Charging by donation: A bad idea

Rather than setting concrete fees, many lightworkers charge customers by donation.  They perform a service, then let the customer give what he or she chooses to give if anything at all. Here’s why I think this is a bad idea:

–It implies that the service you are providing is one that you’re doing on a voluntary basis rather than on a professional basis.

–It allows someone else to determine your value.

–It forces the recipient of the service to work harder since they have to figure out what’s fair to pay you.

–You have no way of knowing how many clients you must see in order to take care of all of your business and personal expenses.

–It makes you appear less successful at your craft. I’ve heard on more than one occasion about someone changing service providers because the service provider charged too little. The customer took that to mean that the provider wasn’t as experienced (or as good) as the service provider who charged more.

While there’s nothing wrong with doing some volunteer work, separate that from your day-to-day business by setting fees and sticking to them. If you want to offer some people a break consider offering special rates for regular customers, monthly or weekly specials, or sliding scale fees that coincide with a person’s ability to pay. The only time I can see letting customers pay by donation is if you host a special seminar or introduce a group of people to your services.

Have you ever charged by donation? I’d love to hear your experiences whether you agree with me or not. may receive compensation if users buy products or services mentioned or advertised on these sites or click on some of the links that are posted on these sites.


  1. Charging by donation never works for me. Whenever i’m faced with that situation, i’ve been fortunate enough to receive a tip in the process. However, one time someone told me that if i received a certain form, i can write off what i charge for the event and deduct that from my taxes. After talking with my accountant, i realized that was a joke because the IRS only allows you to deduct expenses occurred (i.e. mileage, tolls, parking, etc). So if anyone says that you can have a tax write-off for dontating your time is telling you a bold face lie to get free services from you. From that point, i stopped doing that unless i know going into the situation that i will be donating my time on my terms.


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