Getting Started

How do I get approved for match funding? Simply share your project idea via the brief form here. A member of our team will confirm for you if the project idea you shared is eligible for matching funds within 1-2 weeks at most. We'll call you if we need a little more information to determine match-funding eligibility. As soon as your project is confirmed eligible, you can begin building your ioby crowdfunding page with the support of our experienced crowdfunding coaches. 

Do I need a fundraising team? ioby always recommends fundraising with a team, since crowdfunding works best when several people ask their networks for donations and help publicize the campaign. However, you can fundraise on your own if you’d like.  Our only requirement is that your project’s lead artist should be ioby’s point person for communicating about fundraising—they will be the person that ioby’s Success Strategist is in touch with throughout the fundraising campaign.


How do I know if my project is eligible? See the Eligibility Guidelines here.

What is a “place-based outcome”? ioby works with leaders in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. We’re looking for projects that create a concrete change in a specific neighborhood, town, city, or region, depending on the geographic context. This could be related to food, transportation, social interactions, or some other aspect of community life. An example of this may be the lack of safety on a particular street due to heavy vehicular traffic; or welcoming new Americans who don’t have access to economic prosperity in a specific neighborhood. This is the main difference between public art and creative placemaking: public art does not always promise more than the creation of a physical artistic output or experience, whereas creative placemaking creates outputs based on desired community change.

How is “artist” defined for the purpose of this match program? Artist is broadly defined as anyone who identifies as such, and whose practice encompasses any of the following artistic disciplines: craft, culinary arts, dance, design, architecture, film & media, folk & traditional arts, literature, poetry, music, theater, visual arts, etc. 

Is a project artist-led if it also includes non-artist leaders? Yes! Projects of this nature will inherently involve all kinds of people with different expertise, and often require partnership from various people, institutions, and systems.   

What artistic disciplines and art forms are eligible? All artistic disciplines, from craft to visual arts, are eligible. Strong projects employ artists and draw on artistic disciplines that are relevant to the community. 

Am I eligible if I previously received funding from ArtPlace America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and/or the Kresge Foundation? Yes!

Are partnerships required? While partnerships are required to accomplish any creative placemaking project, you are not required to submit documentation of your partnerships to participate in this program. Partnerships can be formal or informal, ranging from neighborhood leadership to collaboration with someone in a government agency. Ultimately, partnership is about working with others, sometimes in unexpected ways. Strong creative placemaking projects are led by people who live and/or work in the community the project aims to benefit, or are working closely with a cross-section of residents and community members.

Can partners on my project begin campaigns for the same project? No. If you are working with a partner on the same project, you should join forces and build your ioby campaign together. 

Are there any restrictions on the kind of partners involved in a project? No, in fact we encourage a wide range of partners to be involved in your project! That could include everyone from the unofficial mayor of your block, to city or town officials. 

What if I have more than one eligible project idea? Crowdfunding takes some work, so it’s best to pick one thing to crowdfund for at a time. To give you the best chance of crowdfunding success, ioby does not allow individuals to run more than one ioby campaign at a time. If you’re trying to decide between several possible funding needs, keep in mind that crowdfunding works best for projects that are concrete and specific, where community members will be able to see the results or participate in the project they helped fund.

Who can receive funding from this program? Do I have to be a nonprofit? Any artist-led project that meets the Eligibility Guidelines can receive funding, and you do not need to be affiliated with a nonprofit to access funding. If you are leading an ioby crowdfunding campaign, you’ll be asked to identify where we should send your check at the end of your campaign. If you don’t have 501(c)(3) status, ioby can: 

  • disburse funds to any kind of nonprofit, including: a 501(c)(3), government agencies, municipalities, tribal governments, faith based organizations, educational institutions, etc.
  • disburse funds to a nonprofit organization that is acting as your fiscal sponsor and passing funds on to you. 
  • act as the fiscal sponsor for the project and disburse funds directly to an individual artist or informal, unincorporated group of artists. 

What can I use funds for? Funds raised as a part of the Artists Lead! program can be used to cover any costs directly related to the specific project outlined on your ioby crowdfunding page, including: 

  • purchase of property
  • capital improvements to a space or land
  • food and other event costs
  • event permitting fees
  • volunteer rewards (such as T-shirts)
  • advertising and marketing
  • materials and equipment
  • educator, performer, speaker or intern stipends
  • artist and designer fees (fair payment to individuals contributing labor to the project is highly encouraged) 
  • local travel
  • software and hardware
  • contracted services
  • consultant fees
  • insurance 
  • staff salaries and administrative overhead, prorated for the time spent on the project

When must my project begin and/or be implemented by to receive match funding? You can start your project as soon as possible. Implementation should begin anytime between now and December 2020.

What are examples of INELIGIBLE projects or expenses?

  • Social service, charitable, or community development projects that are not artist-led and do not meet the Eligibility Guidelines.
  • Events limited to the membership of a specific organization that are not reasonably accessible to neighborhood residents. 
  • Ticketed events that are cost-prohibitive for neighborhood residents. 
  • Fundraising for a pool of funds to be re-granted to others or used for an unspecified purpose in the future.
  • Business startups and for-profit ventures. Some social entrepreneurship projects may be eligible if they meet the Eligibility Guidelines and have a nonprofit fiscal sponsor (contact ioby’s Partnerships Manager Ethany Uttech at to learn more).

