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Written Statement - Alternative Sources of Funding - Crowdfunding, Philanthropy and Fundraising for Culture, Sport and Tourism

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism

Local authorities, partners and stakeholders in Wales are facing significant budgetary challenges in respect of services which they provide on a non-statutory basis such as sports, leisure, cultural and arts facilities.  Third sector organisations face the same challenges and it is therefore vital that we think more creatively and consider opening new or different revenue streams rather than relying entirely on public funding.  

Fundraising is therefore becoming increasingly important and our arts, sports, leisure and cultural organisations need to diversify their fundraising, not only to remain sustainable but to thrive.

Recently the Welsh Government, in partnership with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the Institute of Fundraising Cymru, delivered an Innovation in Funding event to highlight the potential of digital and other fund raising opportunities.  

I was very pleased to be at the event and to give my support.  

I am committed to working in partnership with the third sector, public services, trade unions and other partners in developing this agenda.

We live in a digital world where the use of the internet is on a massive scale and social media networks provide a very powerful source of communication.  We must look more closely at making the most of the opportunities this presents.  

There is a potential through crowdfunding and other digital fund raising methods to reach a much larger audience.  Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or service by raising money from a number of people, typically via the internet.  The fundraiser submits a pitch to a crowdfunding website, providing a summary of their cause or business, how much they want to raise and what they intend to achieve with the investment.

There is significant growth in the use of crowdfunding by the arts sector.  The Arts Council of Wales (ACW) is encouraging the use of crowdfunding as part of its general drive to encourage its clients to become less dependent on public funds.  

Ensemble Cymru raised money to record ‘Peter and Wolf’ with Rhys Ifans as narrator, and Venue Cymru raised funds for Conwy Arts Trust.  Crowdfunding was also used to support a number of Ffilm Cymru’s projects; ‘Richard III’ by Omidaze, and ‘Boombox Eryri’ by Migrations.  ACW has also invested in the National Funding scheme ‘DONATE’. This is a multi-platform donation technology, which enables ongoing fundraising for organisations - as opposed to specific case fundraising where the donation is returned if you fail to reach your target.  The system has also been adapted to function bilingually.  Organisations signed up to it include Welsh National Opera (WNO), Ffotogallery, Theatr Iolo and Theatr Genedlaethol.  Another exciting innovation is the ‘Tocyn’ scheme developed by Community Music Wales.  This allows people to donate their booking fee to crowdfunding campaigns.  

The National Museum Wales has had success in raising external funding to purchase artworks and historical artefacts vital to our understanding of history.  It has an excellent relationship with the Derek Williams Trust which has led to a number of significant artworks being donated or lent to the Museum.

The £25 million St Fagans redevelopment project is one of Wales’ most exciting museum cultural projects and will enable the site to play a major contribution to our tourism economy.  The target for fundraising is £2.75 million and to date, over £2.1 million has been raised through private fundraising, from a range of trusts, foundations and individuals

The National Library of Wales has successfully established a relationship with the Scottish Power Foundation since 2013, receiving support for a number of outreach projects with schoolchildren in Wales.  Additional funding from the Scottish Power Foundation is enabling the Library to expand its educational outreach programme in order to reach a larger number of participants, aiming to increase the impact of the Library’s activities throughout Wales, including support for the Dylan Thomas Centenary in 2014 and this year’s National Eisteddfod.  This partnership is also supporting the Fusion Programme, using culture to tackle poverty. I will be visiting the Torfaen Pioneer Area in November where a masterpiece from the Library’s art collection will be centre stage in encouraging children to participate in activities in the classroom.

The Llyn Archaeological Society successfully raised £625 from 23 donors to construct a support frame for a West African dugout canoe which was found in the Menai Straits in the 1950s, and cared for at the Llyn Maritime Museum.    

I am pleased that this project has been featured by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Catalyst Cymru as an excellent example of a new group taking advantage of digital crowdfunding technology to support small, one off projects.  

Llandudno Museum raised £3,030 from 38 backers over 42 days in order to create a new exhibition for display of the Neolithic skeleton (nicknamed ‘Blodwen’) whose return from Lancashire to Llandudno had previously been secured. The Llandudno Museum Trust, responsible for this small independent museum, sought to raise £3,000 through crowdfunding (as matchfunding for other funding applications) towards total exhibition costs of some £8,000.

Some of the publications funded by the Welsh Government, through the Welsh Books Council (WBC), are also partially supported by crowdfunding, which lessens the demand on the grants schemes and helps the public funding to go further. Recently for example, a title that had gone out of print by the publisher Honno’s Welsh Women’s Classics series was reprinted using 50% crowdfunding and 50% grant support. The WBC prioritises the ability to attract income from diverse sources as part of its core grant schemes. Crowdfunding has become one of the income streams that publishers aim to attract. For example, the digital magazine Wales Arts Review has a ‘friends’ scheme, which enables supporters of the magazine to donate money through its website.  Crowdfunding has also been used to finance elements of projects that are ineligible for funding via the WBC, for example to fund research trips that eventually result in a publication for which the production costs are funded by the WBC.

It is clear that the need for philanthropy and a culture of giving in our society has never been more important than it is now.  We find ourselves in challenging financial circumstances and all who can, should be encouraged to help.

Successful crowd funders say that you need to also run a traditional campaign of fund raising alongside the crowdfunding, have a strong media package and provide your donors with regular news feeds and video/images of how the project is progressing.  It is also vital to firstly grow a relationship with your pool of donors so that they understand what you are trying to achieve and are therefore more likely to support the campaign.