Help Wanted: Port City Makerspace Board of Directors
DISCLAIMER: The following content wasn't created by, but is being shared by the Chamber Collaborative on behalf of a member.
PORTSMOUTH—The Port City Makerspace 501(c)(3) nonprofit is seeking volunteers to serve on its nonprofit Board of Directors.
Mission: Port City Makerspace is a welcoming and inclusive community workshop that provides tools, knowledge, and a collaborative culture to encourage the artist and maker in everyone.
The mission is carried out by way of three core programs:
Memberships - “Like a gym, but with tools, and for creativity!” - the public can gain access to communal workspaces by way of a paid membership structure. Diverse workshops offer people the creative resources they need to excel in the fields of woodworking, metalworking, textiles & fiber arts, digital fabrication, and so much more. The Makerspace emphasizes a welcoming and inclusive environment, so members are sure to benefit from collaborations as much as they are from the hard assets in the shops.
Classes - The Makerspace offers classes to members and non-members alike, which focus on the safe and productive use of tools housed within the workspaces. Take a class for a fun weekend activity, or learn a skill you can use to complete a project or support your business.
Workspace - The membership program revolves around communal workspaces and resources - but the Makerspace offers private workspace rental as well. Studios and material storage areas are available for rent on a monthly basis, to supplement shared workspaces.
As of 2022, the Makerspace supports 140+ subscribing members, teaches dozens of classes reaching hundreds of students per year, and offers more than 20 private workspace rentals to artists, craftspeople, businesses, and tinkerers.
Operation and Governance:
Unlike a private business, the Makerspace is not owned by an individual or a group. Instead, a Board of Directors oversees the long term planning and management of the organization. This is a voluntary group of no fewer than five individuals which assumes fiduciary responsibility for the nonprofit - meaning their top priority is serving the best interests of the organization. Board members’ responsibilities are fairly diverse, and can include financial management, strategizing, planning programming, fundraising, managing employees and more.
Port City Makerspace’s board is qualified as a “working board” - this means that, in addition to high-level strategizing and governance, most Board members are materially engaged in day-to-day operations, and much of their contributed time is spent supporting and supplementing the roles of our staff and volunteers. The Board of Directors are not employees of the organization, and they are not paid for their services. Directors are not granted any special privileges or authority as it relates to their use of Port City Makerspace, if they use it at all.
The Board of Directors currently works alongside the general manager - the Makerspace's sole, full-time employee who is responsible for all of the most critical day-to-day operations. Opening and closing the shop, training new members and scheduling classes are just a few of their key responsibilities.
First things first - volunteers do not need to be Makers, artists, or craftspeople at all, novice or professional! The Board is not some upper echelon of the most talented Makers in the region. In fact, it's important to have a group of volunteers with diverse perspectives and areas of expertise. Having experience as a Maker, or even with Port City Makerspace, is great but it is certainly not a requirement. Experience with nonprofits is a plus, specifically in the areas of expertise that will be mentioned later.
The Makerspace is seeking volunteers who can consistently commit a modest amount of their time to help keep the space operating smoothly. Some examples of activities you may find yourself engaged with:
- Recruiting instructors and scheduling classes
- Making decisions about programming - membership, classes, and workspace rentals
- Financial planning
- Strategic planning
- Maintaining the facility - painting walls, fixing broken stuff, optimizing workshop layout, etc.
- Organizing volunteers
- Marketing - social media, ink and paper, real life social networking
More than anything, the Makerspace is looking for dedicated volunteers who care about the organization and mission and who can commit a consistent level of engagement to the nonprofit. If you work well with groups and don’t mind learning as you go, this could be a good fit for you! The Makerspace does have some specific areas of need - while it is not searching exclusively for individuals with these areas of expertise, it is a major bonus for volunteers to have qualifications in the following fields:
- Nonprofit management & governance
- Nonprofit fundraising
- Legal (attorney, paralegal, etc)
- Financial management (accounting, banking, bookkeeping, etc)
- Commercial real estate
- Advertising & marketing
Director terms are two years long - directors can serve up to three consecutive terms.
Board meetings are held monthly, and generally take about two hours. Meetings are held in-person in the Portsmouth area. Directors may call or Zoom in if needed.
The current Board of Directors
Now that you know more about the Makerspace, and how it needs your help, please do not hesitate to contact them! You can play a valuable role in maintaining the cultural institution of creativity and making that is the Port City Makerspace.
Tricia Mansfield, Board President
Steve Pamboukes, Board Vice President