[hackerspaces] what fundraising methods have worked best for you?

Josh Pritt ramgarden at gmail.com
Tue Mar 18 00:48:54 CET 2014

At Makers Local 256 they've made a little extra cash with:
1. Pig Roast and Technology Expo. I forget if it was $5 or $10 per plate but all you could eat.  And something like $4 or $8 per plate if you bought two or more plates.  We got a whole roasting pig from a local farm and built a cooking pit from blocks and foil covered plywood on top.  Then other members donated side dishes, chips, soda, tea, desserts, etc.  They had one of the graphic artist members make a cool flyer each year to post all over town and had the local pizza delivery people slip one in on each pizza.  As the public comes by to eat they can walk around the space to see all the tools and projects.  There's also several donation jars all over in each room just in case someone decided it was worth throwing a little extra money towards.

2. Retro Computing and Game night.  Once a year they put the three giant work tables together as one long table and pull out all the old Commodore 64, Tandy, Apple IIe, and Atari computers as well as every manner of video game console made in 2000 or prior.  The soda machine makes plenty of extra cash that night.  They don't charge an entry fee but they do ask for a donation or two if they can spare to keep the place up and running.  The public can also see all the tools and projects if they want.

3. LAN Party.  Once a year they host a LAN party with all the games they want but usually everyone ends up going to TF2, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, and Minecraft.  They always have at least three different contests such as Minecraft resource, Mario Kart tournament, and/or Street Fighter tournament with each 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners getting acrylic laser cut "medals" to take home.  Needless to say the donation jugs are put out VERY prominently that night.  Sometimes they'll bust out the grill and do hot dogs and hamburgers for a few bucks or just order pizza with everyone there chipping in for the slices they eat.

These are the three biggest events I can think of that not only drive extra donations but also getting the word out about the space and adding new members.  Which is the main goal since the more members you have the more income you can count on each month.

Sent from my iPad

On Mar 17, 2014, at 7:00 PM, Paul Brown <paul90brown at gmail.com> wrote:

> Here is the split of Dallas Makerspace's income: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2eh0xwk0vfj4gbe/income_dist.png
> Most income comes from members who pay automatically each month to use the tools and workspace outside of public classes, hackathons, lectures, and workshops. Now that our tools and workspace are impressive, we're getting a lots of new members each month: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fmzjsqo0ldz9ht8/membership_growth.png 
> Selling memberships gives us the cash we need to hire teachers and fund our educational mission in a bigger way. 
> It wasn't always that way though. Initially, a brave souls needed to talk the original group into paying recurring membership dues even though there wasn't a space. It was an investment (and a tax deductible donation).
> Funding 80% of an organization with workshops/classes is going to be a huge burden on a volunteer-only organization. It's super impressive that Artisan's Asylum was able to attract enough instructors to pull it off. They mention it in the "Identifying Income" section of this article that Gui wrote: http://makezine.com/2013/06/04/making-makerspaces-creating-a-business-model/
> On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:06 PM, William Saturno <wsaturno at gmail.com> wrote:
>> From what I learned from talking with others at Artist's Asylum's
>> "Make a Makerspace" Weekend, my own survey shows that many successful
>> spaces have an average revenue split 20% membership dues / 80%
>> Workshops. At CT Hackerspace in Connecticut, we are now working on
>> increasing our workshops to see if there is revenue opportunity.
>> Bill Saturno
>> CTHackerspace.com
>> On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:55 PM, Randall G. Arnold
>> <randall.arnold at texrat.net> wrote:
>> > Greetings all,
>> >
>> > Tarrant Makers just got its 501(c)3 approved and we are in the process of
>> > investigating grants.  Meanwhile, we've been limping along on donation jar,
>> > garage sale and director funding to keep the bank account open, etc.
>> >
>> > We're looking into a variety of other fundraising modes, to wit:
>> >
>> > - community swag (Tee shirts, mugs, etc) starting with Zazzle to get stuff
>> > done quickly, but ultimately wanting community production if we see the
>> > interest
>> > - raffles
>> > - angel donors (one approached so far; no response yet, considering others)
>> >
>> > I'm also curious about member consulting, with a percentage plowed into the
>> > org, but people seem lukewarm on the idea so far.
>> >
>> > Anyway, I'd love to hear from you all on what is working for you and even
>> > what hasn't worked.  One mode that has not worked well for us at all is a
>> > paypal link on our site: despite several appeals, it goes unclicked for the
>> > most part.  Anyone else had success with Paypal (or similar)?  What about
>> > crowdfunding tools?
>> >
>> > We're partnering with educational and civic organizations for makerspaces,
>> > so no expense on our part there, but we would like an office and a
>> > promotions budget, for starters.  I estimate needing $30,000 or so per year,
>> > minimum, based on lease rates and wishlists.
>> >
>> > Assuming we land one or more grants, initial funding could be largely just a
>> > bootstrap...
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> >
>> > Randy Arnold, Tarrant Makers
>> > http://tarrantmakers.org
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
>> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>> >
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