It may not be the end of the tax year quite yet but many freelances have just submitted their tax returns for HMRC to calculate tax owed before the 31 October cut off date. With this in mind, FEU Training will be rolling out two, one-day workshops Money Matters in Manchester on 17 November and on 1 December in London. This month's Hot Topic is finance. Yes, money, money, money. We all need to make it, save it and get it to work for us. After all, if we don't who will?
Following on from last month's Social Media October, we thought it would be helpful to point all you creatives to the growing number of people using crowdfunding platforms to finance creative projects. Whether you want to put on a play, make a film, record an album or exhibit some work, there are now some UK-based platforms. I recently wrote a feature about this from which I have taken a few snippets.
“We really accept all kinds of creative projects and try to be as inclusive as possible” says Sponsume founder Gregory Vincent. “That’s kind of the idea of crowdfunding; helping to support projects that are slightly out of the mainstream opinion find a niche that may be able to support them. It’s very important to the arts.” Projects are “lightly vetted” once they have been submitted to make sure they are “sound” while ”the real vetting is done by the public, which I’ve found to be very efficient”, says Vincent.
The first crowdfunding platforms were established a couple of years ago in the US with sites such as Kickstarter and Indigogo. In the last six months, a number of crowdfunding platforms with a creative and arts focus have sprung up in the UK and Europe including Sponsume, which was one of the first websites to go online in the UK last August, wefund and wedidthis. While Sponsume caters for creative and entrepreneurial projects, wefund considers all creative projects and wedidthis, which launched early this year, focuses solely on the arts.
So how does it work?
Crowdfunding allows people to raise cash for a project, creative or otherwise, using an online fundraising platform, not dissimilar from ones used for raising sponsorship. Essentially, the concept is fairly simple and most of the crowdfunding platforms work in the same way. Crowdfunding allows people to raise cash for a project, creative or otherwise, using an online fundraising platform. A project is created, a funding target is set and a campaign length is established. Then it’s about marketing and promoting the project to reach the funding goal. Rather than asking for large amounts of money from a small number of people, smaller sums are collected from a larger pool of people. A project is created, a funding target is set and a campaign length is established. Then it’s about actively marketing and promoting the project to reach the funding goal.
However, crowdfunding also encourages people to back projects by offering rewards and vouchers, incentives and perks. These incentives are offered by the creator on a sliding scale depending on the amount pledged and can be anything from a thank you on a website or an invitation to a private view, to a signed limited edition print. Sponsume, which was one of the first websites to go online in the UK last August caters for creative and entrepreneurial projects, wefund considers all creative projects and wedidthis, which launched early this year, focuses solely on the arts.
Time and Money
With crowdfunding there is a notable correlation between the size of the project leader’s online social network and the amount of money raised - the bigger the network, the greater the chance of reaching the target. When it comes to the optimal time span for a campaign, most sites recommend a 90-day limit to keep the campaign active, though this does depend on the type of project. The differences in the crowdfunding sites currently springing up arise primarily in terms of the territories in which the platforms operate, the kinds of projects and niches that are targeted, payment services used, percentage fees levied on transactions and policies on reaching funding goals.
For more on crowdfunding visit Sponsume's website article on the Seven Deadly Sins of Crowdfunding. While for an example of a project aimed at producing independent, documentary journalism through having donors, visit the Sochi Project set up by photographer Rob Hornstra and writer/filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen.