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1. Introduction 1

2. The vision of the new STEM club 1

3. List and structure the cost items 3

4. Allocation of specific costs to cost items 5

5. Where do the funds for the planned budget come from? 7

6. A brief digression on tax issues 8



  1. Introduction

The financial planning and the calculation of a budget for a STEM club arise - as ultimately with all smaller and larger projects - from a factual conception that is as detailed as possible.

This planning usually has to be done in several successive steps:

•     Concretisation of the idea or vision in a concept,

•     Derive the resources necessary for this, 

•     Allocation of cost blocks and direct costs, and 

•     Consideration of how to cover the costs.

Therefore, proceed step by step in your planning and successively work out the concept and the financial planning.


   2. The vision of the new STEM club


TIP: If you already have more concrete ideas about your STEM club (e.g. from working on the previous chapters), you can omit working on this step or just check whether the following aspects are sufficiently reflected in your conception.


Every plan starts with the idea of what is to be done. The clearer and more detailed this can be presented, the better financial needs can be derived from it. Therefore, as a first step, deal with basic questions for your STEM club. 

These fundamental questions include:


  • What should the goal of your STEM club be?

    • Who or what do you want to reach with your STEM club? 

    • Which STEM education area would you like to strengthen? 

    • In which (possibly different) specialist topics do you want to arouse interest? 

    • What professional quality is to be achieved (e.g. arousing interest, laying foundations or working on concrete research content in the longer term)? 

    • Does the offer have an informative, simple scientific, craft-like or technical character? Or is concrete research the goal?

    • What longer-term results would you like to see

    • What is a suitable size for your STEM club (user numbers, number of trainers, times of use, extent / number of rooms used, frequency of use)?

  • How can the subject content of your STEM club be described?
    The range of possible STEM clubs is extraordinarily wide. Mathematics, computer science, natural science and technology include a wide variety of sub-disciplines: technical fields such as robotics, sensor technology or automation technology; biological subsections such as microbiology, genetics, medicine or environmental biology; chemical or physical disciplines; or even subsections of computer science and mathematics. Many subject areas are interdisciplinary and have points of contact with different subject areas. It must first be worked out in which specific subject areas your activities should lie. This usually depends strongly on your goals as well as basic possibilities or resources, and is thus often largely predetermined.

  • Where could your STEM club take place? 

    • Do you need one or more rooms?

    • Is it a classroom, seminar room, specialist laboratory, workshop or otherwise suitable space? 

    • Does this space already exist or does it have to be found first? 

    • What condition is the room likely to be in? 

    • Are there structural requirements? Are fundamental repairs or important conversions necessary? 

    • Is there suitable furniture or other practical equipment already in place?

    • Is the room still needed/used for other purposes?

    • To what extent is the room utilised on a daily or weekly basis?

  • Who is involved in the STEM club activities?

    • Who are the learners and how many of them are there?

    • What is the age range for participation? 

    • Who are the teachers? What expertise do they have?

    • Are additional helpers or supervisors needed?

    • Plan with private, personal involvement or with people from other partner organisations (e.g. from schools, research institutions, universities, companies, laboratories, etc.)

  • Which equipment should be used?

    • Does your STEM club need to be fundamentally redesigned? 

    • Are there basic kits that can be used? 

    • What general furniture and specific equipment is needed? 

  • Do certain safety aspects have to be taken into account?

    • Is there any special equipment required for the safe operation of the STEM club?

    • Is special medical and fire protection equipment required? 

    • Do protective, transport or ventilation facilities have to be provided?

    • Are materials for occupational safety (goggles, protective clothing, containers, etc.) needed?

  • What aspects need to be considered for ongoing operation?

These include

  • the supply of energy and media (lighting, power supply, heating, water, internet, telephone, ...) 

  • regular cleaning of rooms or maintenance of equipment, 

  • additional sanitary requirements - e.g. washing, changing, disinfection or similar, 

  • usage planning and access control, 

  • the appropriate storage of intermediate results or

  • the disposal of residual materials.

  • Timing issues:

    • How often does your STEM club take place? 

    • How long do the activities last in each case?

    • Would you like to be active weekly or in a shorter/longer frequency? 

    • Does only one group use the offer, or do several groups or teams use it?

    • If applicable, do several offers take place on different days per week?

    • How long should the offer take place for participants (e.g. one year, one school year or even longer)? When do participants leave and when do new participants join?

    • Are you planning peer activities where, for example, older people give assistance to younger people?

    • Are there references to other time requirements (e.g. school year, holidays)?

    • How do you want your STEM club to develop? For example, should it grow successively over time?

  • What structures do you envisage?

    • Does your STEM club need an annual plan or curriculum?

    • Should results be available at certain times (e.g. for competition entries or presentations)?

    • Do all activities take place in the same place or are there also excursions, competitions, participation in events, company visits, etc.?

  • What kind of consumption (materials, energy, supplies, experiments) do you expect?

