Oonagh Desire


With a background in arts management, fundraising and external affairs, Oonagh has been working in Ireland and the UK for 25 years. In 2008, she relocated to Dublin to join the Abbey Theatre from the National Theatre in London, where she was Deputy Director of Development.  At the Abbey she set up the development function, building the capacity and knowledge to generate new private investment from corporate supporters and national and international individual donors through annual programme support, major gifts, and sponsorship.

As Director of Public Affairs and Advancement she was responsible for development, public affairs, marketing and communications, customer service, sales, and community and education.  Now working as a consultant, she focuses on helping cultural organisations grow their impact.  She believes in achieving results through building strong teams and relationships and has significant experience in organisational change and capacity building, fundraising, and stakeholder relations.  A founding member and former Chair of the Development Managers’ Forum and Mentor for Fundraising Ireland, she also served on the board of the London-based Dance Art Foundation and has sat on the Culture, Arts, Sports and Tourism Committee of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce. She is currently a board member for GLOW NI, a charity encouraging women and girls to discover their potential through personal development programmes.

Oonagh’s key skills include strategy and planning, case for support /story, institutional marketing, major gifts, individual giving and membership, stewardship, board engagement, grant writing, job design and recruitment, coaching and leadership advisory, US fundraising, and stakeholder management.