In classical music, small- and medium-sized independent projects are playing an increasingly significant role. The aftermath of the pandemic has also led to a growing demand for smaller, more intimate concerts, as well as more experimental, energetic, and open projects. Today, young musicians no longer have to wait for an institution to buy into their idea; instead, they can immediately start the implementation. However, to turn the dream idea into reality, financial resources are also necessary. In this article, we will examine the essential elements of fundraising.

Eszter Bodnár

1. Idea

Everyone’s own idea is the dearest and most magnificent. But for fundraising, it is also necessary for others to understand what your project is about, why it is essential, and who it is for. Ask yourself the question: why does the world need this particular concert, CD, musical composition, or music industry innovation? In this phase, having a narrative and expressing your motivations and the uniqueness of the project interestingly and understandably using storytelling techniques can be very helpful.

2. Team

The feasibility of the project largely depends on the participants. Consider carefully who you want to collaborate with on the project. For composing an opera, who will be your co-creators? Can you develop a shared concept? When organizing a concert series, who will perform, what venues do you want to collaborate with, where do your ideas meet? Who can assist with management, production work, and communication? What experiences and skills does each cooperating partner bring to the project? It is easier to find supporters if it is evident that the project will indeed be achievable, and the necessary frameworks are in place.

3. Information

Once clear goals are established, you need to identify potential funding sources. Could a grant from a governmental institution or non-governmental organization be the solution? Ideally, the project should be internationally appealing, allowing access to international funding sources. What are the deadlines and administrative requirements of the grants? What does the supporter expect, and what values do they prioritize in their sponsorship? What types of projects do they regularly support? If you consider sponsorship or patronage, who could be potential sponsors? If your audience is already established, crowdfunding or fundraising might suit your project. Thorough research is required for every detail.

4. Work

Once all the information is available, work can begin. Whichever form of financing you choose, it is essential that you have four things at your disposal. The first is a detailed description of the project, including it in a narrative. The second is the detailed planning of the project: who, when, where, what will be done. The third is the preparation of the budget, since based on this you can know how much income you will need to cover the expenses of the project. Finally, it is important to have a marketing and communication plan to see who you want to reach with the project and with what messages. During this job, you have to be both creative and attentive to details.

5. Time

Of course, all this takes time. Start planning, searching, and creating resources in time. Think long-term, in smaller steps. It is never enough to start writing on the day of an application deadline, and it is also unlucky to ask for donations from a supporter or your audience for your future goals in a panic.

+1 Resilience

It is important to be proactive and positive about the issue of finding sources. You will experience many rejections and unsuccessful applications before you find the organization or community that sees fantasy in your project. Trust your dream, but be ready to look critically at your vision. Evaluate every “no”, and learn from it. The most important thing is not to stop. Sooner or later, every outstanding idea will find its place, but only if you are persistent enough.