Spacetaker hosted Jenni Rebecca Stephenson and Sara Kellner for an artist workshop on identifying funding sources for individual artist projects (grants, fiscal sponsorship, crowdsourcing) on Aug. 31, 2011
Thinking outside the box</li></ul>With Sara Kellner, Kellner Consulting &<br />Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Spacetaker <br />
Money is always the issue. So, where do you find it?<br />Art Sales<br />Commissions<br />Residencies<br />Fellowships<br />Performance contracts<br />Recording contracts<br />Grants (Institutional funding: Foundations or City, State, or Federal Funding)<br />Contributions (Individual)<br />Fill in the blank... Innovate!<br />$$$<br />
Are you more comfortable speaking specifically about your work?
Are you able to succinctly communicate your artistic vision to others? (And do they buy it?)
Are you a better writer than speaker? (Or vice versa.)</li></li></ul><li>Your answers will help shape your strategy<br />If you answered yes to the first few questions (i.e. you feel comfortable “working it”), your tactics need to be different than someone who would prefer writing a dissertation! <br />
Do not assume you need to do it all! <br />A comprehensive strategy is ideal. <br />But given the demands on your time (time better spent in a studio or practice room), you need to prioritize based on your skill set and instincts.<br />
Let’s start with the good written communicators…<br />Grants.<br />Grants usually come from private foundations or from governmental agencies. <br />OR from contracted organizations who function as a gateway for other (often governmental) funding- i.e. Houston Arts Alliance.<br />
Identifying Grant Opportunities <br />One word: <br />GOOGLE.<br /><ul><li>Be specific in your queries. Start narrow, then open up your criteria.
“individual artist grants Houston Texas” will obtain better results than “arts grants”
Specificity will help narrow down the results to those for which you’re eligible.</li></li></ul><li>Identifying Grant Opportunities <br />There are MANY clearing houses for grant information (local arts agencies, service organizations like Spacetaker, professional associations, etc.). <br /><ul><li>Pro? They weed out the less desirable opportunities.
Con? A lot of their information can be incorrect and/or outdated.*</li></ul>*We do the best we can!<br />
Dedicate a few hours to research at least every 2 months or so.
Sign up for every artist resource newsletter you can find. (Create a junk email address for this & discipline yourself to check it once every 2 weeks.)
Create a binder of potential grant opportunities with tabs for each (organize by submission deadline & proposal format)</li></li></ul><li>Seriously? …OK, fine. Here are a few good ones. <br /><ul><li>Creative Capital http://creative-capital.org/
United States Artists http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/Public2/Home/index.cfm
The Foundation Center http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/specialissues/content.jhtml?id=8300121
National Performance Network http://www.npnweb.org/</li></li></ul><li>And for a moderate investment ($75)…<br />Remember: Time is money!<br />* Some of these resources are available in your local library!<br />
Consider timelines.…And consider your motivation.<br /><ul><li>Are you searching for a grant to fund a specific project you already have in mind? (And is it time-sensitive?)
Are you open to the project parameters dictated by the funder?</li></ul>Grant cycles can be as long as 1-2 years ahead.<br />
Example… Individual artist grants from Houston Arts Alliance<br />GRANT TERM: March 1, 2012–December 31, 2012<br /><ul><li>Dec 2011: Application & Materials Due
Sept 2012: 3rd Quarter Progress Report Due (3rd Payment)
Feb 2013: Final Report Due (Final Payment)</li></li></ul><li>Timing of project & grant payment (budgeting) is key.<br />Keep in mind that frequently funding is received AFTER the project is completed, which means the up-front investment (materials, etc.) is YOUR responsibility. <br /><ul><li>Is this a deal-breaker?
Do you have a means to cover these initial expenses?
Do you have a well-defined budget including all project costs? (Include marketing!)</li></li></ul><li>Consider all scenarios.<br />You’ve applied for the grant, but…<br /><ul><li>If you are awarded the grant, are you 100% committed to fulfilling the project?
Have they already funded a project EXACTLY like yours?
Some funders post previously funded proposals!</li></li></ul><li>Eligibility<br />This is HUGE for individual artists!<br />Pay careful attention to requirements:<br /><ul><li>Some won’t fund degree-seeking artists.
Some require 501(c)3 status…</li></li></ul><li>What to do about that 501(c)3 status?<br />Fiscal Sponsorship<br />…is one option.<br />Definition (from our friends at Wikipedia): <br />“…the practice of non-profit organizations offering their legal and tax-exempt status to groups engaged in activities related to the organization's missions; typically involving a fee-based contractual arrangement between a project and an established non-profit.”<br />
Types of Fiscal Sponsorship <br /><ul><li>Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship: Fiscally sponsored project becomes a “program area” of sponsor org.
