[hackerspaces] Governance questions

Russ Garrett russ at garrett.co.uk
Wed Oct 16 23:38:39 CEST 2013

For London Hackspace (some of this will be UK-specific):

On 16 October 2013 22:11, Randall G. Arnold <randall.arnold at texrat.net> wrote:
> 1) Is your foundation tied specifically to a space, or operating in support
> of one or more spaces in an area?

We're tied to one space. We started off with grander goals of
supporting a number of spaces, but it turns out that one group of
volunteers can only manage one space (at least of our scale), and we
don't want to tie our fortunes to those of another space we don't have
direct control over.

In the UK, spinning up new legal structures is easy, and it's worth
each space having its own so that they're legally separate in case of

We're gradually working on an umbrella organisation to offer support
for all UK hackerspaces.

> 2) How are your Board members elected/selected?

All members of our space are members of our legal structure (this has
tax benefits in the UK). We have a board of 9 people, one third of
which is elected by members each year. We use a ranked-choice voting
system (Meek STV, for the voting nerds).

As a board we make very few official, formal decisions (around 1 or 2
every year), with most of the day-to-day running being done by the

> 4) If you take a bottom-up, grassroots, community-first approach to
> governance, have you found that to be a hindrance for sponsorships and
> donations?

We've never taken sponsorship, and we've only had a limited amount of
significant monetary donations. It's actually fairly difficult to get
grants as a non-charitable non-profit in the UK anyway, and we don't
think it would be a great use of our time.

FWIW: we've never (as far as we know) had a problem with the word
"Hack" in our name.

Russ Garrett
russ at garrett.co.uk

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