How Can I Fundraise for my Art Now? (Tips and Tools)
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of the millions of artists who are trying to put together the pieces of not just your craft, but your life.
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us all to rethink our daily living routines and cope with the reality of deferred goals for the year. The arts community has been faced with the double challenge of re-focusing their efforts in how they share their work with their audience, in addition to likely losing other sources of income (especially for artists working in the service industry). For many, this means losing your venue, canceled rehearsals, interrupted travel arrangements, or little-to-no audience turnout.
Finances are often unpredictable for artists under ideal circumstances but, under the pandemic, money might not be coming in at all. People are losing healthcare and childcare, as well as their sources of income.
As we all scramble to figure out how to survive in this new normal, it is important to understand that this will not last forever. We may be trained to believe that great art comes from suffering but we’re imploring you to discard that mindset for the moment. We are all figuring this out together!
If taking time to stabilize the health and foundation for you and your loved ones is needed, take it. Release yourself of any guilt! Whenever you’re ready to pick things back up, you can. We are here to support in the overall marathon of life and of your creative practice. If you’re ready to move forward and excited to be back in the game, we support this too! Fractured Atlas is staffed by creatives and artists, and we understand the stresses you’re feeling. Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to support you - by helping you connect with your community, fundraise, and by providing business tools to help you support your creative vision.
There is something special about this period in time that artists can take advantage of. You should be keeping your creative juices flowing when you can. Performing arts venues are pushing through this unpredictable time to keep their artistic missions strong while providing art, love, and entertainment to the world. Now that so many people are stuck at home, they need art to stay entertained, connected, inspired, and hopeful.
People are seeing that art matters, and that artists provide a vital service. If you’re ready to jump back into your creative process, here’s how you can use Fractured Atlas’s tools to support that jump.
Prepare a Crowdfunding Campaign
Whether your project is live or set for a specific launch date, this can still be a great time to keep your fundraising momentum going. Your base wants to see you succeed and are invested in witnessing the full arc of your work. Although hesitation to continue a crowdfunding campaign during these times is a valid feeling, it is also time to show your dedication to your craft and to the audience you genuinely enjoy serving. This may mean adjusting your goal amount to reflect your project’s immediate needs. But, the opportunity is still there!
If you have already started to pivot to a virtual platform, here’s your chance to ignite or keep the campaign’s mojo high. Believe that you have the power to inspire your supporters and keep them engaged during this daunting time.
Before you jump back into fundraising, you’ll want to ask yourself some questions.
- Do you and your team have a healthy capacity (in both mind and body) to continue this work right now?
- And if so, is this work the best way to serve your audience/community right now?
- Have you paid off all of your expenses up until this point (staff, talent, equipment, promotion/print, etc.)?
- What are the emergency costs that have occurred for your project in the wake of the outbreak (cancellation fees, relocation fees, etc.)?
- How much funding will you need to restart or resume your project when we are no longer so socially isolated? How much will it cost for you to continue your project virtually or on another medium?
- Will other platforms allow you to keep all of your raised funds if you don’t reach your goal?
Use these questions to guide whether you continue to fundraise, how much you’re asking for, and how you plan to allocate funds. People still want to support you, you just need to adjust to the current climate.
Revamp Your Existing Campaign Page
The most important thing to remember when updating your campaign page is to be candid with your community, while still hopeful about the future of your project.
- Write an honest update about the status of your project and what your project needs to move forward—whether it’s virtual,postponed, or still evolving. Uploading a video update of the cast or team can be a nice personal touch!
- Consider adjusting your goal amount to reflect your current needs:
- Eliminate any frivolous expenses
- Assess the “absolute must” expenses
- Be realistic about your donor base and how much you’re requesting
- Adjust your Rewards. If you know there are perks that will require major shipping or full-priced tickets, you’ll have to adjust them. Depending on how much your original goal amount has decreased (since there may be fewer expenses now) you may also want to consider reducing your reward level amounts. Offering lower to mid-level rewards will probably be your best option at this time. For example:
- Free shout-outs and “thank yous” during the live stream or on social media
- An opportunity for your special donors to join you in the live stream performance
- Perform a requested piece for a special donor on a designated performance date online
- Keep it positive! We all know what’s happening around us, but this doesn’t mean your news update has to be doom and gloom. Assuring your supporters that you will complete your project and that their contributions will not be in vain is an awesome way to retain donors and motivate your community.
We’ve put together a template to help you draft your communications to funders in difficult times. You can also use our Crowdfunding Rubric to help you assess your project’s needs and strategize your campaign.
If you didn’t have a pre-existing campaign and are inspired to start, here’s how you can begin!
If you’re new to Fractured Atlas and charged to get the ball rolling with our crowdfunding platform, here’s how to sign up!
Ticket your Virtual Events
As of July 31st, 2020, our ticketing and CRM service, Artful.ly will be discontinued. However, you can make the transition to selling tickets to a physical performance to a virtual one by editing your current storefront or by setting up a new event with these great ticketing platforms. Your work is still valuable and there are people who are willing and want to stay involved in the arts. Here’s what you can do now to ensure your patrons that their ticket purchases will still serve the purposes of your project.
For Current Artful.ly Events:
- Convert an existing ticket order into a donation
- For 501(c)(3) Donation Kit users
- Update prices for scheduled shows
- Reschedule existing listings for virtual performances or cancel shows
- As of May 4, 2020 Artful.ly will no longer support kit activations or new event and show creations
- June 30, 2020 is the last day that Artful.ly will charge tickets, passes, and donations via credit card. No shows can be scheduled past this date
- Process refunds or exchanges
- Ticket Purchases Only, Membership or & Passes excluded
New Virtual Alternative Ticketing and CRM Options:
- Include your streaming link in the receipt details for your new patrons
- Export your list of current or previous ticket buyers and email the new event link ahead of the new show-time
- As of May 15, 2020, Advanced Search on Artful.ly will be deactivated
- CRMs for artists and creatives: What they are and how to use them
- Best CRMs for artists and creatives
- Advice from a multimedia artist for virtual performances
Stay connected with your audience and keep your Fiscal Sponsorship page active! Continue to give your audience access to your project to maintain your connection. Use your Profile to post monologues, updates on free lessons you may be offering online, fun musical numbers, etc. Staying present and connected will boost the artist community morale and can still lead to contributions on your General Support page.
Emergency Grant Opportunities
In addition to our General Support and Crowdfunding platforms, our Fiscal Sponsorship program allows you to access some of the emergency grants and relief sources that are being offered to nonprofits or arts organizations in need. Like any grant, this is often a competitive process with limited funding. These resources are in high demand and are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. Having a fiscal sponsor already in place that can help you with these time-sensitive applications can make or break your ability to submit for these tight deadlines.
Fractured Atlas is Here For Artists
It is still our mission to see you through your creative endeavors. Our staff comprises artists and we’re all working together to make this period of art-making better for our fellow creatives. We’re available to provide our support to your team with any questions or concerns and will make sure that you stay afloat as best as we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (888)692-7878. But remember, the most important thing is to be safe and take care of yourself!
About Lauren Lattimore
Lauren Lattimore is a proud native Detroiter with a B.A. in Communication Arts from Eastern Michigan University. In 2013, she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the New School for Drama. She has since been in productions at the MCC Theatre, Columbia University-Mainstage, and The New Brooklyn Theatre. Although performing is a great love of hers, chocolate is her kryptonite. In her spare time she can be found listening to music, catching up with her DVR, or discovering a new restaurant in the city!