Meeting Notes 2010 11 23
The 136th Meeting of Noisebridge
Get someone to grab the membership binder now. Get someone to take notes.
- Moderator: Al
- Notes: Andy
Kelly gave our treasurer's report:
treasurer's report : balance $8679 about to pay rent, so down by $3600. So, $5000 in the bank.
Shannon pointed out we want to have 3 months expenses in the bank.
Our data for recent months:
august: 4500 dues paid, 1400 donations september: 2600 dues paid, 325 donations october: 2500 dues paid november: 2500 dues paid
Shannon makes the point: the space is full, every night. But we don't have much money coming in. People should be paying their dues.
Jof: there's not much incentive to become a member other than joy of
supporting a thing. What is the incentive?
( At this point an open floor discussion commenced, with many ideas some
of them very good. I am sure I missed some; my apologies. Replies are sometimes included in square brackets. )
Frantisek: has discussed money with many people: Why do we not have new
members coming in, and why do we not have donations coming in? Conclusion: people (the core) are not happy, are becoming detached. Frantisek tried to develop more social connection, for example with food; that didn't work out as well as he had hoped.
Jake: Relates his previous experience, with another space that was open
to people coming in off the street. He found that people tended to come in and take advantage of the space, but remain anonymous (not become engaged in the community). He found that a "census" worked well to help keep track of people. Their implementation was a simple notebook in the space; anyone interested can take a census at any time, just walk around and ask people "a few simple questions": "What's your name?" "How many times have you been here in the last month?" "Would you like to continue coming here?" He made suggestions for defusing hostile encounters and intransigence.
Al suggested a few ideas: He'd like to find a car and someone with a
Costco membership so that he can restock sodas. Al also stated that he wants a locking, clear, box for donations at the space; he is pretty sure that cash has disappeared from the donation bin, and that a significant number of people don't donate because they think donations are insecure.
Patrick: thinks problem is, no official announcement or bulletin board
for people coming into the space. Suggests a weekly printed calendar with notifications to people. Specifically finds the wiki hard to find information on.
Kelly: A subset of our populace -- people who are here a lot -- get
indoctrinated in "how we do things"; but a lot of people aren't interfacing with that culture and don't get indoctrinated. Remembers when she was doing "new people indoctrination" after the meetings. Would like to see more people step up to help introduce newbies to the Noisebridge way.
Frantisek: suggests his homebrew as a fundraiser; it's cheaper than
soda and mostly organic. also suggests outreach, bringing new people in.
John: suggests guestbook like at hackerdojo -- people should sign in
when they come in, using an alias or pseudonym if they prefer. He'd also like to solicit donations from people who come to events. He also suggests a new event -- a "Fix your PC" night.
Shannon: wants to know if anyone disagrees with statement "if you're
here a lot, you should be paying dues". General agreement.
Alison: agrees with statement, but genuinely can't afford $40 per month.
says it feels bad to not be able to.
Al: suggests a front desk, a place for a scheduled volunteer to sit and
interact with people, request donations, etc.
Jay: new here, no background. Not likely to be a hanger-on, but here
for one day. Says it would be great to have an explicit suggestion at the door, "suggested donation for day use $X", plus a clear way to make the donation. We asked "how would you feel about a sign that said "suggested donation $5"? and he responded "I'd think 'whew, I was considering giving $10 or $20'."
Kelly: affiliate donation is too low; suggests benevolent sponsor at
$40 for person who wants to be a supporter but not be closely affiliated or involved in governance.
Carl: asked what the actual run rate numbers are. Rather than letting
Kelly answer precisely, we all barged in and said "about $5k per month". Carl then asked about income; we estimated "about $3k coming in".
Patrick: is there a link to paypal on the site? (yes)
do the usergroups pay? (no). we should get the user groups to pay. even just $5 per person for a 20 person member group is $100.
Jof: do we need to encourage members to pay? or do we need to induct
new members? (we need to get members to pay, but also to get new members.)
Kelly: re user groups, tries not to raise it, but finds it really
annoying that regular groups hosted here don't interface with the membership AT ALL. Thinks that we need to outreach to those groups. suggests a regular volunteer group show up for the next month to conduct a census of what groups are *actually* using Noisebridge.
Carl: re user groups, wants a suggested minimum donation per user group.
Jay: how many members? (kelly: 105, including hiatus). "sounds like
there are enough members if everyone was paying"
Frantisek: what were expenses of previous place? and, is noisebridge
too big to support itself at the current size in SFBA? should we move somewhere smaller?
(it cost $20k to move last time, so we can't afford to move. no actual answer to his question)
Kelly: I don't know how to say this nicely, so I'll just say it: last
treasurer wasn't actually tracking who paid dues. kelly is going back through 2010 data to find out who's actually paid their dues. another problem: paypal randomly cancels recurring payments, doesn't notify payer.
( at some point earlier, Shannon mentioned that it costs $137 per day for
Noisebridge to operate. )
Meredith: really likes the math we did, of $ per day. Helps set a goal.
Alison: is there a need for a group that operates at Noisebridge to have
a sponsor member? (no. but we have always suggested that there be a member involved, but that's not enforced; Shannon points out that we should make sure they pay at least even if not members. )
Laura: suggesting numbers to people who use the space would be good.
Grey: suggest that people with popular blogs encourage the larger
community to support us. (hey, we should ask laughingsquid to drive people to our affiliate membership)
shannon: "I'll raise the stakes: I'm going to sponsor a day of
December. $137 in addition to my dues for December."
Andy: sponsoring decmeber 13 Al: sponsoring december 26 Jof: sponsoring december 1
John: some events have money involved (for kits, etc). is there
interest to have people donate money at an event such as "fix my computer day"
Kelly: The theme of being treasurer: lots of work, awful
recordkeeping. perhaps we could nominate a new secretary who's not burned out.
Jay: actually, the day costs more like $165, not $137. Shannon made a
( oops. The day-sponsors agreed (I think) to raise their amounts. )
Meredith: sewing area is one of the most busy areas at noisebridge.
wants to raise funds for sewing area specifically. wants to have a few sewing days to get people introduced to the sewing area and get people involved. people who are interested in helping should contact her.
Steve suggests a light in the space, that turns red as we are going into
the red. kelly wants a data pipe out of our accounting website. frantisek wants to display the number of members who've paid and haven't paid.
John: how about putting a speaker at the door, to play a recording
saying "please donate; it costs $XXX to run this space"
Laura: if people don't pay their dues, do they lose membership? (no, we
haven't been giving members nag feedback since mitch was doing it, long ago. Soon Kelly will implement her scheme: a single friendly nagging email "pay your dues", then after another week, go on hiatus list until dues are paid. ) Should we terminate members when they don't pay? ( Kelly thinks it'd be good to terminate people who don't pay, but doesn't think that's the consensus. ) Grey points out that process for getting off hiatus is unclear.
Jay: getting money from people, we should get money from people however
much we can.
Jof: we could use the signs, the one that's been running life could say
something useful, like "here's how much we need to get this month" and "here's how many members have paid dues"
Steve: the signs should say "hey, we're $X below target, please give money"
Andy: will start about 15 threads on -discuss
Finally we were done discussing money pains and plans. A few other discussion items came up:
bikes: There are a lot of bikes that have been around for a long time, taking up space on the bike parking. Andy and Shannon masking-taped them all to the wall; if the masking tape is unbroken in a week, they'll go away (to the Bike Kitchen).
skylights: need to be plasticked for winterizing. Andy will order plastic. Costs about $80, donations towards cost (to Andy directly) appreciated. Plasticking party after it arrives.
We had one candidate for membership, John (present); he asked to wait until next week.