With all of this focus on fundraising, it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it. Artists aren’t fundraising to build a big nest egg or win a game called fundraising. Fundraising is just a means to an end. And that end is your art!
Fundraising is important. Fundraising can give you access to capital. You can use this capital to purchase equipment and materials that you need to make your work. It can allow you to create more freely, if for no other reason than that financial concerns add stress and anxiety that can make it hard to find the emotional space to create.
Grant funding through an institution can give you non-financial resources. You might be able to access advice and support about project management, budgeting, or other administrative tasks. You might be able to meet a network of fellow grantees who can become a professional and creative network for you. Receiving funding from a grant can give you legitimacy in the eyes of other institutions that might fund your future work or might curate your work for a show or a festival.
Crowdfunding can give you an audience that’s looking forward to your work. The people in your network who believe in you and your work enough to put their dollars behind it will likely still be there when you’re ready to premier your work.
But it’s important to remember that you are raising money to spend money on your creative vision. Thinking in terms of scarcity rather than abundance can make us feel like we always have to be looking for more money, more grants, a bigger crowdfunding goal. But in the world of arts fundraising, you’re raising money to spend it, not to gather proverbial dust in your bank account. We don’t want you to be too afraid of spending money to stay on the hamster wheel of fundraising any longer than you have to.
We want you to raise enough money to do your work at the scale that you want to see it done, to create ambitiously and compensate your collaborators fairly. All of this might entail fundraising, planning, and saving. But we don’t want to see artists get so afraid of depleting your savings account that you never end up actually making work!
Fundraising is about building partnerships, not just bringing in financial resources. It is about finding people who are excited about the work you are doing and want to help you create it.
To Sum It All Up
In this master guide to fundraising, we’ve covered everything from the emotional hurdles you need to be aware of before you even start to build a budget, how to figure out what kind of fundraising is right for you, plus the nitty-gritty details about grants and crowdfunding.
Fractured Atlas is dedicated to supporting artists across a variety of media, in every stage of your creative life. And we’re here to help you fundraise! Through our fiscal sponsorship program, we help artists raise tax-deductible funds through crowdfunding and grant applications. Learn more about how we can help support your creative vision.