The costs incurred for different companies are as varied as their needs, so you will need to put together your own bespoke budget.
Typical Fringe expenses include:
- Venue: Can include everything from hiring the space to staffing fees and equipment costs (anywhere from £0 - £10,000 per week)
- Fringe Society: Fringe Registration fees, ticket commission, perhaps programme and web advertising
- Production costs: Equipment hire and transportation, public liability insurance, copyright and PRS/PPL payments
- Accommodation: Rent and utilities
- Travel: Getting to and from Edinburgh, travelling around the city
- Press and Marketing: Design costs, printing of flyers and posters, CDs/DVDs, distribution charges, publicity photos, publicist charges
- Administration: Office costs
- Living costs: Edinburgh is an expensive city, remember to allow for high food and drink costs during your stay
- VAT: Check if service quotes include value added tax (20%)
- Contingency: Adding 5-10% of your sum budget costs to the total will allow you some room to breathe if the unexpected happens. It is a good idea to overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues when budgeting.
We’ve built a downloadable budgeting tool in Microsoft Excel to help you plan your finances and plot your Fringe budget.
We have put together a number of case studies using budget information from past Fringe shows. This information should be used only as a guide but will be useful to give you a sense of the typical costs when putting on a show as part of the Fringe.
A place to stay is a big consideration when bringing a show to the Fringe.
As part of our support services for participants, the Fringe Society offers a single platform to help. The 2019 Accommodation platform will be live in early March.
No matter where you stay in Edinburgh, be safe! Instances of fraud, while given the scale of the Fringe, are thankfully quite low. Follow these top tips to ensure any financial transactions you undertake follow due process.
- Never transfer money from your bank account to a stranger's bank account. These transactions are untraceable and you have no recourse to recovering any funds which may have been obtained fraudulently.
- Always use a credit card or PayPal to make deposits on any accommodation.
- Do research. Ensure you can find online evidence which corroborates what any company, agent or individual is purporting. Are there any third-party, independent reviews online which support a positive reputation?
- Visit Action Fraud for information on how to protect yourself and call the hotline if you think you are engaging with a fraudster.
- Use your instinct: If it smells bad, it's usually bad. Don't fall prey to bullying tactics. Don't rush to commit to a situation because you've been told others are keen and you might lose out. Be aware of bad or odd behaviour - a genuine company, agent or individual will not use any of these tactics to secure an agreement.
Ways to raise money
Grants are offered by a wide range of organisations, from councils and local authorities to trusts and charities. For more information, have a look at our fundraising handbook.
Asking for money from your existing network of contacts can be an excellent way to build up funding. You could organise a benefit event or party in aid of your show and invite friends, family and co-workers along. You should also investigate online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Crowdfunder.
Festival ticket sales
It is important not to overestimate revenue from the sale of your show’s tickets. For budgeting purposes, the Fringe Society suggests a projection of one-third of all tickets being sold during your run. A good pricing model can make a major difference to your final sales figures. Start with setting a realistic ticket price. The best way to do this is to survey the prices in last year’s Fringe Programme for shows and venues similar to yours. Your venue manager will also be able to advise you on an appropriate price point.
Ticket offers, such as comp tickets (free giveaways), 2for1 tickets or discounts early in your run, can help to build audiences and create a buzz about your show.
Information on ticket deals offered by the Fringe Box Office can be found on our Tickets site and include:
- The Virgin Money Half Price Hut.
- Friends of the Fringe 2for1.
- The Fringe 2for1 ticket offer - available on the first Monday and Tuesday of the Fringe.
This could include the selling of your show programmes, t-shirts, CDs or other novelty items. Make sure to bear the cost of production in mind with anything you plan to sell for profit.
As the Fringe Society does not programme any shows itself, we are not able to arrange individual fundraising or sponsorship, but we can offer advice. Finding sponsorship can be hard work, but it is worth the graft if you succeed in securing funds to help cover your expenses. Refer to the Sponsorship section below, or the Fringe Handbook to Doing a Show for more advice.
Consider your proposition from your prospective sponsor’s point of view: how does your work relate to their organisation? What do they stand to gain from supporting you? Take a look at some high-profile sponsorships and consider what the sponsor gains from the association.
Stage 1: Do your research
Think of who would be interested in your proposition:
- Are they local to you?
- Could they offer in-kind support?
- Have they sponsored other arts organisations?
- What are their brand values or their business objectives and how does your work connect with them?
- What benefits could you offer them? Consider both tangible benefits – branding, tickets, media coverage etc, and intangible benefits – perhaps your core audience is their target audience or the themes in your work fit with their product/service.
