27 July 2020

The Joy of Giving

This promises to be somewhat of a self-indulgent post – about the joy of giving something valuable away for free. About money and how it carries so many deep-seated habits, conflicts and confusions around attachment, values and our capacity to be generous.

And maybe a gentle prompt to reconsider your own relationship with money, especially amongst these times of a pandemic when there is a natural tendency to tighten up and hold onto whatever we already have. Where does generosity, a sense of community and sharing come into all of that?; but first

             Thought for the day

     Work is love made visible. 
     And if you cannot work with love, 
     But only with distaste, 
     It is better that you should leave your work 
     And sit at the gate of the temple 
     And take alms from the people who work with joy

                            Khalil Gibran

Not many will know that when I started the work with people affected by cancer way back in 1981, my initial thought was to offer it freely and rely upon donations for it to progress. Truth is I was talked out of this by my first wife and especially Dr Ainslie Meares. Ainslie, that renowned psychiatrist who introduced therapeutic meditation to the Western world, advise me people in the West only value what they pay for.

So that work evolved into a charitable foundation where fee for service was supplemented by a strong fundraising program. For decades we raised about 25 – 30% of the annual turnover of the foundation and used much of this to offset the program fees.

Amidst this there were plenty of examples of people’s relationships to money. Wealthy people who cried poor and insisted upon discounts. Seriously disadvantaged people who gave a little but in a way that what they gave was highly meaningful – and valued. Wealthy people who gave more but relative to their worth was very little and hence not so meaningful.

Experiments with offering programs by donation and regularly receiving around 25% of what would have been the standard fees if it had been a fee for service event.

Fascinating conversations before and after free events…
“How much is the donation?”

A : :There is no set amount, it is up to you…”

“Yes but how much is it?”

Flying Faith Airlines. This is what we called the principle of proceeding with an important new venture when the money for it was not yet to hand. Proceeding with Faith and expecting the money to follow. Getting into financially difficult situations (quite regularly over the years), only to be bailed out by a major gift or bequest.

Significantly for me, never feeling stressed by money. A deep confidence that with the right motivation held by the bulk of our staff, it would all work out well. And it did

But now a new App – Allevi8. To charge or to offer for free?

What a relief. My business partners agree – it has to be offered freely.

Now to be clear, a huge amount of time and money has gone into developing this App. And yes, the 3 of us are in the fortunate situation where we are not dependent upon income from this particular App to keep us alive financially. And yes, we would like to make a profit.

However, there is such a delight in offering it for free.

The joy of giving.

It is such a good feeling not to need to “sell” the product.

We have made it the best we can.

We offer it freely.

If people respond to it, appreciate it and want it to become available to others, then yes, please do pay it forward and contribute.

And notice this.

When something like an Allevi8 is offered freely, it frees you up. There are no barriers. No need to consider “can I afford it?”. “Does this represent value for money?”. “Is it worth $5 a month? $10?”

No, it is simply. Download it. Try it. If it is of no value, no harm done. If you like it and just want to use it for free, no harm done – and please do feel good that other people are making it available for you. If you like it and want to Pay it Forward, no harm done! But maybe a good feeling.

The Joy of Giving


  1. How very wonderful :-) How does one contribute?

    1. AT the bottom of the Home page screen there is a button called Gift. Simply click on that and it takes you to a secure site...

  2. Thank you so much for this generous & wonderful app particularly within the context of the pandemic, where many of us are out of work & dealing with stress. I so enjoy your blog & would like to share the joy of passing on for free - I work as a psychotherapist & many years ago,a good friend recommend a young man to come speak with me. He really had very little money & felt uncomfortable about that. We came to an agreement - for every hour he met with me, he would volunteer himself for some service in the community. If he volunteered more hours, also ok, but at least one for one. The "lost" young man with a Ph.D. found his profession through his voluntary service. So that passing on, need not be money!

    1. How very wonderful. And how perfect too! For I'm sure that he had a passion for the cause he volunteered for... Thankyou for facilitating that process :-)

  3. Lovely story, thanks for sharing... :)

  4. I have already used the app for a week or so, it is just what I need :) Right now I am struggling with post-shingles nerve pain. I will also 'pay it forward' as you ask. Thank you as always Ian! blessings. Penny

    1. Thanks Penny - hope it helps; the pain management practices can be very useful :)

  5. Always enjoy your articles, thank you for all the good that you do and have done over the years.