This is a good question Alex and at Creative Density in Denver I have shifted to taking a vote on a semi-annual basis combined with a little bit of experimenting.
Vote with a budget for improvements - this just eases a lot of the pressure for new amenities and creates conversations
Twice a year I tell the community we have a budget of $500 to $1000, depending on business, and people can submit ideas on what they would like the money spent on. We then vote but I reserve the final say. It brings some up good ideas that I would not of thought of and brought to light some problems that I didn’t recongize. For example, some people wanted a dishwasher, others wanted a heating lamp on the patio, a new router, increased professional cleanings, while others wanted a sofa and TV for the winter time since we can’t use the yard that often. This creates a conversation between the members and me and it shows constant improvement.
So far we got the sofa and TV, better Wifi routers, and increased cleanings. In the conversations though I explained how I address the issue on solving the problem without the more costly element. For example, I bought a new drying rack, cleaning sponges, and bought some additional silverware. I also heard that people wanted the place cleaned more often so I noted that and although it didn’t win the vote it brought forward a wish and I ended up doing it a few months later.
Experiment with food and amenities - Potlucks works
We do ‘We Top a Salad’ or We Top a Burger’ or’ We Top Nachos’. The basic idea is where the space provides the base of the meal and then everyone brings in a topping or add on. It’s a fun pot-luck that people often think is the best event we do each month.
Bake Goods sign ups. We have a weekly sign up where someone will bring in something someday that week. It’s a random day so it could happen at moment. People will bring in baked goods or a shareable item like guac.
My basic evaluation outside of the thoughts written above is that will it benefit the community in a meaningful way or is it like a kid that just wants something at this moment. It’s easy to ask for a lot of stuff but the question is it a need, a helpful benefit that will be used and benefit many, or just a feature to check a marketing box that is wasted money. If the request lingers around for a few months then it is probably something that should be addressed. Here are a few more examples:
I think free a keg of beer for my community is something people ask for but really just having a few beers in the fridge is good enough. Plus, people bring in beer to share and leave it behind so it creates a community from it.
Some people asked for extra monitors so I bought one and noticed people always used it. I bought a few more they also get used. The monitors are a real nice benefit to people and makes business sense because I have limited permanent desks. A monitor is the main reason people get permanent desk so by buying them I am convincing more people to join that usually want a desk but are now OK with a floating membership. This increases my utilization and allows me to have more members. Win-Win.