2022 has been a monumental year for The Tool Library! We hired our first paid staff member, hit 1,100 active members for the first time ever, and have loaned out more than 10,000 tools since the beginning of 2022. As our organization continues to grow, we know that our staff and physical space must also grow to keep pace.
To meet those needs, we also know we need to grow our budget. While this discussion did not come lightly and has been more than a year in the making with input from members, volunteers, and our board, we have decided to increase membership dues for the first time in six years starting on October 1st.
From our current three tiered system of $20, $50, $100, membership will now be priced at the following levels:
- Tool Belt: $30
- Tool Box: $75
- Wheelbarrow: $150
Membership tiers will maintain all the same perks and members will also have the entire month of September to renew their membership for an additional year at their current rate. Memberships can be renewed in-person at the shop or over the phone during our regular hours of operation.
With your continued support as a member, not only can we tackle some of The Tool Library’s most pressing challenges together, we can help realize a more resilient and self-sufficient organization that relies less on grant writing and fundraising, and more on solidarity with the users of our service. We hope that you, our members, see the value we add to the Western New York community and believe in our vision of building a better world with shared tools.
In an effort to ensure that accessibility always remains at the heart of what we do and that cost is never a barrier to someone accessing services at The Tool Library, we will also be rolling out the Paul Borenstein Membership Scholarship, named after the late father of one of our board members who loved tools, building, and teaching. The Borenstein Foundation has made an incredibly generous gift to our organization and we could think of no better way to share that gift than through this scholarship fund. When members sign-up or renew, they will also have the option to double their membership dues to help support this scholarship fund in perpetuity.
Scholarships will be available through our website as well as at the shop. Additional information will follow shortly.
If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for all you do and continue to do to help us borrow and build!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Why are you increasing membership dues?
- The Tool Library has ambitious goals of growing both our staff and physical space. Right now The Tool Library is still primarily powered by volunteers. In early 2022, we hired our first part-time Operations Manager. While Lissa has been an incredible addition to the organization she is not superhuman and over the past six months we’ve quickly come to realize that we need additional paid staff to support our growth and the vision set forth in our first ever strategic plan. The Tool Library has also been operating out of the same footprint for the past ten years. We are literally bursting at the seams with tools, and have been actively looking for a larger space over the past year. We know that in order to find a larger space, we need a budget to match.
- When will membership dues increase?
- New membership pricing will go into effect on Saturday, October 1, 2022
- Am I able to renew my membership at my current rate?
- Yes! You will have the entire month of September to renew your membership at your current rate. Even if you signed up in the past few months, your membership can be extended an additional year at our current membership rates. Just ask a staff person or volunteer next time you are in the shop or call us during our regular hours of operation.
- Why do you have multiple tiers of membership?
- We understand that our members have different needs and different abilities to give. Our membership tiers allow members to take out 5, 25, or 50 tools at a time depending on their needs. Membership tiers also allow those who have the ability to give more to our organization. At the $75/year membership level, individuals are helping us to cover all the overhead costs associated with keeping The Tool Library’s doors open and tools flowing.
- Isn’t increasing membership dues counterintuitive to your mission of equity and accessibility?
- We don’t see this as an either/or situation, but rather a both/and situation. By increasing revenue from membership, not only can we tackle some of The Tool Library’s most pressing challenges together, we can help realize a more resilient and self-sufficient organization that relies less on grant writing and fundraising, and more on solidarity with the users of our service. This means our board, staff, and volunteers can spend less time organizing events and applying for, managing, and reporting on grants and more time investing in the services and programs that make an impact in our community. This includes current programming like our Dare to Repair Cafes and our annual Service Days as well as future programming like a DIY Workshop series.
- What if I can’t afford the new membership price?
- At the same time we will be rolling out membership price increases, we will also be introducing the Paul Borenstein Memorial Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will ensure that anyone who wants a membership to The Tool Library can access one, regardless of their ability to pay. Scholarships will be available through our website as well as at the shop. Additional information will follow shortly.