Make Money for Makerspace

Make Money for Makerspace

Usually, new trends in education target a specific age group. Makerspace learning has been picking up steam over the last decade across all levels of education – from elementary schools to universities – making it an important curriculum, budget, and space consideration of educators and schools for all ages.

It is referred to in many ways: maker movement, maker learning, makerspace, and more. No matter the moniker you use, it’s one of the top trends in education and it’s growing in momentum. At the most basic level, maker education focuses on learning rather than teaching. It’s about making things hands-on and collaborating to find the best solutions.

You can find makerspaces in rooms, libraries, classrooms, dorms, and even businesses. (One school district even created a mobile makerspace vehicle to travel around to its various schools.) Makerspaces can focus on one area (i.e., art) or several (i.e., science, technology, engineering, art, and music). Even the NY Board of Education is getting in on makerspace bandwagon, with a $5 million grant to the City College of New York.

Today,  there are more schools with makerspaces than schools that don’t have them. After all, they’ve been shown to have a positive impact on creativity, collaboration, communication, and problem-solving – all critical skills for the future. Three key considerations for creating and managing a makerspace:

  • Materials & Tools: Identify what materials you need (i.e., paper, markers, tape, pipe cleaners, material, yarn, etc.) and what tools (i.e., hammer, sewing machine, glue gun, software, goggles, aprons, etc.) and how many students you’ll have.
  • Staffing: Who is going to organize, manage and run the makerspace? Will you need full-time staff, part-time staff, or volunteers? What kind of training or professional development will they need?
  • Physical Space & Infrastructure: What kind of space do you need? Where can you get it? Does it have or will you need to purchase basics like tables and chairs and cleaning equipment, or will you need to purchase them? As for infrastructure, you’ll want to be able to schedule sessions and people; track inventory and budgets; and document/digitalize anything else that will help manage and streamline daily operations.

Perhaps the biggest consideration is funding. Many schools start small and build support, supplies, and funding over time. There are several different avenues to pursue funding. You may want to solicit supplies and funding from local businesses, organizations, and art groups. Consider holding donation drives, for everything from knitting and art supplies to tools and building materials. The end of the school year is the perfect time to let teachers, parents, and students know where they can bring any unused or unwanted supplies – the makerspace area. And there’s always crowdsourcing through organizations like GoFundMe or

Look for opportunities to recycle – it’s a great way to stock up on materials while supporting your district’s go green goals. Also, check out upcycling organizations like  ReCreate and RAFT for ideas and supplies at a serious discount.

Grants big and small are available through businesses big and small – especially if their mission links to the focus of your makerspace. Also considering partnering with other functions in the school (i.e., the library) to leverage investments and equipment. has a number of free resources to help you get started and grow. The NY State Education Department includes numerous resources including how to get started from scratch, funding strategies, and even case studies revealing how places like Wappingers School District are growing makers education through all grades and schools.

While you’re focusing on how to build, expand, or maintain your school’s makerspace, let RBT CPAs help by focusing on related accounting and tax requirements and reporting. We are a leading accounting and tax firm in the Hudson Valley and New York. (We’re also among the top 250 nationally.) We have experience working with numerous educational institutions. Give us a call to find out how we can help you today.