[hackerspaces] What should you sell or shouldn't you sell in a hackerspace?

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 15 00:19:11 CEST 2014

There isn't AN answer, there is only a range of options from which you pick
whatever you want based on what's important to you. For example, if you try
to make things easy and clear-cut by talking about only registered
charities, where what they do is obviously focused on a cause and not on
profit, there is still a huge variety of approaches.

"*Savvy donors know that the financial health of a charity is a strong
indicator of the charity's programmatic performance. They know that in most
cause areas, the most efficient charities spend 75% or more of their budget
on their programs and services and less than 25% on fundraising and
administrative fees. However, they also understand that mid-to-large sized
charities do require a strong infrastructure therefore a claim of zero
fundraising and/or administrative fees is unlikely at best. They understand
that a charity's ability to sustain its programs over time is just as
important as its short-term day-to-day spending practices. Therefore, savvy
donors also seek out charities that are able to grow their revenue at least
at the rate of inflation, that continue to invest in their programs and
that have some money saved for a rainy day*"

So, according to an organization devoted to ranking how well charities do
their job, the benchmark is <=25% on overhead. So if your hackerspace
operated at a proportion like that it should be beyond reproach, since your
hackerspace probably isn't an actual charity. That implies a balance
between the things you really want to give away, and other things you have
to do to fund the things you want to give away. If you're a straight up
charity you can start with donations and sell enough to make up any
shortfall, and it wouldn't make sense for anyone to object to that. If
you're not a charity, you kind of have to reverse those; start with selling
things and then ask for donations to make up the shortfall. If you want to
be self-sustaining you should probably start the balancing act with the
amount of money you can bring in, and then decide how much stuff you can
give away based on that. The actual thing you choose to give away or sell
probably doesn't matter much. If you decide to sell something that somebody
thinks you should give away, they can just go find (or found) a different
organization that gives that thing away and sells something different.
On Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM, Florencia Edwards <floev22 at gmail.com>

> Hello everyone, today we were discussing what you can sell and what you
> can't sell in a hackerspace. For example "how to make a hackerspace", is
> something i believe everyone should be able to access, because the design
> patterns are free and available for everyone since 2007: we want more
> hackerspaces around and if the knowledge was shared with us why not keep
> sharing it back. So what caught my attention is this "Makerspace operations
> bootcamp" to learn how to make a makerspace,, that artisan's asylum offers.
> Why is it so expensive? 2000 dollars for person... Maybe i'm being naive
> and it's good, so the makerspace can sustain itself? :
> http://maker-works.com/classes/makerspace-operations-bootcamp-2/
> Also checking their workshops i believe they are a little expensive, i
> always think that  for education. it's better that it has the lowest cost
> possible, because education is a right. But  again, maybe i'm wrong and if
> you can't charge workshops, how can a hackerspace sustain itself
> My real question is, what is ethical to sell in a hackerspace so it can
> sustain itself and what is not,  what should we give to the community for
> free because it helps people and it makes a better world.Also, I know that
> the fact that things have a cost, or the fact of winning money is not a bad
> thing in itself. We need it to live and paying somone for their job is also
> helping them.
> So where are the limits, how can you know what to sell, at what price, and
> what never to sell.
> - Florencia
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