Timing is everything.
Awhile ago, imitating other bloggers, I inserted a “donate” button on this site as a rather stealthy experiment: would anyone notice? would they give if they did? Readers do click on that link. And that’s as far as they get. Perhaps they wanted to give but hesitated. Maybe they clicked by mistake. Or perhaps they needed guidance around how much to give, rather than deciding themselves and filling in the blank.
I’ve looked into inserting a pre-coded “menu” with options for different amounts, to offer more structure. Such a widget exists, yet my blog design doesn’t support it. With other things on my plate, I decided to put off revamping the design (which I like), until I had a compelling new vision for it. I also wondered if suggesting amounts might limit donations. What if someone wanted to give more than what I imagined?
Recently I’ve written about the KonMari Method of tidying, whose guiding principle is to keep what brings joy. I shared the unexpected delight of giving away my art to people who refused to accept it for free and insisted on paying me. My art sparked joy in them, and their reaction sparked joy in me, creating a virtuous circuit. Last Friday, after a busy week of packing, schlepping and shipping mosaics and other items, I checked my e-mail after a long, scorching day that left my legs wobbling from fatigue. A message from one of my original readers had the following subject line: “Notification of Donation Received.”
Since my mind was still in mosaic giveaway mode, I wondered if he had sent money for art, unaware those had been claimed. Opening the message, I read that he had just seen this blog’s donate button and decided to give. The amount, a large number I would not have considered putting on a menu, sparked fireworks of joy that instantly transformed a difficult day into a truly wonderful one. And, I laughed at the synchronicity. That his donation arrived precisely when I was able to fully experience the joy of receiving it was not lost on me. Perhaps the time had come to publicly invite other readers to donate, too, if doing so would spark joy for them. What if they hadn’t noticed the donate button, either?
Perhaps, now, you might be asking:
A writer’s efforts are incomplete without readers. If my essays have moved, delighted or provoked you, inspired you to change your diet or try Feldenkrais, helped you see your life or a situation differently, or allowed you to find more freedom, consider showing your support, much as you might tip your favorite street busker. Knowing readers are engaged and invested enough to donate, at any level, will fuel this adventure faster than I can propel it on my own.
What amount should I give?
I once heard the phrase “give until it feels good.” Or, until it “sparks joy”. I imagine what feels good varies by person and circumstances. For someone it might feel good to donate the equivalent of a coffee or cocktail per month. For another, a lump sum. At times I’ve given street buskers anywhere from 50 cents to 20 dollars. As an exercise in awareness, I will leave it to you to discern what feels good. Whatever you choose to donate, and at whatever frequency, will spark joy and be appreciated.
So, where is that donate button?
It’s on the right sidebar of the blog page and is shaped like a very skinny yellow capsule with blue letters (see image above). It links to PayPal, where you can choose a one-time or recurring monthly donation of any amount. PayPal will also ask you for the “purpose”: feel free to make up something or leave it blank. You can also click on the tip jar (above), and it will take you to the same place.
What will the money be used for?
That’s a perfectly valid question. And, whenever I’ve been moved to tip a busker or musician, I’m indifferent as to whether the cash will go for sheet music, the electric bill or a stiff drink. I give because I’m inspired to show appreciation, acknowledge a person’s talent, and let them know they moved me, even if briefly. Of course it’s different online: we’re not sharing the experience in real time and your donation will not be anonymous (although it will remain confidential). I guarantee your money will not go for stiff drinks, sugary snacks or anything with gluten. Donations, first and foremost, will bolster this writer’s spirit and soul, and will eventually support a better site. But, this is not a fundraiser with goals, time tables and deliverables. Nor am I going to tell you how many hours I spend crafting each post and try to appeal to your brain. Rather, my wish is that you are moved to give from the heart. If you choose to do that, I will thank you from the bottom of mine.