Membership Dues

Most Hackerspaces find that relying on dues exclusively isn’t enough to cover bills and expenses. But dues are an essential component of your income streams and can help set membership levels. You can customize membership and dues as you like and according to what makes sense for you and your hackers. Make sure to take a look at how much other Hackerspaces charge members, and what the different levels mean so you can get concrete ideas for starting your membership dues structure.

At PS: One we started out with a membership-based funding system. Its focus was on being covered by membership with zero corporate funds, and we did not charge for workshops. We focused on outreach to keep membership high. However, we later realized that this couldn't be our sole source of funding – it wasn’t enough. We had two primary tiers; one was “full member” ($70/month, unlimited access -24/7- a locker, and access to tools, voting abilities). The other tier was “starving hacker” ($40/month w/ same level of access, but no voting abilities). There was also a “donate” option, which was not for access and a “friend” of status, with no access but the individual could make a donation for $13.37.

In another example, ATX Hackerspace in Austin, Texas has several tiers and is organized as a co-op, as follows:

  • $100 purchases a “Voting Share” and ownership into the co-op
  • $75 is a “pay-as-you-go” monthly membership fee (applies to Patrons and Owners)
  • $25 discount for using auto-pay (applies to Patrons and Owners) [[is this a membership level or does it add-on to the other levels?]]
  • $20 further discount for Student/Reduced Rate members -- requires auto-pay [[is this an add-on discount to other levels?]]
  • Another $20 discount is available on top of that for students, and “Hackers in Need.” For this level at ATX, students must show proof of full-time enrollment in an accredited institution, and “Hackers in Need” can privately petition the Directors for the reduced rate.

These are only two examples of the many ways you can structure your Hackerspace with membership dues. Your Hackerspace can funds through recurring payments with PayPal, WePay, BitCoin, Cash, Check, wire transfer, or as many ways as you want to. Members who wish to remain anonymous will appreciate a cash option.

This guide was first published on Feb 01, 2013. It was last updated on Feb 01, 2013. This page (Membership Dues) was last updated on Oct 18, 2019.