[hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Robert Davidson robert at dallasmakerspace.org
Tue Jul 5 19:35:21 CEST 2016

For Dallas Makerspace,
We use Smart Waivers (Commercial Application) this collects there Name,
DOB, Signature, Email to track understanding our waiver.
We use WHMCS  (Commercial) as our Member Managment System this collects
there Signup information and which membership class they are in as well as
triggers recurring billing andt a automated emails such as (CC failures,
Expiration, Password Resets)
We have a custom solution Maker Manager currently 3.0 that handles
integration for AD, MakerManager, WHMCS, Access Control.
This allows self service for items such as issuing RFID Badges, Adding
Family Members,
for the admin side creating Contractor RFID, Audit logs etc.

A couple of notes that I think help a lot,

Direct Correlation between events and new members,
Only allow reoccurring membership dues for example no one time payments of
cash check etc
During tours ask how they heard about us
For Cancellations ask why they are leaving
Culture of Recruitment
Adequate access control that does not allow a non member or non active
member to traverse the bldg and use tools. (We are way past the size
everyone knows each other)
Automate all billing/membership access decisions (Nobody wants to shut
someones badge cause they are having hard time but you have bills to pay,
automation makes it less personal)

On a financial model Dallas is running in what I am going to call the GYM

Our price is $50 a month which gains you access to everything a lot of
people tell us that the price is too low but in truth my goal is to make it
so they don't cancel when they are finished with a project to create
reoccurring revenue. I have visited quite a few makerspaces and feel this
model is the most sustainable.

I would estimate 70% of the membership show up less than once a month.

I think the biggest decision comes down to culture,
Dallas to my knowledge is one of the biggest when you do member count
approx 1,200 members and growing.
But culture is sacrificed gone are the days of everyone knew everyone, and
running the corp like a club.

So IMO Red Mountain should identify what kind of culture you want and based
on that find a model that works for you to achieve the desired results.


On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Shirley Hicks <shirley at velochicdesign.com>

> So would I.
> All for saving steps. :D
> — Shirley
> On Jul 5, 2016, at 11:23 AM, Christopher Agocs <chris at agocs.org> wrote:
> dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send
> it to me?
> On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <dosman at packetsniffers.org> wrote:
>> A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that
>> things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do
>> happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people
>> want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work
>> then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of
>> administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the
>> long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing
>> automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I
>> don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be
>> things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect
>> all members.
>> As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that
>> automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group
>> leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but
>> sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know
>> about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members
>> after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be
>> missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.
>> Thanks,
>> -dosman
>> > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <shirley at velochicdesign.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are
>> a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member
>> churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has
>> burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of
>> members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT,
>> business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
>> >
>> > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between
>> those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group
>> (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
>> >
>> >>
>> > — Shirley
>> > RMM, Birmingham, AL
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
>> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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