4 methods to finance projects: where to get funds

Cultural projects are often non-profit in their nature, and yet they are very relevant to society. Where do you find the funds to implement them?

Sources of funding
At what expense do successful cultural projects aimed at the development of literature and culture – and there are quite a few of them in the country – exist? There are usually several ways of financing a project. Thus the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, which has its own artistic direction, primarily uses the intellectual human resource to that end, sponsors and businessmen’s money as well as grants. The Center for Literary Education relies on the model of social entrepreneurship (i.e. visitors pay to participate in various events), and raises funds through grants to implement expensive projects. The Lviv Publishers’ Forum uses several sources at the same time: takes money from publishers and visitors, receives funds from local and government budgets, and has partners and sponsors.

This method of funding seems very attractive, and there really are a lot of funds coming to Ukraine nowadays for the implementation of socio-cultural projects. But only an organisation can obtain a grant, and for that purpose someone is required to monitor the market, fill in an applications, submit reports. The reporting process itself has many pitfalls and is a difficult process overall, particularly if the grantee is a big international organisation, trust or foundation. Therefore, it is not worth counting on funding projects solely through grants, especially taking into account the fact that money flows from grantees decreased by 3 to 5 times in 2016 as a result of misuse of grant funds. However, focusing on grants that are offered by local foundations is possible; they also exist and are much easier to work with.

The money of sponsors and business
Sponsorship and philanthropy, which is experiencing a rebirth now in Ukraine, are popular sources of funding that do actually work. But to raise these funds, there should be a large database of contacts in various spheres (entrepreneurship, printing, construction, logistics) and a good reputation. For some donors the possibility to obtain some benefit from such funding is key (barter, company advertising, image strengthening), to others it is important to be involved in a noble cause that is contributing to the development of culture, to do one’s duty to society or show patriotism. But usually the most compelling fact is that the project’s organisers have already invested in the business themselves and are using their own resources – if not financial, then intellectual or human.

Government funds
Primarily big projects can count on government funding. For instance, the Publishers’ Forum obtained funds twice from the government budget and regularly receives funds from the local budget – municipal and regional. As a consequence of decentralisation, funding from Lviv’s local budget for culture has increased significantly, which enables the organisation of a children’s book festival this year. However, there are problems with reporting and delays in obtaining funds, in addition to significant constraints on the size of expenses. There is a chance to receive funds for the development of social initiatives from the municipal budget in Vinnytsia too. Any interested citizen can apply and it does not only relate to big projects. It is also worth keeping in mind non-financial support from the government – when local administrations contribute to holding cultural events by providing free halls for exhibitions. This is also an important resource.

*Discussed at the second edition of “The Promotion of Literature in Ukraine” Congress (20-22 February 2016, Kyiv).

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