Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is the Australian Cultural Fund (ACF)?

The ACF is a fundraising platform for Australian artists and arts organisations. It was established in 2003 to encourage donations to the arts and is operated by Creative Australia, a cultural organisation under the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO), which is maintained by the Office for the Arts in the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

How does the ACF work?

It’s really simple!

The artist creates a profile, then registers their project with the ACF.

The artist gets to work on their fundraising campaign to generate donations.

Donors give to the ACF, nominating a preference for which artist they would like to benefit from their gift.

Provided all terms and conditions have been met, and subject to the approval of Creative Australia, the ACF awards grants to projects after the fundraising campaign has ended.

Donors receive a tax receipt from the ACF for donations of $2 or more.

Artists receive funds in the form of a grant to create their work.

How does the ACF benefit artists?

The ACF is great for artists because of our Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. This means that supporters make their donation to the ACF but can preference a particular artist to be the beneficiary of their gift.  Donations to the ACF over $2 are tax deductible. This is great incentive for people to donate to projects!

The ACF also offers artists an opportunity to build networks and access Creative Australia’s pool of resources, tools, advice and expertise.

How does the ACF benefit donors?

Donors can preference a particular artist to benefit from their gift when they donate to the ACF, and will receive a tax deduction for donations of $2 of more.

By funding an ACF project, donors connect with artists whose work they believe in and inspire others to do the same.

Who can register to use the ACF?

To be eligible to register a project with the ACF you must:

  • be a practising artist or arts and cultural entity;
  • be engaged in arts and cultural activities;
  • use a grant from Creative Australia within Australia or for the benefit of Australia; and; and
  • use a grant from Creative Australia for the designated and stated purpose.

The ACF is unable to accept registrations for projects relating to retrospective expenditure.

 

FOR ARTISTS

What questions do you ask when I create my profile?

You’ll be asked to give us your:

  • public facing name
  • the name you wish to register under
  • contact details, including address and email
  • ABN
  • biography

You’ll also be asked to nominate if you’re an individual or organisation, provide any social media handles or website links you’d like to include, and upload images related to you as an artist or arts organisation.

What questions do you ask when I register my project?

About your project, you’ll be asked to provide:

  • project title and location
  • a short description and long description of your project
  • art form category (up to three can be chosen)
  • official partners if applicable
  • project start and end date

About your campaign, you’ll be asked to provide:

  • your budget and fundraising strategy
  • fundraising target and duration
  • projected income, including earned income, donations, personal contributions, cash or in-kind, and government grants
  • projected expenditure, including production costs, marketing costs, salaries and travel costs

You’ll also be asked to upload images or videos related to your campaign and project.

What happens to my donation if a project doesn't reach its target?

Provided all terms and conditions have been met, and subject to the approval of Creative Australia, donations that have been received in preference to an artist will be taken into account when grants are made, whether the fundraising target has been reached or not.

How much does it cost to fundraise on the ACF?

As of 9am AEDT 1 December 2021 there are no fees associated with using the ACF platform. Artists will receive 100% of the funds donated towards their campaign. The fee removal will not be applied retrospectively, so there will be no change to donations made prior to December 1.

How long does it take for my application to be approved?
Once all required information has been provided, eligible projects are generally approved within 3 business days.
Will the ACF find donors for my work?
No. The ACF does not broker donors for registered projects. We will promote your project on our website and provide information and online resources to assist you in developing and implementing your fundraising strategy to build relationships and secure donations.


Can the ACF auspice my project?
No. the ACF is not an auspicing body and does not auspice projects. The ACF has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status which means that donors make their donation to us, but can preference a particular ACF registered artist to be the beneficiary of their gift. Donors will receive a tax deduction for donations of $2 or more.
How do I get the money once a supporter donates? How long does it take?
All donations preferenced to a project must be approved by the ACF. Artists will receive grants, subject to Creative Australia’s approval, in the month following the closing date of their fundraising campaign.As an ACF artist, you’re also required to complete an acquittal form at the end of your project. This is a really simple process that takes a few minutes to complete. For more information on the steps you need to take at the conclusion of your campaign, we’ve put together a handy guide.
Does the ACF pay GST on campaign funds?
Funds raised through the ACF are not considered a payment for supply and as such, GST is not paid on ACF grants.

Who can support the ACF?

We encourage everyone to be an ACF donor!

However, your relatives cannot receive a tax deduction for donations made in preference to you or your project. In this instance, a relative means a spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of you or your spouse.

This is because, under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, a deduction is not allowed if any material benefit is obtained by the donor or their associate as a result of the donation.

