Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network

Funding for Citizen-based Monitoring

Some citizen-based monitoring projects can be conducted with minimal costs, but for other projects expenses for equipment, printing, staff wages, and travel can add up quickly! It can be difficult to find funding for citizen-based monitoring, but there are certainly options. If your project needs funding, you'll want to do a full search of foundation and government grants, as well as other types of funding.

Start learning about the options by watching the recording or viewing the slides from a 2018 presentation on funding citizen-based monitoring work.

Then consider the following opportunities (please note that many will require your project to be associated with a nonprofit organization):

Direct Funding Opportunities

CBM Partnership Program
WIDNR offers contracts totaling $100,000 each year to projects throughout the state, with a maximum of $5000 per project.
WIDNR Surface Water Grants
For projects dealing with early detection of aquatic invasive species.
James Dutton Foundation
Regularly funds citizen-based monitoring work.
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program and Rare Plant Preservation Fund grants both fund up to $1000 per project. Educators are eligible for grants of up to $500 through the Go Outside Fund and up to $1000 through the Teachers Outdoor Environmental Education Fund.
Freshwater Future
Offers $500-$3500 grants to projects focused on aquatic and shoreline habitat protection in the Great Lakes region.
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
Offers a variety of grants for bird-related research.
CitSci Fund
The US Forest Service offers funding for citizen science projects led by the Forest Service or done on Forest Service land.
City and County funds
Many local governments have funding available for conservation-related work; check to see if any in your area fund citizen-based monitoring.

Creative Opportunities

0.5% of every purchase made through AmazonSmile (a part of amazon.com) goes to the nonprofit of the buyer's choice. Registering your nonprofit is easy!
From granola bar wrappers to empty toothpaste tubes, TerraCycle collects all sorts of waste to be recycled. When people send in items for recycling, they receive points that can be used to make donations to nonprofits, including yours.
Projects can receive support directly from interested individuals through a number of online funding sites.
In-kind donations
Many businesses in your area will be happy to donate materials and supplies or offer you a discount on purchases. Visit, email, or phone companies to request donations of things like food, building materials, and office supplies.
Local store fundraisers
Some local stores offer opportunities for organizations to receive a small percentage of their profits on a specific date.
Science supply companies and other businesses often offer discounts to school groups and nonprofits.
Wildlife Acoustics
Their Scientific Products Grants provide award recipients with acoustic bat detectors or bird song meters.

Places to Look for Funding Opportunities

Environmental Education in Wisconsin
Maintains a list of funding opportunities for environmental education activities.
EPA's Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide
Compiled in 2015, contains mostly funding related to air quality, but with many general opportunities as well.
Grant Databases
There are a number of online databases where you can search for grants that meet your needs. These include Instrumentl, Foundation Directory Online, and Foundation Search. Be sure to explore community foundations as well.