[hackerspaces] How to make money to sustain a hackerspace

Edward L Platt ed at elplatt.com
Sun Dec 7 23:21:55 CET 2014

Without the details, it's tough to make a specific recommendation. In
general, if dues and workshops aren't paying your expenses, you probably
need to change something about your dues structure and/or spending. I
wouldn't recommend trying to cover ongoing expenses with grants, it's not
as sustainable.

In the early days of i3 Detroit, we were having trouble covering our
expenses. A few of us got together to figure out how to solve the problem
(call it a committee if you'd like). We found that our expenses were low,
but we just weren't brining enough money in to cover them. We had a lot of
interest from potential members, but it wasn't translating into paid
memberships. The two recurring themes we heard were "I just want a place to
work on my crafts, or sit and code. I can't justify paying for access to
large machine tools." and "I live far away and can only make it out a few
times per month. I can't justify paying for 24/7 access."

Because there was interest and we had unused capacity, we chose to *lower*
dues to bring in more members. Specifically we went from a $100/mo flat
rate to $89 for full voting members, and $39 for crafter/coders or starving
hackers (honor system). We almost immediately doubled our membership and
haven't had trouble meeting our expenses since, even after moving to a
larger space. About a year ago, we switch back to a flat rate at $49 to
simplify things for the treasurer, and that seems to be working well.

Happy hacking,

On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 1:23 PM, Joshua Pritt <ramgarden at gmail.com> wrote:

> You can do a pig roast bbq tech expo type event. $5 for a plate and all
> you can eat. You have each member bring something like plates, cups, food,
> etc. And while people eat you can show all the projects everyone works on.
> If you advertise it enough like on the local public radio and put up
> attention getting flyers with bright graphics all over town you could bring
> in a few hundred dollars.
> On Dec 7, 2014 12:10 PM, "Florencia Edwards" <floev22 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> What do you do in day to day activities to earn money for the
>> hackerspace? We have memberships and workshops but its not enough to
>> maintain it. We are in crisis. Do you sell electronic kits, our kits you
>> make there? Any idea is good. Thanks
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Edward L. Platt
@elplatt <http://twitter.com/elplatt>

This electronic mail message was sent from my desktop personal computer.
Please forgive any long-winded, overly-prosaic ramblings.
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