[hackerspaces] How to make money to sustain a hackerspace

dosman dosman at packetsniffers.org
Mon Dec 8 05:39:58 CET 2014

A lot of good stuff has been sent through on this. However, here is my 2 cents. I'd avoid doing any fundraiser that involves you spending a whole lot of money (like a pig roast, no offence). If your turnout is low you could be stuck with the extra cost of the food on top of the financial issues you already have. If you are already doing ok then yea something like a pig roast is an acceptable risk. Also, absolutely no foundations or grant programs will provide funds for things like rent or overhead. Why? Because no one wants to throw money at a sinking ship (an organization that can't pay it's monthly bills), money will only be sent to a ship that is already floating and headed somewhere. Then it becomes a question of getting the donor on board and excited to participate financially. Personally, at our space I've never seen electronics kits amount to much, but I'm sure other spaces see better turnaround on this.

Monthly dues are what our space operates on. In a pinch, when dues have not been enough to cover our monthly expenses, we've had some high end classes which have covered the shortfall. A couple of times now a member held a 8-15 week C programming class at ~$100 per person. If you know what people in your area want to learn focus on that. Soldering classes are another common workshop we'll run. You can also have dinner fundraisers at restaurants where the business will donate 10-20% of the receipts for the evening to your group. But that requires a 501c3 (or a fiscal sponsor like the School Factory). Just find out if there is a minimum amount required for them to pay out. Fundraisers like this are not a fast way to raise extra cash, but if you can do 3-4 a year it can help and they are a great way to advertise (AND they are fun). Last but not least, and this is completely off the wall, but selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door is probably the most profitable way to raise money for a non-profit. Albeit I've never done that, and it doesn't seem like a lot of fun to do, but magazine fundraiser programs can raise WAY more money than about any other "traditional" non-profit fundraising activity. I know if I had to choose between selling magazines though and having some more workshops I'd throw together a dozen workshops before I'd try selling door-to-door.

Hope that is useful.

On Dec 7, 2014, at 12:09 PM, Florencia Edwards wrote:

> What do you do in day to day activities to earn money for the hackerspace? We have memberships and workshops but its not enough to maintain it. We are in crisis. Do you sell electronic kits, our kits you make there? Any idea is good. Thanks
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