Today I invite you to help transform Wildmind into a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative.
This is urgently needed, because the way we’ve been doing things is no longer viable, to the point where a few days ago, I seriously believed I would have to give up teaching.
But I also want to make these changes so that Wildmind reflects my deeper values, and because of the sense of urgency I feel about bringing more mindfulness and compassion into the world.
The Old Way
I started Wildmind almost 20 years ago as a website where people could learn meditation for free. (That’s been a great success. We’re on track to have over 800,000 unique visitors this year. Our most popular articles have been read more than 600,000 times each. We are having a large, positive impact.)
To fund the website I sold guided meditation CDs and offered online meditation courses, first by charging, and then mostly by donation.
But things have changed. Few people buy CDs and even MP3s, and with more apps out there, fewer people are enrolling in our online courses.
The old model is no longer viable. We need to go in a new direction. And we need to do it now, or Wildmind will no longer exist.
A New Direction
I’ve long dreamed of having my teaching supported entirely by donations from supporters. We made moves in that direction a few years ago, but we didn’t pursue that aim as persistently as we should have, and the initiative stalled. But that, I am convinced, is the direction to go in.
It’s time to take a leap forward, and so that’s why we’re transforming Wildmind into a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative.
I am thankful that the Wildmind community has always stepped up in the past. When we’ve had a special project we needed to fund, you were there. When there was a financial crisis, you were there. Thank you from my heart.
Our strength and our future lies in you. What we envision is that lots of supporters like you would contribute a small amount each month to support Wildmind’s teaching work.
A Community, Supported
A community that supports a meditation initiative deserves support in return. And so I’ll be offering the following:
+New Courses for Sponsors
Any new courses I develop will be exclusively for Wildmind’s supporting community. There will be no charge to you for these courses. I anticipate adding a new course at least every two months, which is roughly what I’ve done in the past.
+Special Newsletter for Sponsors
At present we send out three newsletters a month. In future one of those will be for sponsors only, and will contain an exclusive article, a meditation download, and news of sponsor-only courses.
+Private Online Discussion Forum
I’m setting up an online forum for sponsors, where you can connect with other community members in an environment free from advertising and from the kind of data-harvesting that goes on in Facebook.
All my current courses (and there are presently around 30 of them) would be FREE for the general public. Potentially many thousands of people would benefit each year, and this is a gift that YOU, as a sponsor, would make happen. You’d have the satisfaction of knowing you were promoting mindfulness and compassion in the world.
This new model feels much more in line with my core values and with the tradition meditation teachers being supported by donations from the community.
How We Can Accomplish This Together
To bring this vision to life will initially require just $6,000 a month, made up of donations as small as $6. This total would cover what I need in order to keep writing, teaching, and recording, and will cover administrative support, bookkeeping, and the cost of hosting the website and newsletter.
So we’re breaking our $6,000 target into 1,000 “Wildmind Community Shares.” We’re asking you to sponsor as many or as few Wildmind Community Shares as you feel comfortable with. Some of you might sponsor two shares ($12 a month) three shares ($18 a month), or more. Others might sponsor one share at $6 a month.
There is no hierarchy of sponsorship levels, with increasing perks as you contribute more: if you give more it’s because you can afford to do so, and because you value what we do and want to support it. Every single sponsor’s contribution will be a valued building block in reaching our goal and sustaining our vision.
It Starts Now
Transforming Wildmind into a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative starts today. Click here to subscribe to the meditation initiative.
An Unfolding Transformation
- 25%: Once we’re a quarter of the way to our goal of $6,000, we’ll open up the Online Community for sponsors.
- 50%: Once we’re half way to our goal, one of Wildmind’s three monthly newsletters will be sent only to sponsors, with an exclusive article and monthly meditation download.
- 75%: When we’re three-quarters of the way there, I’ll launch new courses that are just for supporters. I’ll also schedule a live monthly conference call where we can practice together as a community. (This’ll be archived and sent out to you if you miss the call.)
- 100%: Once the goal is fully achieved, I’ll some of my existing courses free to the general public, enlarging our meditation community and potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of people.
Let’s Make This Happen!
Let’s do this! Let’s transform Wildmind into a unique, Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. It’s very doable—with your support.
Become a community sponsor now, using the form below.
With love and gratitude,
Power to you for being creative about how to keep doing your work, especially in light of a very noisy marketplace for attention. I have always found your teaching very accessible and supportive, without a lot of unnecessary dressing in the way. As a member of the community, I’m happy to do what I can to give back to it.
