This is a learning project to study fundraising, how it is done and how it is tracked.
Funding is the lifeblood of any venture -- without some money, there is no way to pay for lights and heat that allow a meeting space to be used.
Most modern funding takes the form of project funding -- money given for a certain project with a certain duration. Some organizations are endowments, whereby a large amount of money is invested, and the earnings that money makes is used to run the yearly "operating" budget.
Types of Funding/Fundraising
Initially, we are going to look into the area of grant funding, where a funding agency requires a proposal to affect a certain well-defined set of goals.
Later on, we could review the process of formal fundraising, whereby entities raise small amounts of money by public appeal.
Motivation for fundraising: Vision
To effectively raise funds, organizations need a vision of what the purpose for the funds will be. Often this is a project scope, but many times it can be the sole purpose for an organization. With a vision, the organization requiring funding can field a budget and build a proposal which can be submitted to various funding agencies.
A few years ago I conducted research on money creation.
- I tried filling out checks in various ways. I tried poking holes in checks and tearing checks. I tried drawing a line after my name and after numbers. I bounced checks.
- Because of it, I got on a blacklist called ChexSystems. Banks won’t let people on this list have a bank account.
- I found that banks always consider a check to be an instruction to send money from your checking account to who you wrote the check for. They don’t accept the check itself as money.
- I then tried asking them for money. I found out they loan money. They want the money back with interest. Yes, that doesn’t make sense. However, that’s what they do.
- I got kicked out of the building a couple of times. I kept going back, asking them to give me money, trying various mysterious phrases such as “have an account.” They started posting a uniformed security guard. So, it wasn’t how I worded the question. They don’t give money, and they don’t accept my say-so as money.
- I then read the web site of a Bank to find out about grants. They only give grants to non-profit organizations and then only to the ones they want to.
- I started reading a book on non-profit organizations. It turns out the founder of the non-profit organization can get fired by it and can’t be a director forever. Second, non-profit businesses are a lot of work. In other words, the bank won't grant money unless you work for the money. Yes, that doesn’t make sense. However, that’s what they do.
Ideas for Grants
Video (in conjunctions with Wikinews) - This is the current focus. Hoping to incorporate this as an "outreach" proposal.
Writing bounties of some sort
Study of how a large Internet site deploys software (MediaWiki for Wikimedia projects)
- $2 Million Digital Media and Learning Competition
- Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
- Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) Grants
- A wiki grant for 300K
- Scionline.org's government grant to run their site info
- Grants by Category
- Science and Technology Grants.
- Art Grants
- Community Development Grants
- Other Grants
- Energy Grants
- Education Grants
- Business and Commerce Grants
- Agricultural Grants
There is also an IRC channel dedicated to Wikimedia fundraising at: #wikimedia-fundraising (on Freenode)
Steps to follow:
- Write for Application forms and guides
- Call a past grantee
- Call a past reviewer
- Contact the program officer
State the problem you are addressing, and how the project will meet the grantor's objectives with regards to this project.
Resources for writing grants
- Resources for writing grants for JISC - some useful analyses of previous grants, and thing to keep in mind for putting together a successful bid
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - committed to raising the high school graduation rate and helping students get ready for college and work.
- Richard Lounsbery Foundation - has in the past supported the Wikimedia Foundation; supports elementary and secondary science and math education.
- MacArthur Foundation - Digital Media, Learning and Education.
- Nolo Guide to Non-Profits.
- National Endowment for Humanities digital projects
- KLD Research & Analytics "...the leading authority on social research and indexes for institutional investors." See w:Amy Domini
- NASA Cash Prize Competitions
- Cambrian House - Crowd sourcing and eventually micro-funding
- Google Grants