OK, two possibilities for timing. Either we can do it beforehand to raise money for the move, or we can do it afterwards, maybe in the new space, to refill our reserves again.
Doing this has several advantages: it gets us money (our break-even point on the event is likely to be in the low hundreds, and we can get there easily enough), it will raise a lot of awareness and get us some new members, and it'll be fun for us.
- Targeting. Who is going to be there, and what sort of things will they want to buy? First pass idea: H2H (hacker to hacker), gadget-shop type stuff, art objects, ephemera (digital pieces, music, pop-culture artefacts).
- Write a spec & an acceptance procedure for lots. That is, "we want fun geeky things that already exist, hacker-created art, cool gadgets, vouchers for your services, entertaining comedy lots, or other cool stuff; we need such-and-such information and (the promise of) good photos; we need a delivery timescale; we'll let you know within 3 days if your offer has been accepted. We can't take everything because we don't have time and can't sell everything."
- Decide on a bidding procedure. (Probably either English or silent auction, or a combination of the two, but other possibilities exist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auction )
- Scrounge up a hall, somewhere not far from the two spaces. Meanwhile space would be ideal, if there's anywhere suitable. Otherwise, we'll run a pledge drive and fund the hire from that.
- Arrange a MC, who'll also be the auctioneer. I have a couple of people in mind, but happy to hear from people who want to audition.
- Find a band for the afterparty and a band/performer to play during the early pre-auction stage, to set the mood. Be careful with musical styles, because some will weird people out or set the wrong mood. We can reasonably do this for £50 each and a few free drinks.
- Having some personable hackers demonstrating Stuff would be nice. Also informative posters. We'll have the lots laid out on tables for examination anyway, and will want people (preferably the makers) to be friendly security for those.
- Arrange a source (or several sources) of alcohol. The Milton Brewery would do very nicely, possibly also Alchemist Dreams for a cool geeky cocktail bar. (NB: this means we'll need an alcohol license, but there are lots of ways to deal with this minor problem.)
- Publicity. Using social media (FB event, Twitter campaignette) is cool, but we'll also get plenty of good from a miniposter campaign and most of all from word of mouth.
- Hold a raffle as well - it's a good way of monetizing other stuff, and more usefully it encourages people to stay & feel invested. Once you get them reaching into their pocket for £1, they're more likely to bid.
- Sell Hackspace souvenirs, particularly ones that don't require lots of pre-investment on our part. Probably easiest to go through Awesome Merchandise or similar.
Staff needed (all these groups can & will overlap to some extent):
- 2x reception, to meet & greet people and explain the evening.
- MC/Auctioneer and assistant/understudy.
- Floor manager, ie. person with clipboard.
- Shift-and-lift hackers, because there's going to be a lot of moving tables involved.
- People to sell raffle tickets and souvenirs.