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Forum Donations - Gauging Opinions (Poll)

Would you pay a small, regular donation to UKAPS?


  • Total voters
    48

viktorlantos

Aquascaper
Joined
25 Oct 2008
Messages
1,598
Location
Budapest, Hungary
I kind of like the idea to have supporters back the best UK Aquascaping forum. Not so many people knows that, but a site like this could cost up a thousand £ or more per year! And as we get more functions like mobile alert and many other stuff the site will need more and more power in the back. Luckily UKAPS is still moving growing, this is much better than have a forum which has thousands of registers and would be in a sleep mode because of the inactivity.

So there's a large hosting fee which will just increase even more after time. There are tons of hours both from funders, admins, moderators who contribute their time free. The events to get new clients and make the site more popular. Noone paying for that. But all is for one simple goal. Make this forum rock and keep the community together.

Sponsors come and go. Some may inactive a while ago but still listed as a sponsor. They may never give money but give equipment in exchange. We do know know but the industry is not a big daddy who pay big bucks to have some banners up on the forum. That's the reason why you usually not see any sponsors on other aquaristic board. This is a though business for everyone. Cross promo helps sometime to boost the hobby to another level.

I see the concerns and worries when money comes to the plate, but hey it is an option. Honestly how much you paid for your last setup or gear in an aquaristic shop? And how much advices you get compare to the one you get or found here at UKAPS. The numbers what i've seen above as an upgrade fee or call whatever you want is not a big thing. It's also not required it is just nice to keep this family and house together also even if you pay now that does not mean you need to pay for a lifetime. You can quit anytime or be a support just for a month. Sometimes even a montly tiny donate matter.

Paulo i have 2 ideas for the current upgrade user thing:

- pay x and you get an upgrade. as an extra these people could get a ukaps t-shirt. So support fee could be x or x+t-shirt fee then it would be a nice value also for the supporters plus they can use it at Aquaticslive and any other place where members can meet or even on the streets for daily use.

- or make the sales part a subscription based thing with a minimal fee like 1£/mo. Keep the give away for free stuff free, but have the sales part subscription based. which not required to renew, but you can use anytime. i know many people will not like it, but if this is a minimal fee this can baked into any sold plant, equipment etc by the posters.
 
B

BIN578

Guest
Its a tricky question, and Im trying not to take it out of context, but I can also see there are different angles of looking at things. For myself, when I see the number of "official sponsors" here, all of whom presumably benefit from the added value of free advertising in a specific environment that is relevant to their business (nothing wrong with that of course), I then see this notion of "regular donation" as essentially being the same. There is no way around it, that its "private sponsorship". If I were to contemplate that (and I am not saying I would not), then I would want to see some "added value" in the same way that most business sponsors make their decision based on whether they will benefit "over and above being a forum member" which many of them are in their own right presumably ? This added value to "private sponsors / donators" might be in the way of an extra discount with the business sponsors, for example.

But I have also to agree with Foxfish, that if it is a voluntary "donation" as opposed to the difference between being a subscribed or non subscribed member, then to have a gold star next to your name to denote your generosity could be somewhat insulting to other members who contribute in other ways on this forum.

I would also suggest that simply because not everyone is in agreement (or not even that, but just have opposing opinions on those who are happy to just agree this is a good idea), this does not mean things are being taken out of context. It just means that some people see things differently.

For example, many of the members on here seem to sell things on the for sale forum and make partial donations or full donations to UKAPS from the proceeds of their sales, and thats great. I would probably consider doing the same. But then would those people get a "gold star" too ? And all these sources of income, but are there any accounts to say where the income is spent ? I realise the site has to be hosted, and it costs money to attend shows and events, but as the organisation grows, perhaps financial transparency needs to be considered and accounts published ? I think its great that UKAPS attends the shows and conventions etc, and that they are helping put this hobby on the map. But when this is done from commercial and private donations I would expect that income and expenditure is accountable. I have not seen anywhere on the site that refers to this though. Its a case of covering ones backside I would imagine, to avoid questions being raised ? Just a few things to think about.

