One of the biggest barriers to disabled artists progressing is securing project funding to enable them to create work. At Dao we frequently get requests from artists who want to know how to find funding, or to support their crowdfunding campaigns. Our current Catalyst project with Salisbury Arts Centre, The Point Eastleigh and Stopgap Dance Company created a great opportunity for us to experiment with supporting an individual artist’s crowdfunding campaign to reach our collective network and help him achieve his aims.
Our chosen guineapig is performance poet Rowan James, a punk and hip-hop inspired artist with a specific learning disability and speech impediment, debuting his show ‘Easy For You To Say’ at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, for whom we are managing a campaign to raise £1,500 towards the show’s production budget.
Our main aims with this experiment (aside from securing fat pots of cash for Rowan) are:
- To see if consortium promotion of a personal project can be effective without adding large amounts of work and communication to each organisation’s schedule
- To achieve maximum efficiency in a shared project; as a small organisation with many project partners Dao needs to be able to run everything we do in a streamlined fashion and design lively, low-commitment marketing strategies
- To use the campaign equally as a marketing exercise for the show as well as a fundraising one
- To share our learning as it happens through extra content that also promotes the campaign
Alice has taken the lead on organising the campaign as she has previously run successful crowdfunding campaigns, working closely with Rowan’s team to ensure the campaign supports rather than hinders the production process in the limited time they have. Alongside amassing lists of existing supporters and fans we have sought out new outlets for coverage, including publishing interviews and interest pieces related to the project on Dao.
We want to offer people something whilst we are asking them to donate; our main readership are artists so we have prepared a guide to DIY Crowdfunding tips and have scheduled each of the Catalyst partners to take turns in promoting the project within their existing social media and newsletter schedules. We have discussed the option of Dao providing a more regular crowdfund support service down the line if it is feasible, so this is a great chance to test out our skills and capacity to deliver this kind of focussed marketing support.
The campaign has been live for just over a week and we are over a third funded already! We’ll report our learning back at the end of the campaign but sharing the load so far seems to be having a great effect on interest and support. Wish us luck, get your Fringe tickets to see Rowan’s show and do consider donating to the future of performance poetry in the UK.