If you have already decided that it is necessary for your Dojo to fundraise and you have checked that it is possible under your local legislation that you can fundraise, there are many ways in which you can get started.
One of the most important aspects of CoderDojo is that it is free and inclusive for all to attend. When thinking about fundraising methods, Champions and fundraising volunteers should make sure that the fundraising method chosen does not put people under pressure to donate or contribute if they cannot afford to.
Some ideas for fundraising include;
- Fundraising through grants
- Corporate Sponsorship (In-kind & Monetary)
- Fundraising in the Dojo
Read more about each of these below.
Funding Through Grants
Dojos have been known to acquire grants and funding from local government bodies, educational bodies and tech initiative funds. If your Dojo is in need of funds it is worthwhile to explore if any of these options might be available in your area.
Types of corporate sponsorship:
Sponsorship in Kind
This could mean having products or services donated such as a space, technical mentors, equipment, wifi access etc. We recommend that Dojos opt for sponsorship in kind over fiscal sponsorship if it is available as dealing with money complicated Dojo operation significantly and creates more work for the Champions.
You are free to accept donations/sponsorship from local organisations and corporations to cover Dojo costs (eg. insurance) or for investing in your Dojo (eg. equipment).
Fundraising at a Dojo
Not all Dojos are able to secure corporate sponsorship, be it in kind or through donations, so in order to cover Dojo costs that may occur there are numerous ways for Dojos to generate funds.
Donations from parents
In order for CoderDojo to be open and free to all who wish to attend it is important that no parent ever feels that they must contribute financially as this will lead to feelings of exclusion and goes against the CoderDojo Ethos. What is recommended is that Champions make a general announcement relating the reason why donations are needed and leave a collection jar/tin/bucket for people to contribute to freely if they can. It is imperative that parents/guardians do not feel pressured into donating as this goes against the ethos of CoderDojo. Also reach out to active Dojo parents to help with organising fundraising events.
Some Dojos have found that they can make all the money they need to cover their costs for the year through running a weekly ‘Tuck Shop’ where they sell fruit, chocolate, soft drinks/sodas, crisps/chips etc. Again please try to ensure that parents/young people do not feel obliged to participate in this.
Local CoderDojo Showcase
If you have a need to raise funds for a certain purpose or project then a good option to consider could be running a local CoderDojo showcase and invite attendees families and local businesses. Once or twice a year your Dojo could have a showcase where all the regular Dojo attendees can show off their projects and tell all the Dojo visitors what they’ve been up to. There could be a bake sale on, a collection bucket clearly visible or a suggested donation for showcase visitors to contribute to the Dojo. If trying something like this it is important to ensure that donations are optional and that no families feel excluded due to not being able to afford to attend.
Create a wish list for your Dojo
If you would like for people to be able to contribute to support your Dojo but would rather not deal with money, a good option to deal with it could be to create a wish list for your Dojo of things that you could use in your Dojo.
Other options for raising funds include:
- CoderDojo Bake Sale
- CoderDojo Coffee Morning
- Dress down days at work
- CoderDojo Fun Run
- Quiz Night for CoderDojo
- World record beating attempt
If fundraising internally within the Dojo then it is imperative that Dojo attendees, and their families, do not feel pressured into giving money as this goes against the CoderDojo ethos of being free, open and available to all irrelevants of their economic circumstances.
What are the laws around fundraising?
Different jurisdictions have hugely different legislation regarding fundraising. For this reason if you are seeking sponsorship it is imperative that you check your regional legislation regarding fundraising. Some regional examples include. In the USA fundraising is regulated in 39 states requiring a charitable organisations to register with their state before engaging in fundraising activities. More on USA here. You can see an overview of fundraising legislation for the charity sector in Ireland here.