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Recent donation request

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Recent donation request

After having donated $25 each, this year and last year, I received another donation request after only a few months and was wondering where the money is going to and how much is actually needed. Unfortunately, most information seems to be quite outdated. There is a treasurers report from May 31 2015, a Foundation Financial Report from 2015-10-29 with a dead link, and the statement of a development contract with Kalpaitch for $2000/month. The treasurers report indicates donations of about $80000 for a 1 year period in 2015. Is that not enough, or did you collect so much less this year?

When I received the mail from Executive Director Seth Portner I found it's very much management blabla: "More secure site... grow with us into the future... global scale .. robust technology." Even saying: "In 2017 we also want to understand the impact we are having on the world by connecting bicycle adventurers and hosts." So I was wondering: Is the Executive Director really not knowing what WS is about? Does he really think WS would have some global impact? And couldn't be there (or somewhere else) at least a rough statement what money is needed for, like Drupal Upgrade $NN, Server cost, tax accountant cost, ED salary etc... ?

Looking at Seth's WS page I found he is member since only 2 months and does not seem to have genuine interest in hosting people ("happy to host for camping, or possibly in home space"). Does that mean that for Seth has been hired by the board for the mere purpose of assuming a role as ED, in other words, that WS has finally gone commercial?

Don't misunderstand me. I don't want to appear in "complain only, never do anything" mode. I did follow the recent discussion and understand the arguments from both sides. Also, I don't mind WS going commercial if that this is the only way to keep it alive. I really like WS, benefited greatly from it in the last 9 years, and would be willing to give more money if required.

Nevertheless, a little bit more openness on would be helpful instead of just asking: "We need more money to manage the growth". Growth itself is not a purpose. I rather have the feeling, the recent growth is a bit destructive, but that's another topic.

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I would be interested in the official response

Very well put questions, Dirk. I would be interested in seeing the response to your comment from the WS management team.

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Donation requests

Dirk makes many excellent points. I want to encouragement WS to be open with why the need money, how the funds have been spent (with detail), and their plan to spend resources during the next 12 months.

Also, provide a matrix so those of us who are interested can readily assess whether objectives have been met. To this end, goals and objectives should be measurable and quantifiable.


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Answers to your concerns

Dear Dirk


Thank you for your questions which I am happy to address here. 


Status of over the last 18 months- Warmshowers (WS) lost staff and several volunteers over the last 2 years.  These staff and volunteers where committing substantial time resources and technical skill to the website.  At the same time the community has been experiencing enormous growth, which is not something that was anticipated, not solicited, but is welcomed should these members be interested in touring and hosting (on average, 100 new members a day, which is 30K+ members new a year).  Finally, much of the technology we have been using for the last several years is in need of an update or replacing.  This is a function of time, obsolescence and increased demands on the system.  The convergence of these forces has brought about some change, as volunteers can no longer keep up with the demands of WS.  


Professional IT Contractors- The WS board, after nearly a year of trying to manage the site internally, and with contractors, has determined that a substantial rebuild is required, and that an IT firm will be hired to do this.  We have talked with many, gotten bids from 3, selected 1, and they are starting shortly.  The scope of work calls for about $75K in work, which will take place of 6 months, and we anticipate will make the site more user friendly, address issues that we hear daily (via personal contact and through the Help Desk), and also make the administration of the website by staff and volunteers more manageable.  We understand that folks may agree or disagree with our assessment  of the need to raise funds to work on the site, but the vast majority of folks have expressed support of moving forward with this work. 


Transparency-  During the last 1.5 years, the volunteer board has been overwhelmed with simply maintaining the site and members, and dealing with various technical and other issues associated with the daily operations of WS.  We have not been active in posting materials.  At this point we hope to get more documentation posted, meeting minutes, budgets etc.  Getting the new site built and operating has been the priority, and we will either begin posting materials there or on this site, we will discuss this at the next board meeting.  


