July 2013 Membership Fees Development

As part of preparing for having to move in October, we need to restructure our membership so that we can show we have ongoing funds for renting new premises.

The existing membership fees were based on our current expenses with rent from the ACTPG. Even if we find a new place through the ACTPG, our rent may be higher than it is now. If these changes are introduced, we will review the membership fees once we know what our new costs are, as we did when we moved to Downer.

This is one proposal for a new approach to membership. It is more than what we currently charge, because we need to raise more funds at the moment. It also restructures how we define membership so that everyone is who pays the new annual fee is a 'member' instead of having full, associate and casual.

There are three components to the new membership fees;

  1. Annual membership
  2. Access (monthly or per visit)
  3. Key Access (having a key so you can open the space whenever you want)

This table gives the proposed costs for each component, this is a draft for feedback, the final numbers may be different.

Full Concession
Annual Membership (all members pay this):
Normal: $60 $30
Philanthropist: <style=“text-align:center”>$60 + what you want to add
Access (for coming into the MHV space):
monthly: $55 $30 (unlimited visits)
per visit: $14 $7.50
Key Holder (to have a key to the space):
annual $480 $240
6 months $260 $130

Non Members: First 4 visits gold coin / free donation (after which you need to join) People who come in to assist members on projects would not have those visits count towards the limit of non-member visits.

Note: Key Holder would require the member to be nominated in the same way as they are now for full member, we need to be confident that people with keys are able to be responsible for opening the space.

Under the new structure, the equivalent of the current non-concession memberships are per year:

  • 'full' membership - $60 (annual membership) + 12x$55 (12 months access) + $480 (key holder) = $1,200/year
  • 'associate' membership is $60 (annual membership) + 12x$55 (12 months access) = $720/year

But this doesn't mean that the monthly access has to be paid annually, it can be paid monthly as it is now. Only the annual membership has to be paid for a year, and the key holder fee for 6 or 12 months.

Under the new structure you have the option to pay for individual visits if you are only using the space infrequently. In this case you pay the annual membership and then the per visit fee as required. This can also apply to a key holder, but they have to pay the key holder fee.

This is the summary of the feedback received. Thanks to the 22 people that provided feedback, there are some really helpful suggestions here. Committee is currently revising the proposed changes based on the feedback and hope to publish the results soon.

Missing graph - can see it in google docs

Comments 1:

Conceptually OK because it allows the lurkers to contribute. The workshop concept has to be re-jigged. If the workshops are purely for members, then they are members already and have paid the membership fee. If the workshops are to open to the public as per our community support concept, then paying the access fee should be sufficient. Adding $60 to one workshop to the access fee in my opinion would be a deal breaker, and we will not attract members this way. May be confusing to people who don't turn up often, but a great move if this helps support the community financially. I don't plan to use the space but occasionally visit for Tuesday night show off sessions. Would I need a membership for this? It seems reasonable to me. Also need long term discount options and especially work to get rid of the per use - really really need encourage people just to come whenever and often. It must also be a pain to have to monitor and chase people in the space for money as well as to manage the books. - Will/can we really track/enforce the “Non Members: First 4 visits” rule? How? - To make the document complete we should include the missing definitions, e.g. “concession” (or a link to the old rules). - Good work Brenda, thanks. Much more flexible, I like it. As a “lapsed” Associate member, I think I would rejoin under this arrangement. My visits to Downer (South Yass) were infrequent and I could not justify the fee. Under a per-visit arrangement, I would be more likely to join again. A couple of questions/issues: Would the $14 per visit fee also apply to meetings? Is there a possible sliding scale of visit fees ( eg. per hour) to account for those who might just drop in for a quick job vs. those who would use the space for a whole day? Rostered opening hours would help people like me plan their visits. Good luck. I'd say “excellent”, but that sounds manically exuberant Much more sensible than old structure. A “workshop” membership would be useful for any non-members attending MHV workshops. Something along the lines of a $50/month with access to MHV for the duration of the workshop for new starters the annual fee should come with the first 1 or 2 months free? Many kinds of community organisation courses use a “book of vouchers” model. I think that would work well, because it lets people feel more in control than the monthly option. Would work better for me, anyway! The voucher book could be priced to be a bit cheaper per visit than casual, but otherwise work much the same. Also reduces cash handling at MHV and gets funds up front. Canberra Dance Theatre, for example, does something like this. I think their voucher books expire after 12 months or so. Basically I'd suggest making the “voucher” style member the obvious option for less than keyholder members. Maybe retain monthly if that actually really suits some people. I think that an annual membership resolves some of the potential issues about who can vote etc. at AGM or special meetings. Avoids the issue of someone paying for bulk members to turn up for a night to vote for a particular issue. I would like to see a discount for bulk payment eg. 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 12 month - but understand that that would benefit the more cashed up members - so maybe not worth the hassle. I think that the yearly membership is a good idea, although it presents an initial cost barrier to people signing up. Having the first 4 visits for free(ish) is a good counter to this, as they will come to see the value of their membership over these visits, especially if they recieve help with their projects from existing members :) Regarding the per-visit payment, it might be suitable to have a seperate sign-in book for these people to keep track of attendance. Then send out an email at the end of the month letting them know how much they owe, and reminding them that for $55 they can have quasi-unlimited monthly access (subject to space openings). I suggest this because as a casual member I wasn't ever sure of the procedure for paying, and sometimes didn't bother if the coin bucket wasn't immediately visible. An obvious cash box / money slot by the door is a less secure alternative imho, lumping it into one EFT is much easier for the customer. Plus, less cash on the premises can't be a bad thing.

