Third Root Strategic 8-Fold Path

  1. Our New Justice Pricing framework:

  • For the last year we have been operating on a self-selected sliding scale model, forgoing the income-verification and ‘tier’ assignment process we long used. Placing oneself on a sliding scale can be hard, since access to resources is both a broad/systemic consideration as well as about what is in our wallets immediately. To help our community members locate payments that feel authentically available without causing hardship, we have developed a tool. We piloted this approach in the herbal department through a few of our herbal education courses and heard from over 100 participants that our framing & language helped them shift away from discomfort or shame and that the process left them feeling proud of what they were able top pay!

  • Parallel to folks self-reporting the felt benefit of how we were supporting them to pick their rates, we tracked that the average prices chosen by participants went up by 33% which goes far to support our ability to continue to offer reduced & subsidized rates!

  • The other important thing about this framework is that it provides a set of tools for community members to identify their own ability to pay, based on their lived experience, so they are still choosing their own price. Through our online tool- clients will be prompted to reflect on which of our 4 Justice Pricing Rates might be most appropriate for their level of need: The Solidarity Rate, NYC Market Rate, Reduced Rate, or our by application Subsidized Rate. Within each justice pricing rate is still a range for clients to flex to pay more or less within each rate.

  • One of the best things about our new approach to justice pricing is that it also creates more space for us to offer deeply-discounted memberships and services to the community members that need them the most: Our new approach to our sliding scale builds in mechanisms to protect our most subsidized rates so that capacity is saved for folks who truly need it- and we ensure that our own sliding scale provides mechanisms to create additional subsidized services: Every service paid at the Solidarity Rate provides funding for our subsidized rate services (which will be by application).

  1. Increasing quantities of services provided.

  • We are working to build our capacity to see even more clients, having more practitioners available for last minute private sessions and in community offerings such as adding additional herbal courses on weekend evenings. Not only will this allow us to support more individuals more often, this will generate more income to go towards the fixed overhead costs like rent and administrative staff time.

  • Most excitedly, increasing the number of community members receiving care through community acupuncture will make this program more efficient, cutting the cost to Third Root of providing each individual session. At the same time, we’ll be providing the best treatment plan for most people: community acupuncture offers affordable consistency to people of all economies, and studies show that consistency–more than any other factor–contributes to the health benefits of this modality.

  1. Accept insurance for acupuncture.

  • Being able to accept insurance has entailed building out an entirely new program and has been an incredible amount of work that promises an incredible gain over time.

  • This approach has been a game-changer for the acupuncture co-op that Third Root co-founder Green Lewellin now runs with her colleagues in Portland. We have researched what it would take to start accepting insurance at Third Root, and have a 12-month plan to prepare, launch, and see the program bear fruit.

  1. Increasing efficiencies & transparencies:

  • We’ve already implemented cost-cutting measures like decreasing front desk hours and factoring in consistent hidden costs, such as credit card fees.

  • In addition, we’ve piloted a new marketing strategy in the herbal ed department, and after several months of successfully seeing attendance increase we were confident that the model could be expanded to all of our modalities.

  • As we have ourselves only just calculated the behind the scenes cost of providing our services, we know that our clients and community members could benefit from us sharing transparently just how much it costs between overhead (admin costs, rent, utilities, credit card fees, etc) and each service (base pay for the practitioner, laundry & treatment materials). We hope to make those numbers accessible in ways that help contextualize why it’s so important for those who can afford market rate services in NYC to meet us there so we can remain alive as a resource for all those who need to lean on us for the treatments they deserve.

  1. Sustaining memberships:

  • As a part of our new approach to justice pricing, we have created ways for clients to access services in bundles, rather than one-off-services at a time. This will allow our clients to support Third Root’s consistent financial health while we provide consistent wellness services to support our clients!

  • Our new monthly membership options will allow community members to commit to a comprehensive healing program for themselves. Different packages are designed for community members with varying economies and wellness needs- there are different service combinations and deals for our solidarity rate, our NYC market rate, the reduced rate, and the (by application) subsidized rate- but each membership package will cost the clients less than purchasing all the offerings separately- so if the offerings align with the clients health & wellness goals- it’s a wonderful example of mutual aid built into a business plan!

  1. Sustaining monthly donors:

  • In addition to introducing sustaining memberships, we will be increasing our  accepting monthly donations at all amounts, small and large alike, rather than only turning to our communities in those moments when things get surprisingly tight. This will be a key element of healing the financial tension inherent in being a mission-driven organization that also needs to sustain itself.

  1. Pursuing grants & loans:

  • Before the current health crisis, we were already elbow deep seeking out grants to fund special projects & our justice pricing mission

    • The Herbal Department has been working towards a free clinic with several other NYC social justice herbal entities- allowing us to offer consultations & herbs to NY’s most vulnerable communities

    • We are also exploring potential grant funding for services to our trans community members

    • We are collaborating with a community organization that is applying for funding for us to provide services to its largely immigrant base.

  • We are currently actively pursuing local and federal funding for small businesses (CARES Act: PPP & EIDL & NYC Small Business Continuity Loan) as well as other loan and grant sources. These emergency funds are almost all coming in as loans and so *could* be life saving, yet will not address the $150K we have identified that we already needed to address our previous loans, back wages, and carry us through the adjustment as our 8-fold path is implemented.

  1. Offering more online services & resources

  • We have been planning to create recordings and live offerings for our website for a while now. Our skilled practitioners will record meditations, dharma talks, medicine lessons, yoga nidra, and other offerings, so that folks near and far can enjoy Third Root’s social justice-centered and intersectional-infused approach to traditional healing tools.

  • This will allow us to have some resources on our website that can continue to generate an income stream long past the initial teaching time/expense.

  • We are currently piloting the program with online yoga and workshops during the closure of the physical space, and hope to launch our first online only cohort of the Roots-n-Seeds course in the coming year, making our foundations in herbalism course available to those near & far!

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