I’ve been thinking about making some changes for the second year of the Reskilling Workshops. I sent an email to the lawyer who helped set up the nonprofit, asking about the legal implications of moving more to a membership model:
As the organization gets a little more settled, I’ve been thinking about whether we can have a membership option, and if anything needs to be amended (articles, bylaws) to make that legally compliant.
…I would like to create a way for people to give an annual donation or sign up to teach a workshop each year, and in doing that, get a coupon for a few workshops per year, or discounts on workshops. Something to help people tie into the organization more.
The model I have in mind is time banking, focused on mutual education at the start, although it could expand to include banking of other types of goods and services (cooking, housekeeping, lawn-mowing, gutter-cleaning, pet care, etc.)
I fleshed the idea out a little more in an email to Brian Burger of New Harmony Farmstead, who’s thinking about teaching workshops on Tying Useful Knots for Home & Garden, and Making Scrapple, during the Fall 2012 or Winter 2013 workshops.
…I’m playing with the idea of creating a membership system, bordering on a time banking model, to create more of a skill-sharing cooperative. People could still pay to take classes at the $10-$15 per class rate we’ve been using, and instructors would still be eligible for the $200 per class teaching fee.
But another option would be to donate the prep and teaching time and then get it back as free participation as a learner in other peoples’ classes, steering a bit more toward de-monetization of the relationships and information.
For context, see Dmitri Orlov on “Thriving in the Age of Collapse,” especially the section on money.
While I wait for legal advice about the idea, I’m very interested in reader feedback on this potential shift, especially feedback from the dozens of people who have already taught one or more workshops, and the hundreds of people who have attended one or more workshops, and/or been interested in teaching and learning hands-0n, homesteading skills even if they couldn’t quite get to a workshop due to scheduling conflicts.