For example, if your Mum were to make a donation to your project, your Mum’s associate (that’s you – under the Tax Assessment Act) will receive a material benefit (in the form of grant money) from the donation.

You cannot receive a tax deduction for donations to your own project for the same reason outlined above.

You also cannot donate to your own project.

While we are unable to give tax advice to you or your donors, we are happy to outline this issue broadly, so feel free to get in touch if you need more information or read our FAQs.

Can project participants donate to the project?

Under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, a deduction is not allowed if any material benefit is obtained by the donor or their associate as a result of the donation. An associate includes spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of you or your spouse.

You cannot receive a tax deduction for donations to your own project for the same reason outlined above.

While we are unable to give tax advice to you, we are happy to outline this issue broadly, so feel free to get in touch if you need more information or read our FAQs.

Can I donate to my own project?

No. The ACF does not allow artists to donate to their own project or receive a tax deduction for their donation.

Under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, a deduction is not allowed if any material benefit is obtained by the donor or their associate as a result of the donation. An associate includes spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of you or your spouse.

You cannot receive a tax deduction for donations to your own project for the same reason outlined above.

While we are unable to give tax advice to you, we are happy to outline this issue broadly, so feel free to get in touch if you need more information or read our FAQs.

 

How is the ACF platform different to crowdfunding platforms?

There are six key differences:

  1. The ACF is a fundraising platform dedicated solely to Australian artists.
  2. ACF artists are not permitted to offer rewards in exchange for donations. Donations to the ACF are an unconditional gift.
  3. ACF artists receive grants at the end of their fundraising campaign, regardless of whether they have reached their fundraising target.
  4. The ACF is a preferred donation arrangement that offers tax deductibility to the donor.
  5. Registering with the ACF gives you access to campaign analytics and donor data in real time, plus Creative Australia’s pool of resources, tools, advice and expertise – we’re here to help your ACF fundraising campaign succeed.
  6. Registering with the ACF also gives you access to Creative Australia’s State Manager Development and Partnerships who provide one-on-one coaching sessions to support your fundraising success. During these sessions you can discuss and explore key concepts and they can share knowledge, tools, templates and resources that may help you with your fundraising.

 

Can I give or receive any form of (tangible or material) benefit in exchange for an ACF donation?

No. The ACF cannot receive donations (nor provide a deduction) where the donor or an associate obtains, or would be expected to obtain, any benefit other than the benefit of a tax deduction.

A gift is defined as arising from ‘benefaction’. A donor cannot receive any tangible benefit in return for their gift, or expect or oblige the artist to give them a benefit. An ACF artist cannot offer a benefit as an incentive to donate.

Acknowledgement on your website, newsletter or donors’ board is not regarded by the ATO as a tangible or material benefit. However, enlarging the acknowledgment into forms of advertising would prevent the payment being a gift.

More information is available on the ATO website.

 

Can I give or receive any rewards in exchange for a donation?

No. Rewards, such as those offered on crowdfunding sites, are considered a tangible or material benefit and would prevent the payment being a gift.

 

Can I offer benefits (like free tickets or copies of my work) to my donors?

No. Tickets and artworks are considered a tangible or material benefit and would prevent the payment being a gift.

 

Can a donor give to my project more than once?

Yes. We encourage you to foster and build good relationships with donors, which may lead to repeat support.

 

What’s my responsibility as a registered ACF project?

Registered projects must use the grants they receive from the ACF to contribute to costs associated with the project registered and approved by the ACF. The registered artist, group or arts organisation must notify the ACF if there is a change in the scope or timeline of their project.

It is a requirement of the ACF that an acquittal report be completed at the conclusion of projects. You will receive a link to the acquittal form in an email from us, but you can also access it under ‘My Acquittals’ in your ACF dashboard. You do not need to complete the acquittal form until the completion of your project.

 

Is there a limit to the number of times I can use the ACF?

No. However a previous project must be acquitted before an artist, group or arts organisation can register to use the ACF again.

 

Can I register multiple projects?

Yes, although you should be mindful that you don’t dilute your campaign by having multiple projects for which you are seeking support. Please keep in mind that you will not be able to register a new project if you have an overdue acquittal for a previous project.

 

Is there a course I can take to learn how to build potential donors?

From time to time, Creative Australia runs workshops on working with donors and running fundraising campaigns specifically for arts projects. To hear about these events when they occur, sign up for ACF eNews on the website.

We also publish a blog that will help you to plan and implement a successful campaign.

 

Can I access tailored advice on how to develop a fundraising strategy and run a successful campaign?