Most companies have a mission statement on their website, along with names of departmental contacts for marketing, communications or sponsorship. Take the time to research and personalise your approach for each potential sponsor.
Stage 2: Make contact
- This could be by post, email, or simply pick up the phone. Take it as an opportunity to introduce your show and the Fringe. If the company is interested in hearing more, you can move onto a written proposal.
Stage 3: Create a written proposal
Include a summary of your show, an outline of the benefits to the sponsor, the support you are looking for and the timescale.
- Use your contacts - Rack your brains and ask anyone with whom you have a connection. Your pitch is much more likely to succeed if you approach familiar leads.
- Make it specific - Tailor your proposal to the objectives of the potential sponsor, not to the needs of your show.
- Be realistic - Just because a huge multinational turns massive profits does not mean they have thousands to spend on the arts. Local companies are much more likely to see a value in investing and smaller contributions do mount up.
- Think creatively - Could you perform at your sponsor’s offices? Could you run a workshop for the staff’s children? This kind of involvement and engagement with company personnel is really popular and could build a unique package. Also think about whether the sponsor could offer you in-kind support instead of money. This could be free rehearsal space or the loan of props.
Applying for official arts funding
When someone talks about official arts funding, they are often referring to subsidy from an arts council or government funding initiative. The application processes for accessing such funds can be very laborious and complex with lots of things to consider, like the purpose of the fund, its objectives and timescales. However, if you take your time and make sure you go through everything thoroughly, taking each stage one at a time, then you will make the process much easier for yourself.
The key points to consider before you even make an application to an official funder are as follows:
If you are applying as an organisation then you will to ensure you meet the criteria for eligibility; written constitution, management structure (even if this is small, it still needs to be clear), dedicated banking arrangements and system for accounts.
What kind of organisation are you? Non-profit, charitable or commercial. NB: If you are commercial and are applying for public sector money then you will need to prove that your project is not for commercial gain or profit.
Management and delivery
You will need to very clearly demonstrate how you will deliver your project including detail on the systems you will put in place to manage the money.
Other sources of income
Bear in mind that arts councils will not normally fund your entire project and often expect at least 10% of your overall project cost to be from other sources or from your own resources. Think carefully about what your other sources of income will be, where they will come from and when you will have access to them. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Ensure you factor in a contingency line into your budget.
Ensure you are aware of application deadlines. Normally you won’t get funding for projects that have already started so make sure you plan ahead and factor in time for the decision making process, which can be up to a few months. Make sure your project won’t be delayed or compromised by waiting for a funding decision. NB: Goods or services bought before a decision is made will not be paid for by an formal funder.
The most common things that funders will assess your project on are:
- Artistic Quality
- Public Benefit and Demand
- How well the project will be managed and delivered
- Financial strength and value for money
Flesh out the details
Each area will require a certain level of detail and the larger the amount of money you request and the more complex your project then the more detail you will need to give. You will also need to provide support material such as videos, press material, script samples and reference letters.
Beat the competition
Always remember that the amount of money out there is limited and the demand/competition is very high so make sure your application is the very best it can be and you have thoroughly understood what is asked of you.
Check, check and check again
When you have completed your application ask someone who you trust to give you constructive criticism to proofread it for you. Ideally, you should also have someone who is not in the arts read it for you because often applications fall down by failing to communicate clearly what the project actually is. If someone with no experience with arts jargon can understand what you are trying to achieve and why it’s worth funding then you are definitely on the right track.
Use the available guidance!
All funding bodies provide guidance notes and a help service – use these! Read everything carefully and several times. Filling out a funding application is a time consuming and arduous task, taking the time to get it right is very important.
Don’t get mad (get patient!)
If all your application efforts result in rejection try not to fall victim to your own frustration. The competition for arts funding is fierce in what is an increasingly austere climate, there a more projects but fewer funds. Not everyone is going to be successful. Definitely don’t vent your anger at the funder, which is only going to result in them remembering you in a negative light when you apply again. Rather, politely ask them for feedback so that you are best equipped to improve on future applications.
The fact is that if you are a new artist, unless your project is evidently very good, you are unlikely to get funded on your first attempt. Make sure you ask for feedback, take it on board and keep trying.
Current funding opportunities
We will share details of funding opportunities here when available.
National Agencies and Cultural Organisations
- Creative Scotland
- Arts Council England
- Big Lottery Fund
- Awards for All
- British Council
- Visiting Arts
- Cultural Enterprise Office
- Department for Culture/Media/Sport
Trusts and foundations
- Arts Trust Scotland
- Dewar Arts Award
- The Elephant Trust
- The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
- The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
- The Prince’s Trust Scotland
- Wellcome Trust
- The Paul Hamlyn Foundation