are free services appreciated, or pretty much just expected?

Is Free just another word for Not Worth Paying For?

Credit unions have long championed giving certain services away for absolutely nothing: free checking, free bill pay, free ATM access, free shared branching, etc., etc. But are free services appreciated, or pretty much just expected?

As designers and marketers, we get hit up all the time for free work. This charity needs a logo and this non-profit wants a website and this friend really wants us to design their wedding invitations. But once the work is done and the polite applause is over, can we say that the “freebie” was truly valued for all the extra effort and sacrificed personal time that it took to create and produce? Is Free ever really seen and appreciated as a gift?

In other words, is Free seen as just another word for Not Worth Paying For?

There’s a balance here, and quite often there are good reasons to do things for Free. For example, banks and CUs willingly offer Free Checking in order to compete. It’s also because checking is seen as the gateway dru.., er, I mean, account, and that member/customer might bring lots of other money with them and take out loans.

Similarly, in the marketing and design world, there are times when I believe in a cause or a person so much that I’m happy to do work for Free or at a discount.

The main thing to remember is to make sure you and the recipient understand and properly value what you’re giving away.

Quality design and marketing takes a lot more time and expertise than most people imagine.

And I would bet that most members have no idea what it costs the credit union to handle their checking account.


“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’, honey, if it ain’t free.” — Janis Joplin

Kent Dicken

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