South African Crowdfunding Site Supports Creativity

South African Crowdfunding Site Supports Creativity

As arts organizations worldwide struggle to make ends meet, a South African company is helping local arts and other creative projects get the funding they need.

The 4-month-old crowdfunding website, Thundafund, has so far enabled 80 percent of its enterprises seeking funds to raise the capital they needed.

Cape Consort, a music ensemble based in Cape Town, needed funds to put on a series of concerts. According to a BBC report, the group turned to Thundafund to raise money.

The result: an impressive $1,500 raised, 60 percent of it in just six days. Its most recent concert was on Sunday.

Thundafund works on much the same premise as U.S.-based sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe. Individuals, businesses and groups post information about their projects or needs, and individual investors can contribute small amounts which, added together, fund the project. No one has invested huge amounts of money, and everyone who donates feels a part of the project, BBC reports.

“I think the funding is one thing but people need the supporting environment to help them realize their idea and to make it successful, and that’s what we bring together,” said Thundafund founder Patrick Schofield on BBC.

Like some other crowdfunding sites, Thundafund is particular about the projects it approves. All projects must be either creative endeavors or innovative, entrepreneurial ideas.

In return for donations, people trying to raise funds offer rewards for different levels of donations. Cape Consort listed benefactors’ names on its website if they donated $5. For $2,000, donors received four concert tickets, a private performance, signed programs and more.

“It’s simplistic to assume that the private sector and the government can do all the funding of the arts as we move forward into the future,” said Michelle Constant in the BBC report. Constant is CEO of Business and Arts South Africa, an organization that builds partnerships between business and the arts.

Crowdfunding “allows us to make the world as we would like it,” Schofield said. “If people want to see something happen, they fund it. If not, they don’t fund it.” So together, he said, the audience can dictate what they want to see in the arts.