Arts pursue cash-crowd
A song for $50, a home-cooked meal for $250, a warm-fuzzy feeling for $5 - crowd-funding is the buzz-word in the arts community.
A handful of New Zealand-based websites are making it easy to donate to projects looking for funding, while getting personalised rewards in return.
Crowd-funding is big business in the United States, where the website kickstarter.com is expected to raise $180 million this year for arts projects - $8m more than government grants.
Film director Taika Waititi used the website to raise the money needed to release Boy in America.
Pledge Me, one of the first Kiwi platforms when it opened less than a year ago, allows people to donate as little as $5 to a project - money that's paid only if the full amount is raised. In return, those they are funding can offer any reward, from a thank-you on a CD cover to the title of executive producer.
The Arts Foundation will launch Boosted later this year, although to maintain the charitable status of donations, it will not offer rewards.
A 2008 Creative NZ survey showed 79 per cent of people thought the arts helped define us as New Zealanders, and Pledge Me co-creator Anna Guenther said creative projects attracted money because Kiwis felt connected.
About 30 per cent of successful projects on the site are music-based and 21 per cent are films.
In the first 12 months, more than $330,000 has been donated to about 70 projects - a documentary about curling leading the way with pledges topping $21,000.
Many using crowd-funding have been turned down by arts organisations, or do not want to apply for help as they need hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars.
Last year Creative NZ funded $35.7m of projects. Private giving and partnership programme manager Jean Goodband said crowd-funding was great for rising artists. “It's a niche for small projects and individual artists, and the areas that don't traditionally get private donations and sponsorship.”
Auckland dance producer Phil Evans said crowd-funding could help get bigger, international projects over the line. Working on choreographer Douglas Wright's Rapt, invited to the Lucent Danstheatre in the Netherlands next year, Evans said that while it received “generous support” from Creative NZ, crowd-funding was helping fill a $22,500 shortfall.
He hoped crowd-funding, which relies on social media to spread the message, would broaden New Zealand's philanthropic base. “It's a way of tapping into people who are perhaps not used to supporting the arts in this way. Philanthropy is alive and well, but it does seem to be the same people giving. We need a new generation of donors.”
Evans said donations had come from regular supporters as well as some local dancers.
Guenther said people tended to donate to whom they knew: “They are helping someone they know. Often they're part of the creator's crowd - family, friends, fans. They have the chance to interact more closely, to make things happen.”
- © Fairfax NZ News
How would you rate your mathematical skill?Related story: Kiwi maths performance concerns