Pretty cool blog about selling things without a fixed price. Just thinking how apps that are not totally relying on micro payments might want to consider pricing things.
I was interested to find that one of the hackspaces near me has a “pay what you like” per month membership.
The way they handle it is:
Rule 1) Pay whatever you like
Rule 2) If you are taking more out (i.e. hackspace materials) than you are paying, you’ll be asked to increase what you put in.
This seems very reasonable. Also, on their mailing list they just asked for contributions to buy another 3D printer, total needed £1,500. The list has about 1,000 members I was told, and I’d guess in about one day there were pledges amounting to £500, ranging from £5 to £50.
There are lots of payment models, and maybe it works for people to decide what’s fair and affordable themselves when a community is small enough - or feels small enough? - for most people to feel the collective spirit (or whatever you want to call it), over and above their selfish tendencies.
I think it matters how it is done too. I’m sure that seeing people post pledges to the list, and the amounts being so open, encourages others to join in. I felt that desire to pledge even though I haven’t even decided on which hackspace I want to join. This one is a bit farther than I’d like, but the level of enthusiasm and range of activity that’s evident means I will definitely check it out. There is another much closer, but doesn’t compare at this point. Much less easy to get a sense of it, but I’ll visit both. Bit of a digression, but a bit relevant I think.
EDIT: So I think for voluntary payment models it helps to cultivate a sense of “I’m not the only one” and “what seems a fair payment” based on seeing what others pay (or being provided options like in your example @chadrickm). Few people like to be first, or to risk feeling cheated by being the only one who actually pays etc. So its both bit of warm feeling from joining in, being part of something, and reassurance that things are fair and that people are not taking advantage.