How the on-the-ground direct sponsorships will work, what infrastructure we need to build for it, and how it is to be funded.

Main Points:

  • All sponsorships must be peer-to-peer (this means a human sponsors another human).
  • The system thus has to find new ways for people to do collaborative projects.
  • The reason for having these different types of project is so that sponsors can be sure and clear about what will be done with their money, and can confirm that it is being done.
  • Time limits should be set within which the person expects the project to becone self-sustaining. This is crucial, we do not want to facilitate long-term dependency.
  • No-one has done this before, there is nothing to copy. We’re learning as we go.

Overview (philosophy?)

“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

I tried to do this with fiat currencies first, before clickforcharity, and it proved to be too difficult. In fact it was 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.

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 item, 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 needs of both of those parties and only those parties.


…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

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

  • To send the money with the absolute minimum of cost of transaction
  • 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. (see the verification page for more)

The recipient needs

  • 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 together constitute the requirements for the direct sponsor system. The sponsor and recipient will be 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.

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