We talked about all of these things at Bike!Bike! last weekend. You pretty much listed out the workshops in your questions. Hopefully people will post notes up soon.
In the meantime, you can find a lot of this information on the bike collective wiki. A good place to start would be with the Bike Collective Starter Kit.
Here are some short answers from Sopo:
1. We had an open meeting about creating a co-op. A billion people came, so we had to do it. Lawyer and accountant friends and family members helped us file as a nonprofit and as a 501(c)3. All of our paperwork for that is on the wiki. We kept having meetings, and the group was whittled down to the few that actually wanted to be organizers, and the rest of the folks came back when we had a shop for them to use. The shop was in the house for a long time. Then met the right people, built relationships, attempted to be slick with our homemade brochures, fixed bikes at neighborhood festivals, and eventually got hooked up with a space. Ultimately, it was a local afterschool program that put the pressure on the property owner to rent the space to us because they wanted us in the neighborhood.
2 and 3. See above.
4. Suggested donations for shop use, benefit parties, and alley cats. For special programs, I write proposals and tell people they need to give us money. It usually works. It helps that we have a great relationship with our city council person and the local business association, as well as a few community development corporations.
5. Oh boy.
6. I almost want to say nothing. The ignorance and arrogance of youth carried us pretty far! : ) There was a workshop on this that I didn't go to.. Stay tuned for notes.
Dear bike enthusiasts,
Hello from Portland, OR. I may have already contacted some of you, but decided this was a better route to go. My name is Ariel or RaRa. I'm hoping to start a bike mechanic collective here in Portland, as we don't yet have an affordable space for the public to go to work on bikes and learn from experienced mechanics for free. I've come up with 6 questions that would help me on my way to actualizing this idea. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your interest in this project.
Questions for Bike projects:
- How did your project begin? (tell me as much or little about what was involved to get you started…. From idea to actualization)
- What was the process of filing for a 501c3 and if you're using an umbrella organization, how did you find them?
- Do you have a lawyer, or lawyer friends that might give me some legal advice pro-bono?
- Where did you get your funding?
- How did you enlist volunteers and keep them?
- What do you wish you had known going into this process ahead of time?
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