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Matched crowdfunding for arts and heritage: Second phase of the pilot

We are moving in to the second phase of our matched crowdfunding pilot for arts and heritage projects. Successful projects can now receive a 50 per cent match from Heritage Lottery Fund or Arts Council England for their crowdfunded project. Set up your crowdfunding campaign and apply for matchfunding for arts projects here and for heritage projects here. Below we explain the phase two changes to the pilot in more detail. 

For the past five months Nesta has been running a pilot programme to see if matched crowdfunding - that is funding bodies combining grant funding with multiple financial contributions from the crowd - can stimulate exciting and dynamic new projects in the arts and heritage sectors. In partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund, we’ve launched two campaigns on Crowdfunder to test the process.

The two match funds (one for arts projects and one for heritage) offered a match of 25 per cent of a project total for projects of between £4,000 and £40,000 in size. Through this, we’ve seen successful projects ranging from a new production by a new and exciting immersive company The Opera Story, to a musical about Fidel Castro and the restoration of the historic RRS Discovery in Dundee.

One year on from the publication of the DCMS’s Culture White Paper, which announced the inception of the pilot programme, we now want to further incentivise a larger number of organisations, groups and individuals to come forward with their ideas to crowdfund art and heritage projects.

Changes to the funding available

In the second phase of the programme we will be testing a larger funding contribution from both ACE and HLF for projects, to examine what impact this has on the demand for programmes and their ability to raise funds from the crowd. The two key changes are:

  • The match funding available is now 50 per cent of the campaign total for applicants to the fund on projects aiming to raise between £4,000 and £40,000. Therefore, between £2,000 and £20,000 is available per project, depending on their crowdfunding target.
  • Funding is available on condition that projects hit their originally stated target. The funding is now available to all donations and rewards based projects that meet the basic eligibility requirements on Crowdfunder.

For the full set of criteria and details of how to apply, head to each of the funding campaign pages on Crowdfunder’s website:

Application deadline for funding

The second phase of the pilot has an application deadline on Crowdfunder of 30 June 2017 for both the arts and heritage funding campaigns. However, if the remaining funding within the pilot is all allocated before this date then the fund will close sooner. We therefore encourage applicants to come forward as soon as their project is ready to crowdfund.

Support webinars

Alongside the change in funding available to projects, Crowdfunder also supplies support and coaching to projects coming through the fund. It is running a series of eight support webinars (four for each of the arts and heritage campaigns) between March and May 2017.

All of the webinars will be available to watch after they have been filmed, so you can return to them as you develop project ideas.

Case studies of funded projects

We have written up a range of case studies from projects that have come through the fund so far. These showcase the variety and scale of what has been funded so far, from opera to dance education, through to individual musicians and museum collections. We’ll be adding to this list of projects over the coming weeks.


Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Director of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Peter leads work that explores how combining human and machine intelligence can develop innovative solutions to social challenges.

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Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell

Programme Manager, Digital Arts & Media

Sam Mitchell was a Programme Manager in the Digital Arts & Media team at Nesta

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