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Topics Below:

Meeting Room Set-up

Meeting Room Set-up


Ask-NCN 6/1/2017


Christine McCormick, 2506 LLC
Our nonprofit center, Community Partners Center, is located in Colmar, PA, about 45 minutes from Philadelphia. We have a large conference room that is used daily for our tenants and nonprofits. Our current provider for meeting rooms setups is no longer available as of 7/1/17. The tables are heavy and require two people to set them up. The meeting room has configurations like U shaped, classroom, groups and others. We are looking for other providers and/or tables that are easier to set up. Any ideas?


Shelby Bradbury, Sierra Health Foundation

We have lightweight rolling/folding tables and stackable chairs for our meeting rooms. The orgs are responsible for setting their meetings and resetting the room (to a standard hollow square configuration). They are easy to move around and they look nice. The electrical outlet is rarely ever used.
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From the NCN Blog

Brandi Stanley

November 9, 2015


“Shared space” is still a relatively new way to work. Because of it’s “newness,” we just don’t have a lot of formal research or guides to show us how to do it well. At the Nonprofit Centers Network 2015 Building Opportunities Conference in June, I spoke on two panels: The first on Community Animation, where I was joined by several other “animators” from spaces across the U.S. and Canada; and the second, on branding for shared spaces. In those two talks, it became incredibly apparent to me how intertwined community animation and branding really are.


In my two years as a formal “community animator” in a shared space, I’ve learned a few lessons and come by some great resources, and I hope they might be helpful to you.


Animation is another way to say “culture building.” Every space has a personality, whether you notice it overtly or not. As an animator, you are helping to craft that personality to be what makes the most sense for your space. You are, in fact, building your brand. Every space detail you help cultivate, every tenant or member you select to be in your building, every program you run, every staff member you hire, and every way in which you encourage activation in your space says something about you. Does what you’re saying align with the culture you’re trying to build? Does it align with your overall mission? And is what you’re saying consistent? Does being consistent even matter in your model? If it does, but you’re not doing it, you might have a harder time attracting or retaining members because they might be getting mixed messages. Jim Collins refers to this concept—all the minor acts that add up to the bigger picture—as a “flywheel.”


To that end, my two absolute best resources when it comes to culture building and branding are:


As well, here’s an additional tool that we’ve used here at the Posner Center, which was recommended to me by Katie Edwards of NCN. Our staff walked through it several months ago, and even though we’d already developed most of our branding components, it helped everyone on our team get clear about the how the types of decisions we were making spoke to our brand.


Just because you aren’t an architect, an urban planner, an interior designer, or a millionaire, doesn’t mean you can’t afford to consider your space and how it affects collaboration. Remember how I said that everything affects your brand and your ability to animate? People will probably walk into your space before they talk to anyone who works there. Paying attention to how your space affects behavior is an important piece of the work.


How does your space affect mood?

  • Is the lighting great?
  • Does it make people want to spend several hours a day there?


Does it help or hinder human connection?

  • Are there areas where people are encouraged to linger, like the kitchen or seating nooks?
  • Is it too dark or too hot or too cold to want to talk?


Can people find and get to other areas around the building?

  • Are rooms accessible for all types of people?
  • Is there adequate signage or do people find themselves frustrated while navigating your space?


Is it clear what each space is meant for and how to use it?

  • Do people know where they’re invited to talk to their neighbors and other spaces where it’s clear that they’re meant to be working quietly?
  • Is it clear where and how to reserve certain rooms for meetings?


When any of these things (or more) aren’t working, there’s a chance you’re not only giving bad impressions, but also allowing opportunities for frustration, confusion, and lack of collaboration. My best resource for space design as it relates to facilitating collaborative environments is:


I have Megan Devenport of Denver Shared Spaces to thank for this gift last year. Placemaking resources also tend to be great guides in helping to understand how “space” or built environment affects behavior, mood, connection, and engagement.


Behavior change is something you’ll have to keep preaching. We’re asking people in our spaces to think less about competition and working in silos and more about cooperation, collaboration, and integration. This kind of “cultural” shift is one that requires shifting perspectives of the people, companies, and organizations in your space, and sometimes even the “users” or “clients” who come into your space for services.


Behavior change is integral to understanding how you might animate people in a common direction, which is often different than they’re used to, even as much as you might see this new way of working as completely logical. Know that others either aren’t familiar with it and don’t yet see its benefits, or are extremely familiar with it and actually largely against it (sometimes for good reason because collaboration isn’t always the right answer, either). We should focus on finding out when collaboration is the most meaningful and beneficial to both or all parties involved. The willingness to collaborate when it’s appropriate is an attitude that has to be fostered.


For this, one of my favorite books around a community-based approach to social marketing and behavior change is:



We’re making progress.
Thankfully, despite the struggle we often find as staff of shared spaces around legitimizing and formalizing our roles, we are making great progress. NCN hosts the Building Opportunities conference every two years, provides access to resources around running a shared space, and hosts phone calls and projects for people and organizations within the sector. Places like Denver Shared Spaces convenes “Community Animators” in Denver at a monthly Shared Space Managers Roundtable, hosts trainings on animating spaces, and is even working to formalize position descriptions for animators. These are all great signs that indicate we are moving forward and gaining access to valuable tools. Hopefully these resources only continue to grow and gain traction in the coming years.


About Our Guest Blogger: Brandi Stanley
Brandi Stanley is the Community Animator for the Posner Center for International Development, a community of nearly 60 international development-oriented businesses and organizations and network of another 100+ Members in a 25,000 square-foot shared space in Denver, Colorado who grow lasting solutions to global poverty.


Online Resource Center

Job Descriptions (please log in with your user name and password for access):


Community Animator, CSI Annex
Community Catalyzer – Tides
Communications Coordinator from the Community Learning Commons in Saskatoon, SK
Program Manager for Tides
Program Manager – Part Time from Third Sector New England


Example MOU/Agreement for Interns/Volunteers/Community Animators?


From Ask-NCN 9/8/2017


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
I recently mentioned that here at the Open Gov Hub in Washington, DC we’re about to pilot our own volunteer/work-trade program, called our Community Catalyst Program.


Is anyone willing to share an example MOU or agreement you have with your volunteers/interns and/or Community Animator-type roles like this one?

(I looked at the NCN member resource directory but couldn’t find any).

For example, we’d like to include a contract provision that requires 2 weeks notice if they decide to end the position early (like any other job), but aren’t sure what else to include.

Any examples much appreciated!


Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
Your question jogged my memory about a really interesting intern job description and job description from Michaell Rose at Hoag Hospital that lays out a lot of details in their policies. It’s not the same scope of work as a Community Animator, but there might be components that you can borrow.

Also, take a look at The Plantory’s Internship and Vista job descriptions. Most of their center’s staffing is done with volunteers, interns, and Vistas:


Salary and Staffing in Shared Spaces

NCN State of the Sector Survey Report 2015 I Managing Collaboration: Salary and Staffing in Shared Spaces

Topics Below

Foundation Support for Nonprofit Center Manager
Staffing and After Hours Management
See also Welcome Presence for New/Established Centers

Online Resource Center

Job Descriptions

Communications Coordinator – Community Learning Commons
Community Animator – Centre for Social Innovation
Community Catalyzer – Tides
Concierge – Literacenter
Director and Operations Manager – Citizen Engagement Lab
Executive Director – Aurora Welcome Center
Executive Director – Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center
Executive Director – Kukui Children’s Center
Executive Director – MarinSpace
Executive Director – Serve Denton
Facility and Office Manager – Deschutes’ Children’s Foundation
Facility Manager Job Description – Asian Arts Initiative
Maintenance Services Supervisor – New Path Foundation
Office Manager – Citizen Engagement Lab
Program Coordinator (part time) – Third Sector New England
Program Manager – Marin Community Foundation
Program Manager – Tides
Receptionist/Facility Manager (part-time) – Deschutes’ Children’s Foundation
Receptionist – New Path Foundation

Foundation Support for Nonprofit Center Manager

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 3/3/14

Jenny Baker, JABA
Our Partnership Board and Tenants Association are exploring the need for a center manager. This person would take on Board administration, community outreach efforts, social media, event planning, etc. for the Jefferson School as a whole. Can you point me in the right direction of some grants that might fund this type of position? Many of our tenants focus on the health and wellbeing of our community.

Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
Most of what we see when it comes to funding a Nonprofit Center Manager involves using earned income from rent supporting the position. If foundations are involved in funding a nonprofit center, they are usually local or focused on serving a specific geographic area.

Have any of you worked with funders who have been interested in supporting the ongoing staffing of nonprofit centers? What has been your experience?

Sarah Newman
In our experience this and other overhead expense funding is some of the hardest to find. We did get some local government funding for the Director and for the Information/Referral position.

Glen Newby, New Path Youth & Family Services
I would agree with Sarah, this is very difficult. Even our New Path Foundation does not directly support the financing of the administrative component of the Common Roof facilities, these are done by allocations from the rents received from partners and tenants. It would be a major accomplishment to our efforts if a Foundation or other granting organization (government would be great!) financially supported administration on a multi-tenant center. Any examples out there?

Cesar Glaxiola, J. Walter Cameron Foundation
I have never seen any funding source (government or private foundation) supporting the administration component. It will need to be from the monthly assessments agencies are contributing to your location. On your planning include the following costs: the administration component, utilities bills, maintenance and repairs and savings for the long term capital improvement projects. On the long term improvement projects can be breakdown:

-Large projects: Anything over certain amount i.e. $50,000 your agency match a percentage from its long term savings and the rest is obtain by approaching multiple founders.

-Smaller projects under $49,000, your agency holds annual fundraisers, other events, ask for business donations, etc…

Eli Malinksy, Centre for Social Innovation
Just to offer a counter-balance, our organization has previously received a foundation grant for staffing of our centre. It has been a while, but it did happen. As others point out, however, this is rare. Your best bet is to position it as a time delimited, or project-specific, effort. E.g., funding for a Community Manager for 18 months to help the organization establish its self-sustainability, or funding for an Events Person to introduce new programming to members, rather than a straight up admin/operations grant.

