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We (Admiralty Models) just made a donation to MSW in support of this excellent forum. The donation says it goes to the NRG. I understand the NRG owns the forum but I would like to be sure that our donation is directed towards the maintenance and upkeep of this forum. My preference is to make a separate donation to the NRG when paying my annual dues. 

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I made a donation a couple of days ago,  today received a email thanking me,  and stating that the same was to MSW.

 

Bob W

 

Thank you for your recent donation to the Nautical Research Guild’s Model Ship World website.  We are grateful for your support.  Please accept this email as a receipt for your $xxx.xx donation.  The Nautical Research Guild is a 501(c)3 organization, and if you are a U.S. taxpayer, your contribution is eligible for a deduction on your 2017 taxes.

 

Thank you again for your support.

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Yes, it would be nice to have a clear selection - donating to MSW, NRG or both.

Please don't get me wrong, but for a European modeller NRG offers little value, while MSW is an great source of information, wisdom and great people. So when donating, I truly hope that it will go into the forum maintenance budget, moderators / administrators team (hope they at least get a beer together sometimes), etc etc. While I hope that all sorts of NRG events and activities are having a different budget.

i really have no idea about the financials behind MSW and NRG, and while it can be the same thing for US members, it is definitely not the same thing for overseas members. No offense, just a bit different point of view! 

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First of all, Mike, look at the post from Bob W just above yours.  The wording is as quoted "Thank you for your recent donation to the Nautical Research Guild’s Model Ship World website."  I am not sure how much more specific we can get.  

 

But to address you other concern regarding the perceived value of the NRG let me try and put it into perspective.  First, the NRG is the owner of MSW.  That in itself should offer you more than a little value. The NRG is a corporation.  And like any corporation, there is a budget for the maintainance of the various facets of the organization, including MSW, the Journal, the annual conference, research grants and administrative expenses.  This website is not a cash cow.  The NRG subsidizes MSW out of our general funds, not the other way around.  None of the directors receive any compensation and we all spend many hours in support of the organization.  

 

Second, have looked at the store?  There are several types of products for sale, developed by the NRG, which enhance our hobby, from Shop Notes and CD's to the Galley Washington plans. Prior to the NRG's purchase of MSW, you would have paid full price for these items.  As a member of MSW you can get a discount code from the NRG.  I believe this represents value.

 

Thirdly, as a member of MSW you can request associate membership in the NRG as stipulated in Article I  of our Bylaws:

SECTION 2 – Associate Member

Any person, foreign or domestic, desiring membership in the NRG who is a registered member in good standing of Model Ship World shall be admitted without regard to age, gender, race, nationality, color or creed upon application. 

What does Accociate Membership get you today beyond what your MSW membership provides?  Nothing...yet.  But I am reasonably sure that will change at some point in the future.

 

I am sorry for sounding a bit snippy, but the NRG is an organization I care deeply about and I get a bit testy when someone questions its value.

 

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I am not a member of NRG (yet) but appreciate the work done and the benefits available.

Resident in the UK, I am well aware of our regulations regarding donations to charity being a retired charity director. UK law makes a clear distinction between a "charity" and a "corporation", I am happy to explain UK law but doubt anybody would be interested! I have no knowledge of US law in this respect.

Accordingly, I too would ask for clarification before making a donation to MSW, or like Greg in the opening post, stipulate the use to which my donation was to be put.

In the UK, the recipient is bound by that stipulation or must return the donation.

I suspect that these differences in national legal practice and terminology are the cause of the comments above, rather than a put-down of the excellent work of the NRG.

 

Ken

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Toni, thanks a lot for your post, I learned a lot from it. It is actually not easy to find that info, after a year of NRG membership I was sure it is only journal and a number of events interesting for US members (which I would love to participate, but the travel cost and visa hassles are prohibitive). And a whole lot of great modelling clubs!

 

So for an outsider it looks like

1) NRG is an old and respected offline community of ship modellers, primarily in US. And a journal.

2) MSW is an online community.

3) Since most (or all) of the MSW leaders are also a members / directors of NRG - it was reasonable to merge, which happened a year ago roughly.

4) Today NRG and MSW is basically the same community, with MSW being an "online" arm and NRG - "offline" arm. Am I right?

 

So when donating to MSW (which is clearly not a for-profit establishment, but I hope it at least can survive on its members donations), I was feeling a bit unclear about thr role and relation of NRG with MSW.  It is good to know that MSW donations are going into the MSW "bucket"!

 

Quite possibly, this view is totally wrong, and I would appreciate if somebody can give a bit of a history lesson :) I guess it is something that most of the community members know, but it is rarely discussed online. I still have a very vague understanding of what is the NRG... Especially since I joined MSW initially and never heard of NRG up until the "merger".

 

Please do not consider it as an insult or criticism, but more of a shameful ignorance. And I would love to be wrong and get a full picture!