As a technology professional, I have also chosen to use FOSS (Free Open Source Software) which is similarly supported and is no way inferior to its commercial counterparts. Amazing that one can actually reach out directly to the developers and contribute if you like. There are avenues like this elsewhere if you look and are open to them. My nephew orchestrates a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
With much gratitude for you finding a way to “keep on keeping on.” –Kenny
I use a lot of Open Source software, including to run this blog, of course :)
And thank you for your support!
I would like to contribute but concerned that as I only have £ banking I am going to get charged almost as much in bank charges as in my donation every month. Do you have any facilities for donations in £ or other suggestions to minimise charges? Thanks for any info.
Thanks for your willingness to be a part of this. If you’re using PayPal or making a contribution using your credit or debit card on PayPal, there are no conversion or other bank charges. PayPal deducts a small percentage of each donation, which covers those costs.
All the best,
Thanks for info I Have now set up but now not sure how to turn off email
Updates. Can you help ? Thanks
I took care of that for you, Rowena. And thank you for your support!
Hello, will there be specific Buddhist instruction through the new model? I love the classes I have taken with you, first cd in 2008.
Yes, definitely, although my main emphasis is likely to remain on teaching meditation.
I hope it works; it sounds good. I’ve been reading your website and following your meditations almost since it started, and have joined your online courses. All has been very helpful for me in trying to become a kinder, more compassionate person. I’m glad about the note above on Paypal, also being a £ user.
Just curious – will you have to pay tax on the donations?
All donations are reported as income, Kim, so they are subject to tax.
I wonder if you will be offering courses for specifically for those who teach Mindfulness meditation? Thanks.
I’ve thought for a long time about offering teacher training, Denis, but so far I haven’t had the time. If this new approach works, then I’ll have much more freedom to do something like that.
I hope the new approach takes root. Will keep an eye out for offerings for the teachers. Thanks.
I used the “Subscribe using a debit or credit card” link, but it did not allow me to complete the transaction without opening a Paypal account. I don’t want a Paypal account because fraudulent charges were made on my prior Paypal account. Is there a way to get around this?
Oh, gosh, Zia. I’d misunderstood what that link meant. It does seem that you have to open an account with PayPal. It looks like I can sign up for a Square account, and you’d be able to make recurring subscription payments that way. Would that work for you?
It looks like Square is similar to Paypal but more expensive for you, so not a good option. For donations to other organizations, like Kiva, I’ve had the option to pay with VISA as a Paypal Guest instead of having to join Paypal. Will Paypal allow you to offer that? If not, I could bite the bullet and rejoin Paypal. It has been over a decade since I experienced those fraudulent Paypal charges, so hopefully they have better security now.
I’ve been searching for information about this on PayPal’s site, because like you I’ve used a Visa card to make payments using PayPal without using my account. What I’ve found is this: “PayPal account optional: When this feature is turned on, your customers will go through an optimized checkout experience. This feature is available for buy now, donations, and shopping cart buttons, but not for subscription buttons.” So it doesn’t seem to be possible at the moment. I haven’t had a chance yet to look more deeply into Square or other services yet, unfortunately.
O.K. Please don’t take too much trouble for my sake. I’ll wait until I hear whether there is an easy solution on your part. Otherwise I can let go of my past negative experience with Paypal and give it another try. Blessings!
It looks like the QB option is possible. I have it set up but I don’t have time right now to figure out how to make it work. I’ll email you soon, though.
According to this article it’s possible I might be able to do this through Quickbooks. I’ll let you know when I’ve had a chance to check it out.
So pleased you are doing this Bodhipaksa and sending love and good wishes for Wildmind’s growth in this way. Your work has been inspirational to so many over the years including myself and it would be wonderful to share it with a wider audience. Sending prayers from Scotland ??????? Xx
Thanks, Cleo. I hope you’re doing well!
Interesting concept you have going here. I increased my donation via Paypal but dropped the recurring payment through Patreon.
Thanks, Tom. I’m optimistic that this is the start of a new era.
So sorry the Saltire turned into a series of ????!! :)
Very happy to support the work you are doing.. May it flourish!
Oh, that’s what the question marks were for! I’ll just visualize the Saltires!
I have signed up to be part of this community. When I wasn’t working and I didn’t have a lot of money you gave me free meditation courses. These courses taught me skills that I use everyday to be happier and healthier. It was the foundation for a solid meditation practice that has become a strong spiritual belief that is the centre of my life. In part because of a Wildmind course on finding and living your purpose I am now working as a psychologist in training. I’m working long hours, however I’m much more financially able. It’s the right time to be as generous in return as you were for me. This is greater than us though, it is for the benefit of all beings. I completely agree that we desperately need to raise our collective consciousness with increased mindfulness and compassion. Making your teachings freely available is a beautiful gesture that can help many people. I look forward to being a part of this new community!
Thank you for your kind and inspiring words, Michelle. I’m so happy to hear that you found your way to being a psychologist.