Staff- We have hired an executive director with non-profit experience, technology experience and a substantial cycling and touring background.  Staff has been required to keep up with the tasks pertaining to the website.  Like anything that has evolved over time into a 100K+ member organization, complexity is introduced.  The board fully understands that at one time WS could operate with a few volunteers devoting countless personal hours, but the reality is that time is past, and now we have technical, operations, financial, and legal requirements to be mindful of.  These are not bad things, they are just the reality of a larger organization.  We have no intention of "going commercial," however we can only do so much with volunteers, many of which do WS work as if it were a job.  


Fundraising- The board remains committed to keeping WS free and open source.  We will raise funds when necessary, perhaps as much as $100K+ a year ($1 a member per year to put that in perspective) for maintenance and site improvements, to pay for staff, to pay for other costs associated with the organization.  The overwhelming majority of folks see this as reasonable.  


Volunteers- Volunteering remains the best way to influence WS.  You can find out how to contribute your time here,  If you have strong feelings about the direction of the site, apply to become a board member!  If you would like to be more involved in any aspect of the site, please reach out to any one of us to find out how to engage.  


I hope this answers your questions and I am available for further questions.




Warmshowers Foundation board chair

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Dear Cyril,

first I would like to thank you for the detailed answer, and also thank you and other volunteers for your struggle to keep this site alive. Also, I apologize for not volunteering (have another project going on which eats up my spare time).

Nevertheless, please allow a different point of view regarding the direction WS is taking. IMO, most of the changes and features implemented in recent years are pretty nice, but also pretty pointless when it thinking about main task WS has to fulfill: Providing information for guests and hosts and establishing communication between them. To justify such a harsh verdict, let's revisit what WS was when I joined 9 years ago and compare to what it is now.

In early 2008, WS had a stone-age looking web design, no apps, no facebook/twitter, hardly any language translations. Its main advantage over local communities like Dachgeber (Germany), CAC (France) etc... was, that it was international and, most important, it was web based. That's why I joined (and yes, I don't want to go back to excel sheets or similar). I was truly happy with the way it was, and would still be happy today, even if you hadn't changed a single line of code. Basically, the only real advantage for me over 2008 is the messaging system which keeps my email private and provides information about peoples responsiveness.

You wrote: "Like anything that has evolved over time into a 100K+ member organization, complexity is introduced." - But I wonder, is complexity not introduced by all the new features rather than the growth? What is the difference if there are 5K or 100K people in a database? So lets talk about the rest of the novelties, the shiny new web design, apps, facebook page/connect, translations, ...

There is good reason that there is not a program for everything on the PC, but web based services have taken over. Apps, i.e. programs for smartphones, were needed when phones came with 3.2 inch, 240x400 displays some years ago. Today even my moderate Galaxy S5 mini (4.5 inch, 720x1280) can handle the web page without significant problems. A bit of optimization would be appreciated, but it's not too urgent. So why maintaining apps for 3 different ecosystems? Most people carry a tablet or a laptop anyway. I remember only a single guest (out of 23 times I hosted) using the app at all. If you want to see if the apps are needed: Put a price tag on them.

Social networks (Facebook, Twitter...):
The stuff is fine if you don't have your own forums to communicate, or to link to other things. On the other hand, in terms of communicating, Facebook/Twitter are kind of competitor to the WS forum. Information gets split or might get lost, stuff is dicussed here or there. There are no direct benefits in terms of hosting. So why spending time for it?

Translations only make sense if local people are traveling locally. For those people there are often also local networks available (Dachgeber, CAC etc...). Among all my guests, there was a single German girl, all others were international. And English is the lingua franca. Maybe translations make sense for some large local communities with a common language, like Central/South America or China. I also had a Korean guy here who hardly spoke a word English (there is no Korean translation). It did work anyway. In any case, no need to have translations into 20+ languages.