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No insult at all.  Basically we do NOT collect enough donations from MSW to keep MSW afloat.  All of the monies collected here go straight towards the upkeep of this site.  The balance we need is then picked up by the NRG.   When you hit the donate button here.....the money does go into the NRG PayPal account but is budgeted for this site.   To understand the relationship between the two.   This is not a separate site or entity.  It is a yearly budgeted item of the NRG.   Just like the Journal or any other item.  It is very expensive to keep a site like this running.  For example.   The four themes made available during this upgrade werent free.  Each one cost $30 per year.   During the upgrade process I paid for these out of my own pocket.  It was my contribution to keeping the site up and running and user friendly for all of our users.   This, in addition to my yearly sponsorship and countless hours volunteering to keep things running smoothly.

 

It is also very interesting to me, and I have talked about this before.....I am always extremely grateful to everyone who donates through MSW.  Most of the donations are $5 - $10.  A very few are more and some are even $100.  These folks get a huge thank you from me.   But I will also note,  if you read through the topics about the upgrade....the "likes" and reputation....and other upgrade topics,  you will see that some individuals who have large post count numbers (are here every day and benefiting from MSW) but are very vocal about complaining,  or publicly trashing the volunteer staff and software constantly.  As I see the donations come in,  I am very dismayed that these are folks who never seem to spend a nickel for the site.   But thankfully, we have many MSW members who appreciate and give whatever they can afford to help out while quietly thanking us and showing their appreciation.   Even those who arent as active or vocal. To all of these...A great big THANK YOU...I wish I could buy you all a beer.  :cheers:

 

The site may not be perfect....but our staff and the NRG do everything we can to get as close to perfect as possible.

 

Chuck

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Chuck, thanks for all that information, now I got the picture.

I am on MSW for like 4 years, but only now I learned that the donations were not enough to keep it afloat :( The donation bar was rarely in the red zone, typically somewhere in the middle, so it created an illusion of a healthy running website, that at least can survive. Truly sad that it was just an illusion! 

 

Maybe it should be closer to reality, going all the way down to zero or even into a negative zone when the running costs are higher? And publishing some yearly summary about the website costs? That would be quite eye-opening for most of the people, since most of us have no idea about the running costs of a website. We all know how much it costs to have a car, home, etc. But website? Well, some ads on the internet offer it for free, or 5 bucks per month, so what is the problem? :) Even being deep in IT industry (far away from web, though), I have a very vague estimate, because for large websites the variation is so huge. 

 

We are grownups here, if people see that MSW barely floats without subsidies from NRG - some might worry and donate more actively? I feel a bit ashamed for not being aware of the situation, now I understand how stupid is sounds when you are concerned about NRG taking a part of the MSW donation, while in reality it is NRG helping MSW.

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Mike....the NRG actually posts its budget once per year in the journal.  Not just the forum but then there is the added costs for the MSW database website.   In addition...had donations and sponsorships covered the costs,  we may not have merged with the NRG.   The NRG is the only thing that truly kept the forum running.  It was advantageous to both to allow that transition to happen.   If you are a full member,  you can see the budgeted amount for MSW every year as published.  I remember one year before the merger, the funds got so low that during a fund drive I had to start posting images of sad puppies to convince folks to donate.  The prospect of Jim and I spending $100's of dollars of our own money each year was a regular occurrence.

 

Next week when the bills are paid you will see the donation bar drop pretty far.  In fact,  I didnt even adjust it last month after the bills were paid.  It just got too busy with the upgrade. Its a manual process as I have explained before.   Each time a donation comes in I manually update the donation bar.  Every month when the bills are paid the total is adjusted in the opposite direction.    I have just updated it to reflect the current situation and on the 20th I will deduct this months bills.

 

Addendum: A little MSW stat for folks.   You guys know what our total membership is.  I think you also know the number of active users.   We have about 3500 active regular posting members.   Of the remaining lurkers who dont post, many still come here every day to learn and get info and expert advice, albeit without ever posting.  Of these, only about 60 or 70 individual members send in a paypal donation each year with most in the $5 - $10 range.  And we are eternally grateful for every one of them.

 

And then there are those countless individuals who are here every day and seem to enjoy the site a lot.    Have a lot of freinds they would have never met thanks to the site, and have group PM chats going and the works.  Thousands of posts made.   But all some of them seem to do is complain and take pot shots at the volunteer staff while not parting with a nickel, or ever saying even thank you.   So for everyone other than these folks...thank you.  And yes we do see the names of every donor so we know who to be grateful for. :cheers:

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I always assumed when I looked at the "Thermometer" that it was going pretty well.  We were just at 40% "goal" and it is only March.  That seems pretty good....until you find out it is manually updated each month when paying bills.  End result I just sent in a donation. 

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I was not aware NRG was having to bankroll MSW.

I'd love to see the running costs for the website, particularly how much in the negative it is to see how much of the bill NRG has to foot. As I am not an NRG member (approx 100$ a year for AUS),  I can't see this from the journal. If I'd known we were running a deficit I'd be much more inclined to donate. 

