Pay and Display

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?

6 thoughts on “Asking Without Shame

  1. All I can say is WOW! Asking takes such courage! But, watching the video, it strikes me that it was Amanda who took the first step and people responded. Talk about making yourself emotionally vulnerable!
    Sue Plumtree recently posted..Do you want to get rid of fear? Here’s howMy Profile

  2. Thanks Julia – I love it – yes, asking can make you feel vulnerable – and I know what marvellous things have come to me because I have asked for them

  3. Julia Barnickle

    Isn’t it wonderful, Sue! And what if asking doesn’t take courage – what if it’s exactly what people are waiting for…? 🙂

  4. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks for sharing that, Nick. As part of my campaign this month to invest in my greatness, I’m going to see just how brave I can be…

  5. stuart kerslake

    Beautiful Julia – what a wonderful reminder that vulnerability and courage are a powerful combination!
    I know a guy who offers all his seminars for free, because “someone else has contributed to make that a possibility”, and after the event he asks the attendees if they would like to contribute so that someone else can benefit from what they’ve just experienced. It’s all done authentically and with no pressure of any kind.
    I’m now working on creating the “products” to do the same.
    Namaste for honouring your tribe by taking a similar approach – I know it will repay you manifold.

  6. Julia Barnickle

    Thanks Stuart. What a wonderful approach – it’s like “paying it forward”, asking if they would like to contribute so that someone else can benefit from what they’ve just experienced. It’s so much easier for people to judge what they think the offering is worth, after the event. This could be the end of “selling” as we know it! 🙂

    I have a feeling this sort of thing will gradually catch on, even with our generation. I know it’s popular among young people, but we’ve been brought up in a different way, so it might take a while for us to get used to the concept and to overcome our own prejudices about asking.

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