Lincoln Inspired festival sets example on successful crowdfunding

Lincoln Inspired’s dreams of providing an exciting and accessible platform for the arts across the county are growing bigger every day.

The festival enjoyed a fantastic debut earlier this year, engaging diverse audiences in a wide variety of workshops, performances and school projects, from creative writing and theatre, to music and craft, and is now busy planning for the second edition in May 2014.

So how do you fund a project of this scale?

With cuts in every sector, arts facilitators across the board are throwing on their thinking caps and getting creative with their funding strategies, and Lincoln Inspired is no exception. It’s a unique and sustainable project that welcomes the support of the community it serves.

Since its inception in 2012, the festival has always tried to raise its own funds rather than rely on the more usual arts route of applying for grants.

Developing a fundraising strategy that works to ensure the long-term future of the festival has always been at the heart of what the steering group is trying to do.

Pledge days, donations and commercial sponsorship combined with community-based events including pub quizzes, raffles and tombolas have strengthened the collaborative nature of the festival, which aims to grow alongside its followers.

November has been designated as fundraising month and the work is taking many forms this year. As usual, there have been generous contributions from local people and businesses and there are donation jars in venues across the city.

Lincoln Inspired also celebrated its first official anniversary — and kicked off the fundraising month — at the Big Birthday Bash on November 1, with a fantastic acoustic set from music patron Elliott Morris, who performed alongside exciting folk duo David Gibb and Elly Lucas.

Lincoln Inspired has certainly been helped to grow and succeed by the people of Lincoln, and the online community in particular has been integral to the campaign’s success.

A strong social media following has generated continuous publicity and sites such as Ploink, the online piggy bank, are a fantastic, fuss-free place for people to donate a few pennies.

Crowdfunder has also been a brilliant resource for Lincoln Inspired, as it allows communities to connect with projects by pledging various amounts to the cause, and receiving rewards in exchange.

The Lincoln Inspired Crowdfunder campaign has now reached the half-way point and there are just 14 days left to hit the £1,000 goal.

Lincoln Inspired has been organised by festival director, Sara Bullimore, a Lincoln-based arts consultant, and a team of dedicated volunteers, who have worked their socks off to deliver an innovative arts festival the people of the city can connect with.

Above all, its aim is to inspire. Young, old, returners and new friends engaging with the arts for the first time are all welcome. There’s something for everyone, even if they don’t yet know it.

Visit the official website, or find Lincoln Inspired on Facebook and Twitter @LincolnInspired