Drupal update to latest version etc...
There are typically 3 reasons to update:
- Compatibility to external interfaces
- New features
- Security issues
About the features - as discussed, I don't need more. Security - IMO largely overestimated. What happens if someone breaks in. What data can he steal that he wouldn't find by simply signing up? What's the problem if WS is offline for a day or 2? WS is not a police station with 24/7 guaranteed availability. Being an IT engineer myself, I know that compatibility issues can force updates from time to time. Then I would update, but only then.

What I generally want to say is - think if something is really needed, I mean really in the sense that it keeps daily WS business (providing information for guests, searching hosts, and establishing communication between hosts/guests) alive. If then you have still volunteer resources, time, money, etc... left, think about apps, facebook, new web designs/features, more languages etc... I'm pretty sure, not only me, but 90% of the people could live well with the WS from 2008. Maybe some would complain a bit - but are they willing to give (more) money to get what they are complaining about?

Just for comparison, there is a German touring cycling forum, 25000 members, maybe 20% active ( Besides the forum, there is a bike travel wiki, private messages, a personal member page. No advertising. It's not a hospex site, so compared to WS, addresses are not on Google maps and no feedback system available. Not too much different, however. They decided to have no apps, hardly changed their design in the last 15 years, no Facebook connection, no Twitter. As a result they run on 2000 Euro a year (mainly server cost), the spare time of two "Randys", and a few forum moderators. It is simple and it works.

My major concern about the future of WS is the money issue. It is as easy to be "a bit commercial" as being "a bit pregnant". Money is a very difficult thing, especially if some people get money, while others don't. If the ED gets money for general organization, why should you not get money for organizing translations? Or someone else for doing the registrations? If you take too much money, you raise expectations of members regarding service. Also, once you need a significant amount money to keep all the nice features alive, the whole thing gets dependent on it and might collapse completely.

That's why I propose, please remember the KISS principle (keep it simple and stupid). Or, as Sergei Korolev, lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer, said: The more simple the design is, the more genius it is. Everybody can build complicated systems.

Just my 2 cents, nichts für ungut


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Dear Dirk

Dear Dirk

I agree with Ken that it takes volunteers a lot of time to only keep up with the daily work and could give you numerous further examples of work that is being done "behind the scenes" and of which most Warmshowers members know nothing. This is only one of many reasons we have decided, by the way already over a year ago, to hire an ED, to take on the many tasks that have to be done and for which there are not enough volunteers, despite regular recruiting in newsletters, over the website and so on.

But firstly, with respect to your argumentation that "everything that was created was unnecessary", let me give you a few insights: I agree with your point about keeping things simple, but you misunderstood me: our goal is not, and was never, to make things more complicated by adding functionalities. By the way, most of the features that were added to Warmshowers in the last few years were added by our former ED Randy Fay who suddenly left us about a year ago as you might know. This is also the reason why it took us a long time to get organized as a board. By "adding complexity", I meant a processus which we can hardly influence upon. Ken, who assumes the huge job to reviews hundreds of new members every day as well as Jack, who manages the help desk, replies to contact form messages and handles trust and safety issues, as well as myself, who am helping out on important issues on the website are just a few examples of the complexity I meant. It is not just the database which grows, but the entire system, which is not composed of a list of members, but of people who all have different needs and interests. We do not only have new features in mind but there are currently 135 open issues (bugs, problems and a small number of recurring feature requests) in our issue queue. We need to work on those for security and usability reasons, and there is currently nobody willing to invest this tremendous amount of time on a free basis or even to oversee it.

As you can see, adding new functionalities to the website is currently not our priority and simplicity is for sure an important strategy element. The main change which is overdue for a long time is to make the website more usable on mobile devices by making it responsible, which has been overdue for years and would be very helpful to touring cyclists who don't have access to a desktop computer, as you pointed out correctly. We will do this upgrade in the US, rather than externalizing it, a decision the board has taken conjointly for reasons of better trackability of the company, closer contact and quality of work (one could add ethical reasons). This will have a significant price tag, but it doesn't mean that we're shutting off volunteers in any way. Many tasks will continue to be handled by volunteers, like translation, trust & safety issues, and more tasks which can add to the list in the future. 

