I just read that 90 percent of current art funding in the UK will be slashed by year 2020. This would be a disaster and most art organisations – big and small – would find themselves in a really tight spot, if not already happening at this moment. In these days of austerity, art organisations should be more aggressive in their digital marketing efforts and if they don’t have enough funds to hire people for their digital team, they should transform their PR and Comms people to real digital gurus.
How should these small art organisations survive in these trying times? Rather than just waiting for the manna from private corporate sponsorship deals, I think it’s about time to take a look at the potential of crowdfunding to pool more resources for creative projects. Crowdfunding or rather crowd financing is a creative way of funding through social means. Why waste time going for those corporations whose main agenda is to cut back on arts funding when now you can get support from millions of small investors via the internet? Plus, it’s a real fun way to involve ordinary folks to your cause and also help them know more about art.
Time Magazine says the crowdfunding economy is expected to become a billion dollar business machine in the coming years. Here are several crowdfunding sites to start your campaign:
From films, games, music, art, Kickstarter has already funded more than 35,000 projects – $450 million of which had been raised by 3 million people. It also has an all or nothing philosophy – meaning to say, if a project doesn’t reach its funding target, the investors will not be charged. That means investors will be protected in case the project gets shelved: This becomes an incentive for these investors so they wouldn’t be afraid to open their pockets to pledge. Every project also go through a strict screening and it needs to meet project guidelines which will be reviewed by a Kickstarter staff member. This ensures that creative projects are properly curated and guarantees that they are all legal. To help you get the wheels going, here are some Kickstarter basics.
Started by a Wallstreet analyst who was into the arts, Indiegogo had been successful on helping fund creative projects particularly indie. This month, internet has been buzzing about Indie British Filmmaker David Sargant’s documentary Homeless London: their story which was funded through Indiegogo. One of the most popular campaigns at the moment is the ‘Let’s build a Goddamn Tesla Museum’ which has already garnered more than a million dollars and still amassing money as we speak. Indiegogo gets 9% of the overall amount you raised. Five percent of these you can get back if you reach your goal.
Pleasefund.us focuses on creative projects so there’s a real niche here for the arts. Users can support your pledge for as low as £1. So far it’s a great platform for short filmmakers, youth dance groups and theatre companies – the list is enormous so it would also be a great way to browse, steal or improve on ideas.
Sponsume has already funded more than 1000 projects since its inception in 2010. Unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Sponsume uses a reward system to incentivize people to support their campaign creator’s projects. They basically sell these rewards via their own social networks and directing these potential customers-donors to their Sponsume page. Rewards can range from ticket offers, VIP tickets, dinner with your team or being an extra on a film project.
Crowdcube is more focussed on business finance but I don’t see any reason why art should not be part of their agenda. (It’s a business for God’s sakes!). I can see that art projects will slowly creep its way towards this crowdfunding platform especially if they can combine the art aspect with a business-related idea. So far Crowdcube has already raised more than 4 million pounds for 30 businesses with a potential of creating jobs. What’s interesting with Crowdcube is that it’s equity based and it has just been approved by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) which allows investors to become shareholders in the businesses they back up.