- Sliding Scale and Economic Justice -

I have studied a lot about sliding scale options for the teachings I offer.  For workshops there will be a sliding scale, and for the Mentoring Community Membership, there will be some subsidy available and I ask you to consider the following when you evaluate where you fall on the scale.

“Being honest with yourself and your financial situation when engaging with sliding scale practices grows strong and sustainable communities. It also respects the work of teachers and creators, like myself, who have families to support and rent to pay. Additionally, when I am paid fairly, I am able to invest more time and resources to free and lower cost offerings.”

I decided to share this quote above and the following excerpts from this article by Alexis J. Cunningfolk which talks about the sliding scale and how it works.  The original article is titled "The Sliding Scale: A Tool of Economic Justice.''  I have extracted the most salient parts, and absolutely love the graphic she created.  Scroll down to see the graphic summary chart.

“For a sliding scale to work it relies on the principles of truthfulness, respect for complexity, and accountability. I trust my students and clients to be honest. Community thrives when accountability is a central value, because that is where trust grows and depth work can be done. Teachers deserve to get paid and students deserve classes which recognize the multiple realities of economic access and privilege that exist.

 

Consider the idea of sacrifice versus hardship when examining access. 

If paying for a class, product, or service would be difficult, but not detrimental, it qualifies as a sacrifice. You might have to cut back on other spending in your life (such as going out to dinner, buying coffee, or a new book), but this will not have a long term harmful impact on your life. It is a sacred sacrifice in order to pursue something you are called to do. 

 

If, however, paying for a class, product, or service would lead to a harmful impact on your life, such as not being able to put food on the table, pay rent, or pay for your transportation to get to work, then you are dealing with hardship. Folks coming from a space of hardship typically qualify for a larger subsidy."

"Here are general guidelines about how I currently price my sliding scale and to help you determine where you fall on it.

  • The highest dollar cost reflects the true cost of the class or service. It is the cost that the mentor would charge all mentees in the absence of a sliding scale. If you have access to financial security, pay a mortgage or have personal savings, you would not traditionally qualify for sliding scale services. If you are able to pay for "wants" and spend little time worrying about securing necessities in your life, you have economic privilege and power in our community. This price is for you.

 

  • The middle cost (when there is one) reflects the mentor’s acknowledgement that paying the full cost would prevent some folks from being able to attend, but who do not honestly find themselves reflected in either descriptions for the highest cost or the lowest. If you are struggling to conquer debt or build savings or move away from paycheque to paycheque living but have access to steady income and are not spending most of your time thinking about meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, child care, etc., you belong here.   If you, however, can ask others for financial support, such as family members, partners, or friends, please consider using those personal resources before you use the resources of the sliding scale and limit opportunities for others.

 

  • The bottom cost represents an honest acknowledgment by the mentor that there are folks whose economic circumstances would prevent them from being a part of classes if there was not a deliberate opportunity made for them to access services at a cost that is reflective of their economic realities.  If you struggle to maintain access to needs such as health care, housing, food, child care, and are living paycheque to paycheque or are in significant debt, you probably belong here and you deserve a community that honours your price as equal to an economic offering as the person who can pay the highest tier.

Typically, there are a limited number of slots for products, services, and classes offered at the middle and lower end of the scale. Please be mindful that if you purchase a price at the lowest end of the scale when you can truthfully afford the higher ticket prices, you are limiting access to those who truly need the gift of financial flexibility.”

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