Concerning your point about money, it has been brought up in other forums where we have provided extensive explanation why we decided to remunerate some people and not others. Basically, the organization remains to a large part volunteer-driven, but in order to continue to working properly, even without growth, we need an Executive Director to keep the organization sustainable. If you have worked on a board, you surely know that people can often leave without notice, leaving big gaps and that it is difficult to find people who assume responsability for the overall coordination and of tasks and making sure deadlines are met. We pay very decent salaries that are standard for non-profits and will lay our budget open every year. We are not, and will never be, a commercial organization. Even though we hope to strenghten the "brand" by improving the user experience and membership quality, we are in no way moving in the direction you're mentioning. We make sure that everything we do is well-documented and self-sustaining such as to ensure that the functionalities of Warmshowers remain independent of fundraising.

Finally, let me say that you may not be entirely aware of the uses of several functionalities that were introduced. The translation enables thousands of people who do not speak any English to use the website and thus fosters a cycling spirit all over the world. In addition, the majority of people I have met on Warmshowers were not proficient English speakers (even if communication about eating and sleeping was possible), so there is a huge benefit for them if they can read longer pieces of content like FAQ articles in their mother tongue. The huge growth of Warmshower is to a large part due to the added translations, as you can see from the membership statistics

Hope that clarifies some of your suspicions. I am happy to answer other questions.


Warmshowers Foundation board chair

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"We will do this upgrade in

"We will do this upgrade in the US, rather than externalizing it, a decision the board has taken conjointly for reasons of better trackability of the company, closer contact and quality of work (one could add ethical reasons)."

Ethical reasons?! WS is a global network. Why should it treat US Americans as more entitled to work than anyone else? The money raised could make a much bigger difference in the lives of talented developers in countries not as fortunate as the US.

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This aspect was in

This aspect was in parenthesis as it is more of my personal point of view on things that it is better not to delocalize. I am not sure if you know somebody working in the IT sector, but it is a very competitive and quickly changing field, why I think it is good to keep some programming jobs.

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Another View


I'd like to respond from another perspective.

A asked the founder 3 years ago if I could help out in any way. He assigned me the task of registrar; reviewing daily membership and weeding out spam and malicious profiles. Back then we were averaging about 30 new members each day in the (northern hemisphere) winter, and 65 in the summer. Daily averages now can exceed 200 new members each day. It takes a lot of my time to review membership.

There has also been a lot of publicity on WS, and with each one comes a sudden burst in new members. Often times, we are attracting non-cyclists who are looking to be hosted (there are other sites for that). So there is a big load here to handle. Luckily, I have others who help now so I do not have to do this each day of the week. But it is still a lot of time and effort...

The solution? When rebuilding the website, add more fields for prospective members to complete. If the required fields are not completed, an error message pops up and the user can not be validated until the profile is complete. There are also a couple of other validating tools which can be added to sort out the validity of a member. If this design goes through, only those few members that check certain "flagged" boxes will be reviewed. (And just note, I am not trying to weed out bad members as much as I am trying to protect this community from those who may have malicious intent or not be appropriate).

Second point: With the current system, we are not have not been able to send out email in volume, such as the news letter, purge letter, or donation request. Only recently did we allocate some funds to make these improvements.

No one can argue that my heart is NOT in this community; I volunteer as a Board Member, Registrar, Facebook Admin, and Newsletter well as a host who tries to give my guests new memories...and as a touring cyclist who understands the passion in the road and adventure! I personally would not stand behind the need for these funds and upgrades if I did not think it was crucial for the continued existence of this community. Thank you.

Ken Francis

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Dear Ken/Cyril

Thanks again for your explanations. The registration process is a very good example where and why additional effort is needed. Maybe it would be good mention such things in a donation request. People are more willing to give money if they understand what it is needed for. And please don't forget: 95% of the people do not seem wanting to make even a small money contribution voluntarily, so you don't owe anything to them.