But getting back on track, I think rather than calling it a donation, it should be called a subscription. You are either a subscribed member or you are a non subscribed member that way, without appearing to be "exclusive" (in the context of "I donate but you don't"). And I think that for that subscription (say a minimum of £10, with any additional amount being private) you SHOULD get some small value back. To use the example of the BCA again, entry to their events is about £5 a head, but members get in for £3.50. So maybe if you are a subscribed member, then UKAPS can arrange a small discount from entry to Aquatics Live. As a major contributor, this should not be too difficult to arrange. The balance being funded by the £10 subscription.... UKAPS get £8 out of it, and the subscribed member gets a couple of quid off should they be able to attend. That seems to be the most appropriate way of addressing it to me anyways. :)

Hope these ideas are useful :thumbup:
 

Steve Smith

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
4,413
Location
Wellesbourne, UK.
For myself, when I see the number of "official sponsors" here, all of whom presumably benefit from the added value of free advertising in a specific environment that is relevant to their business (nothing wrong with that of course), I then see this notion of "regular donation" as essentially being the same.

I'm not going to dissect all of the above, but I'd just like to make it clear that sponsors pay their way. They don't get free advertising, but they do get exclusive advertising at the moment, for a yearly fee.
 

Steve Smith

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
4,413
Location
Wellesbourne, UK.
Right, I'm going to wrap this up here then. There has been some good discussion about this and some food for thought. I guess we'll go away and consider all of this and make a decision on whether we want to do this, and how we'd go about it.

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts :)
 

ghostsword

Member
Joined
19 Nov 2009
Messages
3,422
Location
Cape Town, South Africa
I am not fond of the subscription.. but I would favour a membership..

Are you guys even aware as how much a server hosting costs? Licensing? Time maintaining?

Yes, some guys go to shows, but you can also go... nobody is stopping you going to a show, do some scapes, and have a good time...

Either membership payment, or a percentage of sale value..
 

LondonDragon

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Joined
21 Feb 2008
Messages
11,486
Location
London
Paulo i have 2 ideas for the current upgrade user thing: - pay x and you get an upgrade. as an extra these people could get a ukaps t-shirt. So support fee could be x or x+t-shirt fee then it would be a nice value also for the supporters plus they can use it at Aquaticslive and any other place where members can meet or even on the streets for daily use. - or make the sales part a subscription based thing with a minimal fee like 1£/mo. Keep the give away for free stuff free, but have the sales part subscription based. which not required to renew, but you can use anytime. i know many people will not like it, but if this is a minimal fee this can baked into any sold plant, equipment etc by the posters.
Many thanks for the feedback Viktor, we have considered various ways to generate some extra funds in the past and a t-shirt was one of the options and other merchandising, the t-shirts made for Aquatics Live were quite a hit with people.

Charging to access the sales section not sure if that is a good move, should be up to members to donate a share to UKAPS which some do but not many. The one thing members ask is the ability to upload photos directly, I have done something to facilitate this with the "imgur" option, but we could simplify it and adding that to the "subscriber/membership/donors", whatever you would want to call it members.

The whole transparency issue I don't see an issue with someone being recognised for donating to the forum, the people that want to donate from sales proceedings can also use the same feature to donate and be recognised as such therefore they are not discredited in any way. Could be just the "Member" title changes to "Active Donor" or "Subscriber" or something else fitting.

My original suggestion was to have 3 options (which were not listed on the original post), £1 for a month, £5 for 6 months and £10 for 12 months and maybe a £10+costoftshirt option for 12 months also.

Asking discounts for shows which are not under our control and for tickets we do not sell would be a management nightmare for all involved.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
 

Vanish

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2013
Messages
173
Call it a donation, subscription, or call it a supporter. Either way ukaps is a great site and it has already saved me money by sharing various cash savvy tips.
I want to keep it running, and as such am willing to chuck some cash in ukaps direction.
Well done to all of you dedicated folk involved.
 

