[hackerspaces] Bucketworks needs help

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Sat Jun 1 06:03:50 CEST 2013

On Fri, May 31, 2013 at 6:14 PM, Al Billings <albill at openbuddha.com> wrote:
> Noisebridge isn't ten years old. It is five as I was there and one of the
> folks that put up the initial rent money. The fact is that Noisebridge has
> had to do an "oh shit, we need money" fundraiser multiple times so it is a
> little dishonest to pretend that this kind of thing is a function of just
> the recession. I don't even want to focus on NB here.

FYI, Noisebridge is income positive now, and the whole point of the
last fundraiser was to work to create a sustainable model, which
(fingers crossed) we achieved and b) I do believe (contra
https://twitter.com/openbuddha/status/317167010423386113 ) holding
fundraisers and regular donation runs is a perfectly respectable way
to fund non-profits. We were flooded with people who said that they'd
always wanted to give us money, and didn't know a good way to do so,
we increased the opportunities for them to do so, and that really

I imagine Noisebridge will probably have a regular fundraiser every
year, because the physical event brought in $4K. I think there's some
ongoing commitment to the idea of encouraging people to pay a $10 a
month "supporter" fee, because our "official" membership structure is
incredibly byzantine, and people feel more comfortable to do that than
be chivvied to pay up every time they visit.

My feeling is that providing multiple opportunities for people to
donate is the biggest win in terms of building up a sustainable
income, whether that's charging a token fee for the lasercutter, a
membership model, or donations.


> Lots of people don't seem to run their spaces or their finances in such a
> way that more income comes in than goes out and also without setting funds
> aside for emergencies. Instead, they barely get by (or even function at a
> deficit) and have people come in during the down times to rescue them with
> cash infusions. That's not a sustainable way of keeping places open.
> I'd like to see more discussion of *successful* business models for
> hackerspaces. Some are clearly able to have them and be successful. What
> makes them different?
> Al
> ---
> Al Billings
> http://www.openbuddha.com
> http://makehacklearn.org
> On Fri, May 31, 2013 at 4:18 PM, Lisha Sterling <lishevita at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I think that we are in a "special time" right now, because we've had two
>> very successful hackerspaces turn to the community for help in a way that
>> they never have needed to before. Both Bucketworks and Noisebridge have been
>> self-sustaining for over 10 years. Both of these spaces have vibrant
>> communities, businesses that have grown out of them, and many people near
>> and far who love them.
>> I can't help but wonder why it is that *now* they are having troubles.
>> It's been a long hard recession. I would have expected troubles a few years
>> ago maybe. Was it just that they had enough momentum to make it through
>> these difficult times, but the momentum is finally being slowed by the
>> continued economic pressures we're facing? Is it that too many people and
>> companies have had to tighten up the belts for too long and just finally had
>> to let go of paying memberships and sponsorships to organizations like
>> these? Or is there something else at work here?
>> Because, frankly, before this year, I would have told anyone who wanted to
>> figure out how to make a hackerspace sustainable to look at Noisebridge and
>> at Bucketworks. They have very different income models, and yet they've both
>> done well, survived and thrived for years now. But this year, both found
>> themselves in dire trouble. That's worrisome.
>> What can we do, beyond just pitching in some dollars *right now*, to help
>> our hackerspaces continue to thrive?
>> - Lisha
>> On Fri, May 31, 2013 at 10:28 PM, Al Billings <albill at openbuddha.com>
>> wrote:
>>> This is a great lead in to discuss hackerspaces and how to make them
>>> sustainable. I find it sad that so many hackerspaces seem to need to have
>>> "rent parties" or ask for donations from the general public from time to
>>> time instead of having a sustainable model that keeps enough money coming
>>> in. Why isn't this more of a priority? If hackerspaces are cash negative,
>>> there is going to come a time where they'll just fail (when people get tired
>>> of giving cash).
>>> --
>>> Al Billings
>>> http://www.openbuddha.com
>>> http://makehacklearn.org
>>> On Friday, May 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM, Mitch Altman wrote:
>>> Bucketworks is one of the oldest hackerspaces in the world.  They have
>>> helped lots of hackerspaces to form over the last few years.  They now need
>>> help to pay rent!  Please consider helping.
>>> http://bucketworks.org/
>>> Thanks,
>>> Mitch.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Discuss mailing list
>>> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
>>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>> --
>> http://www.alwayssababa.com/
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