missing graph - can see on google docs

Comments 2:

I think the fees for the full member is out of proportion , and the key holder fee in particular, is ridiculous. I also think the concession level is set too low. 50% would be OK if we were flush with income and could be afford to be generous. I don't see why a being in a member's household brings concession entitlement. The concession should be dependent on the person either having a full income or not. eg. A university student with a part time job only should be entitled to a concession. Anything that makes MHV financially more viable is good, but the fees have to be completely clear to whom they apply. Fees based on no. of visits could be hard as counting the number of visits people make to the space can be hard to manage. i think annual should be a little higher (100-150ish) wile per visit should be lower (5-10) access card is good The proposed fees seem quite reasonable too. I like that an occasional user (who visits less than 4 times per month) can pay per visit, and more frequent users can just pay the monthly fee. I am concerned that the membership rates may detract potential members. Is there a way that you can seek government funding to assist with the program? Having been in administration many sporting clubs, I fully appreciate the need for funds, however I feel that the total fees to obtain regular access are very high. This is a significant issue for me and I am sure for others. It would be good to clearly spell out how to qualify for concession, and consider offering significant discounts for paying membership/access for 6/12 months in advance, or for even longer. In addition it would be useful to discuss other ways to actively contribute (workshops, new member sessions, MHV displays/promotions etc) to in particular reduce access fees. This can be done in a structured way to promote active involvement and promotion and growth of MHV (which seems to be lacking from my v limited involvement) Fees must cover expenses so there is not much wiggle room. As such we may still need to adjust these in the face of reality. way too high The new fees still seem quite reasonable, considering. The old fee structure was not enough to support the space through its lifetime to ensure that it can grow. so the change is essential It would be convenient if the fees (Especially ad-hoc fees, which are likely to be paid in cash on the day) could be multiples of notes (i.e. $15/$5 for per-visit). Additionally a debit-account system could be useful too: e.g. I pay $30 and that gets me future 2 visits and a Tim-tam. Access fees are prohibitively high for a lot of my friends and possibly myself. Fees look good :) They seem just a little too high, lower fees but more members would even it out? You could make it clear if the Tuesday maker talk evenings are exempt from this structure? I think they must be, but its not said. Also, and especially given the discussion on scheduled openings, perhaps you could discount the casual fee for particular times, such as the mooted Thursday night sessions. Then some members would base their cost estimate solely on attending those and it might seem more economic to them. Also that should bring up attendance on those times and thus make the attendance of the key-openers have more of a pay-off (in usage). I don't think the connection to move is really required - fees are more realistic given other hacker spaces and purchasing new/ more equipment etc. Will or may help in short term with rent - but MHV will most likely need additional funds (eg grants) to survive unless able to get other cheep accommodation. I think the 'assiciate' membership is pitched about right for me, works out to $60 a month if paid monthly per year and I am happy with that. An extra $40 per month seems a lot for 'just' a key, especially given that the space will (hopefully) be open a few times per week on a rostered basis. With the old membership structure, this was equivilent to a full member, who has a say in the workings of the club and a greater level of responsibility with regards to the space. Will this still be the case for keyholder members? If so, it should probably be clarified, or called something different.