Accessing Matching Funds

If I’m approved for match funding, am I guaranteed to receive a specific amount?  No, this is a challenge match, not a grant. Your team needs to raise a dollar to receive a dollar, and no amount of match funding is guaranteed in advance. If you begin a campaign, but then stop fundraising for several months, there is no guarantee that match funding will still be available later. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to all participating campaigns, so that funding flows toward projects with the most urgent funding needs and active teams.

How do I know if match funding is still available for my project? When you share your project idea, we will alert you in the case that match funds are running low and you may not be able to access the maximum amount; then you can decide if you would like to go forward with fundraising or not. If you are already participating in the Artists Lead! program, but have not yet met your fundraising goal, we will alert you when matching funds begin to run low.

How much match funding can I receive on my campaign?  $15,000 is the maximum amount that can be applied to any campaign in the Artists Lead! program. This cap helps ensure that multiple projects will have access to funding.

What if my project is small and I don't need $15,000? Or what if I don't think I can raise that much?  That's totally fine! This program is appropriate for small-scale grassroots projects and ioby has lots of experience supporting smaller campaigns. You are not required to try to use the full $15,000 in match funding.

Should the goal I set on my fundraising page include the amount of match funding I hope to receive? Yes. For example, if you need $2,000 to implement your project, your public goal on your page would be $2,000—you would only need to fundraise $1,000 of that goal, which would be doubled as you fundraise.

How does match funding on ioby work? When you fundraise on ioby with match funding, donations to your campaign will be doubled instantly, so you move toward your goal twice as fast. So if someone donates $25, your page will reflect a donation of $50! Your page will continue to accept donations after your goal is met and you can raise your campaign goal at any time. You are always welcome to raise more (unmatched) funds beyond the maximum match funding cap, and you can keep whatever match funds you earn even if you raise less than the cap.

For example, here are some possible budget scenarios:

Your original goal: $4,000

You raise: $2,000

Match funding added: $2,000

Total disbursed at end of campaign: $4,000


Your original goal: $4,000

You raise: $1,000

Match funding added: $1,000

Total disbursed at end of campaign: $2,000


Your original goal: $4,000

You raise: $7,000

Match funding added: $7,000

Total disbursed at end of campaign: $14,000


Your original goal: $25,000

You raise: $15,000

Match funding added: $10,000

Total disbursed at end of campaign: $25,000

Shouldn't I set a really big goal and hope for the best? You will only receive match funding equivalent to what you raise, so we encourage you to aim for an amount of funding that fits your team’s fundraising capacity and immediate budget needs. Also, it makes crowdfunding more difficult to set a larger goal than you have a plan to reach, because donors are less likely to give to campaigns that don't look likely to meet their goal. Our webinars, campaign planning tools, and your Leader Success Strategist can all help you set a goal that fits your team size and fundraising plan.

What if I use up all the match funding I was originally planning for, but want to keep fundraising? Great! With ioby’s flexible finish policy you can always raise your goal mid-campaign if needed. If you hit the $15,000 match cap, you are also welcome to keep fundraising additional unmatched dollars.

What happens if I don’t meet my goal? Our trainings and one-on-one support are intended to give you and your team the best shot as success. However, if you fall short of your goal, you'll still keep anything you raised and equivalent match funding. When you close your campaign, your Leader Success Strategist will ask you to adjust the budget on your page to show how you’ll use the smaller amount of funds toward your project.

Can I apply match funding to any donation? Match funding is meant to make it easier for you to reach out to your networks broadly to ask for donations, and not meant for doubling just one or two large gifts. For that reason, we’ll only be matching up to the first $1,000 of any single donation.

When will I receive match funding?  Donations to your ioby campaign page will be doubled instantly as people donate to your page. When you decide to close your campaign, you’ll receive the total you raised plus match funding as one lump sum, via check. ioby’s super-low fees will be retained from that total. Please allow two weeks from closing your campaign to receiving your check.

What reporting is required of me to receive match funding? The completion of three short surveys. One before you fundraise, one after you fundraise, and a final one after your project has been implemented. These surveys help ioby assess the effectiveness of our fundraising support services. For the last survey, you'll tell us things like how the project went, if you thought it was successful, and roughly how many residents participated or benefitted. If you prefer to answer these questions via a phone call with our staff, that's also an option, and if your original implementation date changes, just let us know. We’ll also ask you to share photos from your implemented project that we may use in public reports or blog posts to help share the power of your work and inspire other leaders.  

How long will Artists Lead! match funds be available?  Funding will be distributed on a first-come basis as participating leaders fundraise. We currently expect to have enough funding to support campaigns through summer 2020.

Does ioby accept checks?  Yes. It's not standard practice, but if you have a donor who prefers to give by check instead of credit card, they can send their check to ioby to be applied to your campaign. ioby's donation processing fee of 3% also applies to check donations, and check donations are able to be matched. We won’t be able to match a check donation until we receive and process the check, whereas online donations are matched instantly.  

Other Questions?

Other questions? Or want to discuss your project and see if it’s a good fit? Contact Ethany Uttech, ioby Partnerships Manager, at or 917-464-4515 x 5.

If your project isn’t the right fit for the Artists Lead! program, you may still be eligible to fundraise on ioby without matching funds, which will still give you access to our training materials, low-fees, fiscal sponsorship, and one-on-one support from an experienced Leader Success Strategist. Submit your project idea at to get started.