I think this is s great idea! How will the app be incorporated into this? And, if I’m already paying a monthly fee for the app, would that be considered an existing donation?
I’m glad you’re enthusiastic about the initiative.
The app is separate from this. What the app does is give you access to a large (and expanding) library of guided meditations. This initiative will make available the course material I develop, much of which will be in written or video form, and not suitable for the app. It’s also about building and sustaining community. There will be a bit of overlap, though, since I’ll be sharing new Sitting With Bodhi series with donors before they go on the app. But donors will have a richer experience of those courses because there will be an online community forum for sharing how you’re getting on with the practices.
All the best,
I’m in! But what happens if you don’t reach your monthly goal? And I assume I can cancel or change my contribution if necessary? I hate to think of losing Wildmind!! You were my first meditation teacher!
I had actually written a long post explaining why I was giving up teaching meditation and what the implications would be. I’ll probably share that at some point.
Because you set up the monthly payment through your PayPal account, you’re completely in control. You can cancel at any time. To change the amount simply cancel any existing payments and set up a new one. We can’t actually make any changes from our end.
I don’t think there’s any danger of not meeting the monthly goal; it’s just a question of how long it’ll take. We’re a little over 20% of the way there in one day. Obviously that rate of growth isn’t going to continue, but I’ll be keeping going with the publicity for this until we get all the way. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes close to a year to meet our target. As I explain in the post, though, there will be a phase-in of benefits for sponsors, and the first of those will be kicking off soon.
All the best!
So pleased to be able to support your work in this way. Your website remains my favourite meditation resource (and one I often mention to others). Much luck to you with this new endeavour! xM
Thank you for your support, Meghann!
It’s a great idea! Like Kate I began serious meditation practice through your courses and I have always felt very comfortable with your approach and teaching. I always recommend your site to anyone who asks and I would have been sad were you to give up the teaching. I look forward to the new era and some more teaching. Thank you again.
Many thanks, Simon!
This is a great idea! I, too, have benefited a great deal from your classes. And I miss having an online sangha. Like another person on this list, I have had bad experiences with PayPal. Is there another option? If so, I’d prefer it. If not, then I’ll just have to go along with PayPal.
Thanks! I’ve worked out how to do recurring credit card billing through Quickbooks. If you email me letting me know how many Community Shares (at $4 each) you want to sponsor, and letting me know a good time to call to get your credit card details, then I can get that set up for you.
All the best,
Hi Bodhi, I am so excited to be part of the community. Wildmind is part of my everyday life, I am in!
It’s great to heave you on board!
Thank you for your teachings, courage and perseverance. I have question about the share / community sponsorship… If I were to subscribe for $4 a month then I imagine that ideally it would be for ever!! But practically could it be for say a year? I mean how many months is acceptable?
Every little helps, Alison, although you’d only have access to the sponsors’ benefits (the exclusive newsletter, new courses, and forum) for as long as you continued to sponsor at least one share.
All the best,
I joined to support your work…
Thanks, Jim. Your support is greatly appreciated!
I already make a monthly contribution so am delighted to be suddenly a sponsor! What a lovely idea. So glad you have found a way to continue doing what you do. Thankyou for starting so many people on their journeys, including me. Now so many more people will be able to access your life-changing courses.
Best wishes to you.
Thanks for your good wishes!
I don’t seem to have you on my list of donors. Does the donation come through under a different name?
All the best,
Yes it is monthly but under my partner’s name: John Knight. Hope it is coming through nice and regular!
Yes it is, thank you! Would you like me to change the name associated with the sponsorship? Otherwise you’ll appear in the community as “John Knight,” which may not be what you want.
Yes please! Thankyou.
It is a while since I used your mediation CDs but I have always valued them.
I do have the Bristol TriRatna Centre just ten minute walk away however and so I do not lack a Sangha. Nevertheless I have just set up a monthly subscription to your new initiative and wish you success with it.
I was hoping to come to your ten day retreat in Dhanakosa in July (it is my go-to retreat centre) but it clashed with taking the grandkids away for our annual summer jaunt – so you will know what my choice was!
Nevertheless I hope that being one of your community sponsors will enable me to reestablish connection with your work.
Please consider dropping by the Bristol Buddhist Centre sometime!
Thanks for your support, Tim. I hope you enjoy your time with the grandkids!
I’ve no plans to visit Bristol, but it looks like I’ll be leading a retreat at Rivendell next year.
I just became a community sponsor. So exciting! Looking forward to what I learn here.
How is the fundraising going? Any recent updates to the total required?
Thanks so much for your sponsorship. I’ve posted a couple of articles since this one, but the chart here is always up to date. Right now we’re a little over 36% funded, with a projection that we’ll be fully funded by July. If that holds true then that’s faster progress than the six to 12 months I initially expected.
