Regular Member Meeting 2015 04 14

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Time and Location

March 10, 2015
Called to order at XXXX by XXXX
Members present:
Members remote:
Others present:
Quorum met?

Approval of Previous Meeting's Minutes

Regular Member Meeting 2015 03 10


  • 3D Printing at Phillips Collection Event

Director Reports

President's Report

  • Bitcamp

Vice President's Report

Treasurer's Report

  • Travis has resigned to focus on other things. Need a new Treasurer.

Secretary's Report

Director-at-Large Reports



Project Awesome Reports

Project LASER






Member Reports

Old Business

Proposal for “Planning and Development” Committee Submitted by Phil Stewart, February 24th, 2015

To Vote Upon: The following proposal to form this committee that will report to the board and to membership, by which vote the committee's work will be authorized with the mandate of the membership.


I propose the creation of a “Planning and Development” Committee to create a coherent package of proposals geared towards refocusing HacDC’s priorities and aligning its activities and expenditures with its primary goals and purposes.


Recent discussions of our budget have highlighted the need for a renewal of purpose at HacDC. A number of proposals have been offered: to put together a fund-raising document, to fix one or another by-law, to re-assess the content of our 501c3 application (or otherwise notify the IRS of a planned change to our activities).

The budget concerns we need to address arise from the convergence of twin trends: a rise in rent over the last few years and a flattening of growth in membership subscriptions (our principle source of revenue). As members have left the area, or founded their own hackerspaces in DC’s suburbs, HacDC has not attracted new members at a similar rate. This most likely has multiple causes, but is at least partially linked to some changes in the direction and scope of our activities—acquiring equipment vs. offering programs, for example—paired with some less pleasant consequences of our light-handed approach to group governance: disorganization, a messy shop, incivility in our email discussions. With fewer members, fewer activities can be carried on, recursively impacting our capacity to attract and retain members. These interacting forces form a coordinated system. To solve them, we need to formulate a coordinated response.


To this end I propose that a limited-term committee be formed to create a coherent package of proposals that looks at our activities, expenditures, funding sources, by-laws, organizational operations, and anything else it deems to be relevant to get us back on track as a nonprofit organization serving the greater good of our community. For the purpose of this proposal, I am calling this the “Planning and Development Committee” (PDC).

The PDC should be composed of a mix of volunteers, board members (one or more), and people recruited by the board for their particular skills and experience relevant to this committee’s work. It should also actively consult with members who may not have the time to serve but whose input is needed. While the PDC should report to the board, its progress and findings should be fully communicated to the membership at large. The PDC is not conceived as a permanent committee. Once its proposals have been delivered and accepted / rejected / acted upon, the PDC will be dissolved and its useful functions reassigned to officers, the board, or standing committees.

The PDC should as part of its duties undertake the following:

• The PDC’s first task should be to find out what is working and what isn’t for HacDC. I have in mind a poll or survey of members, former members, and would-be members (e.g. who participate on Blabber). It may also be useful to survey or interview visitors to the space, and members or directors of other hackerspaces. Such a survey could be conducted online (at a site such as SurveyMonkey).

• As importantly, the PDC (or a separate subcommittee if appropriate) should explore ways to improve revenues, including grants, fees for workshops and events, dues increases—whatever will work, consistent with our mission. This may include entering in consultations with outside experts.

• The PDC should formulate a proposal to create several task-specific standing committees within HacDC as a way to address the club’s ongoing needs and activities. Standing committees would allow for focused attention to ongoing concerns while providing for continuity across terms of the board and the changing commitments of club

• The PDC should develop and present a coherent communication strategy for HacDC to ensure all potential donors, granting organizations, and the public at large are presented a consistent, accurate, and positive portrayal of what we do. Included in this task would be to create procedures and a reporting structure for HacDC to document its own activities (e.g. annual reports).

• The PDC should re-examine avenues for recruitment and retention of members, as well as assessing members’ satisfaction and future needs.

• The PDC should assess, report upon, and make proposals as needed for the suitable enhancement of the strong educational component of HacDC’s mission.

A PDC report including recommendations would be delivered to the board in a timely manner, with all action items requiring a vote at a subsequent regular members’ meeting. Interim reports would recur at intervals to be decided by the board.

Again, it is my feeling that we need to look at the big picture and develop a coordinated set of plans in response to our current fiscal and organizational challenges. Friendly amendments in the spirit of this proposal are welcome and invited.

A proposal that the SEM and the Museum should be made official HacDC Projects will be submitted for consideration at the next meeting. A proposal to change the HacDC storage and disposition policy will be submitted for consideration at the next meeting.

New Business

  • Vote for a BOD Treasurer

New Members