Re: Getting More People Through the Doors

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Kristin Long

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Sep 18, 2012, 2:45:50 PM9/18/12
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Hi All  - thanks for this opportunity to connect. It is greatly appreciated.

We literally just launched our small lab this week, and I'm also looking for tips.  One primary question - I had heard that people were creating nonprofit entities for their labs - I assume so that they can win funders and sponsorship.  Has anyone started down this road?


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Jason Grigsby

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Sep 18, 2012, 2:50:45 PM9/18/12
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Where is your lab located?

On Sep 18, 2012, at 11:13 AM, exeter_web <jny...@gmail.com> wrote:

> We've had the Device library open for about 6 weeks now, but not many people are visiting. Any tips on getting more people though the doors?
>
> Thanks
>
>
> --
>
>

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Jason Grigsby

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Sep 18, 2012, 3:01:16 PM9/18/12
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On Sep 18, 2012, at 11:45 AM, Kristin Long <kri...@mightyminnow.com> wrote:

> We literally just launched our small lab this week, and I'm also looking for tips. One primary question - I had heard that people were creating nonprofit entities for their labs - I assume so that they can win funders and sponsorship. Has anyone started down this road?

We’ve become a non-profit organization for exactly that purpose. We’ve had interest from sponsors, but couldn’t get our acts together enough to capitalize on that interest. That seems to be changing now.

One thing that was surprising to us was that our lawyer told us that we were unlikely to be considered an acceptable 501(c)3 or 501(c)6. So we’re a non-profit organization, but we’re not tax exempt.

We don’t think that will deter sponsors, but it does make things more interesting. For example, a question that recently came up for us that we don’t have an answer for is what happens with donations of devices. We think they count as assets which could lead to tax liability.

So we’re still sorting through this stuff to figure out if it works. For us, the non-profit entity made sense regardless because we also run monthly meetings and can solicit sponsors for those meetings.

-Jason

Kristin Long

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Sep 18, 2012, 3:09:01 PM9/18/12
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Hi Jason, 
That's interesting, especially the part about not qualifying as a 501c3.  We are running meetups as well, but not specific to the lab and in my experience potential sponsors haven't been interested in tax implications.  Would you mind telling us more about how the nonprofit status fits with meeting sponsorship?

I would love to hear more about how this pans out for you.  With my workload as it is I can't imagine doing the footwork on the nonprofit in the near term, but it is an interesting idea, to be sure.  Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

And I can try to help with moderation, as well.  Feel free to add me.

Jason Grigsby

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Sep 18, 2012, 5:50:12 PM9/18/12
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On Sep 18, 2012, at 12:09 PM, Kristin Long <kri...@mightyminnow.com> wrote:

> That's interesting, especially the part about not qualifying as a 501c3.

Yeah, I was surprised. The main reason is that it is a service that only applies to a subset of the community. We still need to identify a tax specialist to help with the lab and donations. When that happens, I’m going to verify the lawyers assessment. I still find it hard to believe.

> We are running meetups as well, but not specific to the lab and in my experience potential sponsors haven't been interested in tax implications. Would you mind telling us more about how the nonprofit status fits with meeting sponsorship?

The main benefit to the non-profit for the monthly meetings is simply house-keeping. We don’t have to route sponsorship money through our corporate books. We have a Mobile Portland checking account, etc.

We may also need to start paying for meeting space as the meetings are again outgrowing their current location (averaging over 100 people per meeting). So we may find ourselves routing more sponsor money than we would otherwise which makes the separate entity nice.

BTW, the lawyers said that if the only thing we were doing was monthly meetings, that we would likely qualify as a 501(c)3 so long as the mission was educational. It was the lab that made it difficult to quality.

> And I can try to help with moderation, as well. Feel free to add me.

Done.

-Jason

exeter_web

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Sep 19, 2012, 3:22:04 PM9/19/12
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We're in Exeter in the UK. A small-ish city, but it has a fair few web developers. We also run web orientated meetups every 2 months and organise a larger regional meetup every 6 months. The device library is mentioned here, but not really pushed that hard as an option.

Personally I think it's a matter of educating developers that it's not entirely acceptable to test on Android and iPhone and call it good enough. 

Cheers 

John 

Jason Grigsby

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Sep 19, 2012, 5:11:19 PM9/19/12
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On Sep 19, 2012, at 12:22 PM, exeter_web <jny...@gmail.com> wrote:

> We're in Exeter in the UK. A small-ish city, but it has a fair few web developers. We also run web orientated meetups every 2 months and organise a larger regional meetup every 6 months. The device library is mentioned here, but not really pushed that hard as an option.

Thanks for the background. We haven’t opened yet so I can’t say speak to how to get more people to use a lab.

But your experience makes me think we’ll want to include information about the lab in our monthly email blasts as a way to remind people to use it.

-Jason

john_nye

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Sep 21, 2012, 10:11:32 AM9/21/12
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One of the problems for us might be that we're a little bit off the beaten track.If you can get somewhere that people are familiar with, that could help.
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