[hackerspaces] Introduction from Western Australia

Eric Gerlach eric+hackerspaces-discuss at gerlach.ca
Thu Oct 8 04:32:30 CEST 2009

On Thu, Oct 01, 2009 at 02:49:38PM +0800, David Cake wrote:
> 	Currently, our biggest concern is finances - we have signed a lease, but 
> currently only have a fairly small number of members, who currently are 
> bearing a bigger financial burden than we would like, but it is difficult 
> to manage the transition to having a larger number of members (at a lower 
> individual rate) when we are only just able to pay our rent for the next 
> couple of weeks, plus have a lot of startup costs.
> 	We'd love ideas from other hackerspaces, particularly for fundraising, 
> membership drives, and good ideas for rules to run the actual physical 
> space.

I hear you, David.  KwartzLab just went through that phase ourselves.
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough people willing to cover costs, so we had
to wait a bit and do some solid membership drives before we could lease a

That said, these are the three most effective ways we found of getting the word
out (plus one inital thing):

0) Be enthusiastic 

Hackers get enthusiastic when they're talking to enthusiastic people.  When the
positive feedback loop gets running, it can get near overwhelming sometimes.
Talk about the space on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Tell people how awesome it is.
You don't have to pressure them to join, if they get enthused enough, it'll
happen on its own.

1) Take a friend to lunch

Seriously.  You probably all have at least one friend or co-worker who is a
hacker.  If you're enthuiastic about it, and they're the type of person who is
prone to wacky schemes like hackerspaces, some will bite.  We probably got 5 to
10 members with this technique.

2) Open house/social gathering

We held bi-weekly social gatherings at a local pub for a few months until we
had enough members.  We reserved a room, encouraged people to bring
finished/in-progress projects, and just hung out for a few hours.  We
encouraged people to bring friends, and a lot of people came out and were
interested.  We probably got 3 or 4 members that way.

3) Good press

A hackerspace, properly spun, can be a *really* good local story.  Local press
will eat it up.  We talked about how we have enthusiastic, creative people
doing cool things.  The local press loved it, and we had somewhere between
150-200 come out to our grand opening last week.  Out of that, we have 5-10 who
very directly expressed interest in becoming members.  We'll see how many
actually do.

Basically, it comes down to this:  be enthusiastic (shouldn't be hard), and
engage the people around you, and you'll find more members.

That's how we did it, so hopefully some of that helps you.  I would also second
everything everyone else has said.  Events, demos, seminars, etc. are great
ways to get people involved, and once they're involved, some will make the jump
to membership.



More information about the Discuss mailing list