It's been difficult to stay positive lately. And if I’m honest, I feel like I've been doing the exact opposite, bringing near-apocalyptic thoughts, ideas, and hard questions about the future of podcasting.
Sorry about that.
I was contacted recently by a charitable organization in need of some podcasting assistance. And while this organization does have a budget (they weren’t looking for free work), it’s not a huge budget, and they’d struggle to afford my firm’s fees.
Like most charities, this isn't a gigantic charity. They’re not the benefactors of a huge endowment. It’s a mostly self-funded organization, covering their expenses with personal investments by the not-filthy-rich founders and whatever donations they can bring in to keep the organization running with a modest operational budget.
If we’re to work together, and I really do want to help them, I’m going to have to make some concessions. My firm’s clients are businesses with large enough marketing budgets to afford the high-touch professional services we offer. Those services are worth paying for. Just like your services, working podcaster, are likely worth paying for.
Your Podcasting Skills Are Worthy Of Payment
I firmly believe that we working podcasters should be compensated for our efforts. We’ve invested in ourselves to develop skillsets, and we should not devalue that or ourselves by giving away our services for free.
Nor should we undercharge. I was in a group with some other working podcasters last year. I was constantly applying pressure on the other members to increase their rates. Not to fleece their clients out of more money just so they could buy a mansion in the Hamptons. I helped them see that getting a higher rate would lead them to better clients where they could do better work in a sustainable fashion. A going concern, in fact.
Having said that...
Using Your Podcast Skills For Good
Chances are, you have some discretion in how you spend at least a portion of your time and how you earn at least a portion of your money. Yes, you have obligations on both your time and money that you must do. Don’t jeopardize your livelihood on anyone’s account.
But there are worthy organizations out there that could use your professional podcasting help. It’s just unlikely that those worthy organizations can afford to pay you the same rate as you’re able to charge commercial entities. Let’s examine a few ways around that challenge, shall we?
Tithing Your Time
Even though I'm not a religious person, I’m aware of the concept of tithing. Tithing means “one-tenth”, and is used as a “how much should I give?” yardstick when financially supporrting a religious institution.
We can take that same model of tithing and apply it to a time investment. Using the standard 40-hour-week model (yes, I know you work more than that) and applying 10% is four hours. That’s one-half of a day. Or, if you want to spread it out across the week, it’s a little less than an hour per day.
Do you have an hour a day to help a worthy charity with their podcasting efforts? Can you block off a morning or an afternoon one day a week to help a charitable organization podcast better?
Another option (and my preference) is to invoice the charitable organization at the same rate I invoice my other clients. But I add a discount line item (much, much more than 10%) to bring the final invoice amount down to a number that fits within the charity’s modest operating budget.
I do this to protect the value of the services I’m providing. It’s quite possible (desirable, even) that the founders or funders of the charitable organization have a future need for podcasting services for their own business. A business that likely has a healthy marketing budget. I want them to see invoices with the full value of the services provided, rather than trying to explain a huge price jump when they ask for a proposal. No surprises!
Possible Tax Implications
Bonus: There might be positive tax ramifications when working with charities. Please understand that I’m neither a tax pro nor a bookkeeper, as either Rhonda or Paula, my respective tax and bookkeeping pros, will tell you. So definitely check with your tax pro and/or your bookkeeper about the possible tax implications of providing your valuable professional services either at a significant discount or for free. Speaking of that:
Pro Bono Podcasting Services
I'd love to be in a situation where I could just do pro bono podcasting work. I really enjoy the work I do with the vast majority of my clients. It is fun. It keeps my brain engaged. Heck, it was when I was retired in Thailand and bored back in 2016 when I started my podcast consultancy. Chances are, I'll probably wind up doing something quite similar to what I'm doing now... forever. If I’m fortunate enough to wind up in a post-scarcity situation again.
Network Of Good Workers
I’m pretty well-rounded, with more than a couple of decades in business operation roles and a history of podcasting since podcasting began. But you don’t have to have either of those things to offer valuable services in podcasting. So if this idea of doing some podcasting for good appeals to you, you might need to build out a small (or large) team of other working podcasters who complement your skillset.
It’s important to find people you like working with as much as it is important to find organizations you can all get behind. Imagine what good you could do if you could talk 10 other skilled podcasters to tithe 10% of their time for a worthy cause you can all work on.
Speaking of good things, I have two Very Good things you can do now. No, neither are charities. But I like the segue.
The first is to buy me a virtual coffee at BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra. It’s an inexpensive way to donate to the cause of making podcasting better. No, your donation isn’t tax-deductible.
The second bit of good is to tell one person, just one other working podcaster, about Podcast Pontifications. Perhaps this episode spurs a conversation you’ve been meaning to have with them. Or perhaps you've been waiting for me to have a positive episode to share with that friend. Lords know I've been talking less-than-positive news for some time.
I shall be back tomorrow for yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.