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The financial sustainability of the Commons depends on a combination of support from participating organizations and institutions and support raised through grants and other fundraising processes.

Participating Organizations and Institutions

In order for us to make user accounts on the Commons free and open, our business plan focuses on financial support from participating organizations and institutions. We offer those organizations two levels of membership -- full and sustaining -- and an annual fee schedule that is tiered based on the organization's size.

Sustaining memberships are only available to very small organizations for which a full membership would be prohibitive. Sustaining membership entitles the organization to one or more private groups on a disciplinary hub to allow the organization to conduct member business, as well as one or more sites that can be used to make the organization's work public. Sustaining membership also enables us to provide the organization with consulting and support in engaging their members.

Full membership provides additional benefits:

  • A branded, membership-controlled network node (parallel to MLA Commons), enabling organization members to access society content and join society groups.
  • An organization view of the Commons repository, collecting all of the deposits made by organization members.
  • Participation in Commons governance, including the ability to elect members of the Member Council and nominate members for the Technical Advisory Group and the User Advisory Group.
  • Consulting and support with engaging your members on the Commons.
  • Escalated help services.

Please contact us for our most current rate sheet.

Grants and Fundraising

Our projections indicate that it will take between five and seven years for our business plan to produce enough income to fully support the operation of the Commons. As a result, we must rely on grant income and other fundraising to provide sufficient runway for us to achieve flight.

We were delighted to announce in January 2020 that we have received an Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This $500,000 grant is the first step toward paving that runway, and it challenges us -- appropriately enough -- by requiring a 3:1 fundraising match.

Over the next several years, we will be seeking further foundation funding to help meet that match requirement, and we will be exploring more active fundraising among our users as well. Your contributions will enable us to build the rest of the runway to full sustainability, while ensuring that the Commons can continue to grow.