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Thread: A word from your sponsor.....

  1. #21
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    Can we try having an annual fundraiser and see what happens ? I for one find this site worth more than a new boxcar or two !!

    How much is needed annually (approx) ?

    Could we have a little flag saying target met, or not yet met ? That way it makes giving more real.

    Just my two euros worth. Long may this community thrive
    Thanks, Tom

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  3. #22
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    Based on Spookshow's feedback about ad revenue and some of the responses so far, I would suggest a fundraiser type effort first. However, I have no objection to an ad or two, if they are kept as unobtrusive as possible as already discussed. I would just try the fundraiser first. It could be as simple as a thread that updates progress towards the goal each year. A thread (or something like it) would also offer a way to publicly recognize those who contribute, if they want.

    Merchandise could have a place in this, though I think Bryan has noted the slower than expected sale of merchandise in the past. Also, it's hard to sustain revenue from that over time if you're primarily selling the merchandise to the same people - even if we each buy a button and a decal set, how many will want to buy that year after year? I would expect sales to be strong at first, then taper off once existing members buy what they wanted to buy, and you're just looking at whatever new members buy after that. You could look at a new or unique button/t-shirt/whatever each year, but then somebody has to design or update that every year and I imagine the set up costs each time will eat into the revenue you seek to generate.

    Either way, I really do appreciate the constant effort put in by all of you who keep this site running, and your genuine effort to get input from the membership here.

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  5. #23
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    Ads or fundraiser , both are fine to me , I have no idea what the costs of a website like this is in the US or Australia ( where is it based ), it wouldn't be more then 200 dollars in the Netherlands, so a fundraiser should easily be sufficient . I did a fundraiser for our Dutch forum once , that site cost only 60 euro's a year , has only a few hundred members of which only about 30 active and the fundraiser brought in enough money to last 3 years .
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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  7. #24
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    I'm not sure how much it is to keep it up and going, but if it is attainable through donations/selling of merchandise, then I would rather go that route first.
    Bo D.
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  9. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Throughout, we try to keep a community feel, rather than a dictatorship.
    This shift in ethos is no different... things have to change, but how, and how they effect the membership will be guided by member input.
    My $0.02 is the best way to do this is transparency. If you tell us it takes $750/year to keep the site running (randomly made up but plausible number) and ask the community to cover those costs so you're not out of pocket many people will be happy to chip in and pay their fair share. We realize running the site is not free, and even if we cover the hosting and other direct costs there is still a huge time investment of the folks running it. I suspect there's a large enough membership here people will cover the costs.

    But when it's all hidden, both the costs and the revenue (from ads, or donations) there is always this suspicion (often unfounded) that someone is getting rich. The community tunes out.

    Hence my Wikipedia style comment, although there are other models that can work. Buying a supporter badge for a year is a good suggestion. Having a recurring donation option is a good choice too.

    Ultimately though the people running the site actually have to do more work to raise funds though. So I get why it's not a slam dunk suggestion. I've been on the other side, and time is often more precious than money in these sorts of endeavors. I also don't know if the forum software has any built in features to tie into billing/donations, or if another solution would be required.

    No matter what happens, thank you for making this community forum exist.
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    The UK Equivalent of Nscale.net is the N Gauge Forum https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/. I'm not sure how much is visible to non members, but there is some banner advertising for mainly small suppliers (not intrusive to my mind) and a donations function on the front page, top right. As you may be able to see they regularly get above the requested amount - this is banked to fund any upgrades etc.

    Simon

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    I'd be perfectly alright with a fundraiser as long as it doesn't mutate into NSN being a paid subscription. I want the posts and content I create here to be accessible for all
    Did someone say whitcomb?

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    Thanks for the thoughts Mark. I understand about the drop off of late, but something is always better than nothing.
    Best,
    Tony

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    I said before that small adds would work for me, I still agree with that.
    But after reading through more of the postings, it seems that fundraisers or donations have the biggest mentionings.

    I'm all in for that as well.

    In fact the suggestion that @simon D made would be a nice option.
    It's always there to remind us.
    It shows that members are actually contributing but not specifically who.
    Looks simple enough to add or add something similar.