 

As an aside, recurring costs for unlocking features on a phpbb hosting seems a bit rough. AFAIK hosting costs are generally associated with total bandwidth and storage usage. Maybe having the breakdown above would allow people to 'suggest better deals' if they're available? I must admit though I've only dealt with smaller volume hosting providers, and swapping providers is a colossal PITA.

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Chuck,You answered my question. The day after I donated, the donation goal dropped about 20%. Not that my donation was that big ,but I thought "what the heck?". Then you posted that it was bill paying time and the light came on. Thanks for the explanation in advance.

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MSW's costs aren't simply for hosting. This is what we need, in terms of services, to keep us going:

 

  • Hosting costs for a managed server
  • Software package and licence renewal costs, including forum and gallery
  • Website themes, plus renewal and support costs
  • Full security suite (malware scanner etc) and cloud-based firewall to prevent hacking etc. This is done by a professional security company who notify us immediately they find something, and then sort it.
  • Domain name renewal
  • Secondary DNS services to make sure our traffic isn't disturbed.

 

That comes to a pretty penny per year, and we are certainly grateful for all member contributions, no matter how small. Now that I no longer own MSW, donation funds are dealt with by Chuck/NRG. I can tell you that it was always an uphill battle to keep the war funds high, and it's still something I would like to see maintained at a healthy level.

 

So, as I'm no longer an owner here, but here to administer the tech stuff, I feel I can now say...

 

Please give what you can, no matter how little. It helps the site enormously. Thank you in kind anticipation!

 

Cheers!
Jim

 

 

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This thread definitely "opened my eyes" in understanding "Donation bar" and how things work. 
If I look how much I (We) spend for hobby per year,a small donation is almost negligible ... but helps a lot to MSW ... MSW where I spent
A lot of enjoyable hours  :).
Donation has been sent...

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Last stupid question - how to read the donation bar properly? Like the current 27% of the goal - is the goal equal to the projected running cost in some time period (quarter/year) or it is smth else? What is the theshold for MSW breaking even - 100% of the goal or smth else? Sorry, it is really not obvious... Previously it was colored, so thought "green - all good and healthy, yellow - close to a trouble, red - really bad". And it seems like yellow was still too bad.

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I did look for a donation bar like was used on the previous version, but it doesn't seem to be currently available. This was the only version we could find for this new software. That doesn't mean there won't be one in the future, and if there is, then I'll replace this one. For info, the target goal is what it was on the previous site, at $3000, so we have a little over $750 dollars left.

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Donated.

We spend much more on tools and materials, but what is the point if there is no way to show it off? :) MSW is an essential part of the hobby - the community of similar-minded people. Without it, the hobby looses a big part. Let's not forget about it!

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Excellent exchange. Really helped me get a better grasp of the playing field. My thanks to all who participated but especially Greg for starting the topic, Mike for posing really good questions and Chuck for providing easy to understand answers

Best

Jaxboat

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Just a thought. Have the admins looked into a Patreon type account.  It is a relatively new way (last couple years) of funding projects/websites etc.  I have seen it on a bunch of other websites I occasionally visit.  Basically it allows people to set up a monthly donation to the site.  The donor or "Patron" can set any amount per month.  One guy I know is an artist and he has been pretty happy with it.  

 

For example instead of seeing a thread like this once a year and then trying to remember to donate a lump sum the member can donate (for example) 5$ a month.  Less than one cup of coffee per month and for the smokers out there less than the cost of a single pack and where I live it's 1/3 of a movie ticket.  Certainly I would never underestimate the importance of a daily cup of coffee but this might be an option for some.  

 

I have no idea what the sites cut of the donations would be but this mighty be an alternative option for MSW.

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I am on board!  Great explanations to help better understand what goes on behind the scenes.  As for the complainers, some just aren't happy unless they complain.  Thank you to all the moderators and others who keep this wonderful sight afloat.

Tom

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1 hour ago, MEDDO said:

Just a thought. Have the admins looked into a Patreon type account.  It is a relatively new way (last couple years) of funding projects/websites etc.  I have seen it on a bunch of other websites I occasionally visit.  Basically it allows people to set up a monthly donation to the site.  The donor or "Patron" can set any amount per month.  One guy I know is an artist and he has been pretty happy with it.  

Really great idea! I follow a few youtube producers who also recently started to use Patreon and it works great for them. Automatic donation of a fairly small amount (5-20 bucks), but it sums up to a decent amount per year due to being continuous and scheduled, instead of following an occasional impulse. 

For example: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2945881 and https://www.patreon.com/woodwhisperer

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I've just made a small donation. Having started a build log today I've realised that without this site and the phenomenal resource it provides I  wouldn't have been brave enough to take on the build. It's the least I can do to give a little bit towards the funding of this wonderful forum.

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I am a moderator on another forum (The Wild Fishing Forum, based in the UK). We run a similar donations system, but our costs are only £600 per annum.

Inept as I am in such matters, I can see little difference in functionality.

 

Ken

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