In addition to the ACF Team, Creative Australia’s State Manager Development and Partnerships provide one-on-one coaching sessions to support your fundraising success. During these sessions you can discuss and explore key concepts and they can share knowledge, tools, templates and resources that may help you with your fundraising.

Appointments can take place in-person, over the phone or via digital communication channels. You can contact your local State Manager Development and Partnerships here.

FOR DONORS

How do I donate to an ACF project?

Donors are able to preference their donation to a specific ACF project through that project’s profile page on the ACF website.

You can donate funds to the ACF via credit card. If requested, the ACF can also provide bank details for EFT (electronic funds transfer) donations. Please note the ACF does not accept cash donations and can only accept monetary gifts.

Here’s a step by step guide:

  • Click the “Donate” button on the Artist’s project page to whom you would like to preference your donation
  • Add your details, and the amount you wish to donate
  • Read the Donor Terms and Conditions and select if you would like to stay in contact
  • Select you payment method (Visa or Mastercard only) 
  • Enter your Billing Information
  • Your donation will be confirmed by email and a tax receipt provided.

 

What if I am a relative or associate of the artist?

You cannot receive a tax deduction for donations made in preference to someone you are related to. That means a spouse, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of you or your spouse.

You are also NOT able to donate to your own project.

This is because, under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, a deduction is not allowed if any material benefit is obtained by the donor or their associate as a result of the donation.

For example, if you were to make a donation to your spouse’s project, your spouse (who is your associate under the Tax Assessment Act) will receive a material benefit (in the form of grant money) from the donation.

You cannot claim a tax deduction for donations to your own project for the same reason outlined above.

While we are unable to give tax advice, we are happy to outline this issue broadly, so feel free to get in touch if you need more information or read our FAQs.

 

Are my donations secure?

Yes. All transactions are processed securely through eWAY, which secures payment card data during transmission and storage to ensure customers are protected at all times.

 

Why does the donation form stipulate that there is ‘no guarantee’ a donation will be granted to a preferred project?

Donations through the ACF are actually gifts to the ACF. It is the ACF that holds the Deductible Gift Recipient status to be able to receive and issue tax deductible receipts for contributions – not the registered project.

It’s important for both donors and artists to understand that for a donation to the ACF to be tax deductible, in other words for it to be considered an unconditional gift, no guarantee can be given as to how the donation will be spent.

Donors are required to agree to this in the Donor Terms and Conditions when they make a donation.

 

Are there any fees charged on donations to the ACF?

There are no fees associated with using the ACF platform and artists receive 100% of the funds donated towards their campaign.

What happens if the ACF does not grant a donor’s preference?
Should for any reason the ACF not grant according to a donor preference, we will contact the artist and donor to discuss next steps.
What if I have decided that my donation has been given to the wrong project?
Contact the ACF Team immediately. Donations to the ACF represent irrevocable gifts subject to the legal and fiduciary control of the Creative Australia.
Can businesses give through the ACF?
Yes, if there are no benefits exchanged.
Can businesses match funding through the ACF?
Yes. Businesses are encouraged to promote projects through their networks and to offer matched funding to ACF projects.
Can philanthropic trusts, foundations and Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) give through the ACF?

The ACF has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status so trusts, foundations and Private Ancillary Funds that require DGR or TCC status can give through the ACF.

Many philanthropic bodies prefer not to give via indirect funding arrangements, so it’s important that ACF artists carefully read their guidelines and criteria before approaching such bodies for funding.

 

What kind of DGR status does the ACF have?

 

 

Donations to the ACF are covered by our DGR 1 status.


What monitoring role does the ACF provide for donors?

The Australian Cultural Fund is operated by Creative Australia, ABN 38 392 626 187, and has endorsement as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) confirmed by the Australian Tax Office. Creative Australia is a cultural organisation under the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO), which is maintained by the Office for the Arts in the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. 

We actively screen and track the projects listed on the ACF website.

From the initial registration process, ACF staff provide an oversight role. Only artists, groups and arts and cultural organisations are eligible to register projects for support. This ensures we meet the requirements for tax deductibility and also ensures donors that funds donated will be used for the purpose intended.

The ACF reviews registered projects to ensure veracity and viability before listing on the ACF website. Before the ACF grants funds for a project, we confirm with the artist their readiness and capacity to undertake the project as proposed.

During the course of the project, the ACF stays in touch with artists to monitor progress. Those registered are also encouraged to provide periodic progress updates to their donors.

Finally, all those registered must submit a final report (acquittal) with detailed information about how their funds were used and the status of the project. These reports are monitored and reviewed to ensure the agreement is appropriately fulfilled.