First off, this isn’t a post about how to make money blogging (I’ve previously done a post on monetization options). It’s more about the general idea of getting financial support within the mental health blogging community, and whether there are characteristics of the mental health community that will affect that. It’ll be a bit choppy because I’m not sure I have anything coherent to say.
Who’s in need
So, what groups of people might be hoping to get some financial benefit to help support themselves? Let’s make some broad generalizations for a moment.
A lot of people in the mental health blogging community devote a huge amount of time and effort to blogging, and try to get some form of compensation in return, whether that’s through ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, donation buttons, etc.
Some people are in very legitimately difficult financial situations, and are very much in need of money whatever the source may be, and the reason for that need is communicated when attempting to solicit funds.
Some people are in tight financial situations and need a bit of a boost in order to be able to move ahead with a passion project or business venture; again, this is communicated when trying to raise funds.
Other people are offering a product or service for sale, including books, crafts, or coaching.
Who can give
I suspect that when it comes to mental illness or any other chronic illness/disability niche, there’s a sizeable chunk of people who either can’t work or can’t work very much, and may be relying on disability benefits. I would imagine that, at least on average, we as a community have less disposable income to throw around than, say, the lifestyle blogging community. Obviously that’s not going to be true in all cases, but I think it probably does work out along those lines when you average it out.
So, as potential givers/purchasers, how do we decide where to allocate money? Does it make a difference what the type of need is? Does it matter who the individual blogger is? Does it matter how we’re being asked for money, or how often? Does it depend on the giver/purchaser’s personal philosophy/approach?
Of course it’s awkward to talk about questions like these. So I’ll take a little wallow in my own awkwardness. I used to be a regular donor to charity when I worked full time. Then when I became unemployed, I stopped all donations, and decided that there would be no more donations of any kind until I had a steady income stream that was greater than my monthly expenses; I was not going to delve into my savings to make donations. While I’m working now, it’s not enough to meet either of those criteria, so I stick to my no donations rule. In a sense that’s convenient in that it saves me from making decisions prioritizing who I want to support.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty for not responding when someone is in serious need, and I wonder if perhaps we all do at least a little bit. I absolutely don’t think negatively in any way about bloggers who are trying to bring in some money for one reason or another; in fact, I say good for them for trying to support themselves however they can. But I always wonder, should I click the like button on the donation appeal post if I’m not going to be donating myself?
I think things can get particularly problematic if there is active solicitation of donations in order for X to be able to happen on a blog, and then donations are given but X never materializes.
Stepping away from the idea of donations, is the mental health community a good place to begin a business venture? I’m not entirely sure. There’s still the issue of people not necessarily having a lot of disposable income. Does that mean pricing should be low to improve accessibility? Are people even coming to the online mental health community prepared to buy products or services?
So, where am I going with all of this? I’m not really sure. I think it’s completely valid that people in the mental blogging community would need/want to try to bring some money in, but I have to wonder if there’s a limiting factor on the size of the community pot.