We received a Twitter request and a query during a recent presentation about funding for makerspaces. Here are some ideas:
Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) – This is the federal government’s funding agency for museums and libraries. New funding for libraries include STEM and Learning Spaces in Libraries. They have stated that they prefer to fund capacity-building (e.g., professional development, staff growth) over equipment, however.
Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com – Can you create a great video pitch for why your community needs what you plan to purchase? And, perhaps, time it so you can publicize it in your next round of marketing materials? Can you set up a dedicated station in your library near the front door where people can pledge? Then this crowdfunding avenue might be right for you.
Donors Choose for educators – a crowdfunding site for teachers
Library Grants blog – posts links to available grants
TechSoup – A not-for-profit that connects other nonprofits, charities, foundations, or public libraries with “technology products and services, plus teh free learning resources you need to make informed technology decisions and investments.””
Sometimes, if you partner with another organization, you can find a synergy that allows you to pool your resources. Maybe you have a great room full of tables, free parking, and time on Sunday evenings when the library is closed and the site is dormant. Maybe you can partner with an organization that has a supplies budget but nowhere to meet. Consider how you might work collaboratively with one of the groups below with existing resources or by partnering together on a grant.
Local makerspaces and hackerspaces
Local hardware stores
Local robotics, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, pottery, or other arts and crafts groups
Local writers and illustrators groups
Chamber of Commerce
Service organizations (Kiwanis, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, etc.)
University programs and student groups
Retirees and/or independent living facilities
Local/regional economic development authorities
Local theatre groups who have money to buy supplies for productions but need volunteers to help make props, costumes, and sets
Large corporations or universities who regularly discard technology and other equipment (see Cory Doctorow’s post on Raincoast Books for inspiration)
Thanks to John Burke’s Makerspace Resources page for reminding us of some funding ideas!
– Kristin Fontichiaro