Coming soon… How to write arts project budgets / plan or cost a project

Intro to Fundraising

Visual Arts Plymouth Coordinator Rachel Dobbs has created a series of videos that act as a Beginners Guide to Fundraising. If you are new to fundraising, we would recommend watching the videos in this playlist before you dive in to the resources below.


Funding – Applying for grants

When fundraising for projects and your practice in general, you need to think about this strategically and HAVE A PLAN. Badly considered applications are never worth it and will end up being a waste of your time and energy.

You’ll need to think about:

  • Partnership working – building a relationship with (and getting support from) other artists and organisations to help make your project a reality
  • Working out how your project helps to achieve other people’s goals as well as your own
  • Ad hoc applications are not well received by funding organisations – make sure you have put in the ground-work to agree wider support (and prove the need or demand) for your project before you make your application
  • Match funding – very few funders are willing to give you 100% of the project’s costs, so you will need to make sure you have identifies income from a range of sources to make your project happen.

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Arts Council England – Grant for the Arts

For many visual artists, Arts Council England is one of the most frequently used funding streams. If you are unfamiliar with the ACE GFTA scheme, here’s a useful overview from Plymouth Culture

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Applying to Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Programme: an unofficial guide

Producer, director and dramaturg Simon Day wrote an excellent guide for Theatre Bristol on writing funding applications. Although aimed at theatre makers, the advice included is very relevant for all involved in DIY artist-led activity.

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ACE Grants for the Arts – Application Cheatsheet

Plymouth-based artist & educator Rachel Dobbs prepared this “cheatsheet” for the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts programme. Since it was launched, it has been used by thousands of applicants around the country to demystify the process of application by making the questions for the Grant for The Arts funding scheme more clear.

ACE G4A application CHEATSHEET – Arts Council England Grants for the Arts

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Coming soon… Funding – Community Funds (& where do you find this info?)



Is your project suitable for Crowdfunding?  

Crowdfunding is a labour-intensive and time consuming activity, and isn’t suitable for every project. When crowdfunding works best it is a way to convert social capital (your ‘crowd’, people who are already engaged with what you do or through tapping in to existing communities of interest) into financial capital (ie cash!). Here’s a quick overview from Crowdfunder that might help clarify whether your project will be suitable:

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Crowdfund Plymouth

Plymouth City Council’s Crowdfund Plymouth scheme has been set up to support community groups, start-up businesses, charities and individuals across the city. They offer match-funding of up to 50% of your project’s target on “all or nothing” campaigns using To be eligible, projects must benefit people in Plymouth* and priority will be given to one or more of the following:

  • Project must be in an area of the city where development has taken place which has contributed to this fund.
  • Helps meet the demands that development places on the need for community services and facilities in the city.
  • Helps improve the local environment and public spaces.
  • Demonstrates added benefit for the city through for example, using local businesses or developing skills of local people.

*At least 75% of the people benefiting from your project should live in Plymouth.

Once an eligible project has raised 25% of their fundraising target from multiple pledges, Plymouth City Council may pledge to fund a further 50% of the target up to a maximum of £20,000. The money pledged will be released only if the full fundraising target has been reached.

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Plymouth & South West Crowdfunding Creators group

This is a supportive facebook group to help people create and run successful crowdfunding campaigns for projects in Plymouth and the South West, UK (using platforms like Kickstarter, Crowdfunder and IndieGoGo). It is a useful place for project creators to test ideas, share links & information, learn about the process of crowdfunding, ask for feedback, support each other and create a new network.

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MESH Crowd-FUN-ding Meetups

If you prefer to talk to other people face-to-face, go along to MESH’s regular crowdfunding meetups at THINQTANQ in Plymouth.

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How To… Crowdfunding Resources

You can read a collection of posts about crowdfunding from artist & educator Rachel Dobbs on her website

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Sponsorship, Individual Giving and Relationship Fundraising

Fundraising through appeals for private money (ie from individuals or companies) requires a different approach to applying for government or public grants. This is less about the strategic benefits of your project, and more about building personal relationships between you, your work and the (potential) giver. For this reason, you’ll need to pitch and describe your projects in a different way.

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Pateron is a type of ongoing crowdfunding for artists and many other types of creators – you might recognise it from your favourite YouTube channels, podcasts or other content producers you follow online. Pateron provides a web-based membership platform that allows creators to generate a (small) regular income through a subscription service – think of it like an easy way for supporters to set up a micro direct debit to you to encourage you to keep going.

Visual artists might use it to build and maintain relationships with subscribers, followers or “patrons” – as a kind of membership scheme for people who would like to support your work or projects. Here are some examples of the types of rewards visual artists might offer their patrons:

  • Release subscriber only content (via access to your patron-only feed)
  • Access to behind the scenes, tutorials or “how to” articles, pictures, videos or live streams
  • Offering one-to-one access for high tier supporters (via online video hangouts)
  • Offering patron-only discount on the sale of your work, or print on demand “merch”
  • Invites to exclusive experiences, performances, events, exhibition openings etc.
  • Name in credits / personalised commissions or messages

See full details on:

You could also use the platform to support on-going events – to keep events free / low-cost while covering expenses or basic costs. As an example, see how Plymouth Boardgame Meetup use Patreon.

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Fundraising Essentials for Individual Artists & Companies

Amanda Rigali (from Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy) prepared this presentation for VASW’s Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy event at Spike Island, Bristol. The presentation covers the basics of fundraising strategy, understanding how income from fundraising relates to tax, how to build relationships with individual donors and how to make a case for people to support you & your work.

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Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy – Resources & Research

The Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme is funded by Arts Council England, and aims to help to transform fundraising across the arts and cultural sector. Their mission is “to strengthen arts and cultural organisations’ resilience and sustainability by transforming their fundraising knowledge, skills and levels of success”. They are a useful source of information and research on fundraising and individual giving in the UK (much of it is aimed at organisations, but useful application for individuals too).

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