[hackerspaces] How to make money to sustain a hackerspace

Robert Davidson robert at dallasmakerspace.org
Mon Dec 8 17:29:24 CET 2014

So the most important thing for any maker-space is reoccurring billing you
must have a automated billing system in place, if that is not in place that
should be the number one item to focus on.

The next thing I would do is tell the membership in a meeting/email/forum
how ever you communicate and let them know that we are in crisis and we
don't make enough money to pay our bills ask them what they think.

I would hope that your members decide to raise dues until you can pay your
monthly expenses.

*Short Term Gain's idea (Not Longterm or sustainable)*

Lifetime Memberships can get you short term capital but it must be replaced
with a new member to cover the monthly expenses (1 yr- 2 yr of membership

Member Loans to the Organization (I don't know how you are organized so
this may or may not be viable)

Donation Drives (With Simple Goals like help us pay our power bill)

Founder Rates (Offer a deal to pay higher amount now and the organization
will lower the rate or keep the rate the same in the future)

Classes are for sure viable but remember unless your paying the teachers
they are volunteering so be careful not to burn them out (Some people can
help with Time other it's easier to just help with Cash)

*Long Term Gain's*

A Culture of Recruitment

Advertising (Must have a Positive ROI)

REOCCURRING BILLING (I can't stress this enough you should not have to
worry about late payments and if your membership is going to pay you this

Recruiting Drives (Go to Colleges, User Groups, Job Fairs, Art Fairs)

The overview IMO is don't spend any money on raising money if you don't
have the capital to even pay next months expenses (Fundraising does not
work if the building is foreclosed on or the power is shut off)
Focus on your existing membership make sure they share the vision and know
that the community will die if we can't raise enough funds)

Robert Davidson
Dallas Makerspace

On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM, dosman <dosman at packetsniffers.org> wrote:

> A lot of good stuff has been sent through on this. However, here is my 2
> cents. I'd avoid doing any fundraiser that involves you spending a whole
> lot of money (like a pig roast, no offence). If your turnout is low you
> could be stuck with the extra cost of the food on top of the financial
> issues you already have. If you are already doing ok then yea something
> like a pig roast is an acceptable risk. Also, absolutely no foundations or
> grant programs will provide funds for things like rent or overhead. Why?
> Because no one wants to throw money at a sinking ship (an organization that
> can't pay it's monthly bills), money will only be sent to a ship that is
> already floating and headed somewhere. Then it becomes a question of
> getting the donor on board and excited to participate financially.
> Personally, at our space I've never seen electronics kits amount to much,
> but I'm sure other spaces see better turnaround on this.
> Monthly dues are what our space operates on. In a pinch, when dues have
> not been enough to cover our monthly expenses, we've had some high end
> classes which have covered the shortfall. A couple of times now a member
> held a 8-15 week C programming class at ~$100 per person. If you know what
> people in your area want to learn focus on that. Soldering classes are
> another common workshop we'll run. You can also have dinner fundraisers at
> restaurants where the business will donate 10-20% of the receipts for the
> evening to your group. But that requires a 501c3 (or a fiscal sponsor like
> the School Factory). Just find out if there is a minimum amount required
> for them to pay out. Fundraisers like this are not a fast way to raise
> extra cash, but if you can do 3-4 a year it can help and they are a great
> way to advertise (AND they are fun). Last but not least, and this is
> completely off the wall, but selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door is
> probably the most profitable way to raise
>   money for a non-profit. Albeit I've never done that, and it doesn't seem
> like a lot of fun to do, but magazine fundraiser programs can raise WAY
> more money than about any other "traditional" non-profit fundraising
> activity. I know if I had to choose between selling magazines though and
> having some more workshops I'd throw together a dozen workshops before I'd
> try selling door-to-door.
> Hope that is useful.
> -dosman
> On Dec 7, 2014, at 12:09 PM, Florencia Edwards 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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