[hackerspaces] payed staff vs volunteers

JB Zurn jbzurn at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 09:09:30 CET 2014

I am a member of a nonprofit hackerspace, and also helped start a space
with employees nearby.

In my experience it has been beneficial to have -both- types of groups
(with employees, and all volunteers).

The volunteer spaces can have great communities and you can meet many
interesting people, doing things for fun.

The space with employees is great for starting businesses. When you are
trying to run a business, you need to know the machines will work & that
they will be available at a specific time. Employees monitor the space and

We've found it is actually nice to have the spaces separate. You can send
the people who are over-utilizing machines for work, to the professional
space. And the people who want to hang out and chit-chat, you can send them
to the volunteer club.

Another thing that is working for us. You don't want people to leave the
volunteer club. People rarely get the kind of community in a business
environment, that you have in a club. That social environment is helpful to

Simple solution - set the membership fees for the professional space high
enough.  Then if someone is a member of the volunteer club, you can deduct
their dues from the professional space membership. That way, they don't
have to choose one over the other.

-Brooks Zurn
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