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Fw: [Computerbank] Fees
About a week ago I suggested some changes to the constitution or some
clarification to allow the possibility of Computerbank either selling,
charging a fee or accepting a donation for either a PC or some service that
it provides. I would like to respond to a feel points raised on the list in
the last few days and offer a few points of clarification.
Firstly I would like to say that the idea of charging a minimal fee for the
service was suggested to me by people already working in the community
service industry. Their experience was that when people actually had to pay
a small fee for something that they valued it more. Their experience was
that this practice improved the outcomes of the projects they had been
involved with. I have no first hand experience of observing this practice or
its affects. This suggestion was made a meeting of a community recycling
project here in Brisbane. At this meeting there were people from the
government community service sector, university researchers and members of
the local community IT committee. My memory of this meeting is that no one
objected to this suggestion. I also think it may be worth a try in some
I am not suggesting that we operate Computerbank as a business. There are
other organisations such as InfoXchange etc who will quite happily sell you
a second hand PC for anywhere between $150-$250. I would not expect
Computerbank to make a profit, in fact I think charging a fee or accepting a
donation for a PC would generate very little revenue at all. The primary
benefit of this suggestion is not in its ability as a fundraiser.
I would expect that any fee, charge or recommended donation would be much
less than a fee charge by other organisations or second hand dealers. To put
it in concrete terms, lets say we decide that the recommended donation for a
second hand P150 will be $50. This includes maybe 6 training sessions for
the user, telephone support during the first month, free installation
assistance, unlimited email and newsgroup support during the life of the PC,
free repairs or replacement within a warranty period, unlimited support at
official Computerbank help workshops (maybe held once a month, every
Saturday morning ?). I don't know exactly what other groups are offering as
services, these are my suggestions. The $50 figure is something I just
pulled out of the air just now. I don't think the exact figure is important
to discuss right now. The important points are that a) this is extremely
good value, b) we are not going to come even close to making a profit off
If people can't afford the $50 up front the we can couple this with a micro
credit scheme. I am not exactly sure how a micro credit scheme works but I
think it would allow the end-user to make much more manageable payments over
an extended period of time.
If an individual applies for a PC who cannot pay the fee or make a donation,
even with the assistance of a micro credit scheme, then Computerbank could
choose to waive the fee. I don't think anyone should be excluded on the
basis that they can't financially pay the fee.
If you feel uncomfortable with charging a fee then maybe Computerbank could
just have a recommended donation and let the end-user decide if and how much
they can afford to donate.
I am not a lawyer or an accountant. There may be tax or legal ramifications
of this suggestions. I am happy to take the advice of the relevant
professionals on this issue.
Tony Joblin, President
07 3371 1311 (working hours)
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