Kim McNamer, Deschutes’ Children’s Foundation
We fundraise annually for staff which includes 4 part-time facility managers, an Executive Director and a Development Director as well as basic operations because we do not charge rent to our partners. We have a use fee that covers basic CAMS and is money in, money out. The other half of our budget is fundraising for the above mentioned staff and small repair and maintenance reserves. This is always a challenge for many Foundations – we are most successful with small family foundations giving $5K or less who don’t mind the operational side of things and get our model. We have worked to approach it a bit differently with this model – and some get it, others just don’t and will only fund specific projects. For our new facility, Foundations were over 1/3 of the fundraising, but it was a capital campaign and they love those. Those Foundations are harder to get back for basic operations – but all were statewide and I haven’t found interest in others outside of the state, many cover only specific areas as well. Our fundraising is all through events, individuals, companies, service organizations and foundations. We do not receive any federal or local government grants (outside of an occasional discretionary grant from our County Commissioners). We can’t find much we qualify for on the government side of funding.
We have to fundraise $295,000 annually and the breakdown is as follows:
Events – 56%
Individuals – 34%
Foundations – 8 %
Other – 2%

It is a continued challenge, but one we manage and handle as best we can in order to keep the rent-free for our 28 nonprofit partners who are using office and classroom space at four locations. My biggest challenge is find another nonprofit center out there who has this specific model and needs to fundraise annually to get operations running smoothly. If we can’t fundraise what we need, we either need to cut staff or increase the use fees, which is never the popular or desired outcome.

Alysson Storey, Chatham Cultural Centre
At the Ground Floor in Chatham, Ontario, where I am currently a Board member, we have been fortunate to receive Trillium funding to support our part-time paid administrator position. We are entering year two of operations; we were only able to open for year one through a joint application to the Trillium Foundation between our municipality, a local arts festival (who is a tenant of our space), and a private local business, who provided our first location at a reduced rental rate, as well as located their office there. Our Trillium application was successful for one year, after which point, if the initiative is moving forward in a positive direction, applicants are usually encouraged to apply for a three-year funding grant. We were successful for that grant as well, which will be in place from 2013-15. Since we are just starting out, we have a small space and a small number of tenants. However even with this small start, we are finding that a part-time coordinator just isn’t enough – we need her full-time! Especially to promote and market this new space and educate our community, as this concept tends to get a lot of blank stares from people around here. So our work is cut out for us. J We are also looking at other grants, as well as revenues generated by our tenant rental fees.

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and operate a coworking space for nonprofit arts, heritage, and creative enterprise, as well as individual artists and makers. We have a 6-year, commercial lease at a good price (ca. $22/SF) but not substantially below market on 5,000SF, with $600/month in electric and no U&O. Our three levels of membership pay for 100% of the operating costs of the space, including lease cost and utilities, shared leased technology, security, internet and telephone, one full-time space/membership manager position at $45k + fringe, and repayment (over 1.5 years) of a zero interest capital loan of $50k. We found that the density that coworking permits allows for running costs and management staff to be comfortably covered. (All of the above costs can be covered at about $15k/month, and the revenue potential of the space we estimate at $20k – $25k/month, though we have not yet attained that level of income. We’ve been open since Nov 2012.)

Staffing and After Hours Management

From Ask-NCN 3/24/17

Michele Vandentilaart, The Link in Georgina

  1. Does your centre/hub (for those who currently have tenant organizations in the building) have operating hours posted, meaning your main doors are open to the public during that time and, do you have ‘staff’ managing the building only during those hours?
  2. If you do have ‘open’ business hours, how do you handle your operation after hours. Do you still have staff in the building to accommodate any needs of your tenants?
  3. Are any of you operating a shared responsibility model with your tenants, meaning tenants may be operating or holding events/workshops, etc. in your building outside of business hours and are responsible for the common areas and lock up of the building when finished? Or, do you only allow activity if you have staff on site?

How do you all manage this?

Chris Bowyer, The Alliance Center

A to Q1: The operating hours for our building are not publicly posted anywhere within our facility. However, for communication to those tenants inside of our walls typical hours have been communicated to when someone from our staff is expected to be in the building and available for any tenant needs. One nuance for our space is that our lobby is open to the public and houses a coffee bar that is open to the public. Given this distinction our front door is open during those operating hours while access to any other area of the building is locked. Outside of our first floor area visitors are required to be let upstairs by tenants or our organization.

A to Q2: During after hours events we manage these in a number of ways. For events that are being held in our event space, we have dedicated staff or volunteers who are present in the building through the duration of the event. These individuals provide a multitude of services ranging from greeting meeting participants, assisting catering, AV needs, cooling/heating and many others. Outside of our first floor conference room some of these similar services are provided to the other conference rooms in the building yet typically on a much lesser degree. This service is only provided in those spaces when those conference rooms are booked through our team. For after hours events that are held by tenants, unless specifically requested our team is not required to be onsite. However, we have provided tenants with an after hours emergency number that will contact members of our operations team or an external organization who can respond to urgent building matters (floods, locked out of building, etc) around the clock. Many of our electronic systems are available remotely so many issues that arise are able to be accommodated from home.

A to Q3: As mentioned above tenants regularly have events in the building during off hours. When our event space is being used a member of our team is typically present. When other spaces are being used and the space has not been coordinated with our team we will not be present for the event. As our external doors are only accessible by tenants during the evenings and weekends and can be opened with a keycard system that each tenant carries, security of our external doors has not been an issue in the past. The tenants are responsible for ensuring that during an event not serviced by our team that only those participating in the event enter the building. During large events however, these doors have been scheduled to be unlocked during a specified time period and our team confirms those operations while servicing the event. Tenants are generally responsible for cleaning a space and not leaving excess belongings, food, equipment but our janitorial team will perform any necessary cleanings around the building after evening events and when necessary after weekend events.

I hope this response is not too long winded and helpful. Please let me know how I can better answer additional questions.

Laurie Rich, The David Brower Center

1. We do have operating hours, as we have a public gallery space. We are open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 2pm. We have a door locking software that we set to be open and tenants use their key fobs outside of these hours to gain access to the building. Our staff typically works during those hours (some of our staff have adjusted schedules). We have a front desk receptionist to greet visitors and tenants Monday – Friday from 9:30am – 4pm.

2. Open business hours are typically Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. After hours requests are sent through a central email ticket system or a after hours call number that gets routed to various staff.
3. Tenants are permitted to have events in their suites outside of normal business hours. We have language (pasted below) from our resident organization manual for them to refer to.
Events and Meetings in Office Suites – Large Events
If you are having an event or meeting for more than twenty people during regular office hours, in the evening, or on a weekend, please inform at least two weeks before the event. Please let us know if you anticipate a large volume of trash and/or recycling. Remember that all waste and recycling should be properly sorted and left inside the office suite.
Please note that compliance with the City of Berkeley’s noise ordinance is required for all events in the building. The noise ordinance limits exterior noise to 65 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and to 60 decibels between the hours 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Note this really isn’t very loud. For example, a room full of people with some music playing or several folks talking on the Terrace could easily exceed the ordinance. We strongly suggest you close windows and doors and make sure that the sound does not carry outside of your space. This is not just to comply with the noise ordinance, but also to respect our neighbors at Oxford Plaza.
Events and Meetings in Office Suites – Signage
If you are having a meeting or event in your office suite, the Center can post signage in the lobby to notify participants of the meeting details. Please submit the following information at least 2 business days prior to your event:

  • Organization name
  • Suite number
  • Event name
  • Event date and starting and ending time
  • Number of guests expected

The Brower Center will create and place signage according to the following procedures:

  • Daytime events/meetings will be included on the “Today’s Events” sign in the 1st and 2nd floor lobbies.
  • Evening and weekend events/meetings: If there is a concurrent conference center event, an 11×17 sign listing your event information will be placed in the lobby. If there are no conference center events, an 8.5×11 sign listing your event information and call-box instructions will be placed in the exterior sign holder above the call-box at the front doors.
    Please note that taping or posting signs throughout the building is not permitted. Additionally, we highly recommend that you station a greeter at the front door to welcome and provide access to your guests.

Michele Vandentilaart, The Link in Georgina

May I follow-up with a few other questions:

How many staff ‘manage’ the building on a daily basis?

What is your square footage?

How many tenant organizations do you have?

How do you handle sick time/vacation time of staff if you have limited staffing? Do your tenants collaborate to provide customer service in the building?


Topics Below

Virtual Reception/Visitor Management
Room Booking / Meeting Space Tools
Maintenance Management
IT Support
Shared Client Management
Human Capital Management
Database Software for Case Management
IT Needs for Shared Space
Paperless Security Desk Sign-in
Online Conference Room Calendar Scheduling
Managing/Limits on Room Bookings through Credit System

See also Room Booking Etiquette

Online Resource Center

NCN Webinar | Spaceware: Problem Solving Software (Dec 2014)
NCN Webinar | Beyond Shared Calendars: Room Scheduling Software Options (Jun 2014)

NCN Webinar I Software for Shared Spaces  (March 2020)

Virtual Reception / Visitor Management

The Receptionist Helps guests to your space quickly connect with the right people
EnvoyCollect guest information, capture their photos and have them sign legal documents—all on the iPad.
Salto – Enhances the usability of virtually every building environment by securing nearly every door and enabling the monitoring and control of every user.

Room Booking

WUN Happy Desk A new meeting space management system that combines online booking and e-commerce capabilities with robust reporting.
Event Pro Software Used by Mansour Center – “A single system where the Venue Booking, Event Management and Catering Management components are all seamlessly integrated so they can easily stand alone or be used all-in-one and anything in between.”
Room Booking System Used by Saskatoon Community Service Village
Nexudus – used by cSpace, Literacenter, Tides Center, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, and Center for Social Change

Novus Insight – used by Jessie Ball duPont Center, CT Community Nonprofit Alliance
CobotMember Mangement, Invoice and Payments, Booking Calendar, Wifi Integration, White Label – Customization, Business Reporting

Proximity, Inc.

TeamUp – used by Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Commerce

Caterease – used by David Brower Center (room reservations / event bookings, staffing, account management, and payment processing. It integrates with Quickbooks, Sage 50, and Google Calendar)


Ask-NCN Discussion 10/23/14
Zach Lifton, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
It’s been asked before, but maybe someone has an update. We really struggle with how to allow members to book rooms, without abusing that access or being generally inconsiderate. Right now we just use Google Calendar, but we’ve outgrown it. Ideally, in dreamland, we need a system that allows members to see availability, prevents over-booking, limits amounts of time members can book, and requires a “check-in” for the reservation… which gets deleted if not used.

We’re [obviously] willing to pay for this type of software: any suggestions?

Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We created a survey monkey to capture all of the information needed to book a room and will be making the view function of the calendar public so they can choose an available time. On top of it we have to manage cars on site and keep them under 50 for meetings held at the same time.

