Direct Sponsorship System

Or clickforcharity 2.0

I tried to do this first, before clickforcharity, and it proved to be too difficult, mainly because when I started I tried to do it with fiat currencies. That turned out to be impossible because fiat currencies require a centralized entity to do the transactions. I can not send you money directly using my debit card, it has to go via a business.

Clickforcharity.net is a simplified version of the direct sponsor system, being only the sponsor and recipient part. It also doesn’t require the donor to have any money. I thought this might be easier to develop and grow, and once up and running would provide the impetus for development of the more complete system. It’s also a stand-alone thing that can exist without the aforementioned further development.

The existing charity system is that people send money to an organization. The organization then pays people to distribute the money or the things that money can buy to the recipients. To put it politely, this system has not worked out well for the recipients.

The direct sponsor system instead strips down the whole concept of charity and throws out everything that is non-essential. We then build a system to provide what is actually needed, instead of just copying what already exists.

In essence, charity involves two parties⁠—a donor and a recipient⁠—as well as some good, service or currency to be given. These are the only prerequisites for charity to happen. What we need to design is a system that will satisfy the intentions of both of those parties and only those parties.

Needs

At the very basic level, we have someone with money and someone who needs that money. The donor needs

  • to be able to send the money with the absolute minimum of cost of tranasaction
  • to verify that the recipient got the money
  • to verify that the recipient is using the money in the agreed way to achieve an agreed aim.

The recipient needs

  • to be able to receive money in a way that doesn’t leave him beholden to any middleman.
  • to have an easy-to-use system to communicate with the donor so as to satisfy the donor that he is doing what was agreed.

These needs will together constitute the requirements for the direct sponsor system. The sponsor and recipient will tbe the only people taken into consideration in the design. Other people, such as teachers, aid workers and so on need not be considered at all because they will be employed by the recipients themselves and not by “Direct Sponsor”. They will have to negotiate with the recipients and to do what the recipients want done.

Groups

There are things that are difficult or impossible for an individual or family to achieve. The conventional way to overcome this problem is for an NGO to set up a project and employ staff to carry it out. This creates a hierarchy wherein the organization, through its employees, is superior to the recipients and decides what will and will not be done.

Generally speaking, they and their organization consume the vast majority of the donors’ money, and tend to misdirect the projects due to a lack of real-world understanding of the localities and cultures. This lack of understanding can be unintentional (e.g. a lifetime of university living) or deliberate (e.g. the imposition of an ideology on to a community that doesn’t already embrace that ideology).

The people themselves generally know what’s best for their own situations. If there is some knowledge or skill that they lack, they can easily employ someone with that skill or to provide goods or a service. There is absolutely no need to subordinate their personal sovereignty to a group of outsiders.

Our solution is the opposite of that. Our recipients can form small groups and appoint a coordinator from their own ranks (or pay one if they prefer). The group agrees on a percentage of their incomes to go to a group fund, which is then used to fund whatever it is they need. As an example, they might be doing a permaculture project between 10 small farms and they may decide they need a teacher to get them started.

This teacher would be paid from the common fund of the group. It may seem like the same thing that an NGO does, but it is not! In our system the people are in charge. The power relationships have been reversed. The people hold the money and they are in charge of their own project.

The Direct Sponsor system must provide a way for the recipients to set up and run their system. It must provide

  • an accounting system for recipients to keep track of their common fund income and outgoings.
  • A way to record everything their coordinator does.
  • A way to document all group actions.

Notes

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

R. Buckminster Fuller

…we didn’t build Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.

Steve Jobs, Playboy interview, February 1985

Naturally, we all seek to explain what we perceive in terms of the phase we have been in rather than in terms of the phase we are moving towards. We are like water molecules trying to understand the process of boiling and evaporation in the absence of any concept of being in a gaseous (vapour) state.

From an article on sott.net