Maker Expo 2020

Maker Expo is a diverse family-friendly showcase of makers, artists & organizations who create amazing things in celebration of the do-it-yourself spirit.

Maker Expo is FREE to attend, FREE to participate in, has FREE parking, and is on major GRT transit routes.
Our goal is to remove as many barriers as possible that might stop someone from trying something new or learning a new hobby. Guests of all ages will get the opportunity to try many different kinds of making from textiles to fighting robots, from woodworking to electronics and everything in between.

Our next event will be hosted in Kitchener, Ontario on May 30/31 2020 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Thanks to all the amazing support of this community, and our new sponsors, as of February 28 we can confirm THE SHOW WILL GO ON!

We've reached our minimum goal of $24,000; the amount needed to host a two-day, one-arena show. However, for those of you that remember 2018's epic festival this will still only be half the size so we're going to keep chugging on to $40,000 if we can.

~~ What PERKS do you get for donating? ~~
Unlimited high-fives from organizers at Maker Expo 2020 (when you let us know you donated!) 
A Maker Expo 2020 11x17 Poster* (plus the above perks)
A Maker Expo 2020 Tee Shirt* (plus the above perks)
Social Media shout-out on your choice of Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (plus the above perks)
At-event signage crediting you for sponsoring a hands-on maker activity.
Contact for corporate sponsor benefits and logistics.

* All physical perks must be picked up during the Maker Expo 2020 event.

~~ Why do we need your help? ~~
When we started this campaign we were over $9000 short of our minimum goal of $24,000 and our costs to repeat a 2018-like event would have required finding $40,000. To keep things manageable we decided to break the campaign down into two parts. The first being hosting a one-arena show (still 17,000 sqft of epic making activities), and the second being a fundraising target to match the 2018 event (two arenas and 40,000 sq ft). With an average of 8,000-10,000 people visiting in a weekend, our event costs about $5/person to host. To keep things completely transparent here are our high level budgets:

A TWO day, ONE arena Maker Expo:
$9,500 -- Venue & Furniture Rental
$3,750 -- Insurance, Safety, Security
$2,000 -- Volunteer Food/Shirts
$1,500 -- Marketing & Websites
   $750 -- Permits & Legal Stuff
   $500 -- Janitorial Staff
$1,000 -- Miscellaneous
$5,000 -- Hands-on Activity Materials
$24,000   MINIMUM Goal

Adding a second arena increases our budget by an additional $16,000:
$9,000 -- Venue & Furniture Rental
   $500 -- Janitorial Staff
$1,500 -- Extra Volunteers Needed
$5,000 -- Hands-on Activity Materials
$40,000  Two Days, Two Arenas

Then, on top of that, if we want to have another event in 2021, we need to fund-raise for the "off season" costs like bank fees, insurance, accounting, legal and deposits on venues etc. Following our 2018 event we set aside $8000 as a SEED fund for 2020, of which $5000 is left. This was largely thanks to donations we received during the 2018 event and shortly thereafter. It would be awesome to have a buffer like that again going into the 2021 show!

~~ What have we raised so far? ~~ 
As of March 2nd, 2020 we have non-GoFundMe commitments of approximately $22,500 making our target for this campaign $17,500.
$5000 - SEED Money from 2018 donations
$7000 - City of Kitchener "Tier 2 Community Grant"
$2300 - Wilfrid Laurier University  (+$1200 for materials for a Learn to Solder workshop)
$1000 - HIP Developments 
$2500 - Sienci Labs
$2500 - Shopify 
$2200 - City of Waterloo "Cash Grants" Program

~~ Can we even deliver the 2020 Expo? ~~
At this point, YES! We weren't sure two weeks ago, but you all came through in a huge way! With your help we landed more corporate sponsors and managed to reach our minimum goal in about 8 days. However, if we can raise approximately $13,000 more by March 30 then we'll be able to match or eclipse the epic 2018 show.

In terms of the organizing team delivering on our promises, well, this will be our fifth show. We've got the basics locked in and have refined the event as a whole into a well-oiled machine. We've made strategic investments in previous years for equipment like communications radios, reusable signs, and off-season storage and more to minimize the amount we need to raise each year. Feel free to ask any of our previous exhibitors or sponsors or check out our archived social media from June 2018 for a taste of what's in store for 2020.

~~ Why don't we charge admission? ~~
In short, because it's not the event we want to run. We're sure we could be successful with a $5/pp admission (or more), and many local festivals do just that. However, OUR goal is to introduce new skills, hobbies and passions to the entire population of Waterloo Region (and beyond). WE ARE ALL MAKERS -- even if you don't know it yet. With FREE admission, FREE participation and FREE parking we've managed to eliminate almost all of the barriers and allow anyone, from any background to come and learn. The consequence of course, is that we take on this huge fundraising burden instead. We are a not-for-profit corporation run by 100% volunteer effort. No one gets paid anything to organize and host this show, and we do this because we love spreading the joy of making.

~~ Why don't we charge exhibitors for booths? ~~
Again, we don't want to introduce barriers to sharing the maker passion of Waterloo Region. Many of our exhibitors are hobbyists themselves. They are donating 12 hours of time to be at the show, plus all of the time spent to prepare for it -- hundreds of hours in many cases. Even for organizations that are for-profit, many are just barely scraping by this year. We're already requiring them to bring an interactive activity that teaches guests something new (just to get a spot in the show), and we know the artist's mantra of "you can't eat exposure", so we sure aren't going to ask them to PAY for exposure too.

We DO hope that any exhibitor that is successful enough to otherwise be able to pay for a booth would consider sponsoring the show either directly ( or through this campaign. It's an honour system really.

~~ Can we get a tax receipt for the donations? ~~
Unfortunately, no. While we are a Not-For-Profit (NFP) organization, we are not a charity. We don't meet the criteria for a charity despite our noble intentions and goals. What we can promise is that 100% of the funds you donate will go into supporting the show and making it the best it possibly can be. Funds donated to this campaign will be widthdrawn directly into the Maker Expo Events Organization Inc (Ontario Corporation 1954419) bank account without going through an organizer's (or any one else's) personal accounts.

~~ Any other questions? ~~
Please ask us on Facebook or Twitter .


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Cameron Turner 
Kitchener, ON
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