And BTW, I'm not concerned about WS becoming commercial, nor am I worried about it being free. Maybe commercializing would make it more stable, and/or a reasonably small member fee, at least for those who want to be a guest, is not a bad idea. E.g. something like: Pay $10 to be able to initiate messages for 1 year. Old fashioned Dachgeber etc. all work like that (those who pay get the address booklet). I know the concerns about low GDP countries, but if you can afford a bike holiday, you can probably also afford $10 for WS, even if you live in Cambodia. If it keeps a few free-riders out - even better.

Anyway, I won't keep you from daily WS business anymore by asking stupid question. Thanks once more for answering.


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Recent donations request

Again, I think Dirk has valid points, especially with respect to moving toward a commercial model - i.e. charging a reasonable $10 annual fee.

One complaint I have heard repeatedly is the WS list is huge, so why is it so difficult to find a host. Moving to a commercial or some fee-based model may improve this situation.


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"One complaint I have heard

"One complaint I have heard repeatedly is the WS list is huge, so why is it so difficult to find a host."

The list is so huge because new signups were automatically registered as hosts, which means that people searching on the map have to go through one profile after another of someone who signed up for a trip but never intended to accept travelers. There have been requests here on the forum to change that setup, and it's a simple tweak that would yield huge results, so no need for the org to go commercial (which, as I mentioned in my other post here, would not improve anything if one looks at the experience of other hospex orgs).

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Hi Chris

Hi Chris
Good point, we will make this more clear. However, we have since the beginning held that being a Warmshowers member means reciprocity of hospitality and everybody who is being hosted should also be able to give back some hosting, even if he may not be able to do so for the next few years, which is why we had introduced the "Return on" box in the "currently not available" section of the profile page. We will however try to improve this with a redesign of the member page.

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"And BTW, I'm not concerned

"And BTW, I'm not concerned about WS becoming commercial, nor am I worried about it being free. Maybe commercializing would make it more stable"

You might think that commercializing the site would get rid of the “free-riders” and improve WS as a community. However, the experience of earlier hospitality networks that went commercial shows that commercializing just drives out a lot of idealistic members who host actively and and maintain a sense of community crucial for the network – hospex involvement for many stems from a desire to replace the monetary economy with a (real) sharing economy. Sure, some money is necessary to run servers, but WS's fellow non-profit hospex orgs aim to keep spending as low as possible, only about 2000€/year in the case of BW. Meanwhile, the “free-riders” would just pay their tiny fee to use the site, but it is hosting that really drives WS, not just paying a donation, and once the idealism is gone it’s harder to convince people to host. Furthermore, since there is now money involved, guests might start feeling entitled to luxury like one sees on AirBnB (or like some fear will happen with the “pay to stay” model that CS is now trialing).

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Member fee

Hi Christopher,

It does not necessarily have to be fully commercial. I suggested

"a reasonably small member fee, at least for those who want to be a guest, is not a bad idea. E.g. something like: Pay $10 to be able to initiate messages for 1 year."

No need to have fee for those who contribute by hosting only. Since virtually all requests are via the message system today, the ability to start a conversation would effectively distinguish between guests and "hosts only". One could also think about a free trial period of a few months or similar.

If you get hosted only once you already save a lot more than the $10. And $10 per year is really nothing someone would feel "entitled to luxury". AirBnB is a bad example, as it's clearly commercial, just like normal B&B, and such are the prices. In contrast, Dachgeber (i.e. the "Printed booklet German Warmshowers") exists since 1987 and still more than 3000 members are active despite having to pay 18 Euro a year to get the booklet.

Basically, there are lots of non-commercial services you pay a fee for - public libraries, sports clubs, kindergarden... My mom was a rhythmic gymnastics instructor in the local sports club for 40 years. She got a few hundred Euro compensation per year to cover her cost. And of course members had to pay a little. IMO, it is a strange idea that everything on the internet has to be free and open, otherwise it's no good.

