Brisbane Makerspace is becoming a not for profit

We’re becoming a not for profit!

My name’s Jaimyn, and I’ve been running Brisbane Makerspace for the past 2 years. Up until now, BMS has been run as a social enterprise with a “benevolent dictator” (me) model. I’m so proud of the community that we’ve built together.

Today, I am so happy to announce that BMS is becoming a 100% not for profit, community run, and community governed group. From a legal sense, this means we’ve applied to become an incorporated association and will be governed by a committee (like a board) and our members.

The new nfp association will be called Meanjin Makerspace Inc. as an acknowledgment of the first nations lands that we occupy. However, we’ll continue trading under Brisbane Makerspace just like we do now. You can find our new constitution here, and an organisational overview here. The committee will approve a new set of rules and policies soon.

I’ve put together some FAQs below. If there’s anything else, please shoot through an email to hello@brisbanemaker.space, message me on Discord, or create an account and comment below. Thanks for your support, and I can’t wait to see how our community gets even bigger and better.

I’m super confused and just want to make things, what’s the summary?

  1. You don’t need to do anything if you want to continue being a member and using BMS facilities. Just continue to turn up and make things!
  2. If you want to get more involved or find out more details, read below.
  3. We’re working on a list of “how to” guides on this page. Check in over the next few weeks for updates.

I’m a member, what does this mean for me?

There are some important things that will change:

  1. You’ll notice some of our accounts, billing entities etc. will change over to Meanjin Makerspace Inc.
  2. You will automatically become a member of Meanjin Makerspace Inc.. If you don’t want this to happen, please email us asap to cancel your membership.
  3. Once you become a member of Meanjin Makerspace Inc., your membership with Binary Digital Pty Ltd (Jaimyn’s company - trading as Brisbane Makerspace) will cease.
  4. You don’t need to do anything once your membership transfers, and can keep accessing the BMS facilities just like you normally would. However, you’ll need to read and follow all of the new BMS rules. Once these have been finalised, you’ll receive an email/SMS notification.
  5. Shortly after we incorporate, Jaimyn will transfer the business name Brisbane Makerspace to the association so we can continue operating as Brisbane Makerspace just like we do now.
  6. If you want to have a say in how we run, you can apply to become a volunteer member with voting rights. Read more below.

How will the new structure work, and who’s on the committee?

Have a read of this page in depth - it explains everything you need to know. The idea is to decentralise as much power as possible. All of the day to day decisions should be made by working groups and motions at a general meeting. The committee is just there to do governance work.

The interim committee is comprised of the following people:
Head Maker & President - Jaimyn Mayer (@jabelone)
Treasurer - Brendan Halliday (@nog3)
Secretary - Adam Jacobus (@synthsym)
Committee Member - Steph Piper (@sjpiper145)
Committee Member - Zak Forrester (@Zak_Crow)

Shortly the committee will be setting up working groups for all of the important functions around the space. Including things like digital fabrication, safety, infrastructure, etc. You’ll receive an email inviting you to join a working group to contribute back to the community.

What is the difference between a standard member and a volunteer member?

From December we’ll start running regular general meetings. These general meetings are a chance for all volunteer members to raise motions for voting on. This includes things like buying new tools, changing policies, forming working groups, etc.

Only volunteer members can vote at a general meeting. This requires you to be a member for at least 6 months, negotiate a volunteer agreement with the head maker, and have your application approved by a vote at a general meeting. Once this is in place, you’ll be entitled to a vote at general meetings.

However, you don’t need to become a volunteer member to use our facilities or volunteer your time to the space! It’s just our way of ensuring only those who are actively involved in the space get a say in how it should be run.

What is DGR status and the difference between a charity and a not for profit?

DGR status refers to if your organisation has been endorsed as a deductible gift recipient by the ATO. If an organisation is DGR endorsed, it means most cash donations you give them can be claimed as an income tax write off.

Not all not for profits are charities, and not all NFPs/charities are deductible gift recipients. Once incorporated, we’ll be a NFP, but won’t be registered as a charity or have DGR status. Our intention is to register as a charity and apply for DGR endorsement as soon as possible after incorporation.

Once we become DGR endorsed, any donations you make to the space may be tax deductible! This can be a complex area of tax law, so please consult your accountant.

Why are you doing this?

The short answer is Brisbane Makerspace is now too big for me to keep running on my own. The plan was to always bootstrap BMS as the “alternative makerspace” for Brisbane, and transition into a NFP when the community was big enough to sustain itself.

Guess what, that actually happened! We’ve got so many people eager to donate their time, money, knowledge and experience. The best way to facilitate this is through a community governed NFP structure. I’m not going anywhere! I’ll continue being the head maker, but my hope is that by involving the community we can continue growing sustainably and help people #MakeSomethingAmazing.

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