A restriction to "members-only merchandise" is wrong, doubly so with current
low membership levels. When you're talking about a 10k+ member base, then I
can see a point to members-exclusive merchandise; this complementing a range
of items available to the wider public.

I'm also against the 'at-cost' idea. For members, I would say a discount (in
reality, lower margin), is perfectly acceptable. I believe most other
charities that use mechandise to raise funds treat their members and the
public in this slightly different way.

What I would look at is merchandise for the public, with a reasonable
markup. Can WMFUK undercut the cafepress store? If so, then without coming
across as mercenaries, an effort should be made to set up a store on the
WMUK site.

Someone more familiar with the financial planning side of a business should
give input on this. WMUK doesn't have the manpower to manage inventory and
order fulfilment. What companies do other UK charities work with to do this?
What sort of outlay and risks are involved?

I would take it as a given that this would be restricted to UK-only delivery
to avoid trading on the WMF's toes, or that of any other chapters.


Brian.

-----Original Message-----
From: wikimediauk-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org
[mailto:wikimediauk-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Thomas
Dalton
Sent: 14 September 2009 14:40
To: wikimediauk-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Merchandising

2009/9/14 WereSpielChequers <werespielchequ...@googlemail.com>:
> With only about 30 members the UK chapter is at a very early stage
> with a limited internal market. If you had 3,000 members you could get
> some economy of scale and order say 100 T shirts, but with a market of
> 30 you can expect the price per item to be exorbitant.  Producing
> ties, mousemats, cufflinks and presumably monogrammed bathrobes for
> the minority of those 30 who want such things is at best a distraction
> and at worst a drain on resources. Not least because selling stuff at
> cost means you have to invest the capital to buy the stuff hoping that
> if you sell all of them at full price you will recover your capital.
> That ties up capital and sooner or later you will make a loss when you
> discover that fewer than ten of your thirty members want a mousemat.

That is an excellent point. Without a profit margin you are guaranteed
to make a loss if you don't sell everything. Since, as a charity, we
can't take significant risks that means we have to make very small
orders, increasing the price even more.

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