One of the major issues affecting working dancers today is funding. Sure, you're brimming with amazing ideas for a new show or film, or you want to take your company on tour but need a little help raising money to cover travel costs. More and more artists are turning to crowdfunding, or crowdsourcing platforms, relying on their network (and the interest of strangers) to make their projects a reality. If you're looking for a way to get some dollars, but aren't sure where to start, don't despair.. just read on!
Kickstarter is probably one of the most well-known crowdfunding platforms. Launched back in 2009, their mission is to "help bring creative projects to life." Named one of the "Best Inventions of 2010" by Time Magazine, they have stated that they based their business model off of the historical tradition of arts patronage, where artists and their projects received funding from donors, or their audience. As of January 2019, the company has raised over $4 billion dollars from over 15 million backers to fund 156,496 projects.
Kickstarter's website states that they operate specifically to fund creative projects in areas like fashion, food, games, music, art, photographer, theater, and (of course) dance. Their guidelines are: 1. Projects must create something to share with others. 2. Projects must be honest and clearly presented. 3. Projects can't fundraise for charity. 4. Projects can't offer equity (investment incentives). 5. Projects can't involve items such as: gambling, live animals, alcohol as a reward, etc.
The Pros: Kickstarter is a well-respected and established company. You don't need to be worried about any sort of funny business. They have a customer service helpline with actual people, and their website is very user-friendly.
The Cons: Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model. That means that none of your donors will be charged until your project reaches your funding goal. So, if you don't reach your goal, you don't get anything. And if you do, Kickstarter will take 5% of the money raised, as well as an extra 3-5% for payment processing.
Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ !
Since 2008, Indigogo's community of over 9 million contributors in 235 countries have funded over 800,000 ideas and projects. Their mission is "to empower people to unite around ideas that matter to them and together make those ideas come to life." Some of their best known projects include "Con Man", a comedy series from actor Alan Tudyk that raised 734% of its goal, and "JIBO," an R2-D2 like robot that raised 2240% of its goal.
The Pros: If your project has anything to do with technology, this platform is going to be your best option for funding, by far. Shooting a dance film? Developing a dance-related app? Creating a new type of dance shoe? Indigogo is where you want to be. Their donor pool is looking for the next innovative and hip thing, before it hits the mainstream market. In general, investors are expecting some sort of physically deliverable product. However, you don't have to meet your goal to get your donation money - whatever you raise is yours.
The Cons: If you're trying to produce a show, or take your company to a residency, this is not the platform for you. In terms of fees, Indigogo takes 5% of money raised, plus a processing fee of 3% + $0.30 per transaction.
Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for technology projects, ⭐ for non-technology ones.
Patreon is unique in that instead of raising funds for one specific project, it was created to be a form of sustainable income for artists. Particularly popular with podcasts, it relies on a subscriber base of fans that pay a monthly fee for original content and experiences. So far, they've raised over $350 million for creators. If you have a project that can create content on a monthly basis, such as dance photography, music for dance classes, or choreography snippets - this is a great platform for you.
The Pros: As an artist, you have total freedom. You can run ads or work with sponsors or brands as a form of extra income. There are no contracts, and you have 100% artistic ownership of your work. They also manage subscriber inquiries, so you just focus on making your work.
The Cons: Patreon keeps 5% of your monthly income, and there's a 5% payment processing fee.
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for projects that can generate some sort of monthly material, ⭐ if you can't.
GoFundMe is going to be the quickest and easiest way for you to collect funds for a specific project. Since 2010, they have raised over $5 billion from over 50 million donors, and operates in the US, Canada, and the UK. They have fewer restrictions on the types of projects that can be funded than other platforms, so you can just set your goal, write a bit about your project, add photos and videos, and go! Their website is very easy to navigate, and it's very simple to share your project with your network of supporters via email, text, and social media.
The Pros: GoFundMe is known as "free fundraising," which means that they do not take a percentage of the money that you've raised. Any money that is donated goes straight to the artist (minus a 2.9% + $0.30 fee charged by their payment processors). The website relies on tips and donations from donors for their operating costs.
The Cons: Unfortunately for creative minds, the mission of the platform itself is not geared towards artistic projects, and is instead aimed towards supporting those in need of funding because of hardships for difficult life events, like medical bills or tuition costs. Typically, GoFundMe’s backers are visiting the site in order to support people who are going through extenuating circumstances, not creating new work. So when it comes to funding an artistic project, this may not be your best bet.
Our rating: ⭐️⭐️