Some of this will echo what Tiffany said, but I want to share here my thoughts as well.
We are so glad you asked! It takes a fair bit of money to run a group this size and to keep our meetings free and open to the public. Every month our membership grows, the number of people we are serving grows, our reach extends and our hearts swell with love for this community we have formed.
Lending library membership fees do help support our mission, in addition to being put towards growing the lending library, but in order to keep those membership fees low, we fundraise a few times throughout the year. We don't want to raise membership fees and in the last 4 1/2 years we have not had to because our members have supported our fundraising efforts and always made them a success. From T-shirts to garage sales, to decals and donation drives, we have raised money and had fun doing it. We have bought huge numbers of carriers for the lending library this way. We have given carriers to families in need through the generosity of our community. We have been able to serve our community at events other than our own. And we owe it all to the support of our members.
Part of our current big fundraising push is also to help pay for continuing education for our instructors. We feel that it is a major benefit to our group and our community for our instructors to keep abreast of current research and teaching techniques. The majority of the time our instructors pay for all of their training out of their own pockets. When Ashley and I went to Houston, Texas in 2013 to take classes to become Certified Babywearing Educators, we felt your support and know you understand the importance of good education. We collected donations and held multiple weekends of garage sales and covered about half of the cost of the classes. But it is our love for what we are able to share with our community that had us covering the travel and the rest of the class fees out of pocket. Whatever we don't raise now, we will end up paying for ourselves. We feel strongly that this education is an important benefit to our group. Everything that out instructors learn will be brought back to BWAT to the benefit of our members. Much of our current meeting structure came from things we learned in classes or ideas we had because of classes. We want to continue to be the best for you! Training and continuing education is important in every field and no less so in Babywearing, a field where the research is moving at lightening speeds right now.
We are so close to meeting our fundraising goal for this spring. If you can donate, even just a couple of dollars, it is very very much appreciated. http://goo.gl/forms/ygxaLF2pnY
(Donations can be made anytime but donations qualifying for entries into our prize drawing must be made before 8pm central time on Wednesday April 20th)
Somer Johnson is a Babywearing enthusiast and Momma to Bitsy and Squeaker, two bundles of energy. She is a Babywearing Institute Certified Babywearing Educator. She is also addicted to cloth diapers and makes and sells wool dryer balls as SomerKnits. Occasionally she also carves out some time to knit, spin or weave - her main pre-baby passions.