When operating an arts organization or other kind of project, you have to decide what kind of formal structure is best for that project. Should you be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit? A worker-owned co-op? A collective? A business? A community group without any official structure?
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At Fractured Atlas, we talk a good deal about 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for a few reasons. That’s our own tax designation as an organization, so it’s on our minds. But we don’t just write about it or think about it because it affects us as an organization. We talk about it because it is through our 501(c)(3) status that we are able to support other artists and arts organizations via fiscal sponsorship.
For artists who are looking to raise money by crowdfunding, you’ll be reaching out to your personal network for support, including your family and friends. On the one hand, it’s most natural that the people closest to you will be the most enthusiastic about your creative vision. But on the other hand, it can be tricky to ask for donations from your nearest and dearest.
Say you’ve decided you want to hold a virtual fundraiser to support your art work or for your arts organization. You’ve read the basics behind virtual events and advice from artists familiar with creating work virtually. But now what? Once you determine that you do want to hold a virtual fundraising event, you’ll have to figure out exactly which kind of event to hold (not to mention which platform you will use).
Crowdfunding is, as a field, crowded. According to Fundera in February 2020, crowdfunding generates $17.2 billion in North America. Crowdfunding grew 33.7% in 2019 and there were almost 6.5 million campaigns. With so many crowdfunding campaigns out there, it’s clear that many people are finding success. But it also means that it can be hard to make your project stand out against all of the other crowdfunding campaigns competing for attention and donations.
Our mission as an organization is to support artists so that you can make the work that is inspiring and resonant to you and your community. One of the primary ways we help you do that is by helping artists fundraise.
We are now approaching a year of COVID-19, even though it feels like it’s been either a decade or just an incredibly long month of March. Over the last few months, many organizations, including Fractured Atlas, have been experimenting with various kinds of virtual events. For example, we’ve hosted livestream events highlighting our members’ work. In spring 2020, virtual art events were the exception. Now they are the norm.
In November or December, nonprofits and projects with fiscal sponsors often send out what’s called an annual appeal. An annual appeal is the final financial ask before the end of the year. Around the holidays, people are feeling generous and reflective about what has been valuable to them in the previous year. And, of course, people and corporations are looking to maximize their tax-deductible donations. Annual appeals are an important part of a fundraising calendar year and something that many established nonprofits and independent creators count on.