Looking forward to any ideas. It is starting to become a full-time job!

Saul Ettlin, Tides
Tides and the Thoreau Center recently engaged to license their conference room management system (currently used by David Brower Ctr., Marin Space and others). We liked this option because it is a single license agreement without the ongoing fees that come with many of could based offerings. We did invest in some development to make some tweaks to meet our needs. My understanding is the work we had done on the system constitutes a new build so the features we added should be available to others.
NEW’s system has the ability to have a login for specific users where they can only book for themselves and cannot override another users entries. The system also provides a notification to an administrator (administer can override all bookings) that a booking request has been made (and which can then be approved by the administrator). The systems does require a web server or it can be hosted on the developer’s server for a nominal fee.
We’re planning on running two instances of this system with 8 conference rooms in San Francisco location and 6 conference rooms in our New York offices. While we haven’t yet deployed the system (launching in the next two weeks), it has been great to work with NEW’s team and their developer. We selected this system after attending and NCN’s webinar on conference management systems and more research on the options available.
I’m sure you could contact Marin Space or David Bower center to see how the like it.
The contact person at NEW is:
Yodit Mesfin Johnson
Chief Relationship Officer
734-998-0160 x238

Jennifer Pedroni, HealthSpark Foundation
We have used this system developed by NEW as described below for a few years. I am happy to talk with folks about our design and implementation process and current use of the system. It has worked very well for us and we review, modify and refine it about once a year. You can see it on line on our website here.

Pam Brems, Mansour Center
We have been users of EventPro for many years, and we are highly satisfied with its features and, in particular, their outstanding customer service. However, we run a full service conference center, booking outside entities with rooms and catering, AV, etc. It is not a “self-serve” kind of booking arrangement. I’m not sure if EventPro has that capability.

Brandi Stanley, Posner Center for International Development
I’ll be honest in saying that in all the work we’ve done to research this, even though there are some models (probably like NEW) that work well enough, we have yet to find one that meets all of the needs and variables we have. Perhaps it’s worth starting with some needs and working up over time, but we haven’t found that value yet. And, I’m probably a bit strange because I come from a design/web background, but I have yet to find one that’s also intuitive/easy to use, and beautiful (and, one that can be branded into our website, rather than being the one hideous thing that sticks out like a sore thumb). We’ve even looked into helping others develop a completely new one because we’ve been so frustrated elsewhere.

In the end, we’ve still found Google Calendar (along with Spanning for Google, to help retrieve any accidentally deleted dates) to be useful enough, and it doesn’t require money or the time to train on/search for/or develop a new or revised platform. The only thing I wish that it had for sure was an ability to track time so that we not only knew what rooms were being used, when, and how often, but by whom (so that we could cap their usage and/or charge for more).

Jodie Semkiw, Sasktaoon Community Service Village
For the past two years now we have been using a web based software called Room Booking System out of the UK. We have been really happy with it! The interface is very user friendly for our agencies and has a number of options for the Administrator. It does have a options for tracking the highest user and the room that is used the most etc. There are 3 or 4 levels I believe. We use the most basic. They also offer a discount for Nonprofit organizations.

Zach Lifton
Excellent! — and similarly, we were pointed toward Cobot: still looking into, but has many robust features specifically designed for coworking spaces. Their free trial has been enlightening.

Deeter Schurig, cSpace
Just curious whether you decided to commit to Cobot or not? We have been frustrated with another option and are now looking at Cobot. We are interested in features of invoicing, direct billing (ie paypal or stripe) booking of hotdesks, etc. Your perspective is appreciated.

Zach Lifton
Hi Deeter — sorry to take a bit to get back to you on this: we were actually in direct conversation with Cobot last week about some last minute questions so I figured I’d wait to update you until we found out a few more answers.

So while we haven’t implemented their service yet, it seems very (very) likely that we soon will as long as our finances come together to have it make sense.
If you haven’t already, I would just suggest setting up a call with them: they are extremely nice and very helpful. They can also set you up with a trial version so you can poke around a bit. As an FYI they are based in Germany so there’s a six hour time difference (from EST): just takes a little advanced planning to set an appointment.
Aaron Cruikshank, CRUICKSHANKI’m implementing Nexedus at a coworking project next month. Haven’t started using it yet but when we did our scan of available solutions, it looks ideal. Lots of coworking spaces use it. Super powerful.

Deeter Schurig
Thanks for your response and no worries. We are moving along with Nexudus and seem to be making good progress. There is significant flexibility and plenty of variables that can be utilized which add to the setup. We are interested in integrating print management all into one portal and this is all a bit of an experiment for the time being, but seems possible…

Misha, Engagement Lab
This is my first post to the Nonprofit Center Network. I’m excited to be part of this community and both offer any wisdom and tap into yours.
I’ve been hired to run The Lab, Oakland California’s newest co-working space dedicated to social change agents. This is the brain child of Citizen Engagement Lab a social change accelerator and incubator. Check us out at We are slated to open at the beginning of March.
Right now I’m looking into co-working space platforms to manage our space. I’ve been looking into the two recommended here Nexudus and Cobot. If you all have been using these and now have some feedback I’d love to hear.
Doug Barrington, HNS Life Center
We are just digging into Happy Desk. It looks promising thus far.

Jimmy Martin, Chicago Literacy Center
We’re looking into Happy Desk, as well, and I can say that they seem to have very reasonable pricing and excellent customer support. We’re still in the testing phase, but it does look promising

Meeting Space Tools

From an Ask-NCN Discussion 11/19/15

Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
A huge number of centers use Google Calendar to manage their meeting rooms. We know it’s not a perfect solution, but many folks have found ways to make it work for them. I want to gather information about HOW you set up your Google Calendar for your center. Did anyone document the process as they set it up? Are you willing to share that documentation? Have you found any plug-ins or add-ons that have been super helpful to your space? Also, I’ve heard that some groups prefer to have every meeting room on a separate calendar, others have all rooms on one calendar. What did you decide to do and why?

Karen Maciorwoski, The CT Nonprofit Center
WE are moving to a specially designed room reservation system for nonprofit centers! It handles room reservations, user log-in, confirmations, technology assignments, daily wifi, and hot-desking. Our technology consultants who are also a 501c3 organization, created the system for a local library and then customized it for another nonprofit center, and are now currently customizing it for us. We were able to get a grant to pay for the customization and licensing and the annual cost is reasonable. We are currently using google calendars and survey monkey to make requests, but the work load it added to our staff outweighed the cost to purchase something more sophisticated. We got caught off guard with a few meetings that were double booked and this system will allow for greater user interface and customer service.

Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We use Google Calendar for all of our meeting rooms and it works great. We have 8 meeting rooms and 30 tenant organizations. We try and only give add and manage capabilities to one person per organization but everyone can have read only access plus ours is public so everyone can view it on our website. We have found that color coding works the best for us so you can look at a glance and know which rooms are being used. So the Order at the top in the meeting line is ROOM NAME / ORGANIZATION NAME / MEETING NAME and it is color coded to the room. For Example Regions room is green, Hancock is blue, Topazi is orange and so on so I can glace at a week and see what is open when and then if I need to know more I can open it up and get details. Also we will reserve the room for set up for a meeting but put set up so if there is a conflict or someone else needs the room then they will know there is flexibility on the use of it that day since it really isn’t a “meeting” just set up for the next day. It also helps our janitorial staff know which rooms had events in them that day so they know which need extra attention etc. I attached a picture of what next week looks like on our calendar. There of course are mistakes but the good thing is you know who set a meeting because it will say the email that added it but we have very few double bookings. The biggest mistake we will have is that people will save it to their personal calendar instead of the public Knight calendar that everyone can see so they see it on their calendar but no one else does but that doesn’t happen very often. People usually only make that mistake once. I go through and glance ahead every once in a while and just check and make sure people have set them right and correct any color changes that need to be made but most people caught on to the color code system pretty fast. However, we do not charge our tenants for the meeting rooms, it is part of their rent so I can see where google may not be enough if you needed more than just reserving the room.

Vicki Jay, Midland Shared Spaces
At Midland Shared Spaces we use MRBS – Meeting Room Booking System for our reservations. We have it on our website and ask that everyone (within the building and outside) submit their requests online. There is a calendar to view availability, a reservation request form and pricing. Once it is submitted, it is then confirmed by a MSS Staff member who places it on the master calendar. The master calendar is available on line as well as displayed on the Wayfinder display information board at the front of our building. The Wayfinder includes room assignments and maps. It is web-based free software and it is accessible 24/7 to anyone. It also handles recurring events. We have been very pleased with our system.

If you want to view ours, please go to the website: or There is a SPACES tab, then ROOM RENTALS that explains the process. At the bottom there is a MSS Room Calendar you can check dates and availability. There is also a Room Reservation Form tab.

I’d be happy to share with you what we’ve experienced with Nexudus. Just to lay a ground layer of perspective, my organization consists of a number of member organizations. We don’t allow individual memberships, so any “members” are organizations represented by individuals.

We opened a new facility last May and I worked directly with Adrian Palacios from Nexudus on getting it set up. Adrian has always been as helpful as he can be, but he does seem to be the only person from Nexudus with whom we’ve interacted.

I could ramble on and on, but I figured I’d just lay out pros and cons as far as how they relate to our organization. This is neither an endorsement or an indictment of their service, but rather how we’ve experienced it. You may have a completely different setup that would work differently with the software.

– It can be used right out of the box with just a bit of personalization.
– It has many features included in one package that you don’t see in many other programs, including a CRM tool, billing, room reservations and a member directory.
– It’s constantly being updated to accommodate client needs.
– Support responses are usually very prompt, no matter what time zone Adrian is in.
– It can be customized to a great deal by a web design professional, allowing you to create your own front end for members on their software.
– It can sync with Google for calendar integration.

