Ensuring the Future of Kamloops Makerspace

  • As I am sure many of you know Kamloops Makerspace is not in a good financial position. Signing a new lease is quickly becoming necessary, and with that a new rent. This allows us to grow and gives us security. The rent is going up however it is a very good deal and we have been treated very well by the building owners in the past.

    We should be in a better situation, however, apathy from our membership has caused a low retention in new members, the loss of existing members and has affected our ability to get sponsors and contracts. This has also caused a great burden on many of the volunteers, many of the people who have given their heart and soul to creating this only to see their effort disrespected, and a membership that only wants more from them.

    I know many people don’t believe this is happening, but I have had to deal personally with upset volunteers and the disappointment of new members and people who wished to support the space. I am not going to discuss particulars as many people are embarrassed and feel harassed by the membership. Please take this seriously and respect everyone who enters the space and the space itself.

    So what can we do?

    This is a call to action. All members of the Makerspace are volunteers. I don’t know if this has been said formally enough, there is an expectation of all members to help the space grow and flourish. This does not have to entail full time dedication. The simple acts of minimizing clutter and making small improvements to the space every time you are there makes the biggest difference. We need to go small to big. I respect that many people have grand ideas, however we are working from a weak foundation.

    In the next month, and going forward we need to concentrate on fundraising. There is a donation box in the lounge. Try to encourage people to donate. I would also like to see other members leading the charge on fundraising efforts. Tool sales, selling a product made at the space, services, workshops, events and other efforts would help greatly. These can be fun, projects like the haunted house bring in great amounts of money and are a lot of fun to do. We have even had members mowing peoples lawns to raise money for the space. That kind of dedication is exemplary and I would like to acknowledge the efforts that people have been putting in. Kamloops Makerspace has steadily improved, however, has lost much of its momentum and enthusiasm. I would love to see us get back to the group of excited people coming together to create something great.

    We need to put on another push to get in the media and at public events as visibility has been crucial to our growth. New people have been getting involved in these efforts and doing great. We need members to seek out and organize these opportunities themselves. I want everyone to understand that they are a representative of Kamloops Makerspace and they do not need permission to follow up these opportunities as long as they are sure that is is appropriate and follows the ethics of our community.

    A recent effort has been made to build standard operating procedures for the space to try and clarify the processes and policies that are necessary to building a good foundation on which to grow. I encourage everyone to read and contribute to these.

    Thank you all, and please remember
    “Two Rivers, Many Hands”

  • @Nicholas said:

    In the next month, and going forward we need to concentrate on fundraising. There is a donation box in the lounge. Try to encourage people to donate.

    If nobody has a problem with it, I think I’m going to find a new home for all the “display” items that are currently burying the donation box. The thing needs to be more prominent if we expect people to use it.

  • there is an expectation of all members to help the space grow and flourish

    @nicholas I absolutely agree! It is amazing how far we have come relying on volunteer help from many of our members. It is clear that we have many dedicated members in our community who believe in our organization and they will provide a solid foundation for our us to scale. Every day I come to the space, I see an improvement done to the space. We clearly need to coordinate and communicate better and distribute the workload.

    low retention in new members, the loss of existing members

    I do not believe that is the case. @Ron_Ron is going to help me out to create a list of members so we can actually see how we are doing. However I have been here signing up many of the new members and most of them are very excited to be here. We get at least two new members sign up every week. If we continue growing at this rate we will be cash positive again soon.

    In the next month, and going forward we need to concentrate on fundraising.

    That is a great idea. Lets create a press release and announce that during the whole month of July we will be doing various fundraising activities.

    I will volunteer to do custom orders of laser cutter or CNC during my open hours every Monday. Also Tyler and I are building a really cool project that will be up for sale next week as fundraising for the makerspace. We should also utilize hack nights as a fundraising opportunity during the month of July.

    What other fundraising ideas do people have? Feel free to host a workshop teaching something you are familiar with, or make some things on the laser cutter or CNC machines, or make cool electronics and display things. Lets see how much we can make during the month of July!

  • I was taking with Nicholas from coworkpenticton.com He was saying that the membership retention is higher when you actively keep in contact with the members. We have a self serve system where we expect people to join the forum and keep track of what’s going on. They have a news letter that promotes upcoming events and let’s people stay excited by what’s going on. When they had to take a break from active outreach the enthusiasm died off. Food for thought regarding member retention

  • @tinfoilknight you are definitely onto something here. I had a meeting with @EarthshipSandra and @Nicholas today and we also discussed this problem. After we compile a membership list we will go through the list and give everyone a call to check on them if they have not signed up. Following up with members is definitely something we should do more.

    Newsletter is a really good idea too. We need someone in charge of that. I think a monthly newsletter plus an up to date calendar would be perfect right now.

  • Design Lab

    @arasbm Ill take on the Makerspace e-newsletter, and email it to the membership 1 week before the end of the month with a reminder that dues are the following week.

    The first requirement there is an email list of all members - where might that be?

  • @Vaughn I will get that to you

  • @arasbm I do have some experience doing newsletters through chimpmail and a website sign up list. Our site, www.darfieldearthship.com has a signup bar and we flogged it relentlessly before we launched our e-book Sidewall Adventures. Before we launched the book, I had 200 people on the list who were targetted contacts. Best of all ( and I know that you folks at Makerspace love this ) it was all free versions of some of the most popular programs…mail chimp, instapage, plugmatter for sign up. Having said that, there is a time to invest a small amount of money to elleviate the work necessary to manage a “list”. We should talk about this…we use our list when we have an event when we have tours, wand on a few occasions when I simply wnated to tell the earthship comunity about events and tours across the country. Let’s talk! I knew what I wanted and Chris provided much of hte technical expertise to make thte programs work together on the website.

  • @Vaughn Email is a great start…and can be used for a newsletter pushed out from the website.

  • @arasbm I have a few screenshots of the newsletter I last sent out through Mail Chimp if anybody wants to see. I didn’t use a calendar, but that certainly is a feature that can be added. I’d upload the screenshots here, but I tried and it didn’t work.

  • Here is a short link to a newsletter sample. http://eepurl.com/biZBKb

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