Continuing the discussion from The Punks Warchest:
What is the Warchest?
I’m never sure how much you guys wanna know about the background workings of our little forum, I’ve made a few attempts to describe it in the past in varying amounts of detail, usually face to face with people, sometimes a thread on the forum. It is a topic we haven’t approached lately and with our recent surge in numbers it felt like it was time to put up a proper thread about how a few things have come to be.
In my usual style this will be a bit of a narrative braindump with varying amounts of detail, I will expand and discuss any aspects you guys want more info on, If you don’t wanna know then stop reading this thread : ) (but head on over to the shop and buy some merch )
As you all know, We like Car shows, and track days, and driftdays and meets…. And when we are at these things, it’s always good to have a few facilities….
……… The unfortunate thing is facilities tend to cost a few pennies. So then comes the question of where we as a forum get pennies from to help ensure that we have what we need at shows. We thought long and hard about this during the early days of the forum and considered a few alternatives:-
Donations: Members who want to can donate any amount they want to support the warchest. Pros; not forced on users, fosters community feel. Cons; could rely on the same few members supporting the warchest while others benefit. Maybe this is not an issue, that is after all how a lot of things work, but we felt there was a better way…
Paid Membership, either part or full: Charge a membership fee for admission into our little community, or make some sections available only to paying members. Pros; recurring income proportional to number of members. Cons; in the case of full membership, huge hurdle to gathering new members, and with VIP areas in the case of partial or gold membership foster an “us and them” mentality. Also kinda works against some of the forums inbuilt systems of user trust systems where community action not money opens up the forum.
Adverts on the forum, can pay to hide them: pretty self explanatory, we either foster connections with suppliers to sell advert space, or add something similar to google adwords to the forum and wait for the money to roll in…. Pros: could generate a small income. Cons; Random adverts plastered all over forums can make a thread cluttered and harder to navigate, distracting from the true purpose of the forum – conversation. (hell the software we run is called “Discourse” not “advertisement board”
The forum earns the money trading itself: With any community or brand there are opportunities to both foster community spirit and to bring in some funds. It also seems fair that individuals benefitting from “X” item help pay for the item…
Well that last one seems a pretty cool idea, if it could work… how would it work? So in the case of the show stands it seemed fair that people who are actually going to a show and benefitting somehow contribute to the funds required to run the whole shebang. So after a bit of chatting about it, we decided that the best way to achieve this is by putting a few extra quid on the cost of any tickets to cover the postage, admin (like printing etc) and anything left over goes into the warchest to save up and get equipment. Obviously getting started would be slow, our gazebos to purchase alone were £750 each, it would take a fair amount of seasons before we would be able to afford anything. So to get us a head start someone went and put some funds in the Warchest.
The going was indeed very slow at the start, this was further slowed when we had a postage based ticket scare one year for Japfest with a couple of passes getting lost in the post (they were subsequently delivered almost a fortnight after the show) From then onwards we have sent everything recorded delivery, which at £1.73 a time before printing costs etc meant when all was said and done putting £3 on top of a ticket price left us with not very much at all for the Warchest. We will be adjusting this in the next round of shows going into the shop where people can either take normal postage or pay extra for the recorded delivery.
So…. What else can we do? How about a bit of merch? Everyone loves stickers and hoodies right? So we started sourcing a few bits of merch to sell. This also seems a fair deal… you want a super sweet punks hoodie? You buy one and all profit goes into the warchest to get more hoodies to sell, and go towards equipment for the forum. So this is pretty much how we are doing it at the moment…. Is it covering all the costs of the forum and shows and equipment? Errrr…… nope, not by a long chalk, but we are hopeful that it will catch up, especially as quite a few “big ticket” items have already been bought, and as we get busier with a few more shows, and more merch sales both at shows and on line we hope that it will catch up in the long run.
So that is a bit of an overview into why and how we are doing some of the things that we are doing… I’m sure that a few of you are now bored and never wanna see the words “War” and “chest” used in conjunction ever again. I’m also fairly hopeful that a few of you want to know more details about the inner workings of the forum, so please feel free to ask anything that you want
As questions get raised and answered I will try and update this OP without overloading it to the point of becoming boring to new arrivals, or might start a few linked topics etc… we’ll see what works