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How Can Crowdfunding Help Fundraising in Your Arts Organisation

Nick Stevenson
9 August 2017
How Can Crowdfunding Help Fundraising in Your Arts Organisation

What is Crowdfunding?

While not a new concept, crowdfunding has exploded through the use of the Internet and social media. People from anywhere in the world can donate funds to any project, in which they are interested. In return for their financial contribution, funders are given rewards (typically related to the project). Some research shows that in 2015 over $10B was raised in the arts industry alone, making this a vital avenue of additional income for cultural organisations.

How Can You Use Crowdfunding in Your Next Project?

You may be thinking,”This all sounds great, but what does my arts organisation have to offer potential funders?” Let's be clear; crowdfunding is not a donation in the traditional sense. You need to give your patrons something in return for their donation, so it’s more like clever marketing than fundraising. This is where your creative side comes into its own. While you may not have a "product" to give in exchange for contributions (though merchandise could work well here), you can offer a plethora of "exclusive" extras.So let’s say for example, you have a new production within your organisation that requires some additional funding to help build the experience. Crowdfunding can help bridge the funding gap, but we need to consider what rewards we can offer in return for contributions. Take a look at the scenario below: A patron contributes ₤100 to the overall goal of ₤5000. For their ₤100 contribution they will receive two free tickets to the production, their name in the programme and a meet and greet with the cast after the show. If a patron contributes ₤500, they receive all of the above, plus an exclusive dinner with the director of the show and front row seats for the performance. Taking a real life example, The Wexford Arts Centre has successfully used crowdfunding campaigns to increase funding levels. In addition to funding they have also increased engagement from their patron community - a real bonus. Below is an example campaign Wexford recently completed through


Your rewards can be as small or as big as you wish, but remember, never lose track of your final target. Creativity is the key to successfully achieving your goals. The more exclusive your reward is, the greater the chance of people contributing.

Crowdfunding Does More Than Fund Your Projects: It Generates Great Awareness.

Crowdfunding not only offers patrons a concrete incentive to contribute and be a part of your project, it also raises awareness and offers meaningful engagement with your local arts community. The people that do contribute will no doubt raise awareness which will in turn increase the level of interest and engagement, and in turn more contributions to your project.

Getting Started


Platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and FundIt have made crowdfunding a project easy to set up. In many cases, you can have one ready to go within half an hour. Their user friendly interfaces allow funders to easily donate to campaigns they are interested in supporting. Many crowdfunding sites do take fees (typically around 4-5%) of all monies raised, and some require you to achieve your set monetary goal before you can receive funds. Companies such as GoFundMe require no set monetary goal, but do collect fees, so it is important to read the FAQs before setting up a campaign. Arts and Business NI have a great toolkit that can help you get started (and it's free). Why not give it a go? Set yourself a small target on a specific project coming up, choose your reward and give it a try.

Stuck for ideas? Give us a shout and we’d love to brainstorm some ideas.

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