A bit of context:
The funding landscape in Britain now requires those fundraising for the arts to develop new strategies to attract private funding in a highly competitive ‘market’. At the same time, giving has been professionalized, with the ‘effective altruism’ movement urging potential donors to approach a gift as they would an investment and to require evidence of effectiveness and efficiency. This represents a profound shift in the way that we conceptualize the nature of philanthropy (love of humanity) and the value of the arts.
Fundraising may seem much more complex proposition than a simple ‘you and me’ transaction. It navigates individuals, organisations set up to distribute surplus money, organisations set up to raise money, marketing strategies of corporations. Yet it boils down to simple transactions at its core.
What is the aim of the Wunderbar Foundation?
As a fusion of academic and creative practice, the Foundation is a live research space that investigates the perils and possibilities of giving and receiving money through playful and thought-provoking mechanisms. Its aim is to create a space in which donors and donees can look each other in the eye and ask questions that it is usually not possible to ask. What is at stake here? What do you want from me? What will I get in return? What next? Can we be friends? Through this it hopes to create an opportunity for transformation and the possibility of better, deeper, more honest connections between those on both sides of the donation game.
The Foundation does all this by being a real fundraising initiative. If you give to it, your real money will fund real Wunderbar projects. This gives you, the donor, some power and we want to make that power explicit — how much is it worth? What can you ask us to do? How far will we go?
We want to ask questions to make sure our integrity isn’t getting tarnished by your cold hard cash. Are you the sort of person we want to associate with? Is your money clean? Are you getting thrills and advantages out of us that you don’t deserve? And when we ask these questions of you, are we in a position of wielding power? What if we turn you down? What happens to our relationship then?
And what next, once we’re connected by the handing over of pennies or pounds? Do we have a future together or was this just a Tinder-style hookup, a quick fix for us both?
If you’re interested in something meaningful, so are we. Let’s turn a financial transaction into an ongoing collaboration. The Foundation research space has the potential to transform and shape-shift in ways that we haven’t yet imagined. To ask questions we haven’t considered. To provoke, poke and publicise dark corners of the donation landscape.