– The terminology requires a bit of a learning curve. “Members” and “Users” are confusing in that they both refer to the same person, but “users” applies more to the back end of things. For my organization, “Members” are whole organizations, while Nexudus views them as individuals. There is a “Team” option, but because (at the time) billing was based on the individual and not the “team” we decided to handle billing on our own. We have never used the billing/accounting feature in the software. They seem to have made modifications to accommodate team billing, but we don’t want to go back, at this point, to find out whether or not it works for us.
– Billing is set up to occur automatically and without much personalization. We have a large number of members and a large variance in the items we bill each member. We have four different member levels and each member level has different benefits & charges. Due to the size of the effort and intense interest in controlling our billing process, we opted to do it ourselves.
– Automatic emailing – by default, as soon as you enter someone’s email address in the system, even to test, they start receiving emails from Nexudus. We found this out the hard way when we were getting set up. There are a few steps you have to go through in the settings to turn off much of the automatic emailing that occurs. If individuals are signing up on their own, it’s probably perfect. Again, since we’re not dealing with individuals, it wasn’t right for us.
– Google calendar integration: We use this feature to sync with the iPad room display software we use. There’s an iPad outside each meeting room, displaying what meeting is happening. Nexudus offers their own iPad display, but it’s just a website and it doesn’t offer any control over the iPad, specifically the ability to turn the display off at night. While the Google integration does work, most of the time, the sync occasionally drops without notice and we don’t know it has happened until members mention that their name isn’t on the iPad outside their meeting. This leads to confusion with their attendees and others who are looking to book a room last minute.
– CRM functionality – this is a mixed bag. It might work just fine, but our development director did not feel confident in its abilities, so we opted to go with another piece of software for that.
– Cost: We have over 355 users within our 79 member organizations or “teams.” This has pushed our monthly rate from $110 eight months ago to $375. It is based on the number of “members,” so as we grow, we’ll pay more and more. That’s not ideal from our perspective.

To sum it all up, it hasn’t been the best fit for our organization, but it’s done the job of supporting a member directory, a community board and room scheduling for us, admirably. There are a lot of other people who use it quite well with few issues. We are looking into Happy Desk, I can tell you, because it looks like a powerful option that will allow us to grow and not cost us more. For 600 users, we’re only paying $299 a month. That’s a pretty stark difference. We haven’t been able to do much with it, yet, but unless we find any major roadblocks, we’ll probably change over.

Maintenance Management

MP2 – Used by the Jones Trust
Qube Global Software US (bought Vision Software)
Qube Global Software CA

IT Support

NEW’s npServ Used by Tides, Thoroeau Center, and HealthSpark Foundation
Beyond consultation and system setup, NEW’s npServ acts as your remote IT Department, providing ongoing IT support and training for your organization.”

Shared Client Management

Aunt Bertha – Used by Serve Denton (Helps to coordinate and track cross-agency referrals with ease)

Human Capital Management

Asure Software: HCM is an all-encompassing tool providing businesses with payroll & tax solutions, benefits administration, human resources, talent management and ACA healthcare reform software solutions. Included is our suite of workplace software, hoteling & hot-desking, move management solutions and business utilization analytics.
Our new PEOPLE SUCCESS PLATFORM is the only global technology designed to empower people by providing companies with the solutions needed to increase employee empowerment, engagement and productivity. We are streamlining office logistics & operations to significantly increase your ROI on your most valuable assets – space utilization and people compliance and performance.”

Database Software for Case Management

From Ask-NCN 3/9/2017

NCN Question: What Database Software for Casement Management do you use in your center?

Vincent Tilford, Luella Hannan Memorial FoundationWe use AASC online, but are looking to move to Apricot. Would be interested in what people think who have used Apricot.

Brenda Roush, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
At my previous employer, The Gathering Place, we used Efforts to Outcomes from Social Solutions. We found that it allowed us to track nontraditional metrics along with traditional metrics and narrative.

Misha Palin, The Lab Director
I just found that there’s a google app called Streak that is an integrated CRM/sales pipeline database with your google mail. I haven’t had the time to fully explore it, but so far the one part I’ve used (marking emails to return to me within a certain time if no response) has been useful. I’m sure it’s not as robust as some of you need, but it could be a very good cost effective solution for those that can’t afford to spend a lot of money on buying and learning a Case Management software system.

IT Needs

From an Ask-NCN 5/25/2017

Irene Lehrer Sandalow
This is a very broad question. What are the IT needs for a shared space? I know we need very fast internet. Some organizations have their own servers. What else should I be thinking about? What kind of services do I need?

Misha Palin, The Lab
We offer segmented wifi, meaning each organization gets their own network and password which helps with keeping their data secure and we put in a lot of hardwire data lines in our walls. If the wifi gets slow they can plug in. We also bought firewire adaptors when we were having problems with our wifi so people could plug in.
We do not offer IT support nor space to put their servers since servers can be as small as one computer to as large as a rack or a room. We encourage all orgs to move their data to the cloud if they haven’t gotten their yet.We also chose not to put in phone lines, only data lines for VoIP, if they want hard wire phones since most of our people use their cellphones or computers.As far as other services:We offer 2 professional grade printers one color and one black and white that people can access through the network.In the conference rooms we offer big screen monitors and Headless MacMini computers that people just transfer files onto or just pull up their files off the internet so there’s no need to deal with adaptors and such. We also just have a zoom account that anyone can use for videoconferencing with a quick link.We have one person who has basic IT skills and a good troubleshooter but we also have a contractor that we call for higher level IT problems.
James Thompson, New Path Foundation
So at both our locations we have access to Ethernet ports and have server rooms which our subcontracted I/T staff team (3 folks) look after. Most tenants are connected to our internet and telephone systems so that helps spread out the costs. Wifi is readily available throughout, our meeting rooms have projection screens and LCD televisions available; we also have lcd projectors available through reception for folks to use if needed.

Anything over and above, we negotiate with our tenants on their own specific needs…for example, some have jointly purchased SMART Boards for use in two of our meetings rooms; while they have priority usage, other tenants can also access through scheduling.

Paperless Security Desk Sign-in

From Ask-NCN

Sarah Reidy, Children and Family Services, Inc.
We are in the process of converting our guest/employee check-in from paper sign-in to an electronic system. Has anybody had any success with any cost-effective security measures/systems? (We do have a staffed security guard on site now.)

May Mui, East Bay Local Asian Development Corporation
We use Paycom for staff sign in, time sheet, pay check process, and staff performance reviews.

Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
I am curious about this as well. We open ourselves to members almost 24/7. We are looking at two systems. Kisi and Salto. Has anyone tried either?

Online Conference Room Calendar Scheduling

From Ask-NCN 2.26.18

Elin Ross, Federated Charities
I’m trying to find a reliable and straightforward online calendar that I can invite partners to so they can reserve our conference room. Any suggestions?

Karolina Anderson, Fort Worden
Partners reserve our conference space using Google Calendar – which has worked well so far.

Sarah Glendening, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
I looked for a free option last summer, but came up empty-handed. Probably the most straightforward option is to use a Google Calendar that you can share. The problem is that if they can reserve their own space, they can also delete other reservations, which could happen on accident pretty easily.

We have a form on our website where agencies can make requests, which includes a link to the conference room calendar, which we published online (instructions here). The downside is that all bookings still must be done by the administrator of the calendar. But at least requestors can see the calendar before requesting space that isn’t available.

Here’s an article about using conference room calendars in Outlook – not sure what platform you use, but maybe it’s helpful.

If anyone has a better (free) option, I’d still love to hear about it!

Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We currently use outlook calendars for our conference rooms. Non-agency tenants are given an email address that allows them access into our IT system.

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
We currently use Nexudus, which is a great platform – it does conflict busting as well.

Nancy Osborn Nicholas, Together Center
We use Google Calendar – and make sure the settings allows the person scheduling the time be the only one who can delete the date (like they change their mind). It has worked well for us.

Russ Dahms, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations

Managing/Limits on Room Bookings through Credit System

From Ask-NCN 3.12.18

Nada Zohdy, Open Gov Hub
Here at the Open Gov Hub in our 5 year history we’ve always offered unlimited, first-come first serve access to all our many meeting rooms (23 in total! including call rooms up to a large event space), to our full-time members, completely free of charge.

But because our membership has grown and we have a lot more demand on meeting spaces now, we have decided to roll out a new credit system from April to manage room bookings and help ensure more equitable access across the community, proportional to the staff size/presence here of our various organizations.

How do you all manage shared meeting rooms? Do you do monthly credits? Bill hourly? What have you found to work effectively – without being a big administrative burden to manage – and what do you recommend we avoid?

As you probably know our meeting rooms are one of our most valuable shared resource so we want to be very thoughtful about how to best make this change!
Kerry Lynn-Wilkie, LangsWe provide a meeting room for ½ day each month, as part of a partner’s lease of a 5 day per week office/full time office lease. The ½ day of meeting room space needs to be used in the month and not carried forward. We find this meets some partners needs fully (ie those who meet as a team monthly) and then they can always book additional space for a nominal fee. Rooms are booked in allocations of 4 hours of time – generally in the $25-50 range, based on room size.

We do try to maintain regular bookings for partners – ie if they always have a Monday afternoon group, we would then book other one time requests after confirming regular bookings for partners.

Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We have different hourly and day prices for each room. Most of our members get 8 hours per month in our conference room. That equates to a monthly credit in our system of about $320 that they can apply to any room.

If they go over their credits, they pay hourly at the member rates. Hours/credit do not roll over month to month.

Most of our memberships receive 8 hours per month and private offices receive 16.

The most important thing in my mind is allowing/requiring members to book their own spaces directly, not through one of your staff people. This way there can be no denying it is first come first serve as far as reservations.

We have higher hourly/day rates for non-members as well.

Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We offer our partner tenants (those that have 10 year leases) unlimited use and 5 free hours for all of our other tenants. We charge a nominal hourly fee based on the room size for anything over 5 hours. We used to allow offsite groups to use the space, but due to increased demand, they must have a direct affiliation with our agencies to qualify for space.

We use outlook calendar for all meeting rooms other than our board room, which must be approved by our administrative office. We only allow tenants to book their own rooms/modify reservations rather than having our administrative staff book for them.

Sharon Lovett, Center for Social Innovation
We have different hours of free meeting room time for members based on their membership package in our 4 locations in Toronto. We have our own in-house booking system that allows members to book rooms themselves and to view the availability of different rooms. The monthly total hours booked are calculated quarterly (so the hours per month are tripled). Anything above their free amount (Overage) is calculated at a fixed rate that is a discount from the rates we charge external bookers. We are working on reducing the significant time it takes to invoice the overages.

External bookers create a profile in our system and at this moment must contact our staff to book rooms but they can view availability. We are working on changing this so they will be able to book regular meeting rooms themselves in the future.

In addition we have several large event rooms that are not included in members’ free booking hours but they have discounted rates and must be booked through event staff .