    But what would NOT prefer, and I mean no disrespect for those who suggested it.
    Having a flag, a star or some other identifier of being a contributing member may give a false impression that those members hold a higher status than others.
    The ones we have now are fine as they just show whos been around the longest.

    Ideas like this always reminds me of the old Dr. Suess story of "The Star Bellied Sneetches"


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  18. #30
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    Just to be clear.....any NScale.Net merchandise that members may have purchased has nothing to do with me or the sponsorship of this site. I didn't even know it was being sold. I for one always wanted to update the graphics of the site but years ago when we discussed this, it seemed that members were happy the way it was. So it was left as is. If people have taken it upon themselve to make NScale.Net swag, good for them, but it doesn't fund the site in any way. A few years ago, Bryan did make up decals that members bought at cost, but I think in the end, we all went of of pocket, and it was never instituted as a way of raising money; just a way of reinforcing community.
    Best,
    Tony

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    @Gargoyle

    I like the idea of donations as well . I would contribute . And the idea of keeping it anonymous is a good one . We dont want any current or new members to feel like its a requirement , or to restrict the access they have now .
    Is there a dollar figure for a goal for the expenses you put out and would like to see come back in to help with that ?

    Steve

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  22. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gargoyle View Post
    Just to be clear.....any NScale.Net merchandise that members may have purchased has nothing to do with me or the sponsorship of this site.
    Thanks for clarifying that. But the point can still be made, that this is a possible method of generating support funding. I actually might give consideration to buying more merchandise if I knew that it was in some way helping to fund the site.

    This site does have Sale/Trade sections. A thought that occurred to me is that often we have members who are getting rid of extras they no longer need, in a sort of "garage sale" fashion. What if it were feasible to essentially donate items in that the proceeds (aside from shipping) go to the site instead of the seller, as an option? Some folks might even get a kick out of scratch building something for the fun of it (maybe they really enjoy making custom buildings, or hand-laid turnouts, or somebody has a 3D printer and doesn't actually need a hundred copies of some small detail item that are in the source file), and just make things for the sole purpose of giving them away via this site.

    I might have an old structure or bridge from a previous layout that doesn't fit on the new layout, it's just taking up space on the shelf, but someone else might pay $20 for it. At the moment, it may seem too much hassle for me to bother with listing it on an auction site - it's not the money, it's the time - but if I saw a funding goal for this site and knew that my excess kit could contribute towards it, I might take the effort to share my stuff.

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  24. #33
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    How many here would be willing to buy an Nscale.net collectible car each year? Could the mods hit up Micro-Trains for a special-run boxcar, say a run of 200-300 to sell at $20 each?

    Just a thought. ...

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    I’d be fine with either a couple of ads or donations, but would prefer donations be the first option, at least until it’s clear donations aren’t enough.

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    People seems to be ok with donations so why not set up a Patreon account? I donate $5 a month to a couple of content creators on YouTube and it's automatically deducted from my bank account. You wouldn't really even need to do tiers. I think everyone could at least afford a dollar a month.
    WAAAAGH!! Wait, wrong hobby. TRAAAAAAIIIINNN!!

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  30. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    How many here would be willing to buy an Nscale.net collectible car each year? Could the mods hit up Micro-Trains for a special-run boxcar, say a run of 200-300 to sell at $20 each?
    Probably $40 at least to cover a special run car and make a profit. Maybe more.
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  32. #37
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    I would be more than happy to donate to a fundraiser for a graphic badge or just to donote as needed. I have been on assignment for the last two years and away from my layout but visit almost every day. That has value to me.
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    Probably $40 at least to cover a special run car and make a profit. Maybe more.
    Well, so much for that idea. Down in flames like the Hindenburg!

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  36. #39
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    Oh the humanity of it all!
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  38. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    Probably $40 at least to cover a special run car and make a profit. Maybe more.
    And the upfront funds come from???
    Then there’s storage, packing (material & labor), and shipping.
    This and the limited consensus/interest in a “car” is why the decals came about... then despite the show of interest (used to judge qty) it took over 5yrs to sell most of them.

    The merchandise store similarly sold very little over the many years it was up, and the margins are small (to keep items affordable).

    So neither of these are viable for a sustainable revenue stream, and certainly wouldn’t have the volume needed.
    Bryan
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