Artspire: Making Crowdfunding Campaigns Tax Deductible, Eligible For Grants

ArtspireArtspire is a newly launched crowdfunding platform that takes a  different slant than sites like Kickstarter. A project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), this a web-based extension of NYFA's fiscal sponsorship program offers fundraising support as well as the ability to accept tax deductible contributions and grants usually restricted to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. It's a useful development for a well-established service that should be considered by musicians with an interest in developing donors and seeking grants.

Though Artspire has only recently gone public, it is already populated by projects supported by NYFA. The artists and projects accepted for fiscal sponsorship do tend towards fine arts rather than pop culture but when I spoke with NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce about Artspire and "The Profitable Artist", he clarified that any artist whose work involved reaching an audience was eligible for participation.

There are a number of application guidelines that a musician considering their first crowdfunding project might find daunting. In particular, a project must have a minimum budget of $15,000 and a complete project description and budget must be included in one's application.

However, as Royce pointed out, such requirements help artists think about their expenses for every stage of the project in a thorough manner, rather than playing it by ear and discovering new costs at later stages. In addition, they want to work only with artists who are well enough organized to think through every detail. Given the cost of producing, marketing and distributing such end products as a high quality CD or DVD, a minimum budget of $15k is certainly not an excessive amount to consider.

Beyond what one can see on the site, the backend is a self-service platform that offers such features as project management, 24/7 banking, bookkeeping and tax services. Clearly Artspire goes beyond taking donations and cutting checks to offer a more complete package to artists.

In addition to the application guidelines, interested artists should take a close look at the Artists FAQ for such issues as fees and deadlines for application. Keep in mind that participation is also open to Emerging Organizations and, given that Artspire offers free guidance and support, it would be an excellent vehicle for launching, for example, a community-based music program.

To some degree, Artspire solves the problem of projects like Patronopolis, that have previously turned to such organizations as Fractured Atlas for fiscal sponsorship and IndieGoGo for crowdfunding. For well-organized musicians who feel that fiscal sponsorship is a benefit worth pursuing, then Artspire is definitely worth considering.

Related Hypebot Coverage: The Profitable Artist: A Handbook For Turning Your Art Into A Career

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. I am sponsored by Artspire.
    You don’t need to have $15,000. You need to have a plan that requires it and a plan to come up with it that utilizes various plausible funding opportunities. Can you honestly say you can’t figure out how to spend $15,000 on a project and come up with a professional budget for it? It does need to be slightly more respectable and thought out than, “I want to be famous!”. This can be more thought than many DIY artists have given their activities, sure. This isn’t for them. They have resigned themselves to a life of beer stained carpets and shady club owners. Creating a budget and thinking through all the stages of a project is something that is necessary for any professional in any field.

  2. Congratulations to NYFA on launching Artspire!
    One point of clarification: you mention Fractured Atlas and IndieGoGo, but there’s no mention of the option to integrate the two, which has existed for nearly a year. Fractured Atlas sponsees can create IndieGoGo campaigns to raise tax-deductible contributions for their sponsored projects. In the first year, our artists raised over $1M on IndieGoGo campaigns! Best of all, Fractured Atlas covers the IndieGoGo fee, so there’s no additional cost to participate.

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