Pre-approved Grant Relationship Fiscal Sponsorship: Fiscally sponsored project has its own tax and liability issues; sponsor oversees only to assure grant/donated funds are used for specified project. </li></ul> (most popular variety)<br />
NYFA www.nyfa.org</li></ul>(New York Foundation for the Arts)<br />*Be careful here! Some (not all) funders want fiscal sponsor in same state as the granting institution. <br />
The hoops you have to go through:<br /><ul><li>All contributions need to be filtered through your fiscal sponsor (Usually 7-10 day turnaround.)
To apply for grants, you either apply individually (with a letter of affiliation) or through a special grant system set up by the fiscal sponsor </li></ul>(…Like the Multi-Art Project Fund from the Rockefeller Foundation)<br />
Side-by-side Comparison of The Field & Fractured Atlas<br />
The benefits of Fiscal Sponsorship<br /><ul><li> Access to grants/services designed for the individual artist (particularly The Field)
A degree of legitimacy (depending on the fiscal sponsor)
A TAX DEDUCTION for your contributors </li></li></ul><li>Additional benefits… <br />The door has now been kicked open to approach individual funders: philanthropists, family foundations, etc.<br />The goes back to the original question: <br />where do your strengths lie?<br />If confident in yourself and your work (as well as have strong interpersonal skills and network), seeking individual donations is a good option.<br />
Patronage is NOT dead… <br />patronage simply tends to go to individual/personality-driven nonprofits, rather than to unaffiliated individuals.<br />ArsLyrica<br />
Fundraising = Friend-raising<br />Fundraising, whether for a nonprofit or for yourself, is about relationships.<br />Start with your friends. <br />Your friends, family, and colleagues are the foundation for a support network. Their support can also be used to leverage other funds. <br />
Two recent examples:<br /><ul><li>Photographer David Brown raised $8,000 to fund his trip to France for Lens Culture FotoFest Paris to meet with curators & photo editors
Local band Two Star Symphony raised over $7,000 to fund studio time to record the score for their collaboration with Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre</li></ul>Both almost entirely from individual contributions!<br />
What do these 2 projects have in common?<br /><ul><li>Money was raised for a very specific purpose
Both are generally regarded as creating new, innovative work
Both parties went above and beyond a simple email appeal</li></li></ul><li>Cultivating advocates to support you and your work:<br /><ul><li>Stay in regular contact with those who buy your work or attend your shows
Communicate with patrons in a way that’s not esoteric, sophomoric, or needy
When someone does you a favor, thank them (consider small art gifts)
Explore commissions; they’re a great way to develop relationships</li></li></ul><li>Think of the long haul<br /><ul><li>Recognize your champions; treat them as such
Work on developing relationships BEFORE you need something
Consider that even someone who might not be able to afford your work might be willing to support you</li></ul>Developing a supporter base doesn’t happen overnight. Ask yourself:<br />What can I do TODAY to move the ball forward?<br />
Caveat:<br />Think it’s tacky? Welcome to fundraising!<br />Most cultural institutions survive on donations. The average performing arts org only covers 60-70% of its expenses with sales revenue. <br />If working independently, it is likely your situation is no different! <br />Embrace the reality… And consider that many will happily support your projects if only asked.<br />
Crowdsourcing<br />Crowdsourcing allows you to present a project to a cultivated audience to seek funding. It’s an online platform to aggregate any fundraising efforts.<br />Popular Options:<br /><ul><li>Kickstarterwww.kickstarter.com
Crowdsourcing site retains a portion of the proceeds (% to site, % to any 3rd party processors, etc.)
Funds disbursed after campaign is completed to your Paypal or bank account </li></li></ul><li>A comparison …Kickstarter vs. IndieGoGo<br />
How to launch a successful IndieGoGo campaign<br />(Tips care of Two Star’s Jerry Ochoa)<br />
Make a video: low tech is OK! Introduce yourself, demo the project, explain (briefly/succinctly) why it matters, & personalize the ask <br />Scale giving categories & incentives to fit fundraising goal (Don’t aim too low)<br />Assemble a team: Identify advocates for the project & campaign and give them ownership<br />Maintain momentum: coordinate giving strategically to maintain appearance of momentum<br />
5. Do the legwork: IndieGoGo is only a tool; blast through emails, make phone calls, fundraising receptions, etc. <br />6. Make donating as convenient as possible: if they say they’ll donate, make it possible for them to do it NOW<br />7. Take advantage of Fractured Atlas: the tax donation is a great incentive<br />Follow through: campaign allows you to test the scope of your support; stay on schedule and deliver both the project & the promised benefits ASAP<br />Thank them several times & stay in touch!<br />
Be specific.<br /><ul><li>Patrons want to know the scope & specifics of the project.
A defined project and goal is both actionable and attainable. </li></li></ul><li>Get creative! And set yourself apart…<br />Leverage a successful campaign into a consistent strategy to cultivate an ongoing network of supporters and advocates.<br />And remember, whether it be grants or donations, consistency & persistence are KEY. Keep trying!<br />