Funding your STEM club
The great thing about looking for potential sources of funding is that it encourages you to be creative about what you do with your club.
What does your STEM club offer that could benefit a potential donor? Is it money you need, or could some in-kind support be just as useful?
And if you are turned down? Ask why you were unsuccessful and try a different approach to get lucky next time.
Here are some ideas about where you could start your search:
Try looking for… school priorities
- Do you know what your school’s priorities are? Make sure you tell senior management how your STEM club could contribute towards them.
- How could your STEM club contribute to STEM department improvement plans (DIP)?
- Could the club form part of the school’s after-school extended services provision, or its work with partner schools?
- Can you build your STEM club in to the whole school improvement plan (SIP) for example, by improving provision for learning outside the classroom?
Try looking for… external organisations
- Locally-based technology / engineering / manufacturing firms may be more willing to offer benefit in kind (e.g. staff time, workshop space, materials or equipment loans).
- Financial support may be more forthcoming if you can offer something of value to them in return (e.g. advertising in a prospectus, media photo opportunities, work experience students, etc).
- When negotiating, get the name of a person who is responsible for corporate social responsibility or sponsorship and deal with them directly.
- The Holmes Hines memorial fund is available to support activities related to science and engineering. The Royal Society partnership grants supports partnerships between scientists and schools and may be appropriate for your club.
- Always make sure your request matches the organisation’s funding criteria. Be specific about what you want and what you can offer. Apply in good time, and ask for guidance from the organisation before you apply. For example, the Royal Society of Chemistry has a Small Grants Scheme if your activity engages with the wider community.
Try looking for… fundraising opportunities
- For special projects the club could make a matched-funding offer (i.e. “we raise X, you donate X”).
- Come up with a project to make or grow something and sell it for a profit.
- Offer to save the school money in one area (e.g. through an environmental project to reduce the school’s energy use) for a proportion of the savings in return.
ASDC – Fundraising for STEM Clubs
The Association for Science and Discovery Centres has put together a comprehensive fundraising guide for STEM Clubs. You can see it here.