A computer based log in system attached to an account sheet should be introduced. Leakage due to the present loose management might in itself improve the book balance. In this do-ocracy I would do this myself if I had the programming skills. A separate Google calendar for members to enter when they're going to be in and wouldn't mind non members turning up would allow those unable to frequently visit to be much more active in the community. I don't use the space for 2 reasons. I have a workshop in my garage at home which is better equipped and more suited for my needs. I use it to make goods that I sell from my hobby. There seems to be an emphasis on non commercial work in the MHV rules which puts me off participating. If people could pay to use the equipment for kickstarting a product run or generate parts on the 3d printer for something similar to the UAV workshop you might get more participation. I am not currently a member (I've been floating on the edge for a while) I fully support the ethos behind MHV and open source. My business was created because of open source While I have a reasonably well equipped workshop including a decent laser cutter, the things I would be looking for from MHV is the community aspect including attending meetings - (Time is a factor here…) Sadly, I can not think of a suitable solution for your dilemmas though. list discussion & followup re regular opening of the space is excellent and needs to be kept going. No, I feel quite comfortable with the new structure. A couple of questions/issues: Would the $14 per visit fee also apply to (Tuesday night) meetings? Is there a possible sliding scale of visit fees ( eg. per hour) to account for those who might just drop in for a quick job vs. those who would use the space for a whole day? Rostered opening hours would help people like me plan their visits. Good luck. The fees need to ensure that the space can grow and also accommodate purchase of equipment to be used in the space. MHV should be running workshops for Profit to purchase better equipment for the space. Guaranteeing an increase in the number of people using the space. It depends where the space moves weather I can become a member, Living in Queanbeyan, I would love to see it in Fyshwick. The main reason I am not a member atm is that Downer is too far to travel at night.Not sure if I count as a “current member”, having paid $0 to date. Start a membership drive, put fliers up at universities, advertise the courses on Gumtree, send out fliers? you can send out fliers with A1 pamphlets for $40 for 1000 letterboxes I didn't even know MHV existed until a couple of weeks ago, and i live in watson It seems like the various courses and workshops are very successful, but that casual hacking has been less so. If thats true, then it looks like many people are mainly interested in the more guided experience of workshops and courses. In that case finding ways to make courses and workshops easier to put on would help. Ultimately some proportion of those people would then go on to be casual makers. Also getting keyholders in seems to sometimes be difficult. Perhaps some kind of discounting of the keyholders fees would help. Without completely monetising their contribution, it might motivate them to get in to the space if, say, they were getting credits against next years fees? The credit could be earned by opening and managing the space, in particular on a reliable schedule, or could be earned by running courses. Also I think the distinction between keyholders and others is not quite right. The relatively expensive “keyholder” status could be available to those who just want to hack whenever they want, and also want to be free of the responsibility of being the “opener”. Being an “opener”, which is to say having a key, but accepting the role of collecting access vouchers, assisting newbies, etc, should be cheaper. Overall - I think you should aim to generate more income via higher visit rates, more so than by higher fees (this is not saying fees can never go up). Certainly its important to avoid the race to the bottom situation, where fees are high enough to drive people away, leading to a shrinking pool of members, etc. What are the benefits of membership (rhetorical question…)? Could we arrange discounts with suppliers such as dominos/crust, eckesleys, jay car etc? Megalo (as an example) have a monthly free access day for members. I also believe that any workshops/classes MHV conducts should require people to either be a member or become one - that then gives them access (for small fees) to space to complete or continue with project. MHV merch would be awesome. Polo shirts might make a good fundraiser, also a good way to get our name out there. - “This shirt not guaranteed to be fireproof” - Personalised name embroidery? I am keen to brainstorm this. Suggestions for text could be put to survey and vote. I would proudly display an MHV coffee mug on my desk. Additionally, it may be possible to make a bit of money alongside the workshops by having a little shop, selling things people might want to have at home like soldering irons, hot glue guns (and associated consumables), mhv merch, etc. If we were able to get a bunch of multi-tools on the cheap that might do as well.

missing graph see on google docs

missing graph see on google docs

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