Tools for Productive Partnerships Among Creatives, Changemakers, and Funders
Change-makers and funders who have full-time jobs should take a little time to understand creatives’ funding sources. While most creatives draw on a range of sources, here are some of the ways that they pay for their work:
The problem of creatives’ funding is not new, but it’s gaining more attention. A study of 580 “documentary professionals” conducted by the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University found that less than a quarter of them make their primary living from their creative work, and 36% make no money at all from these endeavors. Indeed, half of the respondents reported that they spent from $5,000 to $50,000 of their own money on their recent documentaries. Of course, not all creatives work as “independents” (see sidebar, Creative Prototypes); but in any case, it’s important for change-makers to understand the range of business models that produce the stories, art, videos, and other projects they hope to engage with.
More and more, change-makers realize how valuable media and stories can be in making emotional connections that move hearts and minds — and even change policy, culture, and social movements. In working with creatives, change-makers typically want to increase attention on their issue or their organization, such as by:
There are many excellent resources designed to help change-makers become more strategic in pursuit of these objectives (see Mission, Method, and Mobility, as well as the websites below). This section focuses on activities that require resources such as time, money, and intellectual property.