Leo Jay Wilde

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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
What if there was no "one organisation"? Returning to Fritzie's examples of conservation organisations, what tens of billions were donated every year to such organisations, but you, as the individual donor, got to choose which one received your money? (And you gave it directly to your chosen organisation, no middle-man.) I imagine a "market" of conservation services, in which organisations such as WWF and Nature Conservancy compete for your donation. The competition will keep them honest, and hedge the worlds bets, since each will take a somewhat different approach from the other. The ones that appeal most to donors get the most funding (which I would argue is a better model that we give our money to the government in taxes and then our elected representatives argue amongst themselves about what to do with it). (As Fritzie pointed out, all of the above exists today. My point is that it needs to be scaled up by a factor of about 50, if it is to actually meet its potential, to really make a difference, )
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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
Fantastic, your viewpoint is exactly one of the ones that I'm trying to understand! :-) Are you happy with what the government is doing with your money? Is there any major issue which you care about, and which you feel the government is not doing enough about? Would you give, say, $10 per month towards that issue, over and above your taxes - if you knew that most other people in your country would also do the same?
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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
I suspect "accountability" is one of those things that many people (myself included for many years) use to justify their decision to give nothing. But it's a red herring: why refrain from giving $10 because you're not sure whether $6, $7, $8 or $9 of it will reach the final destination. No matter what the answer, it will still be more more than if you give NOTHING! As for research, Americans (always the easiest group to find stats on) give just slightly under $1000 per person per year, on average. The largest share of that giving, at about 33%, goes to religious organisations (typically the giver's own place of worship). The smallest share goes to Animals and the Environment, at only 3%. So, while I take your point that some people (perhaps Americans in particular) do indeed willingly give away money, I would question their choices about which charities to give to. The world's biggest problems seem to lie in the area to which the least is given: animals and the environment. Am I really saying that people should give more to the environment, possibly at the expense of churches? I would point out that all the world's religions have been around for thousands of years - not one of them is about to die out. But tigers, pandas and blue whales are! Surely we should invest a greater proportion of our giving to those efforts that will prevent irreversible loss. And surely, if you believe those creatures were created by a creator, that's all the more reason to make sure that we don't destroy what he has created. Isn't it obvious what His priorities are, if the Creator put into the natural world thousands of amazing species but, strangely, not a single cathedral?
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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
True. The concept is not new. My question was intended to be specifically about mass-participation, large-scale crowdfunding. The kind of thing where, odds are, most people in your street would be contributing. I don't think it's ever happened before on that scale, and I wonder why not. Especially given that most people are indeed concerned (to some degree) about the world's major problems. Why doesn't that concern translate into near-universal support for charities? An more importantly, what could be done to create such support?
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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
Have they funded any really big problems? (Billions of dollars, rather than tens or hundreds of thousands?) For some things, such as Fritzie's examples below, organisations with the means to execute the idea are already well established, so I presume they can't go on Kickstarter. But, they are not getting ENOUGH support to really change the world.
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Leo Jay Wilde
Posted about 1 year ago
Can world-changing projects be crowdfunded? (Aka, why don't people donate?)
Good point. I should clarify that my question is not about the existence of such organisations, but about whether their support can be grown to a massive scale. For instance, 2010 annual revenue of WWF was about $700 million and about $500 million for the Nature Conservancy. Global total spending on conservation has been estimated at $10 billion annually (including government aid), but the REQUIRED annual spending, to halt human-induced extinctions, is estimated at around 10 times that figure! Tellingly, the necessary 100 billion could be raised if every citizen of the OECD countries gave only $10 per month. In other words, while excellent organisations exist, like those you mention, the average man or woman in the street is NOT donating to them. Perhaps I should rephrase my question as, how can we make donating to significant causes the norm, rather than the exception, amongst citizens of the developed world?