out a fundraising feasibility study to establish the viability of creating a new gallery of Asian and Buddhist art.

In 2019 the University had acquired a Grade II listed building, College House, with the intention of making it a ‘gateway’ feature to its city-centre campus and the home to some of its own art collection and an internationally significant set of Asian and Buddhist artefacts that had principally been offered by a Singapore-based alumnus.

Our Response

Our work comprised the building of a case for support for this project, drawing on a wide range of materials and reports and also via a series of 16 stakeholder interviews. This included senior leaders within the institution, City Council representatives, alumni, regional heritage officers, gallery operators, academics and philanthropists. As a result, we were able to deliver a range of crucial anonymised insights that contributed to the case and strategic decision making.

This was backed by research into similar campaigns and projects run by other universities and cultural institutions, benchmarking build costs and the profile of funds raised. We developed a prospect pool based on a range of research techniques, comprising both international art funders and people/organisations from within the North East region.


In our final report, we were able to provide a conclusion that although feasible, there were several conceptual issues that ideally needed to be resolve first and that the pandemic was likely to hinder their timescales in the near term.

We were delighted to be able to work in a seamless manner with the Advancement Team, especially given that the entire project was delivered during the pandemic.

“The Philanthropy Company provided the necessary expertise and insight for the project, dealing sensitively with key stakeholders and reporting within the timelines and format required.”

Victoria Nichol, Head of Advancement, Northumbria University


“Good people to work with, regular review meetings ensured the required progress. Expertise where we needed it.”

Peter Storey, Fundraising Manager, Northumbria University

"Working with the team at Philanthropy Company has been invaluable, they have a wonderfully friendly and motivational approach and have helped both our staff and trustees gain skills and confidence around Individual Giving which will help us hugely for our sustainability in the future. " - Deafinitely Theatre

© 2024 Philanthropy Company