Hi Jonathan! Thank you so much for the interest in supporting us! I always have loved for Open Labs to be sustained by its members and supporters, great to see this discussion being kicked off.
Currently we are struggling with a PayPal account as it’s a bit difficult to set up for an entity, not an individual. We hope to have a few alternatives to donate by July (maybe Flattr?) or Patreon. We are working to set it up, it just takes a bit more time here in Albania.
We have great news, we just launched our Patreon yesterday and are going full throttle with a donation campaign to reach 200 USD by our anniversary celebrations on 22nd July:
We are still waiting on our Thunderclap campaign to get approved to spread the news, but we would appreciate your support already @jbelien! Thanks also to @jflory7 for being one of the first supporters!
Some of us were talking about doing a collaborative fundraising effort for the OpenAg (thread) with funds shared between multiple hackerspaces that want to build the project in different countries. For example, we could simultaneously do the promotion to raise money for one in Zurich and another in Tirana and share funds and knowledge between the two locations.
A similar approach could be taken for other projects.
Would you want to look more closely at this approach, either for OpenAg or any other possible FLOSS endeavours?
That could be indeed worthwhile doing, however that’s something which would make sense after we would have funds to pay for basic stuff like rent and electricity which right now we are still struggling. After we reach donations and sponsorships of 400 USD per month it would indeed make sense to pursue something like this. What do you think?
Also, curious to hear your thoughts on our Patreon.
Specific projects like that could include an allowance for administration fees or contributions to rent. The OpenAg project, for example, involves building and operating a food computer which will need space and electricity. If it is in the hackerspace then it is only fair that some of the money raised would be used for the rent and electricity bills. If we set a target to raise EUR 25k and build food computers in 5 cities and we all promote it together then everybody potentially wins.
The patreon site mentions $100 per month but your wrote $400 per month in your last post. How do you cover the difference?
Are there any larger organizations in Tirana that would give you space rent-free or are there community centers where you could have meetings?
For any crowdfunding campaign, it is useful to give people some of the following information:
specific goals you will achieve if you are funded (e.g. aiming to recruit 50 new contributors to free software projects each year for 3 years)
what will happen if you don’t reach the target (e.g. hackerspace will close)
If you look closely, there are several goals: 100,200,400,600 each with different achievements. 400 would ensure we cover ALL of our basic costs.
We usually avoid having rent-free spaces as that compromises our independence based on experience. We have shared spaces with different projects and organizations and it usually ended badly. Most of us would rather find the money and struggle a bit than going that route.