The Charitable Member Pattern

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This page is a part of Design Patterns.

Its content is derived from the presentation "Building a Hacker Space" by Jens Ohlig and Lars Weiler.

Sustainability Patterns Independence Patterns Regularity Patterns Conflict Resolution Patterns Creative Chaos Patterns


You have extreme anxiety over cash flow month-to-month and members seem to see the space as a business that provides them a service instead of an organization they actively help make possible for themselves and their community.


Do not offer other membership plans until as many members as you need to pay for basic operating expenses have either payed or pledged for a year in advance. If they pledge, make sure their payments are delivered using an automated method to minimize stress. Let these Charitable Members know that they are the ones that are making the space a reality through their generous donation of time and money. This may also help some spaces achieve non-profit status.

Once the annual expenses are covered each year, the charitable members can decide what other membership options they will offer to the community. Even FREE will be a viable option at this point! You can offer Charitable Memberships even after the goal has been met by emphasizing the charitable component and giving them perks such as voting rights, the right to hold offices and the right to sponsor meetings and workshops at the space.