Arts Fundraising and the digital transformation

Education and Research Session 2023

Chairs: Gerald Lidstone, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom, and Leticia Labaronne, ZHAW School of Management and Law Center for Arts Management, Switzerland

Fundraising has rapidly professionalized and academized in the last few years. The realm of the arts and cultural sector has not been an exception, even in continental Europe, where arts and cultural organizations still tend to enjoy generous public subsidies. As fundraising gains in strategic importance, fundraising activities become more and more intertwined with other organizational dynamics at the managerial, artistic and ethical level. This track aims to look at fundraising in the arts and culture, with a particular focus on the impact of digital  transformation.

In the US and UK online giving in the arts has grown more than other fields of cultural management in the last five years (Turrini et at, 2020). Can the use of digital and social media platforms help “democratize” fundraising for the arts? Does it lead to overall more funds? Recent studies, albeit within a rather European empirical context, underline that crowdfunding constitutes just one more fundraising tool and highlights that it does not yet have a real impact (Borin & Crepin, 2022). Further work in equity crowdfunding has shown that for crowdfunding to be successful it should be based on values such as participation and community engagement (Borin & Fantini, 2023; Borin and Donato, 2022) Does the digital transformation in fundraising helps to better relate to millennial giving patterns and better engage with future audiences? Labaronne (2022) argues that the latter can be also achieved by long-term partnerships with companies that engage in corporate cultural engagement and have a strong digital presence. Further, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in fundraising may have positive or negative implications. Are there new ethical issues that arise from using AI in fundraising or is it currently at a technical level that is not yet useful for soliciting funds?  A  further key issue is that fundraising is very culturally specific where techniques and approaches may not transfer across different countries or regions.   Can AI or other digital fundraising tools help build philanthropic cultures that do not reinforce western, white patriarchal norms and dialogue?

The following contributions in the form of abstract or teaching demonstration, which deal with the above mentioned topics and overarching questions, but are not limited to, are welcome within this track:

  • Research papers and studies that particularly look at the impact and potential of the digital transformation in fundraising for the arts and culture
  • Content and curricula in arts management programmes that deal with fundraising for arts and cultural organizations
  • Delivery of learning and teaching of fundraising in the arts, strategies and methods that are particularly relevant to these issues at graduate, undergraduate and executive education levels

A special issue of the European Journal of Cultural Management and Policy  will be potentially organized on this topic, welcoming papers presented at this thematic track of the ENCATC Education and Research Session.

Main references

Borin, E. & Crepin D., 2022.  “The use and value of crowdfunding for cultural heritage organisations (L’utilizzo e il valore del crowdfunding per le organizzazioni del patrimonio culturale)*. Il capitale culturale-Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage, n. 26, p. 203-230.

Borin, E. & F. Donato 2022, “Equity crowdfunding for cultural heritage: some insights from a French case study”, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 48, Issue 1, pp.10-26. 

Borin, E., & Fantini, G. 2023. Participatory Governance as a Success Factor in Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns for Cultural Heritage, Journal of Risk and Financial Management 16, no. 3: 172.

Labaronne, L. 2022. Corporate cultural engagement. In conversation with Prof. Thomas Girst (Global Head of Cultural Engagement, BMW Group). Cultural Trends,

Turrini, A., Gallagher, B.k. & Massi M. 2020.The Impact of Digital Transformation on Fundraising in the Arts”. In: Massi, M., Vecco, M. , Yi, L. (eds.) Digital Transformation in the Cultural and Creative Industries, Routledge: London