A DCMS-backed funding programme is set to extend the value of match funding offered to arts organisations raising funds through crowdfunding.

The Opera Story is one of 14 projects that have successfully accessed match funding so far

The Opera Story: Snow © Nick Rutter

A pilot programme testing the impact of matched crowdfunding is doubling the amount of funding that successful projects can receive.

The scheme, run by Nesta, aims to find out whether linking grant funding to financial contributions from the public can stimulate new projects in the arts and heritage sectors. Until now it has enabled applicants to apply for a match of 25% of funding for projects seeking between £4k and £40k.

14 arts projects have raised a total of nearly £100k so far, with a match funding contribution from Arts Council England (ACE) of £22,000. These have included a new production by immersive company The Opera Story, a musical about Fidel Castro and the Focus Africa Music Festival 2017.

Aiming to stimulate new projects, Nesta has now raised the value of match funding through the scheme to 50%, in order to “further incentivise a larger number of organisations, groups and individuals to come forward with their ideas”. A spokesperson told AP: “In spite of a number of successfully funded projects with the 25% match we want to test the effect on volume and type of projects with a larger match.”

Government backed

The matched crowdfunding programme was first announced in the DCMS’s Culture White Paper and has now been running for five months. Organisations become eligible for match funding when they have managed to raise at least 25% of their target from the public.

Thus far, all of those that were approved for a match by ACE went on to hit their total funding target, though some that were given provisional approval failed to meet the minimum target and no funding was granted. 

Applicants for the new phase of the scheme are being encouraged to come forward as soon as their project is ready to crowdfund. The application deadline is 30 June.

Liz Hill