    • Are there materials to be consumed on a regular basis?

    • How high is this consumption likely to be?

    • What needs to be re-procured and how often? Are these consumptions cost-relevant?

    • Are procurement periods / deadlines / expiry dates to be observed?


TIP: Write down all your ideas on the above questions and other aspects if necessary! The more detailed you are, the better it is for all further planning. Do not remain alone in this! Discuss with colleagues or like-minded people. Work together and discuss your ideas, variants and options with others!


Congratulations! You now have more clarity about your plans. Now comes the next part, in which cost items and costs are determined.





    3. List and structure the cost items

In the next step, you should successively estimate which cost items you expect in the future. To do this, you first need a cost structure that you can develop from your vision. This structure will be refined as needed during the course of the calculations as you gain new insights.

Work out a structure according to the following example and adapt it successively to your own requirements. Try to name as many likely cost items as possible. Act independently of whether you can already estimate who will actually pay for these costs. The question of possible "funding" will be discussed later.

Modify the resulting structure according to your specific needs - for example, add main items and sub-items and omit items you do not need.


TIP: For a small STEM club, a simple structure is certainly sufficient. The more extensive your ideas are, the more complex and extensive the cost structure will be. When structuring costs, also think about the time periods in which you would like to operate your STEM club in the future.

Example of developing a cost structure of a STEM club

  1. Personnel costs for the STEM club

    1. Speakers / Instructors

      1. Person 1

      2. Person 2

    2. Support staff

      1. Person 1

      2. Person 2

  2. Investments for the STEM club

    1. Conversion costs of the room to be used

      1. Construction measure 1

      2. Construction measure 2

    2. Furniture

      1. Furniture 1

      2. Furniture 2

    3. Technical equipment

      1. Device / Machine 1

      2. Device / Machine 2

  3. Material and operating costs of the STEM club

    1. Consumption costs

      1. Electrical energy

      2. Heating

      3. Water consumption

      4. Internet

      5. Phone

      6. Cleaning

      7. Postal dispatch

    2. Consumables

      1. Consumables 1

      2. Consumables 2

    3. Other material costs

      1. Other material costs 1

      2. Other material costs 2

    4. Travel costs

      1. Excursion 1

      2. Excursion 2



TIP: Use the spreadsheet into which we have transferred this exemplary structure. Adapt it for your own purposes and add to and design it as you wish. Note that individual cells contain formulas (e.g. addition or summation). You may also need to adjust the references in these cells when you make your changes. Keep an eye on the plausibility of automatically determined values.


Now you have developed an initial structure of likely cost items for your STEM club. You can refine or change these as necessary in the further course of your planning. In order to arrive at a viable calculation, the concrete costs must be determined for all positions in the next step.



   4. Allocation of specific costs to cost items

After you have roughly planned your cost structure, actual or expected costs are now to be placed there. 

Make initial vague estimates for each item. Replace these later step by step with concretely determined amounts. For example, use online research, obtain price quotations or have individual amounts determined by experts.


To do this, transfer your cost structure to a spreadsheet or use the table provided. This table is your tool to further calculate the costs you expect.


We have the following suggestions for working with a spreadsheet:

  • Provide (at least) a separate line for each cost item. 

  • Add additional sub-items whenever you find that your structure is still too vague. 

  • Use addition and summation formulae to determine partial and total sums. This makes it easier for you to calculate automatically when making additions to your calculation. 

  • Highlight fields with formulas in colour to avoid accidental overwriting.

  • Use additional fields for comments and remarks, such as 

    • the basis of your price determination (estimate, online research, offer, etc.) 

    • the date of your research

    • the provider or providers of the service

    • information on the binding nature of the determined price

  • Design your spreadsheet in such a way that

  • the table remains clear,

  • others can find their way around your calculation,

  • the table can also be printed out


Now gradually determine realistic and actual expected costs for each individual item. Now replace your initial estimates with these concretely determined costs. Anticipate that you will need to involve others in your costing or that they will want to understand the costing.

Your completed costing is the basis for the future budget you will need for your STEM club. With this, you can go in search of donors - the financial comrades-in-arms for your STEM club, so to speak - or provide your existing partners with the necessary financial data.


Further notes on special aspects of costing:

  • Deviations from the calculation in practical implementation:
    A cost calculation always "only" represents a plan. In the actual operation of your STEM club, there are previously unknown influences that also lead to deviations from the plans. If, for example, the period between cost determination and implementation is very long, this can result in cost increases in individual items. However, comparable projects often have a fixed budget that cannot be exceeded. Anticipate that you will have to offset increases in individual cost items with savings in other cost items - or find additional sources to cover such cost increases.

  • Timing of costs:
    For some STEM club operators, but also funders or other stakeholders, the allocation of expected costs to time periods (e.g. to financial years) is relevant. This is especially true for long-term and multi-year projects. In this case, it becomes additionally important when you want to make which expenditures at the beginning of the project or in the course of the project.