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FYI, in case you understand some German

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Hi Dirk
Hi Dirk
No problem. I agree that we have to improve this. In fact, the recent donation request was not worded as we would usually do. As said, we should first of all have sent different mails to donors and not-yet donors. The latter would receive a (more urging) message asking them to chose for a membership level, even if it is a free one. Everybody should (must) go at least once through the donation page and opt for one of the options - there also free ones for people who either only host or can't donate for some other reason. I think this will make it more explicit and improve the fundraising results. We'll probably send out this mail by the end of this year. On the other hand, current donors should receive mainly a thank you message and maybe be asked to verify that their profile and bank details are still up to date. I am a member of Dachgeber too and know what you are speaking about. I really think that paying 10$ per year for a good service is appropriate and if everybody gave $1 / year on average all our expenses would be covered. So I agree about what you're saying, and we have brought up your arguments too when we introduced membership levels. 
With respect to Chris' concerns, let me really underline again that we don't want to be commercial and will stay a volunteer-driven, transparent nonprofit organization. We try to make our calls subtle and if you are on  a really low budget, you may still opt for a 0$ donation. The current donation page reflects how we try to sensitivize members to the need for funding, and we will hold to make our operations as low-cost and transparent to members as possible.
Best wishes,
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> if you are on a really low

> if you are on a really low budget, you may still opt for a 0$ donation.

My opinion on this is - most people are not "low budget" but rather just too lazy to take the credit card out and enter the number (am I very often). I am also opposed to automatically repeating donations. On the other hand, about 60% of my guests were long distance travellers, I mean really long, several months. The save hundreds, if not thousands of $ by using WS.

Generally, I agree that one should not push to hard on giving money because it might destroy the spirit of giving. People are very reluctant if they have to pay and don't understand if they get something. But a model like "2 months of free requests after sending the first one" or similar would allow people to try it for their 1st vacation, and at the same time force long distance travellers or frequent users to make their contribution.

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"Give more money"

Indeed, the recent e-mail was irritating. I am on the $0 hosting-only option, I hosted a few cyclists this summer, yet nowhere in this rare communication was this recognized.

Instead, a message with three times the word "grow" in it. It is the kind of thing that executive directors want, so that they can put this on their list of accomplishments. And successful fundraising would also be an accomplishment. But as a member, I do not need more guests. A handful in the summer is nice, but I do not want to double that number.

I can understand the need for adapting to new operating systems and platforms. But has an effort been made to reach out to the membership? One of my guests this summer was a programmer/entrepreneur, there must be loads of expertise in the community. There is probably engagement too. It might be possible to implement this open source. In that way one could also help other hospitality-exchange communities. One does not know unless it is tried. But the capital-letter cry "WE NEED YOUR HELP!" in the email was only about money.

I do not have many ways to help out, but I can offer to weed out some of the pharmaceutical spam on this forum when I see it. And I may donate money if a good case is made. This is after all a wonderful thing.

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Hi Pieter

Hi Pieter

I have to underline that although I understand your concerns, it mainly reflected Seth's perspective and it may be understandable that he thinks growth is very important to all of us. This is however not at all the case and most board members would strongly agree with you that membership quality and good user experience is prior to growth. There are members on the board who almost host on a daily basis and who are very committed to making the community better and more reciprocal. Growth is secondary, and can only be approved of if it is accompanied by an improvement of our website's structure. For instance, if we encourage more people to host, then the load of cyclists can also decrease for some people, probably with the exception of strongly frequented bicycle routes. Besides, we have always underlined in FAQ and other information sources that you may not accept guests if you feel overwhelmed and set your profile to not available temporarily if you want to. This is in any case better than feeling exhausted. It is crucial that Warmshowers remains reciprocal, that is, everybody tries to not only be hosted but also host if possible.

