The Entomology Research Museum is supported in part by a non-profit public organization, the Friends of the Entomology Research Museum (a.k.a. FERM). FERM is a group composed of over 150 members, including museum staff, UCR students, Entomology alumni, interested amateurs, biological consultants, philanthropists, and others who share in the belief that natural history collections deserve as much support as possible. Donations by members are mostly in the form of annual dues, but many contribute additional money, and the organization's budget in turn goes to support numerous activities not covered in the Museum's normal operating budget. Such activities include collecting trips, visits to the Museum by taxonomic experts, equipment purchases (both major and minor), plus FERM-related matters such as guest speakers, an annual meeting, and the FERM newsletter.
Money for collecting trips is made available to members via applications submitted to the FERM awards committee (see here for details), and awards can be made up to $750 to help pay the costs incurred on an expedition (the purpose of which is to obtain specimens destined for the Museum's collection). A similar process is used for visiting curator awards, so those wishing to visit the Museum in order to identify and curate a portion of the collection may obtain up to $750 to help cover their expenses.
Equipment purchases are sporadic, but may sometimes be substantial; one of FERM's first purchases was a new Zeiss stereo microscope, and since then FERM has paid for thousands of dollars worth of new museum drawers to house the collection.
The FERM newsletters are small annual or semi-annual publications highlighting collecting activities and expeditions by FERM members, activity in the Museum itself, general tips on insect collecting and taxonomy, insect natural history, and various other things of interest to its membership.
Finally, FERM informally sponsors a weekly "open house" every Wednesday evening, where members gather and go for dinner at 6:30, followed by an evening of socializing, which may or may not be insect-related. Members are allowed some access to the collection itself, and the use of microscopes, insect pins, label paper, and other resources. For those interested in joining FERM, the minimum annual dues are US$10, and membership requests should be sent to the FERM Treasurer, Serguei Triapitsyn.