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 Post subject: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:52 am 
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Location: Minneapolis
Have we discussed offering cheaper "supporting" memberships, say $10-20 a month, for people who want to take classes and go to TCM/HFM events but don't actually need workshop space. Maybe they can get the members' discount on classes and access to collective purchasing efforts, but can't work in the space.

Example:

http://www.nycresistor.com/participate/friends-of-nycr/

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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:03 am 
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Good concept! Thanks for pointing this out, JWB. The idea can be brought up as new business agenda item in a future member meeting. Everyone, if you have ideas/feedback on how to implement this for TC Maker, please post.

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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:03 pm 
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we've talked about tiered memberships previously, and folks were pretty strongly against it. the thought being that it wasn't good for the community to have "platinum" members and "poor folks" and that the appearance of being able to "buy" favorable bonuses wasn't something that folks were keen on. another argument was that folks who aren't using the shop (don't have access as an adjunct member) shouldn't have a say in how the group decides what tools to buy and the like.

there was also some discussion on student or senior discounts, on the idea that folks with fixed income or poor students should have access. i.e. prove you're retired or are currently enrolled in post secondary and you get x$ off per month. frankly that or even an unemployed discount (show you're currently on the dole and get x$ off per month)

the idea of a "not shop" supporter getting a discount on classes is interesting, but we need to look at things in a income stream and value for funds sort of fashion. if 20$ a month get's you 10$ off a class, that's not bad, but why would you in effect give TCM 10$ extra to take a class? if you were going to take 3 classes in a month that makes sense, but at that point, say at 20$ a class, and maybe a 10$ discount on classes for members, you're looking at a price difference of a few nights at the pub, for full shop access instead.

another thought is that there's an "absentee" membership which could maintain membership. this could be more valuable if we end up having a earning of voting rights. i.e. you needed to be a member for 3 months to gain a vote, but know you're going to be out of town or not need shop access for a few months you cold pay $10 a month to retain that membership but you'd still have to pay the full membership to regain a vote.

personally i like the idea of being able to earn a discount. say for every 6 hours of volunteer time over 12 hours a month you get 10$ off membership ONLY where it's an uncovered shift.


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:27 pm 
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another option that we'd talked about briefly was that class prices were based on membership, say $20 for a 2 night class for members, but any non member needs to pay a facility fee of $10.

personally i'm torn. i want to be as inclusive as possible, at the same time there is a threshold of commitment to actually have a say in how things are run, and the fiscal commitment or time commitment to supplement the fiscal seems to be the best way to be inclusive yet be not be unfair to members who have ponied up.

another point previously discussed at the price point question is what you can buy for x$ per month. at 100$ a month you're looking at 1200 a year, which buys you a low end cabinet table saw, or a bucket of tradesman quality hand tools. yes we're offering community and space, but it's possible to get a small artists studio space for not much more than that.


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:18 am 
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metis wrote:
the idea of a "not shop" supporter getting a discount on classes is interesting, but we need to look at things in a income stream and value for funds sort of fashion. if 20$ a month get's you 10$ off a class, that's not bad, but why would you in effect give TCM 10$ extra to take a class? if you were going to take 3 classes in a month that makes sense, but at that point, say at 20$ a class, and maybe a 10$ discount on classes for members, you're looking at a price difference of a few nights at the pub, for full shop access instead.


metis wrote:
another point previously discussed at the price point question is what you can buy for x$ per month. at 100$ a month you're looking at 1200 a year, which buys you a low end cabinet table saw, or a bucket of tradesman quality hand tools. yes we're offering community and space, but it's possible to get a small artists studio space for not much more than that.


Both of these items only make sense if you consider this from a purely fiscal standpoint- the member is tallying up TCMaker expenses on one hand and balancing it against what they get- or what else they could buy- on the other.

As a society, we're heavily inclined to do that. We have one metric- price- and we compare everything based on that. Lots of people do that on everything; they can't conceive of spending $15 to buy a book at a locally owned bookstore when Wal-mart sells it for $8.95.

However, lots of us don't see things that way. I daresay there are at least a few MPR members in this group (there's at least one- me), and we don't "get" anything for those membership dollars other than a sense of personal satisfaction, a bad magazine, and a discount card we don't use.

We should allow for people like that to make a contribution to something they support, and to get something in return. In fact, the MPR model is probably not a bad one at all- members get something of nominal value (class discounts, maybe, or a piece of swag, or first dibs on attendance limited RSVP events, or all that and more) regardless of how much they pay. Shop access "kicks in" at $50 a month.

The "platinum member" discrimination issue only matters if you assume that people paying less than $50 are doing it because they can't afford $50 even though they want to. Look at it from THIS point of view and it becomes less unpalatable, ESPECIALLY if we offer a "work-for-dues" option, where those who want access and have more time than money have an option.

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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:03 am
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Location: Maple grove
I think there should be a supporter option that people can pay that want to support the community but don't have or don't wish to dole out 50$. Like the MPR example there are those out there that will spend 20$ for a piece of swag,there name on a piece of paper, and a deduction on there taxes.


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:03 pm 
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ok, so what does supporting member get you other than warm fuzzies. (i dont believe the MPR analogy is entirely apt as w.o the members public radio disappears, mpr is more akin to a church congregation, where everyone is expected to give what they can, but you're still welcome at the table (proverbially) if you didn't)

if you get a tee shirt, then why do you give 20$ every month? how many shirts do you want?

something that has been mentioned is a "daily" rate i.e. you pay 10$ for access for a day or weekend, an option for folks who have one project they want to do and can't afford the full amount.

maybe 20$ a month gets you a one day pass, and something else, say..
- you get 5$ saved towards a one month membership, which you can only credit 25$ towards per month. so after 5 months, you get a month full for half off, but you can use the shop for a day a month til then...
-get the member rate for classes?

maybe the first 1 day pass each month is 20$ and there after it's 10$? so you can get in for a weekend for 30$?

does 20$ buy you 48 hours of shop access? or a total of 4 hours of access, so you could come in for an hour a day for a few days?


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:16 am 
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Location: Coon Rapids
How 'bout this:

A supporting member pays what they can each month and when their contributions hit $50, they get a months membership.
Its really no different than someone throwing money in a coffee can every week 'til they hit $50 and then paying for 1 month
membership, except the money is in TCMaker's bank account and they can't dip into the coffee can for beer money.

This would, of course, have to be reconciled with bylaws regarding lapsing membership and whatnot.
Maybe someone who does this doesn't get voting rights. I'm sure there are people who couldn't care less about bureaucracy
and only want to build stuff, once in a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:22 am 
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i'm leaning towards a $20 a month "friend of" level. that'd get you (2) day passes to enter the space during posted hours and "member" discounts on classes. if you need moer days you can buy in at $10 an extra day, and at $50 you're a "member" and unlimited access.

it also gives us a way to sort of sell day passes. you buy a friendship. it means 1 day access would be in effect $20 but you can come back another day to finish up.

open wednesdays you can drop by, but if you use tools it counts as a use fo a day. attending a class would not count as use of a day. (unless you stay after, or come early to work on non-class stuff)

side note: members get 25% off classes?


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 Post subject: Re: Supporting Membership
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:35 pm 
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metis, would that $20/mo be month to month as well?

This is something that kind of interests me (even though I'm way the f out in the middle of nowhere) if you guys end up having open hours on the weekends since I come back to Mpls roughly once a month or so.

I'd kind of like to help out...and get something in return.

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