Henry

Member
Joined
20 Mar 2013
Messages
899
Location
Salford
I've changed my mind. Call it an awakening, call it the result of a few beers, but I don't see why I couldn't afford a couple of quid to support one of the best forums I've experienced.
 

LancsRick

Member
Joined
18 Apr 2012
Messages
683
Subscription seems like a good idea, I'd definitely support that.

One thought Paulo/Steve - If you're moving to a regular "income" stream for the site now rather than ad-hoc donations, it would be nice to see (6 monthly maybe?) a brief breakdown of where the money goes. I'm not talking HMRC audit level, just a rough indicator to those paying members that hosting costs £x, sending people to shows costs £y etc.

Roll on the subscription :).
 

John S

Member
Joined
13 Dec 2008
Messages
849
Location
Welwyn Garden City
Charging to access the sales section not sure if that is a good move.

I agree Paulo. I think charging for any particular section may lose members. Additional features is a good idea though.

The advice and knowledge here is second to none. When I look at how much money I was wasting on 'disposable' plants before I joined, I could donate for the next ten years and still have saved money :lol:
 

George Farmer

Founder
UKAPS Team
Joined
30 Jun 2007
Messages
7,079
Location
Cambridgeshire
Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.

I personally don't hold the UKAPS purse strings and prefer not to get too involved in such matters.

However, I am very aware that the forum running costs are increasing, yet donations from using the For Sale sub-forum are decreasing. I have personally experienced giving away well over £100 work of kit, and not seeing a penny donated afterwards. But, I always state that any donation is entirely voluntary, and by and large the goodwill and integrity of the vast majority UKAPS members remains. What some members contribute by the way of their time and sharing their knowledge far exceeds any financial worth, after all.

If the worse happens and UKAPS does get into financial difficulty, Dan Crawford and myself will personally fund UKAPS to ensure its continuity. I can't imagine life without it! :)

The founders, admin and mods will discuss this in more detail, but for now you can all rest assured that you will never have to pay to use UKAPS. All donations are gratefully received, but there is no pressure to part with your hard-earned cash, and never will be.
 

peter senior

Member
Joined
13 Feb 2013
Messages
49
Location
portrush n,ireland
Hi i,m new to the forum and made a £10 donation,
my other hobby is metal detecting and the forum i use (rogers relics) as an annual subscription of £10 which i,m happy to pay
as stated above it costs money to keep a site like this going
where can you get so much info just by posting a question ? and what would a years subscription to a magazine cost?
hope this helps Pete :thumbup:
 

dean

Member
Joined
6 Apr 2012
Messages
1,374
Location
Warrington, Cheshire
I understand and agree with the notion of donation / subscription
People will want a reason to do this so how's this for an idea
Can the for sale/swap/wanted section be two tier ie an item only appears to supporters first, say 24 hours then go across to any member ?

There's no distinction between members but supporters get first bite of the cherry

Also I'd like to see something happen regionally, a meet, talk etc perhaps this could happen with the added income?

Could link with existing aquatic societies and give a talk at their meetings and open it to UKAPS supporters, so only be transport costs involved for speaker
 

Palm Tree

Member
Joined
5 Apr 2012
Messages
380
Location
Telford, Shropshire
As a student I have no money but £12 a year is nothing, especially for all the resources and experience the forum has to offer. Think about it, without this forum how many people would have brought 20g Fluval CO2 kits instead of a good regulator and fire extinguisher or Tetra Plantamin instead of EI. Think of all the algae problems resolved and money saved by buying cheap plants. £1 a month is manageable by almost anyone.
 

Palm Tree

Member
Joined
5 Apr 2012
Messages
380
Location
Telford, Shropshire
Can I also say I don't think its a good idea to have parts of the forum which are subscription only, but maybe a small perk like direct image uploads and a small emblem next to the names of subscribers would be nice.
 
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