Why we turned to crowdfunding

Dear Cultural Crusaders,

I am writing to you publicly because as you are probably aware, State of the Arts Media is crowdfunding. I know there is an aversion to crowdfunding in the arts, which is why I want to share with you why we decided to turn to peer-funding:

State of the Arts Media Crowdfunding

  • Art is business and we need to be sustainable. I have spent the last 18 months exploring social enterprises. A part of this has been considering that if art is business, why do we structure ourselves like charities? Why are  creative enterprises down trodden as if they have “sold out” for being commercially viable? State of the Arts Media is a social enterprise, meaning we believe in generating profit for a purpose. We don’t operate to profit shareholders, we operate to generate social and community impact. But that impact doesn’t happen without a sustainable business model. Crowdfunding is an important part of that model to demonstrate that there is community uptake and support for our work.
  • To demonstrate that our community supports us enough to help us reach a financial goal. The majority of our content isn’t behind a paywall. In fact, at the moment, we don’t even have a paywall. This is because we believe in making sure our content is accessible for all audiences. For those who have regularly appreciated our contributor’s perspectives, this is a great opportunity to help produce a commissioned series of articles. But why do we need crowdfunding to do it you ask? Read on –

  • There is a gap in funding for innovative ideas. Innovation naturally means there is risk involved. In Australia 70% of social enterprises are founded by women. Yet we only receive 2% of venture capital globally. Grants are highly competitive and 9 times out of 10, some of the best ideas don’t get funded because there simply is not enough money. In addition to this, public funds are inherently risk adverse and slow. Anything that involves innovation in uncharted territory is unlikely to get up. As a social enterprise, we have structured our company so that we can never be dependent on government grants. This means that we put more effort into commercial and private opportunities so that are not vulnerable to shifts in public policy.
  • Peers share the risk. To date, we have been self-funding State of the Arts Media with subsidiary jobs. It has been a rewarding experience with lots of wobbles, wins and learning. In order to commission a body of content, we would like our peers to share the risk – in a very small way. By sharing the risk, our network of over 800 people can each chip in a little bit and share the success. Think about it as shouting us a cup of coffee or taking us to dinner, but instead it’s money towards building a living archive that we all deeply believe is crucial! We raised $1300 from a live pitch event. The audience’s generosity helped to seed fund our campaign and now we are relying on our peers to get the rest of the way.
  • Most importantly, we turned to crowdfunding because we know you believe in this as much as we do.  We want to bring you alongside us on the journey as we build this archive of powerful stories and innovative ideas from across NSW. Together, we are nurturing the next generation of Australian storytellers and guiding future generations understanding of our values. As recent as this week, mainstream media oversimplified the complexity of identity residing in Western Sydney. This uninformed, irresponsible journalism has gone on for generations and it is time it stopped. You can read more about our campaign rewards here.

If you have enjoyed our content and would like to see more of it, please follow this link. If you are in a position to give financial support, I’d be very grateful for your generosity. I appreciate that not everyone is though and that is ok. Your support by way of sharing our campaign to your networks will be a huge help to raise awareness for the important stories we are sharing.

You can view our crowdfunding page here.