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.
For artists who have never fundraised before, it can feel daunting. After all, institutions like museums and nonprofits have departments full of people whose whole job is just fundraising. As an artist, you might worry that you have to become a one-person writing, editing, social media, advertising, PR, videography, and photography team. While there are indeed a number of skills needed to run successful fundraising campaigns, we want to let you know that it’s not as scary or mysterious as you think.
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Fiscal sponsorship is a mechanism by which individuals or small organizations can access some of the benefits of 501(c)(3) nonprofit status without going through the process of actually becoming a nonprofit. It’s a powerful tool for artists and arts organizations to boost your capacity without significantly changing the structure of what you do. Fiscal sponsorship lets you receive tax-deductible donations, apply for a wider range of grants, and often access the expertise of the people working for that fiscal sponsor.
Right now, we’re in the midst of grant season. If you’re looking to get funding for your work through grants, you’re likely to be awash in deadlines and applications. But really, grant season is year-round. You can check out all of our grant opportunities to see proof of that!
Artists looking to build support by using your own network often run crowdfunding campaigns. Crowdfunding refers to time-limited, goal-oriented fundraising. Unlike other ways to raise money, crowdfunding depends on smaller donations from within your own community, often shared on social media.
When you’re looking for support for your artwork, you’ll need to think broadly about the kind of support you need. You’ll probably be fundraising, which might entail crowdfunding, applying for grants, building a sustaining donor base, or even exploring corporate partnerships. Building the support structure for your creative practice is about more than just bringing in cold hard cash. It’s about building a community of people who are invested in your work, and who are able to help you bring your work from vision to reality.
The Fractured Atlas team reviews well over 500 grants from fiscally sponsored projects every year. Whenever one of our fiscally sponsored projects uses us as a fiscal sponsor in a grant application, we review that grant application. We have a full grant review request procedure that our team uses to ensure that our fiscally sponsored projects submit strong grant applications when seeking funding.
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.