I’ve recently become aware of the phenomenon of crowdfunding (yes, I do live in a cave!) – and I have been amazed and touched by the generosity of people who are willing to donate money to help a total stranger realise a creative project.
According to my upbringing, it’s shameful to ask for money – even from your own family. It’s a sign of weakness. A sign that you’re incapable of managing your own affairs. A sign that you have no worth – because if you did, you would be able to get a job and “earn” money.
But what exactly IS “earning” money?
When you connect with them,
people want to help you.”
In this inspiring and emotional TED talk, Amanda Palmer describes how, as a musician, she makes her music available to her fans for free. Rather than forcing them to pay for her music, she asks for donations via crowdfunding sites. And some people have suggested that’s wrong – that she’s cashing in.
But the point is that the people who are donating money are doing it of their own free will. Nobody is making them do it. And even though people can see how much she has raised, they are continuing to donate more.
As Amanda says: “It’s not easy to ask. Asking makes you vulnerable.” It also requires trust.
Perhaps that’s why her approach has been so effective. As you will see in the video, she is willing to be vulnerable, and to trust people wholeheartedly – and as a result, she connects with people in a way that most of us don’t.
And it makes me wonder: what would it be like, if I were willing to trust that deeply – to offer my products and programmes for free – and to ask people to make a donation based on what they perceive to be the value of my gift to them.
Am I that brave?