Topics Below

Gender-Neutral, Male/Female, Family Friendly
Restroom Safety & Security

Restrooms – Gender-Neutral, Male/Female, Family Friendly


From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 5/3/16



Dominic Lucchesi, The Brower Center, 5/3/16
With the recent events in North Carolina and elsewhere, the issue of providing gender neutral restrooms has come up recently in our space here at the Brower Center. Our building is fairly dynamic with members of the public, private event guests, and building tenants all sharing the building each day.
Each floor currently includes separate male/female restrooms.
I’m curious to know if anyone in the group has had any experience with transitioning to gender neutral bathrooms. Has the conversation come up in your space? How have you tried to balance the needs/beliefs of all building users?



Juliane Mayne, Arts Habitat Edmonton, 5/3/16


Doug Vilsack, Posner Center for International Development
We have gender-neutral restrooms downstairs at the Posner Center, mainly because we didn’t have enough space to have decently-large male/female restrooms on each floor. There are no urinals, only small rooms with locking doors. The restroom on the second floor was supposed to be gender-neutral as well, but a group of women in our building revolted about not having their own restroom when we opened and that was not a battle I wanted to fight! Our experience with our gender-neutral restroom has been positive, and most folks in our building are very used to it by now. That said, it does cause some stress for our many visitors from developing countries where unisex bathrooms are unheard of and not culturally appropriate.


Tonya Surman, Centre for Social Innovation
We only do ‘All Gender” Rest Rooms now… they are awesome… create amazing collaboration and connection, save space and are truly inclusive…a little word… we have had lots of politcal drama’s up here about the topic and have arrived at “All Gender” instead of Gender Neutral… cause actually, all genders are welcomeA key to the solution was the creation of a ‘super elite’ universal access rest room where people who use wheelchairs, need showers or prefer more privacy can still find it in the mix.
works like a charm.


Faisal Abid, The NonProfit Center of Boston
At the NonProfit Center of Boston, we have a male and female restroom on each floor. In an effort to be more inclusive, we built out a separate single occupancy/gender neutral restroom on one of our floors that is also fully ADA compliant. We added signs in each of our existing restrooms that notify visitors and tenants that there is another option if they are more comfortable.
We have had this now for about two years and have found that it is appreciated by tenants and visitors to our center alike. It’s also directly next to our mothering room and doubles as a changing station when needed. We’ve had no issues whatsoever with any of our tenants since they still have the option of using gender specific restrooms. Highly recommend having one available!


Dominic Lucchesi, David Brower Center
Here is a look at the signage that we placed outside all of our restrooms this morning:
Inline image 1
Inline image 1

I think there is some more work to be done, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction. Any feedback would be most appreciated!


Misha Palin, Citizen Engagement Laboratory
When we opened in March we were asked by one of our potential tenants what we could do to have more inclusive restrooms. As we were remodeling we spoke to the architects, general contractors, and building owners to see what would be our options. We have multiple stalls in each bathroom and we were not allowed to have all gender bathrooms according to building code.Our solution was to place a sign inside and out of each restroom and I offer keys to single use bathrooms on different floors for anyone who would feel more comfortable using single-use bathrooms.
Thank you for all the examples of signs and videos. They would have been helpful as we navigated this territory.Here are the resources I consulted:

Inline image 1
Inline image 1


Dustin Barrington, HNS Life Center
We are in a more conservative community, so no one has expressed much interest in gender neutral restrooms thus far.Assuming, however, that this could happen, we do have a “single use” restroom adjacent to the Men’s and Women’s restrooms that also has a changing table and is designated for Families. Our original intention was to serve parents of either gender who may need to change a diaper. By default, it is available for anyone that feels more comfortable not sharing a restroom regardless of their reason.This provides a useful hygiene option without requiring us to define a position.


Angela Baldridge, The Plantory
We have gendered (male/female) restrooms with individual stalls in them (no urinals) so people can have privacy but can use the restroom that best fits their identity, and we have a single unit restroom with a shower and changing table so that folks have another option if they don’t identify with the binary genders, or if they just want to use a single bathroom. Our staff intentionally uses the single unit one so that use of that bathroom isn’t some sort of signifier. We were required to have separate restrooms by code, but we are changing our signage soon to make them more inclusive as well.

Restroom Security & Safety


From Ask-NCN 2.23.18


Remy-Anne Viajar, Sobrato Family Foundation
We are interested to hear what other groups have done to address restroom safety, security and access at any of their centers/ buildings.
Due to an increasing amount of serious safety/ facility related issues (including tenant complaints) surrounding our restrooms, we are considering having all of our restrooms locked and requiring punch code to gain access.

To make things a bit more interesting, here are some of our fun facts about our building:

  • We operate a 2 story, multi-tenant (13) building, a little over 100,000 sq.ft
  • We only have 1 FTE onsite (M-F from 8am-5pm)
  • Within this building we operate a very busy conference center, that outside organizations also use.
  • On any given day, our Center hosts government and community leaders and our tenants’ clients, which include families, children, individuals with developmental disabilities, individuals in homelessness, and people struggling with mental illness.
  • We are also located adjacent to a tent camp for homeless individuals

We strive and want to keep our environment warm and welcoming to all, but unfortunately seem to have reached the tipping point where controlled access is now needed. Look forward to your feedback and welcome suggestions!


Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
We operate a similar center in a similar neighborhood.
All of our restrooms are locked. Every employee has a key and we keep keys in the conference room.
That has worked well for us.
As for access, the front door is open from 7:30 to 5pm, 7 days a week. All tenant ED’s have a key which allows them access before and after those hours. There is a gate to the parking lot that automatically opens at 7:30 am(earlier on days the garbage company comes) and closes at 6:30 p.m. Anyone in the parking lot can still exit. There is a code which tenants have to operate the gate manually if they need to let someone in.
There is an intercom to each office by the front door. If someone needs to come in after normal operating hours, the person calls the program who comes to open the door. We don’t open it remotely because we want to see who is coming in.
We also have video cameras all around the building. When there have been incidents, the police can access the video which has happened several times. The recordings self erase every 30 days and can be accessed by our property manager.
Hope this helps.


Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We are dealing with the same tipping point….
We occupy about 3 floors of an 8 floor office building.All of our members have nearly 24/7 access to the space, so we needed solutions that are secure but not prohibitive to easy use of the space.

We installed cameras only facing entrances/exits as to intrude as little as possible. The blink cameras were bought off amazon and send video to a cloud when triggered by motion. We only have them set to record outside of staffed hours at this point. You can also purchase very cheap fake cameras with AA battery powered blinking lights to look real.

We have schlage locks from home depot with codes on our bathrooms and main doors. All of the bathrooms have the same simple code which is posted inside our space. I highly recommend this over physical keys as they were always getting lost, left in bathroom, etc.

For the main space entrance doors, I would not recommend the code solution we have, too easy for people to share. We are about to take the next leap to access control with Salto systems, built for co-working. Each person with have a key fob which we can deactivate easily if needed. Soon they will upgrade the system and people can use a phone app for entrance instead.

As far as guests, I am working on reusable guest lanyards that would list which org the person is visiting. Looking for other ideas!


Email if you have additional resources on this topic.


Space for Nursing Mothers to Pump Milk


From an Ask-NCN Discussion on 2/2/15


Hillary Brooks, David Brower Center
A subtenant ED just submitted a complaint about having to use the communal shower rooms for expressing breast milk. Having been through that not-so-fun experience myself, I have sympathy for her need for a clean, private space. Yet, I believe it is not the landlord’s legal responsibility to provide the room; it’s the employer’s.

Further, our shower rooms are actually not heavily used, they are cleaned regularly, and they are legally compliant as a private room for pumping, as she herself acknowledges. She just thinks it’s icky because multiple sweaty people use the space and it gets wet with shower water.

While it appears that this is a tenant relations issue rather than a legal one, I’m still wondering: have any of you dealt with this issue? If so, how do you have any learnings or innovative solutions to share?


Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We have had many similar requests from guests of our Center; when we realized that all of our offices have glass doors and windows we realized, oops, poor planning! We figured having a temporary place to pump for a visitor/tenant is an important aspect of customer service. We identified an office in our space that a staff member was willing to give up for a period of time; purchased privacy screens from Walmart to block all of the glass; lock the door; and use special environmentally safe spray to spray before and after the pumping. BUT we also require that people give us notice on the time period (if not just one day visitor, but is a tenant or someone there regularly). Any tenant can borrow the privacy screens and environmental spray to set up the same in their office space. If a door does not have a lock, we have a volunteer female staff person sit outside the room for the 10 – 15 mins it takes to pump. The appreciation from the “Moms” goes a long way. However, I have no idea what the legal issues are; we simply started with a new “Mom” on staff and figured out a solution that didn’t creep her out and then extended it to visitors/tenants. She started bringing her own portable cooler with her so as not to have to use the communal fridge; then we purchased a small dorm fridge for the purpose.


Online Resource Center

Policies for Public Room Rentals:

NEW’s Conference Room Policies and Procedures, Detailed
NEW’s Conference Room Policies and Procedures, 1 page Summary
Room Rental Policies for the Community Resource Center of the United Way of Houston
Mansour Center’s Rental Policies
Space Usage Agreement and License – The Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado
David Brower Center Event Contract Agreement
David Brower Center License and Use Agreement
See also Insurance and Liability


Marketing Event Space

Mansour Center’s Conference Center Marketing for Corporate Events
Mansour Center’s Conferene Center Marketing for Wedding and Social Events


Topics Below

More to come…. 
What to Charge for Program Space
Equipment Needed
Furnishings – Chairs
After Hour Pricing for Venue Rentals


Email if you have anything for the topics below:
Operating Procedures, Design/Layout, Square Footage, Other??


For Themes and Strategies for Gatherings, head here.


What to Charge for Program Space

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 8/9/16

Irene Lehrer Sandalow, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
We might have found a space for this project, but we need to figure out the fee structure and I am hoping you can help with our thinking.

The space has three components:
1. Full and part time hot desk spaces
2. Permanent spaces for organizations working there every day, including closed office spaces
3. Program space: this space will be open to community members. However, for two of the organizations, the program space is their office space. (These organizations train people of all ages, including Rabbinic students to study Jewish texts in the original language) One organization will likely use it Monday – Friday from 10am – 2pm and occasional evenings and the other organization a couple of afternoons a week. They are using the largest space on the floor. This program space will also serve as Jewish library for community members.

I have a tentative fee structure for the hot desks ($400 f/t and $250 p/t) and permanent desks, but I am not sure how to calculate the fee for using the program space.

Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
One considering in pricing and commons spaces – everything except your desks – is whether you wish to upcharge it to member or include it in the “fully loaded” cost of the desks and transient membership rates. We do the latter, but we restrict the use of common spaces depending the level of members (Full, Light, Basic, etc.). Up-charging internal stakeholders for commons can feel a bit like the airlines charing for baggage – feels like nickel and diming.

