SA Crowdfunding Blog

Monday, 11 June 2012 21:29

Crowdfunding for the Arts and Creative Projects

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It is little wonder that art funding is one of the first areas to get the axe when government budgets are tight. Throughout history, necessities have taken precedence over art and entertainment. Dependence on the large benefactor, which has sustained the art world over the centuries, is proving to be less of a factor than in times past.

Struggling artists have always searched for benefactors to support them while they pursuit their art, but that usually only works when an artist has some amount of reputation. Art funding for the unknown artist is difficult through normal channels. For this reason, crowdfunding was a natural choice in the art world long before it was popular for business.

Have a Web Presence
Any artist in need of support should establish a web presence so their talents can be seen. So many simple templates can be used for websites that anyone who is willing to learn can establish a workable site quickly. The true artist will add some personal touches that reflect their creative style.

Building a website does not mean people will automatically come to it. There is little chance of receiving art funding until some traffic is generated to the website. This is an area where many artists come up short. Word of mouth might not be the best way to get people to a website, but it is a start. Through emails, social media networking, article marketing, and other promotional strategies, an artist can bring in the public.

Successfully getting art funding by way of a website requires some work, but much of the site's operation can be automatic once it is properly set up. Here are some important points to keep in mind when building a web page.

Have a Purpose
The main purpose is art funding, of course, but if you are hoping to get donations, there has to be a purpose that will interest prospective contributors. This might be raising the cash for a public exhibit or art show of some type. This reason should be stated clearly on the main landing page of the site.

Appeal to the donors you believe will be your best contributors. You do this in the initial planning stage so your website has direction and focus. Don't stray from what you want to accomplish by becoming involved in politics (assuming that is not what your art is about) or any opinions that can cause lack of harmony. When seeking art funding, you want everyone to be in agreement and working toward the same goal.

Contribution Limits
Make certain everyone knows that any contribution is appreciated, no matter how small it might be. Those who give prefer to do so based on their personal means. If you desire to provide something to a donor, you can have a set monetary amount that must be donated to get a reward. This can be anything of value, but some sample of your art is best.

Set Up a Shopping Cart
While art funding may be your primary objective, don't waste a website for that purpose only. Have quality pictures made of your artwork and a shopping cart where visitors can buy directly from you. The shopping cart feature serves as a way for appreciative art lovers to donate to the cause, too.

Contribute to the Site

Internet sites are not maintenance free. If you want people to come back regularly, you must constantly provide new material. Adding new content continually also aids in drawing more traffic and ranking higher in the search engines.

Any new art you produce should be posted to the growing list of your accomplishments. Interesting articles pertaining to art and links to other related sites make art lovers want to visit often.

Get Email Addresses

Ask each visitor to leave an email where you can send correspondence about upcoming events, special art sales, and anything else that might be of interest to supporters. While you are asking for art funding, you must also give something back that your visitors will consider of value.

Do not use your correspondence to beg continually for art funding; once you have made it clear you are seeking donations, you will have much better results if you use further correspondence for informational purposes.

Indicate Results
If you have a goal for your donations, keep a running total on the landing page so visitors can see how things are going or just post what the total is once a week. When you have the necessary art funding, let your benefactors know, but don't stop taking donations. Funds can be applied to future needs, which you will want to make public as they arise.

Maintain the Website

Continue your web presence even after you get the art funding you need. Once you have done the work to set it up, it wouldn't be practical to take it down once funding is achieved. You may not be able to make additions and changes every day, but have a set maximum number of days that you go without contributing. Once you have established a relationship with donors, you do not want to sever that cord.

Crowdfunding Specialists
Many artists in South Africa and other parts of the world need assistance, even after they are established and have a following. Assuming the responsibilities of raising money can take away from your creative process, and many artists prefer to pursue their art rather than spend time working with a website.

Using an established crowdfunding site to get the funds you need may be a better option if you aren't comfortable with search engine optimization and web design. By providing only the input necessary for clarification, allowing someone who is better qualified to handle the campaign can be an advantage.

The fees charged for a crowdfunding specialist are nominal, and the results from a professional campaign are usually better than can be obtained from a personal effort.

There are other types of art funding that require compensation back to those supplying support, but it is much better to obtain money that is free and clear whenever possible.

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