Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Model of Micro Philanthropy

The Internet and improvements in global communications have created new opportunities for global transformation. Two forms of giving are compared: a single million-dollar donation versus a million one-dollar donations. The transformational energy raised by the increased number of “micro philanthropists” is greater than the single gift, and the beneficial effects on a community may be even greater. Smaller scale giving has many other advantages, including greater intimacy and feedback, discovery of other beneficial forms of interaction, lower risk, and more effective giving in corrupt environments. The early days of the grass roots movement to find a vaccine for Polio is discussed as a role model for this kind of interaction.

GivingSpace is technical infrastructure to support many new forms of philanthropy. It creates a scalable web of interaction, in which participants are rewarded for their earned trustworthiness. By creating a massively scalable infrastructure for small philanthropic activities, we can create a self perpetuating, self-generating explosion of philanthropic activity at many social and economic levels.

Micro Philanthropy Consider two scenarios, both involving a $1 million aggregate gifts:

Scenario A: A wealthy donor gives one million dollars to a philanthropic organization, which is used build wells, build capacity in developing world, build a wing in a hospital, or support a local symphony.

Scenario B: One million donors give $1 gifts. These people may be of ordinary means, or even below the poverty level. One gift may purchase 50 vitamin A tablets, which restore the sight of 50 young children in Southeast Asia. Another might buy two oral rehydration solution doses which save the lives of two babies in Africa. Another might help fund a Women’s’ Empowerment Program circle in Nepal, which teaches the donor the amazing power of savings and literacy.

While both of these scenarios should be encouraged, they have different net effects. Which of these two scenarios has the greater net effect for humanitarian uplift?


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