How do I start a shed?
Begin by reading our “Sharting a Men’s Shed” download.
Organize a Steering Committee and develop the mission and goals of the Shed.
How much money do I need?
A budget should be developed according to your Shed’s needs. If buying equipment, it may be costly. If only meeting for coffee, there may be no cost involved at all.
Consider where you will meet to determine if you must rent space or obtain space from a Sponsor.
How are funds obtained?
If a Shed is “Sponsored”, it may also be funded by the Sponsor. If not, there are a number of way to raise money: dues, GoFundMe, grants, sometimes even the government may provide some
Some Sheds have dues requirements that cover their costs.
What‘s the difference between Men’s Shed and Maker Space?
A makerspace is a room that contains tools and components, allowing people to enter with an idea and leave with a complete project.
While creating the end product can be comunal, anyone can use the equipment independently. Men’s Sheds are about comraderie and being together, either working on a project, doing community service or just having coffee.
What activities do some of the Shed’s participate in?
While some of the sheds do have workshops (woodworking or other), other sheds offer Community Service to local agencies, or just meet to enjoy comraderie.
There is no prescribed activity for a Shed. Activities are decided upon by the members of the Shed.
START UP ISSUES TO CONSIDER
How do you go about locating a shed? Does one member “host”, or do you get someone to find a neutral location?
Depending upon the activities anticipated for the shed, space may be in a neutral location, at someone’s home a Sponsor’s location, or even on Zoom. The activities and equipment will dictate how a large a space is needed. Obviously, if you must rent space, there will be costs involved. Check with local agencies such as a Senior Center, Community Activity Area, etc., to see if they may have space available.
Sponsored Centers typically offer meeting space, not workshop space.
I want to start one at my church. How does the insurance work? Does your organization offer insurance?
Sponsored Sheds, such as at your church, are typically covered by the Sponsor’s insurance.
Independent Shed’s may need to provide their own insurance. Contact an insurance agent with experience in non-profits. USMSA does have a preferred vendor list available to registered Sheds.
Depending upon the type of Shed you envision, e.g, woodworking, building, etc., ask your local government if a permit is required (township, city, county). They will be able to assist you if a permit it If the Shed does not have a physical space with tools, equipment, etc., there may not be a need for a If meeting at a Sponsors location, a permit is not typically required.
Tax exemption / 501(c)3 issues
First let us say that we are not in a position to give individual legal or accounting advice. We encourage all sheds to secure appropriate legal and accounting assistance.
Are any clubs establishing their own 501(c)3 status?
Some existing clubs have 501(c)3 status. It is advantagous if the club is soliciting donations from outside donors. There are several steps involved with this, check with your state first to establish yourself as a legal entity, then that entity can apply for Federal tax exempt status.
Applications for 501(c)3 status may be obtained from your state/Federal offices. Requirements are different for each state.
Are ByLaws Required?
Depending upon your state’s requirements and you entity status, you may need to have ByLaws. There are samples available on line, through the SBA, or SCORE (Service Core of Retired)
Considering a shed that somehow serves low income individuals perhaps in association with Habitat for Humanity.
That’s a great idea! There are many oranizations that would welcome Men’s Sheds involvement in their projects. Some Sheds provide hands on work and also engage in teaching others the “how tos”.
Any affiliations that give discounts?
We do not have any sponsors for equipment on a national level. Contact local retailers for their assistance. Often they will be happy to provide a discount.
Will my shed meet the qualifications to register USMSA?
Any type of shed is welcome to register with USMSA. The only requirement we have is:
You agree to abide by the Values of the US Men’s Shed Association. Values include: Shed membership is open to all; Sheds are peer led and members determine the activities that best suit their needs. Sheds are a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where members gather and participate in meaningful projects and activities. Sheds provide a welcoming environment for all current and new members.
Are Men’s Sheds strictly for men?
NO! As mentioned above “Shed membership is open to all! There are many Sheds with women participants.