Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Open Charity

Give more control
  [vote for,

Charitable organisations tend to work by soliciting donations from the public for inclusion in the fund that they distribute according to their constitution/principles/whatever. I think that many people are reluctant to give to some charities because they can't be certain where their money goes.

My idea is to reverse the process somewhat, through a single website on which the public can specify a donation amount, and the detail of how they would like it to be spent. The charities then need to compete for these funds by explaining exactly how their spend will match (or get close to) the contributor's intentions for the money. Eventually, the person selects one or more of the competing charities/funds and the money goes to them.

If the task of explaining how you want your charitiable gift distributed is too much, it could be simplified by viewing a list of other people's explanations, and adding your own funds to theirs, delegating the selection of recipient to that person. In this way, charities could also use the site to explain their current projects in the form of a token contribution with explanation to which people then donate through this sort of selection.

I know that if you have a large bundle of money that you're willing to donate, a community fund or other charity will typically take your guidance on its distribution. This idea could bring an even better level of control to someone with only spare change, and allow them to donate according to their ethics.

bibimbap, Dec 03 2003


       The CFC, a U.S. government consolidated charity campaign fund allows you to donate to a specific charity or a general fund which is divided among all participating charities.   

       Knowing what a charity does and how much of your donation makes it to the people you're ostensibly trying to help is about all one would need to know, no? After all, if I give money to the Red Cross, UNCF, or ACS I have a pretty good idea what the money is going to be used for. If people are allowed to dictate specifically what their money is spent on, how many do you think will earmark their donation for the salary of Ed, the warehouse forklift driver? How many people will want to buy tongue depressors? How many people will want to spend their charitable contribution to pay someone to justify people's charitable contributions?
phoenix, Dec 03 2003

       [reensure] You crack me up! I wish I could understand what you're saying.
phoenix, Dec 04 2003

       Sort of a charity version of Priceline.com, eh?
krelnik, Dec 04 2003

       Wow, let's force charities to spend hours trawling websites for donations. How long do you think it would take a charity to assess all these proposals, work out if they can commit to them, write a reply, and then document completion? Would you be prepared to pledge money for the administration of this scheme?   

       Allowing charities to list projects and letting you vote on which gets funded or letting you pledge money to a certain cause might be a better idea, but even then they'll probably need to insert caveats (e.g. "10% of all money will be spent on administrations; projects receiving less than $500 will see their funding redistributed to other projects; etc.")   

       Charities should be spending their money on doing good deeds not running complex bureaucracies, despite what [reensure] thinks.
kropotkin, Dec 04 2003


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