The other consideration is whether you rent the common spaces to non-members (outside groups) or retain those spaces as a benefit of membership. To have a membership contract and let our your spaces erodes the value of membership, in my opinion. So we never let our spaces out to non-members. It also keeps the spaces available for use by members.

Erin Prefontaine, The Jerry Forbes Center Foundation
We have a similar situation: 40, 000+ ft2 of office space that includes closed offices, cubicles, hot desks, open collaboration spaces, a communal kitchen, small, med & large meeting and board rooms, a class room and a 4200+ ft2 event space.

We’re doing a couple of things to help with the cost calculations, which for us determine the price calculations:
– We’re working with a commercial property management person to help us ensure our leased space is charged at a rate that is well below commercial lease rates in our city (we’re aiming for -40%), that the rate includes everything (there is no base rent as the building is free-hold title, but utilities, operations staff costs (communications, property management, reception), and contribution to a capital reserve fund and an operating reserve fund)
– We are allotting the meeting spaces to each tenant, proportionate to the amount of lease space each has. We don’t know exactly what that would look like, but an example would be: If you’re renting 3500 ft2 of space, you receive 10 hours of meeting space per month.
– We are enabling the tenants to trade their free allotment of time: tenant A has 10 hours per month, but routinely only uses 6, they can donate their additional 4 to tenant B who only has 2 hours but needs an additional 4.
– Because of our funding agreements/model, we are not able to charge a membership to the Centre, so we are considering all charities in our City members of our community and charging a reduced rate (TBD) per hour to them for meeting space.
– We are charging a premium, hopefully still below market value, to for-profits wanting to rent meeting space.
– We are also brokering leases to those charities that only need large spaces for part of the year: charity A needs 3500 ft2 for 4 months, then only a third of that for the rest of the year. We would then encourage other tenants who are hiring summer students, or part-time workers to lease form said charity to help off-set costs. We are encouraging them to rent the hot-desks (which we will charge out a premium for) for times when they need to: financial audits, etc.
– We are encouraging any charity leaning toward a hot-desk for part-time work to rent a full-time cubicle, as they are cheaper overall.

If you have the opportunity to work with a property management person (I highly recommend seeking one for your board, or those of your tenants), that will really help you determine what you need to charge to be fair to the tenants, but that will ensure the Centre is fiscally sustainable.

Essentials for planning an Event Space

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 9/9/13

Janna Six, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
The Alliance Center building in Denver is undergoing a major renovation to make capital improvements AND to expand and activate our event space and make it more useful for tenants and the public. We will have 3,000 sq ft of event space available on the first floor (of the 6 story building).

In order make the event space the best it can be, we’d like to hear from you. What features/ equipment are essential? What lessons have you learned? How do you charge tenants for use of the space? Please share your thoughts by replying to my email. If you have produced your own event space procedures manual, would you be willing to share that too? Thanks! Once we get ours figured out (in January?), we’ll post our event space procedures on the NCN website.(See policy and marketing documents above.)
Pam Brems, Mansour Center
Some suggestions of “must have’s” for event space rental:

  • Event Management Software – not only to keep the calendar but to allow you to run reports, showing utilization, invoicing, receivables, setup information, communications with rental customers, etc.
  • Tables on WHEELS, preferable that bend down, to eliminate the need to lift and stack…tilt and roll, so to speak
  • Chairs WITHOUT arms to accommodate all sizes of participate and allow easier stacking. Also avoids damage to the arms from being shoved under tables and improper stacking.
  • Adjustable lighting, particularly near the front of the room/screens, so the front lights can be dimmed when presentations are being shown, but the attendees still have light at their work stations/tables.
  • Wireless internet – with adequate bandwidth for many guests, each of whom may have 2-3 devices (smart phone, tablet and laptop)

Tom Olivas, Girls Scouts Orange County
Good ideas, I would like to add to the comments below, durable wheels/castors on the chairs are also a great feature and be sure the chair back and seat are of a material or fabric that is easy to clean.

Thomas Gaylon, The Center for Family Resources
If renting space to outside groups make sure you have a contract and get a damage deposit.


From Ask-NCN Discussion

Vicki Ireland – Posner Center for International Development, 12/6/16
I am the Office Manager at the Posner Center for International Development. We are looking to purchase a bulk amount of chairs to live in our Common area for daily use as well as events held in the space. We are looking for something sturdy, stackable, and comfortable! I figure this is something that a lot of you might have in your space. Any recommendations on where to purchase at a good price point?

Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
I got these recently at Sams club and they are nice and comfortable and only $20 each. I have some black ones that were purchased forever ago and was trying to add to them but some of the similar black stackable ones were over $60 and some over $100 which is so expensive. These chairs were the best look and value I could find. Not sure the picture will show but trying to attach one.

Rebecca Landau, Urban Land Conservancy
Check with Merchant furniture. They often have very good used furniture. We have been very happy with what we got for Curtis Park and Tramway.
Similar to this:


After Hour Pricing for Venue Rentals

From Ask-NCN 10.23.17

Tarshea Sanderson, Center 4 Social Change
Hi, I am the venue rental coordinator at my workplace. I would like to know how best to price venues at our location after normal business hours. Can anyone give me a pricing guideline. I would certainly appreciate it!

Marc Kondrup, Midland Shared Spaces
We add $20/hour for anything after 5:00pm or on weekends. We don’t have an event coordinator on our staff, so this does not include an MSS staff person to be on site, just extra for lights, HVAC, etc.

Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
It is important to understand what your added cost is for after hours use of space. Things to consider:

  • Cost of security or maintenance staffing
  • Cost of utility consumption
  • Cost of heating/cooling
  • Cost of housekeeping (if any)
  • Is the price the same for a tenant partner as it is for an outside agency?

The big thing is how do you staff and what does it cost? You need someone in the building to be able to respond to emergency if a sprinkler head breaks, fire alarm goes off, etc.
Staffing cost is the big starting point and then utilities. I would expect that your true cost for extended hours with 1 staff person is somewhere near $30-$35 hour.


Topics Below

Fee and Facilitating Conference Rooms Space


Ask-NCN Conversation 10.10.17


Debbie Shoemaker, Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
I am helping an organization that is developing a new nonprofit community center. They are currently Developing their business model and are looking for any input on facilitating the conference room space? Is there any charge for tenants or co-working members? What fees are you charging? What would be the fee for outside users? Do you have individual fees for conference room AV equipment etc.? How do you handle after hour events. Does your Onside Manager help with after hour events? I would appreciate any input on this subject. Thank you
Shelby Bradbury, Nonprofit Innovation Center
At the NIC we only charge for after-hours usage, anything on the weekends or after 5 pm on weekdays. It’s a $50/hour charge. We only allow tenants to use the common space at NIC. We have a conference center next door for nonprofits in our community, free of charge. We provide A/V equipment to our two large meeting rooms.


Charlene Altenhain, Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center
Free conference space is a benefit extended to our tenant nonprofits. They can use the space any time and they are responsible for set up, clean up, and if used after hours, they are responsible for securing the building. We also provide A/V at no charge. Community partner nonprofits can use the space during the day, but they have to be sponsored by a tenant to use the space after hours. Then the tenant is responsible for securing the building. Our staff handles scheduling and making sure the rooms are clean and ready to be used.


Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We offer unlimited conference room usage for our partner tenants (10 year lease). We have 10 conference rooms that seat from 6-100. Non-partner tenants get 5 free hours of usage and a nominal fee ($15/$25/$50/$100 an hour depending on size of room).
Due to the popularity of these rooms, we limit outside usage to groups that are specifically working with our partner tenants. We do require off-hours security guards (approximately $25/hour) if outside our normal security guard staffing. We have an IT staff that assists with A/V equipment but no off-hours manager. We provide spider phones, projectors and microphones/speakers at no cost but on a first-come, first-serve basis. We use Outlook Calendars to book our meeting room spaces.


Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We consider meeting and banquet room space a tenant benefit so we do not charge tenants but do charge anyone else that is not a tenant including nonprofits and for profits. There isn’t really a restriction on tenants except there is a limited amount of times the banquet room can be used by the smaller tenants to keep people from renting the smallest suite and monopolizing the meeting rooms so just a fairness check on size but never had an issue with it to date. After hours is different I even charge tenants for afterhours especially weekends. I determine what is “after hours” by if I have to extend when the air is on, have housekeeping make an additional trip or extend security. Tenants can NOT sponsor non tenants if a non-tenant goes through a tenant to make a meeting reservation so they don’t have to pay I charge it back to the tenant. Partnership meetings are of course allowed but if the tenant is not really part of the meeting they can’t sponsor by giving away space. We found that some of our meeting rooms were not being utilized as much as they could be so when we started charging outside groups it really helped utilize the center, spread the word about the center because it was good marketing having outside groups come in, and was a nice revenue stream that allowed us to add extra benefits for the tenants.


Kim Jones, Nonprofit Village

At the Nonprofit Village, we also do not charge current members for use of meeting space. However, we have started to put a limit on the number of hours based on whether the organization is virtual or full service. They all book their own time online, and at the end of each month we draw the results of the number of hours used. Then we severely punish and publicly humiliate those that go over the limit (just kidding). We charge them back for the extra hours used. It seemed to get everyone in control because we haven’t charged in months.

Nonmember organizations are charged $25/hour, lower than the rate for most county space. Evening and weekend rates are higher. Members cannot sponsor nonmembers unless the member is a part of the meeting. All equipment is included in the room usage (phone line, speaker pod, TV with HDMI cable, screen and projector. No laptop is included though. Free wifi is available. We do not offer assistance, except to answer setup questions, even for nonmember groups. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact offline if necessary.


Discussions Below

Room Booking Etiquette
Strategy for Misuse of Space
Behavior Modifications – Doing the Dishes
Paying the Rent On Time
Your Shared Values & Cleaning Expectations

See also:
Collaboration and Getting Along


Room Booking Etiquette

From an Ask-NCN Discussion 4/22/15


Mariah Shell, Alliance Center
We run a shared space with about 150 individuals and 18 conference rooms of varying sizes. Right now, we’re using a Google Calendar system to schedule the conference rooms but as our building has gotten more full, we’re running into some issues. All of our tenants have unlimited access to the conference rooms when they’re available, but lately we’ve been having issues with rooms being booked and not used, or being used when they’re not booked, etc. A lot of our tenants aren’t comfortable asking others to move, even if they have rights to the conference room.
How do you manage conference room usage in your building? Does anyone have any good tips or ideas on how to balance all of this?


