The Big Idea Member Fund

Do you have a big idea? We are exploring an alternative democratic model for funding arts projects and we want your input.


Funding is a big challenge for our sector.

The Big Idea is exploring the establishment of a democratic member fund as a way to give the creative community more opportunity and control over what gets funded in the arts and creative sectors.

Based on a giving circle model, our goal would be to bring the creative community together to pool our small individual contributions and attract contributions from larger funders prepared to be guided by the collective wisdom of the sector.

Together we would design a charter and a criteria for how the member fund will be distributed.

With a healthy balance of money in the member fund, members with projects and challenges that require funding will be eligible to apply to the circle for support. And as a contributor to the fund you would be involved in the decision making about what proposals receive funding.

Funding could be paid from the circle as a grant or with an expectation that the support be repaid.

The creators of are working with us to develop this concept and if there is demand from the community and we proceed, TBI would facilitate online software to transparently manage the money, proposals and support decision making by contributors.  

So, how would it work in reality?

  • Members contribute a fixed amount per week to the fund through your credit card or automatic payment

  • You would be able to see the live balance of the fund on a website

  • Philanthropists and funders could make top up lump sum contributions to the fund

  • Every month the fund would open for proposals

  • Members would discuss and shortlist proposals online

  • Shortlisted proposals would go to a member vote for funding

  • The fund would then pay out funds as per the decisions of the group

What would the opportunity fund give money to?

Ultimately, that will be down to the charter, criteria and decisions by members, but it could include:

  • Grants to individuals to solve a challenge they face in creating something

  • Funding for projects and ventures that provide members with inspiration and insights

  • Funding for jobs or needs that fall in gaps between other organisations

  • Creating knowledge and resources for the whole creative community

  • Putting on events to benefit all members

Should TBI proceed with creating the member fund?

Please complete the quick survey below to give us your opinion:


Written by

The Big Idea

24 Aug 2017

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