Helping Canadian Arts Adapt Online – Digital Strategy Fund (DSF)

Digital Strategy Fund

During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, certain industries within Canada have been hit harder than others, such as young performing artists who are finding it increasingly challenging to advance their careers without the opportunity to play live in venues, and many event venues that are unable to comply with the COVID-19 social distancing protocols. In order to help these individuals and organizations find new opportunities to reach audiences online, the Canada Council for the Arts created the $88.5M Digital Strategy Fund (DSF).

This program offers single-phase applications with grants up to $50K and multi-phase applications with grants up to $250K and up to $500K for larger projects.

The Digital Strategy Fund (DSF) grants money through one of its three funding components: (1) Digital Literacy and Intelligence, (2) Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement, and (3) Transformation of Organization Models. Each of these funding components will fund up to a maximum of 85% of a project’s total costs, with the eligibility criteria for these streams of funding found below.

What Projects Are Eligible for the Digital Strategy Fund (DSF)?

There are three different components that the DSF uses to classify what projects they will help fund. Those eligible to submit applications for funding are: (1) Canadian artists, (2) artistic groups, (3) arts organizations, and (4) arts professionals (excluding consultants and third-party service providers).

Digital Literacy & Intelligence:

This fund component supports Canadian artists, groups, and organizations in adapting to the challenges and opportunities of the digital realm during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Supports Applicants in Their Efforts to:

  • Respond more effectively to the challenges, issues, and opportunities of the digital era;
  • Develop and broaden their strategic digital thinking;
  • Strengthen their ability to translate that thinking into sustainable, concrete actions.

Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement:

Funding Canadian artists, groups, and arts organizations to improve the public’s access, engagement, and participation in the arts through digital means.

Supports Applicants in Their Efforts to:

  • Enhance the artistic experience of diverse publics;
  • Encourage the participation and engagement of citizens with the arts;
  • Increase discoverability and access to the works of Canadian artists, both at home and abroad.

Transformation of Organization Models:

This component helps art organizations transform the way they work in order to address challenges, seize opportunities and adapt to a networked and connected environment.

Supports Applicants in Their Efforts to:

  • Develop innovative digital solutions that address challenges related to how arts organizations operate in a digital ecosystem;
  • Implement new digital initiatives that transform how arts organizations operate over the digital realm;
  • Reinforce, optimize, or scale up existing digital initiatives through preparatory activities and development to ensure their long-term viability.

Funding Amount and Program Deadline

This fund has a single phase for applications that ask for $50K or below and multi-phase applications for projects that ask for $50K-$500K.

  • 85% Funding for up to $50,000 – can apply anytime
  • 85% Funding from $50,001 to $250,000 – Deadline: September 30, 2020
  • 85% Funding from $250,001 to $500,000 – Deadline: To be announced

Apply for the Digital Strategy Fund (DSF)

Due to the high demand for COVID-19 government funding programs, we highly recommend all businesses that are interested in the Digital Strategy Fund to start the application process sooner rather than later. If you think you may be eligible for this program, contact a member of the Mentor Works team or call us at 1-888-599-3111 to find out if your business is eligible for DSF grants, or other government funding programs.

Mentor Works is hosting monthly COVID-19 business funding support webinars where you can learn about recently announced support programs and ask questions about how government funding can help your post-pandemic financial recovery. Learn about other COVID-19 government support programs.

 Find COVID-19 Funding Support Programs from the Canadian Provincial and Federal Governments

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