American Spaces Support Funds
The Office of American Spaces provides funding for American Spaces worldwide. Each year, the Office sends information about American Spaces Support Funds to embassies and consulates worldwide. Partner American Spaces staff should work with their contacts at the embassy or consulate to identify needs that could be addressed with funding. The embassy or consulate will submit a support funds proposal to the Office of American Spaces on the behalf of its American Spaces typically in the fall. The review panel includes various offices in Washington that make recommendations on funding in the areas of programs, technology, media and content, and the look and feel of American Spaces. Priority American Spaces are eligible to also request support funds for staffing and building renovations.
All American Spaces are eligible to request support funds by meeting the basic requirements of regularly submitting statistics on their visitors and programs; maintaining a valid MOU for American Corners, and reporting the level of performance based on the American Spaces Standards.
In-kind support, such as services, supplies or free help, is a way to increase the impact of American Spaces through visitors, volunteers and the local community. Many individuals and groups can’t donate cash or are uncomfortable doing so, but, if asked, would be happy to give supplies, run a program or lend a hand at an event. Local stakeholders who want to see their American Spaces succeed can increase their visibility with in-kind support. The American Spaces benefit tremendously by developing allies and building credibility and respect, besides receiving goods and services from the people in the community. In-kind supporters may also steer you to other sources of in-kind support you may not have known.
Note that in some jurisdictions, outright donations of cash to an American Space may raise attention from the local tax authorities.
Types of in-kind donations
- Goods – tangible items that include equipment, furniture, books, DVDs, space (including maintenance and utilities) and food that people bring to regular meetings or events
- Services – construction and renovation, printing, public relations or promotional activities
- Volunteers – people who give their time free of charge
Planning for solicitation of in-kind support
As you approach potential contributors, it is important to remember that you not only seek something from them, but you also offer them an opportunity to put their organization in a positive light to a large audience. When communicating with potential donors, do your homework and be prepared to explain the benefits of being associated with your American Space.
Plan how you will approach members of your community to ask for non-cash resources. Do your members have good contact with particular businesses, companies, institutions or individuals? Think positively and creatively. In some ways, seeking in-kind support is less intimidating than asking for money. Some businesses are looking for ways to show their involvement and generosity toward their community.
After soliciting in-kind support
Keep a careful accounting of the monetary values of your in-kind solicitations. This will be important for your American Space when you work with the embassy/consulate and request support funds. See the sample tracking list below.
Also, be sure to write thank you notes to your donors for their contributions.