Crowdfunding platform for creative ideas goes live

25 Mar 2011

A crowdfunding platform dedicated to raising funds from the general public to support creative ideas from fashion to film and TV has gone live.

Led by Business to Arts, Fund it aims to allow people to share their ideas for creative projects with their online and offline communities, offering unique rewards for different sums pledged.

Fund it has been developed with the support of a technology grant from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and private foundation investment.

Projects, which can come from any art form or any creative process, including art, architecture, craft, design, events, festivals, fashion, film, TV, food, games, media, literature, publishing, music, performance, theatre, opera, dance, science or technology, will be available to view online.

The project creators will promote their ideas to the public, initially through their own contacts and social networks, with a view to reaching their financial goals within a time period of their choosing – typically between four and eight weeks.

The Fund it project is designed to support greater individual giving to the arts, culture and creative industries and sectors in Ireland.

The rise of crowdfunding

Speaking with recently, Business to Arts CEO Stuart McLaughlin explained the concept could be employed by musicians working on a new concept album, programmers leading a new software start-up or filmmakers trying to get funding behind a feature film.

“We’ve courted some specific projects, but since we started communicating via Facebook and Twitter we have been approached by a lot of creatives at different stages.”

Crowdfunding is a concept that is rocketing in the US. People with an innovative or creative idea pitch it to the public and receive donations and investments from those who want to buy into their idea. An example of the trend is Kickstarter, where project owners choose a deadline and target a minimum amount of funds to raise. If the minimum target isn’t reached by the deadline, no funds are collected.

Everything from indie films, documentaries and food projects have been funded this way. Examples of this include Diaspora, a social networking rival to Facebook that raised $200,000 through public support; the Glif iPhone 4 tripod that raised $137,400; and the movie Blue Like Jazz, which raised $345,992.

The crowdfunding platform has been set up as an island-of-Ireland initiative, accepting projects with a euro or GBP target. However, funders of projects can be from anywhere in the world.

Project creators who have a ‘do-it-themselves’ attitude to fundraising, can submit a project online.

As well as clearly outlining their financial target, they will develop innovative, fun and tempting rewards for their funders. If the project meets Fund it’s guidelines, it will be uploaded on to the website for a defined period, during which the creators will promote the project to their network of supporters who can help them fund it. 

Fund it is based on an all-or-nothing approach. When the deadline for a project is reached, if the target is not met, funders’ pledges are cancelled and the project does not get funding. If the target is reached or exceeded by the deadline, all pledges are processed, and income raised is credited to the project creator, less a small commission.

The Fund it project will be operated by Business to Arts, a not-for-profit organisation working to support sustainability in the cultural sector through research, innovation and partnership.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years