[hackerspaces] Finding Donors

Will Bradley will at heatsynclabs.org
Wed Nov 23 06:00:59 CET 2011

Hey all, HeatSync's story isn't that exciting but it is a good topic
for conversation and I hope others will chime in.

We have a not-insignificant amount of money coming in monthly from an
anonymous corporate donor (tech startup) who said they simply want to
make Phoenix a cool place for techies. They heard about hackerspaces
from the Bay Area, found out there was a fledgling space here, and
wanted to foster a nice geeky environment here. We asked if they
wanted any compensation, for example a banner in our space or free
membership, and they said no.

We also have a smaller donor in the form of a small wireless ISP,
OneAxis, who is giving us a great discount on Internet service. Cable
is unavailable at our location and the alternatives were too expensive
per megabit so this is greatly appreciated and they do have a banner
in our space (they loved the subtitle "WiFi Key: hacktheplanet")

Finally, some of our equipment donors and volunteers have asked for
tax donation receipts (think Goodwill) so I assume they wouldn't
donate without 501c3 status. For example I believe Intel will pay you
if their employees volunteer for you, and I just sent off a donation
receipt for a guy who works for a hotel chain that allows one
volunteer day per year per employee. Also, most grants and donation
lists like United Way require 501c3 status though we haven't gotten
anything that way to my knowledge.

I believe in every case, it's been word of mouth and people approach
us rather than us actively seeking donors. I'm sure if we were, we'd
have much more success, but we also like being community supported and
grassroots; nobody owns us and we're strong enough to pay the rent
without non-member help. Donors can disappear at any time, so we use
the money for a rainy day fund and fulfilling 501c3 programs rather
than keeping the place afloat.

One last perk is that only a real bastard would slight a 501c3
educational nonprofit; various people have threatened to sue us and
the whole community just stares at them like they're insane. There's a
bit of a halo that, if you don't break it by acting badly, gives you a
little bit of protection from bastards who would try to bend you over.

On Nov 22, 2011, at 9:43 PM, Far McKon <farmckon at gmail.com> wrote:

> Wil,
> If you have a few extra minutes, can you throw off a thread about what
> and how you got companies to donate to heatsync?  I've not heard a lot
> of corporate donation success stories, and it would be good get info
> on how that worked for you folks. It might be good pointers and
> inspiration for other groups looking for that kind of financial
> backing.
> Thanks & Hack on,
> - Far McKon
> http://www.FarMcKon.net "Creatively Maladjusted"
> On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 11:31 PM, Will Bradley <will at heatsynclabs.org> wrote:
>> We didn't get a single significant donor until we got 501c3 so I
>> highly recommend talking with Space Federation or filing for your
>> status. Many larger companies will not help you unless they get a tax
>> writeoff.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

More information about the Discuss mailing list