Crowdfunding campaigns are time-limited, goal-oriented fundraisers where you seek donations from your personal network. They are great ways to get financial support for your work using small, individual donations that can add up to something much bigger. Crowdfunding campaign donations tend to come from within your expanded network–your friends, family, and community–rather than strangers.
Applying for grants as an artist can be challenging. It can be time consuming and hard. It can sometimes feel like you’re sending out applications into a void never to hear back from funders. If you are consistently not receiving funding that you’re applying for, you might not even know why.
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It’s not easy for anyone to talk about money.
As an artist, it’s hard to know how to talk about your work, especially when you are applying for grants. It’s challenging to distill your vision into a limited number of words or pages. How do you summarize work that’s creative, challenging, and close to your heart? And how do you do it in such a way that will be compelling to a funder?
As an artist, you need money to make your work. You might need money to pay someone to build your website, run lights for your play, or purchase the raw materials to make costumes.
Artists are fantastic multitaskers. Often, in the course of a single day, you might function as everything from a creator, to a curator, editor, manager, assistant, and gopher. Never mind going to the grocery store! So when it comes time to find people who will support your projects, it’s hard to find time to start. Thankfully, finding prospective donors to support your work isn’t as mystical as it seems. A little bit of research can go a long way!
When you fundraise, you’re asking for money from outside sources to realize your creative vision. As an artist, you’ll have to figure out how much it matters to you who those sources are. Who will you seek funding from and who isn’t a good fit? If the philanthropic arm of a corporation whose work you disagree with would be willing to fund your work, would you apply for a grant from them or accept money if it was offered? Would you take money from a company that you think harms your community? You don’t want to take money from somewhere that makes you so uncomfortable that you wouldn’t even want to use it, but also, you need money in order to make your work. There isn’t an easy answer, and there’s no such thing as purely ethical money under capitalism.
If you’re like me (and roughly 90% of US taxpayers), you claim the standard deduction when you file your income taxes each year. For those of us who don't have enough qualifying expenses (mortgage interest, property taxes, etc.) to itemize when we file, the standard deduction probably makes the most sense. Because of this, I am not able to deduct my charitable contributions, despite the fact that I donate to 501(c)(3) organizations.
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.