With respect to your idea, I have already touched upon this in former comments of this thread, but it is much harder than you may think to find long-term, committed developers who are ready to take on the substantial charges of work I have described. It is necessary to completely redesign the website to make it mobile-friendly, simplify the way we reach out to members, resolve bugs, improve user profiles and much more. I think that since we have the means, we can hire somebody for it without endangering our status as a free, open and nonprofit community. If anybody is ready to volunteer as a developer, I'm happy to have a talk to them at any time and try to integrate them into our current volunteer team. It would already be nice just to have somebody sending out the mails, I had to do this personally the last few times because there were no volunteers around, although we actively reached out to them via several media like the newsletter and the website. As an informatics student and part-time programmer, I can confirm that everybody constantly wants to have you volunteer for some good cause if you have IT skills.

I really don't mean to say we can't go back to the volunteer-based organization Warmshowers was a few years ago but this discussion has actually already taken place a few years ago and was concluded by finding that we need to remunerate somebody for the huge workload that we are facing. Perhaps in a few years, when we'll have resolved bugs, made the website better and have more active members ready to volunteer, we can rediscuss our organizational structures. But it also needs at least somebody who is really committed, reliable and longish-term involved to already oversee and coordinate the 40+ people volunteer team. We will try to explain these needs better in a future fundraising mail.

Thank you for your ideas and offer to weed out the forums. I think this is currently being done by Ken and will reach out to you if needed.

Best regards, Cyril

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I firmly believe in growth through attraction rather than promotion.

Growth is necessary, as with any organization, to balance out attrition. Many people tour, and leave the organization without ever becoming a host. We must always be welcoming of new members who share the beliefs of our common community. Growth can also be in quality, and not necessarily quantity.


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The annual pruning of

The annual pruning of inactive members should be a priority. It was not done last January, and this summer there has been a great number of complaints (on this forum and elsewhere) by tourers getting very few responses on their requests. It won't look good on paper though, negative growth.

I could not find a recent newsletter in my mailbox. On this forum, there is a post from August last year mentioning "the next WS newsletter". I cannot find it on the site. (This is not a complaint, just letting you know that information does not always arrive.)

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Newsletter Link
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It is, we have sent out a

It is, we have sent out a mail to all inactive members and will do the next annual cleanup by January 4th.


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$1 membership?

Why not make it $1 per person? (& remove the free option)...
Your newsletter says you need "$100K a year, which amounts to about $1 a year per member."
Surely everyone who wants to use or support WS either as a host or a guest, would be happy to pay a $1 membership per year.
Problem solved.

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Although your proposition

Although your proposition seems valid to me, that is unfortunately not quite as easy as you think. I'm not the accountant, so you'd have to ask Jack Turner or the ED Seth Portner for more details. But the main reasons why we have not opted for this, as far as I know, are the following:
- Many people are not willing to pay anything over internet using their credit card
- The estimation for $100k was quite conservative. With the current website makeover and mobile app refinements, I think we are more in between $100k-$200k. Please refer to the leadership council forum for more details:
Best wishes,

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Warm Showers is a global

Warm Showers is a global community. In many countries in the developing world it is not straightforward for someone to pay money, even US$1, to a foreign website. If WS's adminstration did what you suggested, you could say goodbye to every host in Iran, for instance.

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This indeed is another reason

This indeed is another reason, although we don't think 1$ of annual would strain any person's budget, even in developing countries, especially when considering the economies compared to a hostel stay. There is also a free option for people who only want to host.

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In Iran, it’s not a matter of

In Iran, it’s not a matter of “straining anyone's budget”, it's a matter of the country being cut off from international credit and debit cards. Some WS members could get around that through e.g. a Georgian bank, but making any payment at all would pose an obstacle to most. In many other developing countries, such cards are theoretically available, but the local population are unlikely to have one because they use locally popular ways of sending money that WS doesn’t accept.

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True, this is why we have a

True, this is why we have a free option and don't force anybody to donate if they can't. We've been thinking of alternative sources of payment such as printed bills, but this would simply require too much time and effort.

