A Suggested Donation

Placing trust and value in a process that is not fee based—instead is given away for free, a low cost or for a “suggested donation”—is the future in an abundant, connection based economy where, ultimately at the end of the day, everyone will be giving something away for nothing.

“Well, you know, we got what we paid for,” is the common lament expressed by many who have participated in a free process.
The two most common questions that people have who have little trust in a free, abundance based process are:

  • “When are you going to take all of this stuff that you are doing for free and make some money off of it?”
  • “When are you going to stop putting out ‘junk content’ and monetize it?”

The questions tend to come from individuals, corporations, organizations and others who are so wedded to the industrial based past, that they cannot understand that “free” creates an abundant, connection based future.
The reverse of these two questions are the ones that many (who are also wedded to the industrial based past) ask who are at the provider end, offering a service for “free” or in exchange for a “suggested donation.”

  • “Why can’t we get people to pay us to do this (insert name of humanitarian service here)?

Scarcity in an abundance economy is built around the cornerstone of trust: If payment is coming for something that is offered initially for free, then trust must be established and maintained that what is being paid for has even greater value than what was just received for free. 
Or, I have to trust that the organization or person requesting a “suggested donation” for a service that they just provided for free, will give me back something with even better consistency and quality.
Either way, the hard work for the provider, shifts from asking for a fee and hoping that one will come while toiling under budget constraints and doing mediocre, rote work, to instead providing the service for free and then creating a relationship with the end-user based on the idea that something else more awesome lies just behind the pay wall.
The newspaper business couldn’t figure this one out. 
Neither could the music industry. 
Both have collapsed.
And more collapses are coming, from the way cars are sold to the way that the United Way raises money.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com

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