Extra funding for arts and heritage

Bringing great ideas to life through Crowdfunder

Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

They are dedicated to supporting ideas that can help improve all our lives, with activities ranging from early stage investment to in-depth research and practical programmes. 

Extra funding for arts and heritage ideas

Nesta has begun to explore what this new form of finance means for the people and organisations they are supporting and how they can work with the Crowd on identifying and funding  projects.

However, the extra funding to date has not had a dedicated focus on arts or heritage projects. 

There has been little research done on the real impact of the extra funding available through crowdfunding, such as whether or not it has the opportunity to generate more funding for the arts and heritage sector or increase awareness and public participation in supporting and initiating projects. 

Nesta have launched this extra funding initiative aimed squarely at the arts and heritage ideas on Crowdfunder.

It will provide two pots of £125,000 to arts and heritage projects that have received backing from the Crowd. 

How it works

There are two pots of £125,000.  These are outlined as follows:

Crowdfund the arts

This fund will provide £125,000 to match crowdfunding campaigns by individual artists and organisations based in England that are both eligible for the fund and meet a set of guidelines for what is within scope - set by Arts Council England. 

See criteria and apply

Crowdfund for heritage

This fund will provide £125,000 to match crowdfunding campaigns by heritage organisations across the UK that are both eligible and are approved by HLF’s regional teams.

See criteria and apply

The types of extra funding

Nesta are now keen to put some data behind  and test which models are best suited to fund arts and heritage projects, and will be testing two ways of distributing the extra funding. 

These are:

  • A ‘top-up model’ where 25% of extra funding is released once a project has managed to achieve 75% of its funding target.
  • A ‘bridge model’ when projects raise up to 25% from the Crowd and then ‘bridge’ funding is released which brings them to 50%. The funding is then conditional on the project going on to reach the final 50%.

Why are Nesta doing this?

The recent surge in the number of extra funding programmes, both in Britain and worldwide, have seen grant-makers and institutions engage in a number of different ways to work alongside the Crowd to raise funds to make ideas happen.

However, there is little systematic evidence of ‘what works’ in this space - beyond information and research performed by the crowdfunding platforms themselves. 

Through these campaigns Nesta hope to:

Impact in communities

Help the crowd to fund a range of impactful and high-quality projects within the arts and heritage sectors - and evaluate these projects in comparison to conventional grant funding streams (such as HLF’s ‘Sharing Heritage’ und and ACE’s Grants for the Arts fund).

Make money go further

Examine whether extra funding can help stretch public funding to create a larger economic impact. Through the involvement of large national funders in the arts and heritage space can they encourage a similar dynamic?

Open up new opportunities

Beyond finance, what are the impacts (both positive and negative) of taking part in crowdfunding campaigns - does it open access to networks, skills and volunteer work from the Crowd itself? 

Distribute extra funding

What are the effects of the different extra funding mechanisms (in this instance, 'bridge' and 'top-up' funding) and what happens to projects that are not approved for extra funding through the ?

Alongside this, these campaigns will also look to develop process-based evidence and insight for funders on the most effective ways to partner with crowdfunding platforms, so that as more evidence emerges on their impact there is potential to upscale activity in this area.