Composer’s Toolkit: 3.3 Finance

Composer's Toolkit
Share this page

3.3 Finance

Back to the Composer’s Toolkit main page

Draw Up a Budget

Start drawing up the budget by listing all costs you established in the set-up. Use a spreadsheet and list costs in blocks (production costs like venue and tech hire, performer costs like concert fees and travel, marketing costs, etc.). Remember to include a management fee for yourself in the project’s budget. It’s important to check if costs are including or excluding VAT or you might end up with unexpected extra outgoings. For example, a printer might quote you £100 for the printing of your flyers but not mention that this figure is exclusive of VAT and send you a total bill for £120 (£100 + 20% VAT).

Once you’ve established costs, have a look at income. This might be a fee the venue is paying you or projected box office income. With any estimated income (e.g. from ticket sales) take a conservative approach, as it will be better to end up with more rather than less income than you budgeted for. Once you’ve listed your expenditure and compared it to your income you may end up with a shortfall, which means you will have to raise extra finance.

Finding Additional Funding

It takes tenacity, but raising additional funding for your project is achievable. You could spread your net a little wider and try raising funds from several sources rather than one, to minimise the risk of not getting anything. Use the internet as well as your network to find out about grant-giving trusts and foundations. Some foundations will only consider applications from organisations as opposed to individuals, but there are still plenty of opportunities out there. Once you have established that you are eligible to apply, make sure you understand what the funder is looking for and what kinds of projects they normally support.

Arts Council England provides project funding through their Grants for the Arts scheme. From 1 July 2013, you can apply for grants of up to £15,000 and will find out within 6 weeks if your application has been successful. Other sources you could consider are Sound and Music’s Composer Curator programme, Francis Chagrin Award, and the PRS for Music Foundation’s Funding for Individuals. If you are writing a new work for your event, you could also try the Britten-Pears Foundation’s New Music Commissions scheme. Some local authorities run grant programmes, but sometimes those are only open to local voluntary organisations. However, individuals can usually apply. Check DirectGov’s local authority grant finder for what is available in your area.

Individual giving and crowdfunding can also be very useful ways of raising money for your event. You can set up a fundraising page for your project on sites like CrowdfunderWe Did This or Kickstarter. You could also ask friends, family and colleagues to make a small donation towards your project in person. Many small donations will add up to a very useful larger sum. However, if you know wealthy individuals within an interest in the arts and your music in particular, it’s worth a try asking them to contribute a more substantial sum of money.

Corporate sponsorship is a possibility if your event has something to offer to a particular business. Some organisations are happy to be seen supporting the arts in general but are often after larger audiences so that the company’s branding or logo will be noticed by as many individuals as possible. If your event has a particular theme, you might be able to get some money from a company with an obvious link to your theme, but again, this works best if you are able to offer substantial audience numbers.

It is also possible to raise in-kind support which means that rather than offering cash, organisations or individuals will donate equipment, let you use their facilities (e.g. a rehearsal venue) or provide a service (e.g. marketing) for free. All of these have a financial value and show that others believe in your work. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate all in-kind contributions in your budget, especially when making an application to a funding body.

Previous:   After The Event

Next:  → Sources of Funding

Back to the Composer’s Toolkit main page

Share this page