Writing for Relevant Magazine Is Not a "Donation"
But I would like to say this -- not, I hope, in a spirit of name-calling or negativity, but just honesty:
People of Relevant, this line on your website is insulting to writers. Specifically, the words "donation" and "compensation."
I'm not a bigshot writing for one of the $1/word glossy magazines, if those still exist. But writing is a thing I do professionally -- not for a ton of money, but for businesses (newspapers, magazines, etc.) who pay me for the work I do for them. Sometimes I write for no money, like on blogs (like this one!) that are doing something cool or give me better access to an audience I want to talk to. But I've never considered this a "donation." It's a decision I make because I want the benefit of the platform, even if I'm not getting any money. Relevant is a business, and I don't feel great about making a "donation" to a business.
On the subject of compensation, I kind of get it. As I said, the benefit I get if I work for free is that I have access to a large audience someone else has carefully built. I appreciate that. Two hundred people commented on that book excerpt of mine; those are not readers I could have reached before -- great! Thanks! But: putting a writer's name on an article is not "compensation." It's just the way people know who wrote the article. Calling it compensation further devalues the writer's actual work, as if this piece, while it was not good enough to pay for, is at least sufficiently adequate to warrant putting the author's name on. This feels weird and kind of wrong to me.
I don't think that whoever wrote this sentence intended to be insulting when it was written some years ago. And I don't even think that not paying the writers who submit articles online is wrong -- plenty of print publications run blogs and other web features partly or mostly sustained by unpaid contributors. But I hope Relevant will reconsider those words -- donation and compensation -- and change the way they solicit and describe contributions to their website.