Posted by Thom Smyth, April 29th, 2015
Keen to get an insight into pitching, touring and community engagement?
CircuitWest are offering a limited number of discounted spots for independent artists and producers to attend the WA Showcase – Playing The State, to be held at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on 14 & 15 May 2015.
Hear about community engagement from visited US expert Joel Tan, see pitches and encounter sessions from a range of WA companies and independent artists, and meet the presenters, programmers and producers that help make it all happen.
Normally $230 for the two-day registration, you can attend both days for $100 or one day for $50. You also have the option to attend the conference dinner on Thursday 14 May for an extra $50. Registrations must close this coming Monday 4 May.
For more information or to register to attend, please email Ryan Taaffe at email@example.com
WA Showacse – Playing The State
Thurs 14 & Fri 15 May
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
To register: email @firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Shiver tour, community engagement session, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. Image by Sarah Rowbottam.
Posted by Thom Smyth, April 9th, 2015
Didn’t get grant funding but still want to make your project happen? Today we take a look at the world of crowdfunding and private giving as other avenues to raise vital funds to get your ideas off the ground. Thom Smyth sat down with Sally Richardson (Yirra Yaakin’s Partnerships Manager and Performing Lines WA core artist) to talk how to make things happen when you get a dreaded grant rejection letter. Image credits – Simon Pynt Photography, Sally Richardson.
There are other ways of doing things…
by Sally Richardson
The end of the financial year is a busy time for those who are fundraising. Currently there are two major matched funding campaigns running nationally through Creative Partnerships Australia, as well as all the other Pozible, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms which artists and others are always using to seek out essential funds. There are a lot of our people out there looking for support, but evidence tells us that crowdfunding is a growth market and that it is going to continue to be a major source of support for artists well into the future.
Arguably the arts has always relied on the benevolence and patronage of others to exist. Official government or private foundation funding routes can take a long time and applications are very labour-intensive, particularly for smaller projects. The waiting and frustration can all seem a bit much, especially as more than a year can go by after that initial of the light bulb moment that sparked your project!
It’s more rewarding and fun to be actively ‘working’ on your project via a crowdfunding or philanthropic campaign: getting the message out there and feeling the energy that starts to come your way. It keeps a momentum – you are doing something and driving your own engine. I have found the process empowering and humbling…it’s so thrilling to be supported and have others believing in you and your work…real faces and real people.
Donors, fans and supporters have always been a source of income for artists and perhaps it’s time to be less embarrassed about making the ‘ask’. It can feel awkward to directly request support, but the various crowdfunding and donor platforms provide a means to put yourself and your project out there in a way that is approachable. They give the donor the ability to support at their level of capacity, helping both sides avoid the awkwardness of discussing actual $$$$.
In my experience there are also additional benefits. Crowdfunding has proved to be a great ‘free’ marketing and promotional tool, and an invitation to your audience to get more involved with you at a grassroots level. As a supporter you feel you are making art happen in all kinds of places and in cool ways – I have supported and been supported, and will definitely continue to do so. I think one of the less visible benefits is feeling the interest and engagement with your ideas, your project, and your team; a sense of a community rallying around you when art making often feels quite isolated and inward looking. You DO have to be prepared to put your face out there, and speak to your ideas and work…there is no hiding here, but that helps you engage with and build your profile and your audience.
Being an artist is a business too, not a sit down job or a wallflower waiting game for life support. You can do so much to grow your brand, develop a following and be part of the cultural picture. It’s about being active, backing yourself and your work…and others will want join you…I promise!
- Reaching out to strangers and finding new audiences
- Thinking out of the box about your ideas, imagery, marketing.
- Growing a fan base.
- Sharing the creative process and being part of a community.
- Nothing I can think of…well…if people don’t like your project (and usually it’s about how it comes across) they won’t support you…back to ground zero.
- Standing Bird 2 travelled to Hong Kong Fringe with support from crowdfunding.
Read on for some top tips from Sally Richardson and Thom Smyth.
What to ask for:
Be really careful and brutally honest when setting your campaign totals and timeframe – how many people can you count on to donate, and how long will it take you to get them on board? As a super-rough guide, get the team to give you their total numbers of followers across all social media channels and their email contacts. Combine this total for the team – 10% of that total number MAY consider donating. The average donation amount on Pozible is around $30, so multiply your donors by $30 and you’ll have a ballpark idea of the maximum target you could expect. BE REALISTIC about what you can raise and carefully consider the capacity of your social networks to give.
IE: Total followers = 5,000
5,000 x 10% = 500
500 x $30 = $15000 total ask
- Don’t be afraid to ask – we get NO a lot in the arts anyway so be bold; the odds are more in your favour than not.
- Be strategic – think about non-cash support to help make your project happen. Ask about reduced venue charges, seek out unused spaces/venues if you are prepared to work at odd hours, request loans of equipment or set/costume items you might need (Facebook callouts can be great). This all reduces your overall ask.
- Support others – you can build support by helping others with their projects. Offer support at a level you can accommodate; you may not be able to afford a donation, but consider sharing the campaign or getting others to donate.
- Plan ahead – start talking about your project before you launch the campaign, and get some donors locked in to donate when you hit go. Have a suite of imagery, videos and updates ready to roll out. Have a plan of who is posting, what they are posting and how often.
- Don’t freak out at the plateau – every campaign hits a point where donations slow down or stop…use it as a time to thank everyone, regroup, and get ready for the home-stretch push!
- You’re not alone – ask others for support, for hints and tips, or for encouragement. Check out other successful campaigns and see how they ran theirs.
Who to approach?
Anywhere you work, play, study and visit is a potential site to share your info and seek support for your project.
- ALWAYS ask friends, family, colleagues, relatives and neighbours…whoever you know to get involved. Ask people you know will donate and have them lined up for when you launch.
- Other arts/arts-related organisations to support you, and share your campaign (especially if you are a member already, or they have worked with you previously)
- Any other fanbases or interest groups who you might support and already be a part of…join up to some before you launch your campaign
- Arts/Fashion/personal bloggers (with followings) may be interested to support your campaign
- People who have seen your shows before…this information is GOLD especially if you are trying to get support for a future life or further touring of that show (eg: ‘Take me to Edinburgh’, etc)
- Put the project in the program (of a friend’s show) and in your own programs – if you like this work why not support these artists to do more cool stuff??
- Shout outs, verbal mentions in speeches and opening night thanks for special donors…
We ALL LOVE to be acknowledged – patronage has feel good benefits!!!!
Making the ask?
- If you are meeting up with someone about support – be smart, be nice, be engaged and enthusiastic but not a suckhole…and never harass people (NO usually means NO so don’t flog that dead horse).
- Be interested in them too – yep it’s not just ALL about you. Give them space to chat and share their thoughts and ideas, views on art etc. You’ll make a closer connection and have them as a lifelong supporter.
- Remember peoples’ names (and their partners!) and make it an invitation and an offer, not an obligation and a whinge fest of negativity about why you are ‘not loved’.
- Remember to THANK people…and more than once is great! Encourage them to share the campaign to their networks if appropriate.
- Keep their details (especially if they have supported you previously), and invite them to things, especially cool connective times with the cast and crew.
- If they come don’t ignore them and hang with your mates!
Sally Richardson’s next development The Unknown Soldier is currently raising funds through the Australian Cultural Fund – all donations over $2 are tax deductible.
Yirra Yaakin are also running a matched funding campaign supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through Pozible – click here to pledge.