[hackerspaces] What form of organization does your hackerspace use?

Todd Willey todd at rubidine.com
Tue Oct 6 04:05:32 CEST 2009

Collexion organized as a not-for-profit.  We're just now getting on
our feet, so it remains to be seen how far we'll go, but here's how we

The Owner
In the beginning I was doing a lot of work myself.  I funded our
lawyers fees (with some pro-bono work) from my company as an
advertising expense.  I held the initial meetings to gauge interest
and started getting people together.  I've spent the last eight months
or so meeting everyone in the community who would be interested in a
space like ours and gotten their buy in.  I've had some very good
support, but look forward to doing more projects and less legwork.

The Board
Our board consists of people from our local chamber of commerce,
universities, and higher ups at the local big-name tech companies
(Lexmark & HP).  This helps give us the legitimacy we need to raise
funds.  The board likes that they are fostering innovation, and see it
is an economic development boost, because Lexington loves brains more
than zombies do.  The board is glad to help us organize things, find
money, and host events, but most ideas come from the membership, where
there isn't a set hierarchy.  While the board is going to be a source
of some money and resources, we hope the majority will come from other
charitable individuals and businesses in the area.

The Angels
By relying on outside sources we're going to make membership as
accessible as possible ($5 / month for students).  The less barriers
there are to experimenting the better.  So we developed a board that
has some a-list players, joined up with a community foundation to get
tax-exemption, and are just now starting to go begging.  I think it
will be successful, and free up hackers to hack, and those that are
interested enough can take the reins and try to find monies.

Every decision we've made has been to get the finance and operations
out of the way of the general membership.  We don't want to burden
people with financial or service responsibilities when they just want
to hack.  There are of course seats on the board for members who are
inclined to get involved, but there is no requirement for people to do
anything but show up and start experimenting.  It may turn out that we
have overestimated the generosity of our local community and have
doomed ourselves, in which case we will have to switch to a more
membership-supported model, but I'm optimistic at both our ability to
find the right angels and our ability to adapt to whatever financial
situation we encounter down the road.  In the end our community, even
without a space and resources, is vibrant, cohesive, and neighborly
enough to get together and hack no matter what our bank account looks


On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 2:09 PM, strages <strages at gmail.com> wrote:
> Makers Local 256 is a non-profit 501c3 and would be considered "the
> membership" based, but I guess started out as "the board" based since the
> board is the original 10 members (changing soon given new bylaws and
> elections).  We don't have a set dues rate but instead rely on how we
> started.  The original 10 pledged a monthly donation that they could afford
> and we found a space that fit within that budget.  We decided that extending
> this to new membership was a good idea and so we don't have to turn away
> someone who might offer a lot but might not have a lot of money.  A monthly
> pledge doesn't have to be monetary but does fall under board discretion to
> ensure that said pledge benefits the space.
> Raymond
> Makers Local 256
> On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 12:29 PM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
> <nick at hackerspaces.org> wrote:
>> http://blog.hackerspaces.org/2009/09/13/hackerspaces-and-money-five-approaches/
>> To help spaces review various forms of organization, I've come up with a
>> loose framework of five different styles of spaces that I've observed:
>> Anarchy
>> The Angels
>> The Owner
>> The Board
>> The Membership
>> I suspect that most spaces fall into the "Membership" category, but I'm
>> most curious about spaces that take on a different form that might more
>> closely fit into one of the other four categories.
>> To that end, which category do you think your space falls under and what
>> are the advantages and disadvantages of it?  Hopefully I can gather enough
>> input to make better informed posts on alternative forms of hackerspace
>> organization.
>> Thanks!
>> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org
>> Washington, DC, 20013-1208 | +1 (707) 676-FARR | Fax: +1 (866) 536-2616 |
>> 8B13F204
>> Sent from Washington, DC, United States
>> _______________________________________________
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