  • Depreciation:
    In the case of investments, i.e. higher-value acquisitions or conversions, depreciation may also have to be taken into account with which the acquisition costs are distributed over the period of use. In such cases, you should seek appropriate professional advice to clarify the relevance and implementation for your STEM club.

  • Complexity of the project: The more complex and elaborate your project is, the more detailed questions need to be clarified - and the more support you may need from other people.



   5. Where do the funds for the planned budget come from?

In this chapter, we will look at ways of where the necessary funding to run your STEM club can come from. Suitable opportunities for this are certainly extremely important for all STEM enthusiasts.

There are, of course, no universally valid "recipes" for raising necessary funds that are, moreover, valid throughout Europe. In general, funding depends on the legal status of the organisation that wants to run the STEM club and its own funding bases. Public institutions (e.g. schools) finance themselves differently than associations or companies. Non-profit organisations (e.g. with an educational purpose) have different funding possibilities than profit-oriented organisations.

It is also important whether one or more partners are to be involved in the financing. Smaller projects may be able to get by with a single donor, while more complex projects may require mixed financing. 

In addition, it is important whether they would like to acquire additional funds on a one-off basis or for a temporary project, or whether they are aiming for permanent, recurring or regular funding.

Now use your previously created list of commitment items again. Check for which items you already have an initial or advanced idea for a suitable funder. This can be their own organisation as well as an external partner who can provide this resource. 

For each item, make a note of who you think might be suitable.

When considering the acquisition of financial resources, they should first and foremost involve actors who have a vested interest in the desired results.

For example: 

  • Companies with STEM skills needs (sponsorship/donations),

  • Parents with a special STEM educational interest for their children (participation fees / donations),

  • Municipalities involved in (meaningful) leisure activities for young people (public youth welfare),

  • Universities and vocational training organisations that regularly need new, STEM-oriented learners (rooms, labs, equipment, skilled staff)

  • (International) organisations that share an interest in methodological and professional exchange (joint project work, e.g. ERASMUS plus)

  • Those responsible in sectors with a shortage of skilled workers who have a particular interest in future STEM specialists. In addition to employers, these can also be chambers or other specific organisations responsible for business promotion or regional development, for example. (Public support / promotion)

  • A generally interested larger professional audience (crowdfunding)

  • Foundations that are active in your region and are suitable for your project (funding through foundation grants)

The range of partners who can financially support, assist or (partially) sponsor a STEM club is therefore very broad. Here are some more options 

  • City / municipality 

  • Public foundations

  • National support programmes (education, volunteering)

  • European funding (ERASMUS Plus) and bilateral European cooperation programmes

  • Specific European programmes, e.g. for the development of rural regions (EAFRD, LEADER) or for cooperation in border regions (INTERREG)

  • Companies, research institutions 

  • Private individuals

  • Participants (or their families)

  • Own organisation as sponsor of the STEM club



Do not underestimate the role of parents, grandparents and wider families. These often have a special interest in additional education and development of the children/grandchildren. Individual parents can, for example, make an additional contribution to the STEM club due to their professional situation. Company owners, but also senior managers, are often willing to facilitate a suitable additional contribution to their STEM club.



Have you been able to assign a donor to each item? Then take the next steps and initiate the involvement of these partners in your STEM club. Talk to the people in charge, inform them about their project, pass on their concept in an appropriate way. Plan the next concrete activities.


Are you still missing a good idea for individual items? Reach out to others around them, discuss their vision and the challenges that remain unresolved. Collect more ideas for the advancement of your STEM club and close the remaining funding gaps together with others!



   6. A brief digression on tax issues

Whether you need to consider additional tax aspects depends on many factors. This includes the legal status of the supporting organisation of your STEM club, the financial scope of your planned activities and, if applicable, your funding model. Binding statements can therefore only be made by tax advisors or tax authorities. A few general aspects concerning tax issues are listed below:

  • STEM clubs in the sense discussed here are educational institutions. Education is one of the tax-privileged purposes in many countries. Often tax issues are therefore relevant to a lesser extent.

  • Depending on whether you generate income (e.g. participation fees or charges), you must also check whether income tax or VAT may be due. Also check any exemption limits.

  • The nature of your sponsoring organisation also determines which types of tax could become relevant. Public institutions (e.g. schools) or private institutions (e.g. companies) are to be assessed differently, for example

  • Possible sponsors of a STEM club can be many organisations - take public schools, tax-privileged associations or non-profit educational organisations, foundations, but also independent free market companies that make taxable profits, for example.


If you are unsure about tax issues, you should consult appropriate people in your organisation. In addition, you can also check with a tax advisor if necessary. If required, you should include expected taxes or even tax advice costs in your calculations as separate items.


2. The vision_de
3. List and structure
4. Allocation of specific
5. Where do the funds
6. A brif digrassion
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