Community Network Do-It-Yourself Toolkit > Research Financial Sustainability

6. Research
Financial Sustainability

Community Network Do-It-Yourself Toolkit >

6. Research Financial Sustainability

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How do you fund your community network over the long term?

While grants and donations may be available to start up a community network, relying on this kind of funding is not sustainable over a long period of time. A great bit of work will be needed to develop a business model that works for your situation to ensure that the people, technologies, and processes are able to operate over time in a sustainable manner.

Key Points

  • Different funding and income models often apply across the distinct start-up, mentoring, and mature operational phases of a community network. Costs, revenue streams, and needs evolve across these stages.
  • While charging user fees or service costs generates income, these costs must balance community values and realistic ability to pay.
  • Developing financial efficiencies alongside sufficient income streams enables long-term sustainability.
  • Detailed financial projections help thoroughly test ideas and business models, but projections should be thoroughly grounded in full operational reality.
  • Strategic approaches like localized income generation and shared services with other networks can positively impact sustainability.

Take Action

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Undertake market research. Determine what people are currently spending for connectivity and what affordability limits there may be.

Three women looking at the paper

List the initial types of costs to set up and run the community network.

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Develop a solid financial plan.

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Research available grants.

Learn More

Next -> 7. Decide on Organization Structure

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