Instead of giving unthinkingly to any cause that catches one's eye, the recent wave of crowdfunding in Singapore has helped nurture a deeper culture of ownership among members of the public for arts groups or music acts that they enjoy.
In crowdfunding, a project's financial needs are met through monetary contributions from the public, usually by way of an online campaign.
It capitalises on the fact that when one is emotionally invested in an issue or cause, one is more likely to support it financially.
Crowdfunding campaigns usually have something for everyone: Someone who gives $25 might get a signed CD from a music band, while someone who gives $2,000 might get an all-access pass to rehearsals for a theatre production, drinks with the cast and director, and dinner before the show.
This model of funding has been gaining traction in the past few years, mostly due to the emergence of crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which are easy platforms to use.
Studies have shown that people are also motivated to take part in crowdfunding campaigns because of the greater amount of agency they have in possibly influencing a creator's work, as well as the feeling of being plugged into a wider community with shared interests and ideals.
By raising funds as a collective whole, there is a sense of empowerment that a donation of $25 can go as great a distance as a donation of $2,500.
Local artists and arts groups have started to jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon, with quite a large degree of success.
Theatre practitioner Jonathan Lim, who runs the popular comedy sketch show Chestnuts, managed to raise about $40,000 from fans and supporters to book the Drama Centre Theatre for last year's edition in August.
By purchasing tickets and packages in advance, audience members were guaranteed top tier Category One seats, exclusive Chestnut souvenir T-shirts and autographed programmes.
Indie-folk band The Sam Willows, which has recently enjoyed a meteoric rise in fan support, managed to raise $2,000 for its debut EP two years ago, when it was first starting out.
By upping the stakes and the rewards one can get in giving to an artist, it helps to further develop a base of supporters for the future.
This article was first published on May 26, 2014.
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