While JBC won’t be kickin’ it at SXSW this year (I know, we’re sad too), we were lucky enough to attend a workshop last night at Spacetaker’s Artist Resource Center featuring representatives from two cutting-edge organizations leading the way in fundraising assistance for artists and small businesses alike – IndieGoGo and Fractured Atlas – before they made their way to present and party in Austin the next few days.
Needless to say, we were thoroughly impressed by what they have to offer.
A little background on these two organizations… Based in New York but with a national reach, Fractured Atlas is a non-profit organization designed to help artists and arts organization function more effectively as businesses by providing them access to funding, healthcare, and education. In addition it allows them the opportunity to raise tax-deductible funds for projects and giving them the guidance to do so effectively. IndiGoGo, based in San Francisco, provides the actual tools and infrastructure (landing page, social media integration, etc) to actually raise the money and get your name out in the public.
Through a partnership, the two entities have come together to bring the best of both worlds right to the fingertips of the arts community, allowing for a turn-key operation when it comes to designing a campaign, spreading the word, securing donor dollars, and eventually using them for a project.
“But I’m not a non-profit organization. How can I be raising tax-deductible funds?” you may be asking. Well, it’s due to the act of fiscal sponsorship. Tax laws allow for certain non-profit organizations to share their 501(c)(3) status and provide assistance, on a project basis, to groups engaged in activities related to the organization’s mission. With that said, a campaign through which you are raising tax-deductible funds is 9 times out of 10 more appealing to a donor than simply asking for money without giving that credit. This is one of Fractured Atlas’ most important contributions to the partnership. In order to retain their status as a non-profit, Fractured Atlas takes in all the monies donated, sends the tax-deductible letters to the donors, and then releases the funds to the organization as needed (artist fees, supplies, rental space, etc.) This allows for less hassle on your part, and keeps things organized come tax season. And as we mentioned before, their services are open to only artist groups and arts organizations.
“But I’m unclear HOW I will be able to spread the word about my campaign – I feel like I’ve used up all my ideas” you may also be asking. Fortunately, IndieGoGo exists to help you through that confusion. IndieGoGo has helped over 15,000 campaigns raise millions of dollars – they know what they’re doing. Here’s a buzzword for you – “crowdfunding.” Crowdfunding is nothing new, it’s essentially getting people within your networks (friends, family, colleagues, fans) to donate small amounts of money to reach a specific goal. You see this often with AIDS walks, Little League teams, raffle ticket sales, etc. But standing on a street corner and handing out flyers, or mailing thousands of letters to everyone you know isn’t the most effective solution anymore. IndieGoGo’s integrated platform allows for the user to set goals, get ideas on how to best create the campaign, and spread the word via social media, email, events, etc. Their business model allows for a broader selection of beneficiaries besides just artists or arts organization, and includes small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the like.
“This can’t be all it seems to be – where’s the kicker? How much does this cost me?” Well, here’s the great part. Separately you would be paying 6% of your donated income to Fractured Atlas, and 4% (9% if you don’t reach your goal) of it to IndieGoGo, plus an additional 3% for third party processing fees (PayPal, generally). This new partnership however, only takes a flat 6% fee, with no restrictions or third party fees. The partnership is, however, limited to artist groups and arts organizations – due to the aforementioned tax status requirements. However, you can certainly still work with one group separately from the other.
We really found this to be an important addition to the arts community – fostering growth and spreading the word for individuals and groups who haven’t until now had an easy way to be recognized. We’re excited about it, and are looking forward to seeing some of our own local arts groups use this service and really benefit from it.