Australian arts jobs, news, industry commentary, career advice, reviews & data

What's On

Creativity is the new currency

Paul Kooperman

Want to find sponsors for your creative project? Why not offer them a fiction not a figure.
Creativity is the new currency

Image via

In the arts, a lot of money can be spent on finding money. People are employed to write grant applications, find sponsors, donors, investors and patrons. Money is poured into fundraising events and corporate partnership departments, and administrative time can be drained by servicing sponsorship programs, donors and patrons.

Ultimately, it is hoped such investments are returned, but it’s not always the case. On occasion, the resources, staff and time spent trying to find money means a deficit for an organisation.

Despite a long tradition of relying on philanthropic support and government grants for survival, a new currency has emerged in the arts sector: creativity.

Now more than ever, people don’t want to simply be voyeurs or passive witnesses to creativity: they yearn to be creative too, to join in and share the experience. Being creative is therapeutic, fun, exciting, inspiring and even life changing.

Companies are recognising that creativity is worth paying for and investing in, and who better to use it as currency than creative people, artists, arts practitioners and organisations.

If your project is needing to raise funds, you can certainly meet potential donors or set up a donor program and ask. “Please support my cause or festival or organisation or event or exhibition”. Alternatively, you can engage a customer, client, investor or patron creatively.

Start by considering your pitch: What is interesting, exciting, innovative or different about your idea, design, project or event? How can the consumer or sponsor get directly involved with your idea creatively?

Engage a prospective sponsor or client with a creative concept or innovative idea – something they haven’t seen before, something which will excite their imagination and inspire them to get involved and participate.

Here, it is important to make the potential profits the by-product, not the focus of the creative collaboration itself. There is little that is more enticing to a potential donor, investor, member or customer than allowing space for them to provide creative input or the chance to create something in partnership with you.

Hey Telstra! What about helping us to develop a festival which engages large numbers of people on the phone or using your broadband network?

Hey Coles, what about helping us deliver pot luck dinners for migrants, refugees and the homeless?

Hey Visy, can you imagine kids designing and drawing street art on waste disposal bins around the State?

The creative ideas are endless. Let’s listen to the needs of organisations, donors and potential collaborators and help them achieve their creative ambitions. Let’s use the language and the currency of creativity to build partnerships. Let’s treat revenue as one of the positive outcomes for both parties, rather than the sole purpose of the exchange and conversation.

About the author

Paul is the Director of the Australian Poetry Centre now located as part of the Wheeler Centre.