Find out about the main sources of funding and support for your project:

Commissions / partnerships

Organisations often commission or partner with community artists to deliver projects. These include schools, prisons, youth services, health providers, local councils and many others.

These ‘commissioners’ either initiate the project by contracting an artist to deliver the project with a specific community or partnering on a project that has been proposed to them.

Commissioners will have very specific results that they want from the project. These are likely to include social, health and/or education outcomes. Before you approach a possible commissioner or partner it is important to know what results they are seeking. Look at their websites, and speak with other people that are working with them. You can also talk with the commissioners themselves.

See our tip sheet on Growing strong partnerships (pdf). If you’re thinking of working in prisons we recommend you talk with Arts Access Aotearoa who can provide advice and support in this area.


Individuals and groups can apply for grants to help cover the cost of running community arts projects. Some options are funding bodies, ministries and other government agencies, community trusts, gaming trusts, philanthropic trusts.

Costs that can be supported include:

  • materials
  • venue and equipment hire
  • artist fees
  • promotion.

Some funders can also support groups towards:

  • purchasing equipment
  • ongoing operational costs, including salaries
  • professional development for artists working with communities.

Before you apply for funding it’s important to make sure that your project idea matches what the funder wants to fund.

For projects that have strong health, education and/or social outcomes, check what’s available through Generosity NZ. This is a subscription-based search engine for community funding. If you don’t have a log-in for Generosity NZ, most councils around New Zealand provide free access – contact your local library or log-in through your library’s webpage.

The Centre for Social Impact has produced an up-to-date list of funding available in response to COVID-19 recovery/resilience.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has a list of funders who specifically support arts and cultural activity.

Trust Waikato has produced a very useful, bi-lingual resource on making successful funding applications

Creative New Zealand funding

To see if your project is suitable for Creative New Zealand funding visit Find Funding for all our funding opportunities. Our funding programmes that are most relevant for community arts projects are:

  • Creative Communities Scheme
  • Quick Response Grants
  • Arts Grants
  • Toi Rangatahi Funds

If your project is related to Pacific Arts or Ngā Toi Māori we also have specific opportunities that may suit.

Community fundraising

Community fundraising is a great way to get money for your project. It is also a great way to raise awareness of your project in the community. It generally involves community-driven activities run by volunteers, e.g. sausage sizzles, car washing, movie nights, quiz nights, auctions, etc.

If you are selling food you need to be aware of food safety. The Ministry for Primary Industries provides useful information about this.


Crowdfunding is a way of raising funds online. Generally crowdfunding focuses on small amounts of funding from large numbers of people. It works well for community projects with a lot of people involved and/or people with big community networks.

The way crowdfunding works is a group posts their project onto a website. Usually they’ll include a video and a description of the project. They then post about it on social media, and send it to contacts asking for donations. The crowdfunding website then takes a percentage of the total funds as an administrative fee.

Commonly used crowdfunding sites include:


’Sales’ includes ticket sales to an event, performance or workshop or sales of finished artworks or publications.

Often sales aren’t a large income source for community arts projects. But they can still be significant in helping you to cover costs. See our resources in this toolkit for information about promoting your work.

Business giving and sponsorship

Sponsors can provide cash or in-kind support. They are often local businesses in community arts projects.

In-kind support includes things you would otherwise have to pay for, e.g. materials, venue or advertising. Generally it is expected that you would then provide something back to the sponsor. This could be promoting the sponsor (for example by including their logo on your marketing material), inviting them to key events, or providing opportunities for them to promote a new service or product.

Useful sponsorship guides include:

Individual giving or donations

Individual giving refers to members of the public making a donation. It includes one-off cash gifts, a donation through your website or setting up a regular gift. The gifts can range in size from a $5 donation to a major gift of over $5,000! With individual giving, it is important to know your audience and communicate with them frequently about your project. It is also key to make it as easy as possible for people to donate (e.g. tap and go machines, donate button on websites, donate boxes).

To find out more about donations see our Donations Toolkit

More information

You’ll find more about your community fundraising options and creating a fundraising plan at CommunityNet


With all fundraising activities, it's important to know what tax to pay. For more information visit Inland Revenue -Te Tari Taake