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Conference Provides ‘Pay What You Want’ Pricing

Conference Provides ‘Pay What You Want’ Pricing

“We ask that you pay about three days of your daily wage, whatever that may be.”

One of the challenges in pricing an event is enabling people with different income levels to attend.

Usually, everyone pays a set price. For one person, this could be 10% of their weekly income. For another, it may be 1%. This isn't equitable, but it's difficult to know how else pricing could be done.

So I was intrigued by this pricing strategy at the Storyline conference:

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 2.22.59 pm

I appreciate the desire to enable people to attend, and to make conference attendance more equitable.

But 3 obstacles come to mind:

  1. Sometimes (or perhaps often), Christians expect Christian events to be free. I don't know why this is – there are still overheads to cover. People still want morning tea. However if many of the delegates abide by the refrain “I shouldn't have to pay to hear the gospel”, then there could be a serious impact on the budget.
  2. Given how reluctant Christians are to talk about money (and the cultural inappropriateness of sharing with others how much you earn), I'd be surprised if Christians were willing to give in line with the ‘three days of your daily wage' option. Would you be willing to do this?
  3. Research shows that the greater the wealth and education, the less generous the person is likely to be. Or put simply “Earning higher incomes does not make American Christians more generous with their money. It actually appears to make them more stingy, protective, and distrustful.” Given this pricing strategy would require those with more to subsidise those with less, this could pose a challenge.

What do you think of this strategy?

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. joanna

    August 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    It’s worth noting that Storyline provides some nice to have but not necessary for enjoying the conference bonuses (a couple of bonus sessions, pre-release books from speakers ect) to people who do choose to pay a higher amount. Doing that would hopefully strike a good balance between encouraging people to pay more but not leaving out those who can’t.

    I’ve more commonly seen Christian events taking the approach of having a moderately high fee but setting a scholarship type fund to partially cover the tickets of people who are experiencing financial hardships. While I appreciate the gesture, I’ve tended to find it awkward to avail myself of such arrangements when I’ve been experiencing financial hardship. It’s awkward having to explain that you’re poor and I’ve found myself worrying that someone even poorer than me might need it more.

  2. Jason Kennedy

    August 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    First off thanks for writing about this, and thanks “Storyline conference” for taking a risk! It seems far too often the only place for generosity in conferences comes during an offering for a speaker or at the book store. Here it seems “Storyline” has provided good guidance on what a recommended cost could be,but allows people to give above and beyond out of a place of generosity. I’m not sure if this is a perfect model for all conferences, but I applaud “Storyline Conference” for taking a risk and trying something new. I think back to the stories about Keith Green giving away his music, Rick Warren paying back his salary, or the staff at Antioch Community Church all getting the same salary and it makes me excited when leaders begin to think radically about their finances. It seems when leaders and ministries show they are willing to risk and be generous with finances, those around them begin to reflect these same values. Excited to see what God does at this conference this year!

  3. G. A. Dietrich

    August 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Check the title of your article…pretty significant typo.

  4. G. A. Dietrich

    August 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Check the title of your article…pretty significant typo.

  5. G. A. Dietrich

    August 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Check the title of your article…pretty significant typo.

  6. Steven Kryger

    August 26, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Thanks! All fixed now.

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