Productive diversity of funding sources is important. It reduces your lab’s vulnerability to reliance on one partner and gives the opportunity to build a network of strong partnerships. If someone is funding you at 70% or more then they can effectively direct what you do. There are limits to productive diversity though, if you have too many partner relationships and agendas to manage then it can take you away from your core activities.
Sequencing and stacking funding sources - LED Lab has been skillful in sequencing and stacking funding sources over the course of their lab, understanding which sources are most appropriate to what stage of the lab and matching the agendas of funders and sponsors intelligently to the objectives of the lab. Labs’ multi-pronged value proposition of systemic innovations, citizen empowerment and community connectedness make this possible.
Funders can be engaged in learning how to resource labs. Edmonton Shift Lab had a staff member of the Edmonton Community Foundation embedded in their stewardship team for the first year of operations, realising that labs are a promising model for social change but that their current processes would make it hard for labs to get funding. Read what they learned here.
Funding can come from unusual sources. Insurance companies are now investing heavily in climate action.
Who will fund the generational shift? To be most effective, labs need secure funding over multiple years to enable us to get to the depth of relationships and innovation we exist for.
Who in the status quo sees the reason to fund your shift of status quo?
Private sector sponsorship
In-kind and pro-bono support
Consulting and fee for service
Government funding (Municipal, Provincial, Federal)
Loans and social finance
Mitacs (match-funding for placing graduate students)