James Thomson, New Life Foundation
Thankfully here at The Common Roof we have a full time reception staff at both of our shared space locations who manage room booking requests. These staff use Outlook to block off rooms as they are booked and to email the individual requesting the space with the details. While this is quite an easy process in terms of requests and our ability to respond, our biggest issue that we face is room booking conflicts – where 2 or more tenants wish to book the same room and the same time. While I like the idea of an online system where folks can access and book, my concern would be control over the confirmation of requests (especially if there are conflicts).


Faisal Abid, Nonprofit Center of Boston
We use a system at the NonProfit Center of Boston called Resource Scheduler through Peoplecube. This system allows us to place some restrictions on how often a group can rent space, recurring reservations, how far in advance, what rooms they have access to, etc.
We used to have a lot of issues with groups reserving a space then not using it; we’ve gotten around this for the most part by putting a cancellation fee in place. For example, if you do not cancel your reservation in our larger conference rooms at least two business days in advance, we charge a $50 cancellation fee. We’ve hardly ever had to charge this, but it seems to have done the trick.
For groups using the space without a reservation, our tenants ask someone from the building staff to speak to whoever is in the room. We’ve found that after a couple of times, most groups no longer use space that they haven’t booked ahead of time. In addition to this, all of our larger spaces are kept locked, and only unlocked for the group that has a reservation in the system.


Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We just use the google calendar and only one person per tenant organization is given access to be able to book meetings on the calendar. You can have edit or view only capabilities on it. We have them email or call me to book the big banquet room but other meeting rooms they do on their own. We use a color code system for the rooms so at easy glance everyone can see what is booked. Tenants all have unlimited access to rooms but we charge non tenants. If tenants are caught booking a room for a non-tenant then they get charged but really I don’t have many problems. We don’t have a lot of tenant turnover so I am not constantly having to train new people on how it works. I over see it in general but they can book on their own. It allows it to be public on our website. It isn’t public to edit but it is public to view which helps people coming here for a meetings and events. It is free and working pretty good. You can book recurring meetings etc.


Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Center
One thing I would add to this conversation (in my capacity as a tenant in The Alliance Center) is that I’m not sure that it’s a technology problem, but a people problem. Groups are booking rooms for the entire day, and then not using them, or using them for an hour and not cancelling them. Other people see an empty conference room and take it, even though it might be reserved (I think this practice is a response to those groups who are booking space but not using it).

How did you establish your norms around meeting room usage? What are your policies about canceling room bookings? When is it okay for one tenant to take over a booked but not used space? What about when there’s someone in the room that has been booked? When is it okay to kick them out?


James Thomson
We have developed a Room Booking Principle that all Tenants/Partners agree to as well as a Room Booking Protocol which outlines our process. If anyone would like to have a copy, just email me directly.


Maureen Moloughney, Heartwood House
In Heartwood House reservations may be cancelled one day prior to the meeting or same day if weather conditions make it necessary to cancel a meeting. If no cancellation notice is received the group is charged for the reservation.

Only one meeting space is not locked. All the other rooms must be unlocked by the reception staff prior to the meeting. This really helps to avoid communication challenges and it ensures that we all contribute to the cost of these meeting spaces that benefit everyone.

Heartwooders do step into the unlocked meeting room without reserving it but everyone understands that non-reserved usage can and does result in a need to exit the space as the reservation schedule changes on a daily basis. For this reason members rarely go into a meeting space without reserving it.

Heartwood makes it clear to all members that reservations take priority at all times and Heartwooders have no trouble reminding each other to exit the room if the space is reserved.

We also send out meeting room reservation updates on a regular basis and that’s a good way to keep the people focused. Reservations are booked through our reception staff.


Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We have 4 conference rooms for our current 17 tenants (plans to grow to 30 tenants and we will add 1-2 conference rooms). We have a staff member in charge of managing the request for space. People interested are responsible to fill out a survey monkey questions about their needs and receive a confirmation email outlining the confirmation of their room reserved. They may see the availability on our public calendar, but only tenants and those that ask to reserve a room are given the survey link. The survey allows us to track supply and demand and report to our partners and funders how many visitors come to the CT Nonprofit Center as well as parking demands. All tenants are allocated room usage allotments per month; after hours (after 4:30 and on weekends) do not count toward their allotment; if they don’t cancel within 72 hours of using the room, they forfeit the associated hours; if they go over the hours they are charged $25/hour with a cap of $150 per day. Our Office Administrator manages the process and deals with conflicts for rooms, including asking groups to switch rooms if appropriate.

We use google calendars for external view of availability and Outlook calendars with color coding to reserve the rooms. The process is time consuming and we are looking for a software that can help us better manage the process and developing a policy for tenants to manage their own set-up and clean-up. We have a few offenders that go over their time allotment, but we remind them before their meeting if someone has reserved the space before they go into it and have been successful in getting them to reserve longer periods of time to accommodate an overage. People cannot just jump into an empty room; we need to gather information on usage so we can determine demand and when the need to add another conference room comes. We’ve been speaking with CT Center for Advanced Technology that wrote a program for the Hartford Library for room reservations – they are considering customizing one for nonprofit centers (they are the technology consultants for our Center as well as one in Florida). This would be a cloud based system with licensing options. If they do, I’ll keep you updated because what works for one center will probably work for another.

Our goal is to make the process of room reservations more efficient without taking the control out of our
hands. Any ideas are welcomed.


Jennifer Pedroni, Community Partners Center for Health & Human Services
We run a 24,0000 square foot nonprofit with four conference rooms, two of which are available only to tenants and two are available to tenants and nonprofits in the community. We do not charge a fee to use the rooms, but we plan to evaluate this policy in the next quarter. We use an online systems that was developed by the New Center that allows a public view of the calendar. Once a user has signed up and been approved they can book the rooms automatically and we are notified through the system. We do have some “people” issues with folks not cancelling their reservations and not cleaning up after themselves. The large meeting room has a flexible space with a variety of set ups available and we work with a local nonprofit that provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and they provide the room set-sups for the meetings. Their staff can view the calendar online to see what set ups are needed and when and they coordinate with our Operations Managers.

You can view the calendar online here and if you scroll to the bottom there are links to our meeting room policies and procedures, our checkout procedures and an AV users guide. All first time users are required to have a meeting room orientation prior to using the room.

I prepare a summary on an annual basis on the use of the meeting rooms for our Board of Managers using the information collected from the system.

If anyone is interested in seeing a copy of the Meeting Room Usage Report or has questions about our process or software, please let me know.


Jodie Semkiw, Saskatoon Community Service Village
Here at the Village we have 6 member agencies and 5 meeting spaces. Use of meeting space is a value added for member agencies. We use a web based system called Room Booking System. Admin staff in our agencies have a username and password to login into the Room Booking System to book rooms. That being said, we have room booking periods (Jan-March, April-August, Sept –Dec) where Village agencies submit to the admin their regular room booking needs in priority. For instance, Board Meetings, group counselling meetings, regular programming. So at the end of March, agencies submitted their regular room booking needs for Sept-Dec by priority. Village Admin then does a lottery to see which agency’s room bookings are entered first, 2nd and so forth. Then she enters all agency’s 1st and 2nd priorities, then 3rd and 4th priorities etc. Once Village Admin has entered the bookings for a room booking period access is then opened to all agencies to book on an first come first serve basis. Each day Village admin prints a room schedule that is posted at the main office and door schedules are printed for each of our meeting room doors.

We also rent to other non-profit and community groups for a small fee of $15/hour. These bookings are done through Village Admin.



Strategy for Misuse of Space


From an Ask-NCN Discussion 6.13.16


Allison Hanold, Chicago Literacy Alliance
We’re one year old (actually, as of today! Yay!) and have seen a wonderful increase in the use of our space and demand for our conference rooms and offices. That said, we’ve had a few members who repeatedly reserve space for outside groups without being present (against our policies) and have exhibited a few other behaviors that we’d like to see curbed.

Does anyone have procedures for creating effective repercussions for misuse of space while still maintaining a welcoming environment? Our culture is critically important to us and we build welcoming and friendly language into all of our communications, but we need to draw a line somewhere. Advice? We’re thinking of incident reports, or, on the more extreme side, a strike system. Would love to know what’s worked for you all!


Pat Smith, Serve Denton
One the ideas we discussed at Streamlining for Social Good was that a center’s culture is built on values and norms. At Serve Denton we have five values that we strive to live every day but no stated norms. We have a tenant manual modeled on other centers, but some centers I have talked to have explained how norms are important to how they operate. Everyone has norms–its a question of are they the norms you want. We are holding a staff retreat on Friday to talk through what our norms are and what we want them to be and how we best communicate those to our tenants.

I realize this might not be much help…but we feel your pain to some degree.


Kim Sarnecki, Tides
We feel your pain as well. We use a Checklist in our conference rooms to ensure folks know the expectations. They are asked to use the checklist before leaving the room (especially for off hours or longer retreat meetings) and sign off on the sheet that everything has been completed.


Misha Palin, Citizens Engagement Lab

The way I’d handle this situation, if it wasn’t expressly stated in my handbook, is to send out a memo with an addendum to the handbook. Have everyone sign-off after reading it and make sure everyone knows the rules of engagement and consequences.

That way you’re not having to call out one of your clients, it’s just a blanket rule for everyone.


Behavior Modifications – Doing the Dishes

From an Ask-NCN Discussion – 5/9/16


Jimmy Martin, Chicago Literacy Alliance
I wanted to see if there were any breakthroughs in the world of behavioral modification techniques regarding human beings and their use/misuse of dishes in shared spaces.

We’ve exhausted most methods regarding signage and word of mouth communications, but we have yet to solve the riddle of “what gets people to clean the dishes they use?” Any ideas or best practices that have worked for you and your space?


Daniel Meyers, Al Sigl Community of Agencies
Good luck solving the unsolvable.
Sunny peace


Dominic Lucchesi, David Brower Center
try humor?

Inline image 1
Inline image 1


Adil Dhalla, Centre for Social Innovation
We’ve tried almost everything over the years but the most successful technique has been putting fist-sized rocks (yup, rocks) in each sink to line the bottom.

We think this has been successful for three reasons:
1) The unevenness of the rocks makes it hard to place some dishes or all cups on
2) Unlike signs, it is impossible for them to “miss the messaging” give the location of the reminder
3) The rocks provide a reminder of the natural environment, which triggers people’s behaviour around how they would treat something like the ocean floor.


Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
One thing I saw at a center I visited recently was that they assigned each one of their tenant partners a week to clean the kitchen. They would post the organization’s name on a white board on the fridge, and it would change each week.

They were small through, and each of the partners were about the same size.


Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center

We put signs up that the dishes will be thrown away if left more than 1 day and I have been throwing them away (or in some cases giving away) and actually it has worked. After a few rounds of throwing peoples stuff away they got the message and quit doing it.


Tom Olivas, Girl Scouts Orange County
Good luck, we have tried it all (except rocks) , and finally arranged to have the contract janitorial service clean the kitchen every other night, along with using several of the other techniques mentioned below, it seems to work most of the time.


Peter Barrett
How about a motion-sensitive camera on the sink, then sharing the video on Facebook!


Tonia Surman, Centre for Social Innovation
the rocks really work… and the humourous signs… that keep changing… oh yeah, that’s the other thing… there should be a new poster every month… people don’t see the signs after a while….
try the rocks : )


James Thomson, New Path Foundation
We have exhausted all options over our 10 year history of shared space…what we ended up doing was building this into the cleaning routine for our nightly cleaners. As every tenant pays into this service, it made the most sense.


Paying the Rent On Time

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 5/11/16


Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
We’ve gotten a request for more information about how centers collect fees on late rent payments.

1. Can you share your clause from your lease or license about late fees?
2. How much do you charge? Is it a flat fee or a percentage of rent?

Please share any insight you have into this process!


Alan Ziter, The NTC Foundation
See the clause below from our Lease Agreement that outlines Late Fees for late rent payment. We encourage any Resident Group that may need to pay late to notify us in advance regarding the circumstances as we want to work with them to stay current. This is more for those that casually or habitually pay late without notification.
“Late ChargeWith the exception of Real Property Taxes paid as Additional Rent which carries a higher late charge pursuant to Section 13, if any payment due hereunder is not received by the 5th day after the date the payment is due, a late charge in the amount of 5% of the payment amount shall be charged to, and payable by, Resident Group.”


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
Our rent is due from tenant members on the first of the month but we always offer a one week grace period of them to get payments in. After that time a late fee takes effect, which is always 10% of the total amount due.

This is the stock language in our licensing agreements:
“Licensee shall pay all fees to Licensor on April 1, 2016, and by the first of each month thereafter. Licensor will offer a one-week grace period each month to collect license fees. If Licensee fails to make any payment of the License Fee by the seventh day of each month (after the one week grace period ends), then Licensee shall pay Licensor a late charge of ten percent (10%) of the amount of such payment.”


Pam Mauk, Together Center
Our clause says the following, and I don’t think in 26 years we have used it, although we have mentioned it a time or two.

4.3 Late Charge. If any installment of rent is not paid within ten (10) days of the due date, a late charge of five percent (5%) of the rents owed with a minimum of fifty dollars ($50) shall be added as additional rent. In the event that any installment of rent or any late charge is not paid in full on or before the thirtieth (30th) day of the month, interest on the unpaid amounts shall begin to accrue at the rate of eight percent (8%) per annum until paid in full.


Cleaning Expectations and Shared Values

From an Ask-NCN Conversation 5/2/2017


Lucinda Kerschensteiner, Center for Social Change
I’d love to hear examples of your Center’s Community Values and what your expectations are of your members for cleaning of common space and their offices. We are regrouping regarding cleaning and understand it’s tied to the values of the community. Thanks so much!


Allison Reser, The Alliance Center
At The Alliance Center in Denver, we have a janitorial service that cleans all floors, bathrooms, common surfaces and kitchens every night. However, the janitorial service does not wash/put away dishes or clean out the refrigerators. We provide dishes for our tenant community and expect all tenants to clean up after themselves in the kitchens (which doesn’t always work out super well, so our staff supplements dish duty). We also expect tenants to clean up everything in common meeting rooms including whiteboards, and we do not touch/clean anything on tenants’ desks.


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub

At the Open Gov Hub, we also have basic janitorial service nightly, but in addition we organize a Monthly (‘volun-mandatory’) Cleaning Brigade on the last Thursday of every month. Each time we randomly pick 5-7 community members and ask them to contribute an hour sometime between 4-6pm to tackle big cleaning activities like cleaning out the fridges and wiping down all our whiteboards (in our 23 meeting rooms!). The community is big enough that people are only called on to contribute a few times a year.

It look a bit of time to get the rhythm going but now people expect it and its a great way to get community members more aware about the cleanliness of common spaces and how all of us should play a small role in keeping them up (ex: once you have to wipe down a ton of whiteboards you’re much more likely to think twice about leaving a meeting room before wiping it down).


Misha Palin, The Lab

This is part of The Lab, Oakland Handbook that everyone receives. We have nightly janitors that come and empty the trash and vacuum. But it is everyone’s responsiblity to keep the kitchen somewhat tidy.

[[#LabVandV]Vision & Values
The Lab is a coworking space filled with social change makers, non-profits, and visionaries coming together to create synergistic relationships, be inspired by each other, and network for greater social change.

We hope you feel inspired to collaborate, network, share, and uplift our growing community through office sharing, open space coworking, social meet & greets, and skill share events. We welcome your ideas and are happy to talk about anything you think might enhance The Lab experience.

Guiding Principles

We are dedicated to fostering clear, open, honest communication both creating understanding for the other while expressing honesty in a way that owns our experience and minimizes blame or judgment. We have the courage and strength to speak up when we see contradictions or inconsistencies between our behavior and our stated values and goals and are able to take feedback when given.

Through tolerance, generosity, sharing, and compassion, we work cooperatively with one another. When appropriate, we place the interests of the entire office ahead of our own self interests. We also value and trust that office members will speak their needs if there are special requests over building up silent resentment and anger. We anticipate that there will be unmet needs by some and we hope that there can be understanding around decisions being made.

Knowing that our office is fueled by the energy we give it, we actively participate in office life. We agree to share in office well being and keeping its contents looking and feeling good and safe. We quickly communicate when something is broken to its owner and take responsibility (financially or otherwise) to fix the item.

We recognize our interdependence with the building, other office members, event producers and ourselves. Our office supports an extended collaborative environment, thereby creating a sense of belonging. We support the growth of each organization individually and the relationships amongst us.

We respect personal privacy. We respect diversity in ideology, spirituality, interests, sexuality, talents, beliefs, opinions, race, age, income and we welcome respectful and appropriate expressions of that diversity within a professional environment.

Creating co-working space is an ongoing process. We remain flexible to change.

Our office is a safe place — physically and interpersonally. Everyone contributes to the safety of the space by staying emotionally clear with each member of the community, staying conscious of the space and the people we bring to the office, and upholding the values of the office as our core principles.

The Way We Work
Some aspects of our office are so strongly tied to our core values that they are considered fundamental agreements. Anyone joining the office accepts that these agreements are unlikely to ever be changed.

These agreements include:

Respect for all fellow office members:

  • Value peace and avoid violence.
  • Attend meetings and gatherings when possible.
  • Maintain good communication with office-mates.
  • Only taking what is offered; not taking what is not offered to you.
  • No excessive use of alcohol during office events.


  • Conserve electricity, gas, and water.
  • Recycle as much as possible.

Contractual Agreements:

  • Meet financial commitments to The Lab.
  • No subletting.
  • No smoking on the property.
  • No activities that may endanger our relationship with the building neighbors or management.

Departing licensees agree:

  • To pay for any repairs or cleaning they may leave undone.
  • To diligently file a change of address with post office and notify all correspondents of their change of address.
  • To leave their offices clean and undamaged.

>Also See Kitchen Section
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our office space clean and orderly. Please keep this in mind when leaving any space you or your team uses.

You are welcome to eat and drink in the meeting rooms, or move the table to suit your meeting setup. However, once your event has ended, you are responsible for returning the room to its original state.

This includes:

  • Moving the table back to its original position.
  • Returning any furniture that may have been removed.
  • Bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen, and loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Returning any additional supplies to the appropriate closet.
  • If you had a large meal with leftover food, you are welcome to put the extra in the main kitchen. The Office Manager is happy to email staff on your behalf to offer food. If you would like to save the food for a subsequent meeting, please package, label (including date), and refrigerate it.
  • Dated food gets thrown out 1 week after the date it was put in the refrigerator. Undated food gets thrown out during the weekly clean-out.



The Kitchen

The office has two kitchens. One large kitchen with dining area and one small kitchen.

Large kitchen contains:

  • refrigerator
  • dishwasher
  • coffee maker
  • coffee and tea
  • soda stream
  • water purifier
  • dishes
  • toaster oven
  • panini press
  • electric kettle
  • pantry
  • snacks
  • microwave
Small kitchen contains:

  • refrigerator
  • dishwasher
  • coffee maker
  • Britta pitcher
  • dishes
  • electric kettle
  • coffee & tea
  • microwave

Kitchen Policy
Leave it Better than you Found it:
We appreciate you for leaving the space better than when you found it. That means doing that little extra thing to clean up, telling someone when you see something out of place, or looking in storage to find the paper towels. It could also mean picking up all the accumulated cups in your office and bringing them to the dishwasher. Or checking to see if the dishwasher is still full after the cycle and unloading it into the cabinets. All of those things will get you super gold stars!
Be Responsible:
Please take responsibility for the impact you have on the space. Try to be mindful of spills, crumbs, leftovers in the refrigerator, or how your office looks. We appreciate your responsibility.

Kitchen Supplies
The kitchens are supplied with reusable serving trays, plates, utensils and cups. Please use them as much as possible. If you want disposable plates and cups for your event you will need to supply them yourself.

Kitchen Cleanliness
Our office employs a cleaning service provided by the building, they provide only the most basic cleaning services (vacuuming, trash & recycling removal). Therefore we expect all Lab users to to keep things tidy. Below are a couple of quick and easy tips to keep our kitchen running smoothly.

  • Ensure all dirty dishes make their way into the sink and get cleaned or put in the dishwasher before you leave the kitchen.
  • If you spill something, please wipe it up and tell the Office Manager if we need to do a spot cleaning on the carpet.
  • Food in the refrigerator must be labeled with your office number, initials and date. All food will be removed every Friday by end of the day. Unclaimed containers will be left at the Lost & Found at the end of the counter in the main kitchen.

We endeavor to keep a clean office, and your help is necessary if we are to do so.

Nonprofit Centers Network

1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 103
Denver, CO 80202

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