[hackerspaces] Governance questions

hadez hadez.hso at nrrd.de
Thu Oct 17 13:10:25 CEST 2013

The following applies to shackspace which is backed by the charitable
shack e.V. and under German jurisdiction.

On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM, 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?

The foundation is not bound to an specific space.
We're charitable based on the fact that we offer educational events to
the general public.

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

By law the members of the e.V. vote on board members.
Board members are elected for two years and can be re-elected after that.

> 3) What are your thoughts on your connection to the Make community-- are you
> a representative body?  Corporate-styled authority? Separate but supporting?

AFAIK there is nothing that can be defined as a "Make community" in Germany.
If you're talking about the community around Make magazine, that's not
really that big here.
We're not actively supporting any such movement but are open for a
wide range of folks who want to participate in the space.

> 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?

Pretty much as grassroots as you can get. The board and e.V. is there
for paperwork.
The board usually nods off all decisions made by the weekly plenum
meeting which is open to all members and the general public.
On the most part those decisions are already pretty sensible and
cautious (financially) to begin with and everyone (who's interested)
is involved in discussing details up front.

We're following the strict rule to finance ourselves based on
membership fees and earnings from selling drinks via our vending
Everything earned from sponsoring and/or donations is used for one-off
stuff (buying equipment, renovation, ...) only.
We don't really have any contractually defined sponsorships but a few
gentlemen's agreements and good contacts.
There's also a few members who decided to pay N-times as much
membership fee as usual for a set amount of time and a very, very
donation-happy bunch of members who are eager to chip in on one-off
things (it's really amazing).

There were plans to maybe, possibly approach local companies for
something like equipment sponsoring which we didn't yet get around
A few calls and conversations were made and the more conservative
generation running many of the established companies here are a bit
reluctant once they hear "hacker" ;) but that's a different story and
something that can in part be handled by the right rhetoric.

The few contacts and semi-sponsorings we have are on very good terms
and with little to no responsibilities attached and were generally set
up by the respective parties approaching us rather than us having to
actively search.
So we were never really in any position where we had to justify our
style of governance since the parties involved already knew us or it
was simply not relevant in the respective context.

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