[Noisebridge-board] legal question from a new hackerspace

Andy Isaacson adi at hexapodia.org
Wed Aug 22 06:40:09 UTC 2012

On Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 09:21:52PM -0700, John Cunningham wrote:
> Say for example one of your members makes something and wants to sell it
> for personal profit - does that affect the non-profit status of the
> organization? If they provide their own materials and just use the space
> and facilities? I don't mean large scale manufacturing, seems pretty clear
> that's a no-go; more like individual projects they might sell online or at
> a fair.

The Nolo Press "Incorporating a nonprofit in California" covers this a
fair bit.  There are some specific things you want to avoid, but for the
most part it's a nonissue.  They'll have a copy at your city library.

> Do you ever sell projects as an organization? I'm hoping that if the
> proceeds go only to help support the space (like w/ rent, utilities,
> materials etc) then it could be done without affecting the non-profit
> status.

We do sometimes sell kits, but generally not.  Again, this is well
covered in the books and is generally not a problem, but you should read
about all the ins and outs.

You do need to deal with more bookkeeping complexity when there is flow
in many directions (cash in, out to vendors, etc).  Noisebridge has
mostly kept bookkeeping simple by only having donations and dues
inbound, and only having rent and utilities outbound.


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