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2 immediate ways for members to help with the future of Indy Hall

18 Aug 2015
by Alex Hillman

Over the last few months, I’ve been using my blog to share updates and letters like this one about Indy Hall as we think about and plan for our future over next 12 months…and also our future for the next decade and beyond.

This is the latest email that I sent to all Indy Hall members via our community discussion list sharing the latest updates and asking for help in a couple of very specific ways. While it’s been a challenging few months, every time I post an update like this one I get responses like this from our members:

“I probably mentioned this before, but just want to say it’s been impressive to watch you think through this decision and engage the community with such intelligence and care. I feel lucky to have found my way to Indy Hall. I’ve been quiet so far as I get the lay of land but I’m looking forward to finding ways to contribute more as time goes on. Thanks for all your work.”

So I hope that by these posts, it helps other people navigate similar challenges by showing how I execute transparency and how I ask my community for help.


In case you missed the previous discussions about the Future of Indy Hall, scroll down to the bottom of this post to get caught up. Indy Hall has some changes coming up in the next year, and while change can be hard I’m confident in and optimistic about where we’re going.

With September right around the corner, it’s time to start putting things into motion.

Before we do, here are a few answers to common questions that still seem to be out there, and a couple of interesting updates

  • We’re not moving anywhere just yet – we still have 12 months left on our lease starting on September 1st. But that still means we have a lot to do in the next year!

  • One of the big outstanding questions is “if we move, where would we move to?” There isn’t a concrete answer to this yet, but what I really hope to do in the next few months is start narrowing the options. This is a VERY complex question, and I’m not taking it lightly and I absolutely will not be making that decision alone or in a vacuum. We got great insights from the previous Town Hall discussions and you can look forward to more of those.

  • In the last 2 weeks alone, I’ve had really great meetings with some of my friends at City Hall to see how they can help us. They’re very much on our side, and I’m getting together with a small cadre of people (a mix of public and private sector leaders who all work with the City) to brainstorm ways they can help, and opportunities they can unlock. More on that soon.

  • By the end of this month, I’ll be sending out a survey that helps us measure the economic impact of Indy Hall on Old City. Once this data is collected, we will have a tool to help the Old City District determine how much they can invest to keep us in Old City…but we’ll also have a better understanding of the value we collectively bring to the neighborhood.

And finally…we chose to keep the entire ground floor instead of shrinking it by 50% for the next 12 months. But…our rent goes up by 20% (about $3k/month).

We need to start making up that difference, and there are a few different ways to do it so that we’re creating more value as a community instead of simply raising our rates.


Option 1 – Can you pre-pay for your membership?

If you’re able to, we’re looking for members who can pre-pay their membership for 3, 6, or even the next 12 months.

  • This will help us build up our cash reserves and buys us time to work on other things that will help with the rent increase. That cushion will help us stay focused on the future, and saying “yes” to all of the great things that we want to do as a community.
  • For your business, you can write off the full prepayment on your 2015 taxes, including any months you prepay into 2016.
  • Pre-payment will count as a credit, so your membership will stay flexible. You can still upgrade or downgrade anytime.

This works on ALL levels of membership – from community and basic all the way to full time membership. Every little bit helps!

We’re ready to accept prepayments right now, and we are especially looking for members who can prepay before the end of this month. But whether you choose to prepay now or want to a few months from now, it’s all going to make a really big difference.

If you’re able to pre-pay for 3, 6, or 12 months of your membership – please send me an email ASAP at [email protected] or send me a message in Slack. Let me know how many months, at what level you’d like to pre-pay.


Option 2 – Help us start a Membership Scholarship Pool

You already know how valuable it can be to be a part of this community. The energy and inspiration of people getting things done. The ability to ask a question about nearly anything and POOF get an answer from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. The doors that can be opened when you’re trying to start doing something new. The network of networks that everyone is connected to. Sharing in celebrations of new achievements.

The kind of kinship and camaraderie that I watch so many people in this community provide for each other is tremendous, is unique, and is sooo valuable.

Now imagine how valuable that would be to someone who is just getting started, or in a career transition.

Nearly everyone in this community has been there at some point, and we know how difficult and lonely that place can be. And think about how much easier it is to find success when you have the support of a community like ours?

For example, imagine someone who has taken an collection of Girl Develop It classes because they’re trying to switch careers, or a college student in their junior or senior year, preparing for graduation. Think about how much their progress could be impacted by spending even one or two days a week at Indy Hall and participating in this community.

Indy Hall’s cost creates a bit of a paradox for those people who are still building their practice, whatever it may be. They’re not yet at a point where they can afford a membership, but by joining Indy Hall they’d be more likely to be able to afford it soon.

I’ve spoken to quite a few members about this in the past, and everyone has agreed that this would be an amazing on-ramp to offer. And for some of them, it’s not just a philosophical act of philanthropy…it’s an investment in creating their future collaborators and even the pool of potential hires. It’s a long-game approach, but I think that fits the Indy Hall mindset as well.

And best of all this solves multiple problems at once: it helps fill in our new cost gap AND creates a whole new way for students to get involved in this community, which is something that will benefit everyone.

So I’d like to set a goal of being able to offer 6 month “membership scholarships” – and to start, focusing on groups that are already near and dear to us at Indy Hall, like Girl Develop It students, soon-to-graduate college students, and even recent graduates.

There are still some details about exactly how people would apply and be granted – but I don’t want to figure those details out alone. I want the people who contribute to this scholarship pool to help determine how we choose the recipients.

If you’re interested and able to contribute financially to building this scholarship pool, please send me an email ASAP at [email protected] or shoot me a message in Slack!


Neither of these options makes sense for you? Please, don’t feel guilty.

These two options help us with a relatively immediate need, but I also know that they’re not going to make sense for everyone. There’s going to be other ways to help at different points throughout the year, and the absolutely LAST thing I want to do is create a financial hardship for anybody. And while these short-term ways are focused on help in financial many…we’ll have plenty of ways to pitch in that don’t require you to take out your wallet.

No matter what your contribution ends up being, I’m endlessly thankful for your desire to help this community thrive. If you have ideas that you think can help, come talk to me!

Looking to the future,

-Alex

No idea why we’re doing all of this now? Let me catch you up!

For those of you who are new to Indy Hall in the last month or so, and for anybody who needs a recap, much of this summer has been spent navigating a rather complicated situation with our current landlord that directly impacts the future of Indy Hall and our clubhouse.

Especially if this is the first time you’re hearing about this, check out these threads and the links in them to get a sense of what’s going on:

By the way – I’m SO proud of and impressed by how this community has banded together to support me, and each other. There’s been so much that’s already come from working together to find answers to tough questions, from exploring and brainstorming, sharing contacts, and simply providing gratitude and understanding. I can’t imagine trying to do this alone, so thank you for being here with me. <3

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Hey, thanks for reading!

Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.