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I am feeling the same. If the

I am feeling the same. If the organization functioned without any contributions for many years, why does it now need SO MUCH MORE. Additionally, there should be a start-up fee, because I notice that most of the recent requests for lodging have joined within the last few weeks and come without any recommendations or comments from other hosts.

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"Additionally, there should

"Additionally, there should be a start-up fee, because I notice that most of the recent requests for lodging have joined within the last few weeks and come without any recommendations or comments from other hosts."

That is how it has always been in internet hospitality exchange: most people sign up only because they are traveling themselves and need to save money on lodging. However, some portion of those travelers will become active hosts after returning home. So, if you discourage people from joining for free, then you are indirectly discouraging people from hosting.

Recommendations or comments from other hosts are pretty worthless. Some of my worst guests had a few prior references (all positives), while some of my very best guests – where lasting friendships were forged that continue to this day – came from travelers with no prior references.

I agree that WS should not need SO MUCH MORE. And I'd prefer there were no "start-up fee" just to avoid the organization getting any more money that it essentially just fritters away.

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As I clicked "Save" I had the same thought about charging a fee. Most host provide lodging because they wish to share in the adventure. And the more money made, the more money will be spent. That's the nature of organizations.

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Hi everybody,

Hi everybody,
There is a "free option" specifically for hosts and another one for people who don't want or can't donate. Just consider that nobody is forced to pay anything if they don't wan't and nobody is bothered with ugly ads or anything else either.

Still, we need some funds to ensure the safety of the website, which is getting outdated and has severe security holes. We are working on a big overhaul of the website that will make the website also available on mobile devices and make many things more easy. In this whole process, we will consult the community for their opinions several times and ask for honest feedback.

If you think nothing is moving, that's because you're not seeing how far we already are with the new website and how soon it will replace the current one. Also bear in mind that dozens of volunteers keep this organization running by removing spam profiles every day, replying to member concerns and dealing with Trust and Safety issues.

Also keep in mind that we are an officially registered non-profit organization and that any financial activities are made transparent, and any donations are tax-deductible according to the US law (all official meeting documents and annual budgets are available in the forums). Most importantly, the budget is used as efficiently as we currently can (and there is of course still potential for improvement) to make Warmshowers better, not bigger.

Please have some understanding if things take some time to change. The current website evolved over years and is very complex, having over 100'000 members. If we were to just change it from now to tomorrow, you would probably not be able to discuss on this forum any more, as many things might get broken. For more details, please refer to the thread above and other threads.

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Profile does not show my donation level anymore

I wanted to review my donation level (in view of the Director's travel to Vegas). On the old website, one could see this on one's own profile page, but in the new design I cannot find it anymore.

I also clicked the Donate page. Present level or donation history is not displayed there either. And I think it is just very bad that the default donation is "Every day".

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give me some kodus for the donation I just made please.

I made a $50 donation at the time of your -competition- call out for support.

I was wondering why now, I've been asked again to donate (I guess it something that happens at the end each year).

But I now have to select a HOST ONLY level to stop the notications,  but let's be honest... my $50 should have been recorded in your system when I made it before. 

Love your work, don't mind giving to something that is awesome, but give me some kodus for the donation I just made please.

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Same for me

Seems the intermediate donation does not count regarding your status. For me it started popping up after only a few months. I started to ignore it completely.

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1. I agree with the above

1. I agree with the above comment about the app. Kill it. A website is enough. If that saves you money and time, all the better. 

2. I've always assumed that I can't volunteer because I know nothing about computers. You should emphasize that you need volunteers whose only skill is reading and looking for fake profiles. I'd have signed up long ago if I knew that. (Still will, after Christmas!!)

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i concur

everyone else has chipped in their brilliant idea. i am this close in *quitting* WS. look, we are going corporate and i dont like it. i give up. whats the point of a lengthy argument when we cant debate this in short?

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