NADFAS members are happy.
There is clear evidence for this, gathered recently in the first comprehensive study of the public benefits of our programmes. The fulfilment of our members’ fascination with and enjoyment of the fine and decorative arts is one of our key objectives, so we ought to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. For nearly five decades we have delivered, through a unique network of self-governed and volunteer-driven Societies, educational and heritage activities that have reached deep into communities. Our success is largely due to the thousands of volunteers on local, area and national committees who – through sheer enthusiasm and dedication – run our Societies and deliver extraordinary educational, artistic and heritage activities year on year.
Given the strong regional identities of our membership it is not surprising that the wider reach of NADFAS, and indeed of the Societies it represents, is not more widely known. However, there are many reasons why, as a charity, we ought to analyse their reach. Firstly, it is the sum of our contributions that gives a more accurate picture of an organisation that leverages national, and even international, public benefit. NADFAS as a whole has a profound impact on society that reaches well beyond its membership.
Secondly, charities can no longer afford to look inwards. Delivering lectures, volunteering and grant-giving cannot be categorically seen as being good unless these activities bring real, positive changes for our members and the public.
We need to look at our role in the wider community. If NADFAS wants to be a force for good in arts and heritage education we must take on new challenges and talk about the work we do in a transparent manner. This is not simply a statutory requirement as a charity but a reflection on whether we actually do what we set out to do.
The essence of NADFAS cannot be captured in statistics and a 20-page document. This report demonstrates, however, to ourselves and to others that NADFAS, this quiet and understated organisation – actually achieved much, much more than we take – and are given – credit for. We believe that everyone in NADFAS should take pride in what we achieve together, because the difference we make in the world truly changes lives for the better.