Tuesday, June 09, 2009

DO PEOPLE LIKE HELPING OTHERS?

About six months ago, I launched the latest series of Happiness Minutes. This time, after the results of a survey where people had indicated that the first series was wonderfully helpful and valuable, I decided to offer these weekly audio postcards for a fee.

Subscribers could either pay a small annual subscription fee to help offset the cost of running the service, or get the whole year's offering for 'free' - by just helping someone in any way they wished.

There was no stipulation as to what they should do, who they could help, or any suggestion of a judgement of the worth of the good deed - I accept whatever they do - the only requirement is that they tell me what they did. I wouldn't publish their details, although I did ask to be able to use their stories anonymously.

This 'paying-it-forward' option was expected to be a great great hit. I thought people would grab at the chance to help someone else. I was wrong. Only a handful of people have taken up the pay-it-forward offer and I am a bit baffled. I can't figure out why...

I'm pretty sure that the kind of people who are attracted to this kind of thing like to help others, so why wouldn't they jump at the chance to do so and get something for their effort? Could it be that they just don't want to tell me what they have done?

I don't know the answer. Here's the explanation of the pay-it-forward option. Care to comment on why you think people didn't go for it?