ARTISTIC partnership was created to support actors of Intangible Cultural Heritage on many different levels, also by enabling them to understand how important private investors are for the cultural projects.
Crowdfunding is an innovative and alternative financial tool which allows financing projects that are not bankable in a traditional point of view. However, the role of crowdfunding to stimulate the implementation of cultural projects is still underappreciated or simply unknown by traditional intangible cultural heritage actors.
To present the positive impact of crowdfunding on different cultural initiatives dedicated to immaterial heritage, ARTISTIC planned a 2nd pilot action aimed at testing the matching of projects in the subject of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) with crowdfunding initiatives.
What we do?
The ARTISTIC team has chosen selected ICH initiatives with development potential from each of the 8 regions covered pre-selected them in the frame of local open calls, tested their attractiveness and suitability for crowdfunding campaigns, and analysed the usefulness of this financial tool for supporting these types of projects. In cooperation with local working groups, ICH desks and ARTISTIC partners supported cultural actors to prepare and launch crowdfunding campaigns for their projects and monitor its results.
What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a form of financing various types of projects by the community that is or will be organized around these initiatives. It involves financing the project through a large number of small, one-off payments made by people interested in the idea. Using this form of investment is possible thanks to a widespread access to the Internet, which allows originators to easily inform about the project and create a group of supporting people around it – so‑called community. Financing of ventures takes place in the form of collections through the Internet platforms created for this purpose, and less often through social networking sites or blogs.
Crowdfunding and culture?
Crowdfunding is a very interesting financing tool for cultural projects as it is based on a simple mechanism. It gives the opportunity to support both smaller and larger projects, including those related to unusual topics, and at the same time it involves minimal costs, related to, among others, placing and promoting the project on a crowdfunding platform.
Crowdfunding can also complement other financing sources and become an element of the financing mix, together with private investments, public funding and traditional bank loans, which can be a very good solution for ICH diversified projects which require individualized approach.
The point is to be aware of the main challenges of crowdfunding the ICH projects, which are*:
- Market diversity
In many European countries, donation and reward-based crowdfunding are legal, however, national regulations governing the use of this tool vary considerably from country to country. It requires the ICH originator to familiarize with the principles of crowdfunding in a given market.
- Platform diversity and geographical location
The number of crowdfunding platforms in Central Europe countries is still small compared to the whole Europe, where their number exceeds 500. Due to general market consolidation and the challenge of operations sustainability, smaller, national crowdfunding platforms have been or will be shut down in coming years, which is a significant problem for financing ICH projects, as not all of them have the potential to implement a crowdfunding campaign via an international platform (financial and language barrier).
- ICH diversity
Based on the results of the ARTISTIC project WP T1 activities, one can conclude that ICH projects are strongly diversified, which has the major impact on the use of crowdfunding to finance these initiatives. Taking this into account only some of the ICH projects will be suitable for crowdfunding and have a chance for a successful campaign.
- Project diversity
Another challenge is the nature of the individual ICH project. Some of them are small community projects looking for donations, others are large capital projects on a national or international scale. This defines the type and range of activities to be carried out to prepare and conduct a crowdfunding campaign.
- Target group diversity
One of the most important aspects for crowdfunding is the target group (community) willing to donate smaller amounts to projects they believe in, who want to invest their time to support the campaign. An originator has to be aware if their project community is big enough to support the campaign – this also influences the choice of the crowdfunding platform. If an ICH project has too small national target group, the funded goal might be difficult to reach. In such a situation, if the project idea is strong and the originator is engaged in the campaign preparation, it should be considered to choose an international platform in order to reach the target groups.
- Language diversity
Dealing with different languages is a challenge and on individual basis it has to be decided whether the project to be supported might benefit more from several smaller campaigns in different languages on various local national platforms or one international platform.
- Time and engagement
There is one more key challenge related to using crowdfunding by ICH actors. The originators of ICH projects should be aware of the importance of constant and full commitment at every stage of planning and implementing a crowdfunding campaign. To ensure the campaign's chances for success, the originators must devote themselves and their team's time to it, and from the beginning of this process they must realize that the campaign does not happen by itself, without their involvement the goal of the campaign will not be achieved. Although this is quite obvious, many originators lose their enthusiasm seeing how much time and work it costs to prepare a campaign, some of them withdraw at the stage of planning or skip during the campaign.
Support us too!
Check how interesting cultural ideas we have chosen and share with you and do not hesitate to support our crowdfunding campaigns in different Central Europe regions.
*‘Strategy handbook for the crowdfunding network’, elaborated in the frame of the ARTISTIC project by ISN – innovation service network GmbH, Austria, 2019.