The Bowes Museum used crowdfunding to raise funds for a Gavin Turk exhibition. The number displayed on the neon refers to the number of people alive in the world at the time of the show's opening on 25 January 2014

Crowdfunding tipped as growth area for 2015

Rebecca Atkinson, 03.12.2014
Report finds museums see digital as less important compared with other organisations
Crowdfunding and online donations will be growth areas for arts and cultural organisations in 2015, according to a new report into the use of technology.

Digital Culture 2014: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology was published by Nesta, Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the partners of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

The report found that crowdfunding is the activity most likely to grow next year, with 18% of those surveyed already using digital platforms and 21% expecting to start in 2015. Smaller organisations are particularly interested in crowdfunding to get projects off the ground, with 45% expecting to start in the next 12 months.

Online donations and online retailing are also predicted to be growth areas, with 19% and 16% hoping to branch out into these next year.

"Digital projects are often resource intensive and need to be carefully matched to organisational goals, but this year’s findings suggest that as a sector we are becoming more effective in our digital work," said Tandi Williams, the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts research manager.

"Through activities like crowdfunding and online donations we can expect to see increasing numbers raising income through digital means next year.”

But nearly one third of museums that took part in the survey said they will not do any new digital activities next year, compared with less than a fifith of the wider arts and culture sector. Lack of staff time and poor IT were the two top barriers to their digital aspirations.

The report also looked at how arts and cultural organisations in England are currently using technology, with 51% of respondents in 2014 saying that it was important or essential to their business models. This is up from 34% in the 2013 survey.

The report found that museums are the most likely to see digital as most important for preserving and archiving their work compared with arts and culture overall (91% versus 81%). However, compared with the wider arts and cultural sector, museums saw digital as less important in most areas of work, including supporting business models, marketing, creative work and distribution.

They are also less likely to conduct digital activities – such as live streaming, email marketing and publishing content onto their websites – and use social media than other arts and cultural organisations.

Links:

Digital Culture 2014: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology