Getting funds to run the association is a major yet inevitable challenge. However there are many funding sources, that are worth exploring, both public and private. Be bold and creative!
When looking for funding you should be aware that you might not get it for the general expenses of running the association. In general it is easier to secure funding for programmes and events.
First you should make a list of necessary costs: rent, internet, administrative support, internet domain, electricity, drinks, snacks … When you are making the budget be realistic and don’t be afraid to talk about money.
Membership fees are of course the most immediate source of you revenue.
Public funding are usually meant for programmes, even though you can squeeze in other expenses through overheads costs.
Have an open discussion if your association is willing to receive money from private companies. It might happen that some members will not be in favor of mixing private money and culture.
If you are considering commercial activities make a research if they are allowed for NGOs.
Very attractive idea is to charge entrance fees at the events. In this case be careful if your country requires so called certified cash register. It is much easier to collect voluntary contributions (and they are exempt from taxes).
There are other, more creative and rarer ways of getting the funds. One of the possibilities of (co)financing is offering the premises as a co-working space.
Keep in mind that a certain source of funding is more suitable for a certain type of expenses. For example: private funding for prizes (sort of patronage).
You will always have to combine several sources of income, not just because one source is clearly not enough but because some institutions require matching funds in order for the association to be eligible.
Whatever your source of financing are make sure to be transparent about it to avoid suspicions among the members.
And again be realistic, don’t underspend for the sake of appearances.