All the best,
Dear Bodhipaksa – and I do mean “dear”! A couple of years ago you “saved my life” after my husband unexpectedly died. I’m a long-time Buddhist and meditator but this just floored me. Your easy attitude and gentle talk got me as back on track as was possible at the time and you even gave me a scholarship for a course – for which I am eternally grateful. I have a tiny bit more money these days (have been waiting for that to happen so I could become a small sponsor). I’m about to sign up and very excited to do so. Thanx!
Gosh, what an astonishing thing to read. Thank you so much for telling me about your journey. It’s touching to learn that I had a part in it.
I’m pleased to tell you that our initiative is going well (it’s almost 62% funded at the moment) and I’m looking forward to welcoming you aboard!
Do I need to unsubscribe and resubscribe again now that I am a sponsor? Is there an app on my phone on which I can listen to guided meditations? BTW (!) NONE of the links in the email you send me work by clicking on them!!
Thanks for writing. We do have an iPhone app that gives access to my guided meditations. It’s called Bodhi Mind and you can download it here.
However, this initiative and the app are separate and offer different things. The app offers access to a large library of guided meditations that I’ve recorded, and that I’m still adding to.
This initiative is about building a community of supporters for Wildmind, and it offers access to the online courses I’ve developed over the last several years. There are guided meditations in the courses (including those on the app) but also text and video. The initiative also gives access to an online community and to a monthly newsletter with an article that’s exclusively for sponsors, plus a guided meditation download.
Since the two things are unrelated, subscribing to one doesn’t include access to the other.
I hope this helps.
I’m a little confused here. Are you saying that any guided meditations with this new initiative can only be accessed from my computer (that is not from an app on my phone)? And that BodhiMind which I had subscribed to before will cost me an additional $4.99 a month to listen to? Why are you doing things this way? Most folks but me for sure listen to guided meditations on an app on my phone. I want to support you! You have really helped me – but no way can I afford $4 a month for Wildmind and $4.99 a month for Bodhimind!! Am I missing something?
To address your points in turn: All of the material that is part of the courses you’ll have access to is accessible on a phone. They’re all hosted on YouTube, and are thus accessible on any device.
Yes, if you want access to all the material on the Bodhi Mind app, then that costs $4.99 a month. And it is separate from this initiative.
I think I’ve been very upfront about what being a sponsor of Wildmind’s community shares includes. To my mind, access to all of our online courses, plus an online community, plus a monthly guided meditation download, is a pretty good deal for $4. Do I really have to have to justify why I’m not also including a $5 a month app (for $4) in addition to all that?
I’m sorry to hear that you can’t afford both the app and the initiative, and that this is a source of frustration for you. That’s bound to be the case with some people, of course.
I hope you got my last comment about the “double” charge ($4 for WM and $4.99 for BM – per month). I also feel like you’ve deceived me/us a bit here. You have been extremely generous to me in the past and I don’t want another scholarship – I want to support you for $4 a month. But you’re going backward by making this content only available on the computer and not an app. Less and less are folks – especially young folks using their computers for meditation. One wants to sit in lotus or half-lotus and listen through earbuds to guided meditations – not to haul one’s computer to the floor or the bed or whereever. I must be missing something here! Because you would not do this I’m sure. Perhaps you can explain this more clearly to me.
Sigh! I need to apologize for that last comment! “Deceived” is way too strong a word for what’s going on! What I feel is confused. Ever since I got your first email about maybe having to stop teaching because you weren’t getting enough support and how nobody bus mp3s any more so you were going to do this new thing – I’ve felt confused. I didn’t realize you weren’t combining this new venture with Bodhimind – which seemed so natural to me. Anyway – I’m sorry. I await your answer.
Your apology is accepted, Pamela. As I’ve said, I think I’ve been very clear in saying what the benefits of sponsoring shares are. Any confusion was unintentional.
As a tiny explanation: I took a chemo-like treatment in 2015 which left me with some minor-ish brain damage – I find it hard to unscramble items if many options are in front of me (I couldn’t go into a grocery store for almost 2 years as an example!). so this: “All of the material that is part of the courses you’ll have access to is accessible on a phone. They’re all hosted on YouTube and are thus accessible on any device” I can’t figure out how to do this at all. Perhaps you could use a guided meditation as an example and show me? Sorry to be so difficult.
I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties in processing information. To put it simply, the guided meditations in our courses are on YouTube. (I’m assuming you know that YouTube is a website for videos.) You can play YouTube videos on your phone.
So in a course there might be a link, like this one, to a YouTube video. If you’re on your phone right now you can tap on that link and the meditation will start to play.