"Scaling the Edge" (Crowdsourcing funds for good causes through micro-philanthropy)

Interesting project & premise. Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2011-06-20 02:09:14 -0400. - GH

Reposted from Dailykos - there are still a number of #NN11 registrations claimable per the detail below for EPM readers.

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Rather than attend NN11 this year (I live in Australia), last Saturday I attended an Australian, what one could describe as a progressive conference, called Gathering 11.

This was a group of about 150 individuals who’d come together to listen to keynote speakers, workshop & brainstorm ideas (an excellent format called World Café ), network & connect with one another around the big issues facing us today. Much like what Netroots Nation is all about. The statement which most resonated with me, as much of the discussion was that our existing way of doing things is not working for a lot of people, was “Ignore the Core, Scale the Edge”.

In other words, if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.

The question for me however, (& I’m sure many others) was how?


Can Crowdsourcing Make Any Dream Come True?

When’s the last time you got something just because you asked for it? That’s the premise behind Wish Upon a Hero, an online platform that allows anyone to post — or grant — a wish.
It’s an interesting experiment in crowdsourced social good. After registering, anybody can post a wish for anything

Enough of the “Me First” Economy. It's Time for “We First”

"Consumers are guilty of the me-first mentality along with businesses. Consumers need to shift from mindless to mindful consumption." And now's the time, in large part because of technology, he argues. "There is a lot of technology at our disposal now. Like GoodGuide [no affiliation with GOOD] which lets you scan the barcodes of products to get social impact measurements, to joining groups that punish brand deviants."
"Every purchase needs to have a contributory portion," he says, as though that's easily implemented.

"We have the opportunity to build in a contribution to social change into a retail shopping aisle," which could mean something like the Product RED campaign, where products are branded as socially motivated, or it could be systemic with each transaction. The technology is there for this already, with companies like SwipeGood, which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and donates the difference. As Google Wallet and other programs of its ilk roll out, we'll start making purchases—and contributions—with the bump of a phone.

So, Mainwairing wants us to be ready for an age in which doing good can be so easily integrated into basic consumer transactions, that the default is to help, not ignore, social problems, as a part of our everyday lives.

At least for my part, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time & would like it if you watched this very short clip below, because I think crowdsourcing, identifying & supporting solutions to social issues is the way to go.

We’ve all heard of customer loyalty programs such as credit cards rewards or Frequent Flyer programs, one of the most successful campaigns ever for attracting business by rewarding people the more often they fly. What if however, every time you make a purchase, perform a financial transaction, pay a bill, or buy an airfare, there was a rewards program where the rewards automatically went to good causes, NGO’s, or back into your account so you could spend the money again, use if for services or choose whether or not to give it to a cause that is important to you. The idea of crowd-sourcing amplified in order to ‘scale the edge’ so that collectively, good ideas, good causes can be supported, & good things can be achieved.

Automatic pledging to a cause we call embedded nano-giving, or nano-pledging, & the example service in the video above, SMS is fully functional. However it is important to think outside just this service as this concept can be applied almost anywhere. Some business groups such as Ritchies grocery chain in Australia do this, as well as US firms such as Credo & One percent for the Planet.

Also encouraged is ad-hoc nano-pledging which also has an embedded pledge attached to it.

“The world has over a trillion hours a year of free time to commit to shared projects” Clay Shirky

One of the difficulties I had with Gathering 11 was finding an opening to talk about the platform which I've been involved in building. For the idea behind it to some may come across as a conventional marketing gimmick and this is not and has not ever been the intent behind TMH. The idea behind Trymoreharder came about not from having a product and finding a way to market it, but rather knowing there were causes and socially innovative ideas out there requiring funding & support, then setting about building a structure to make this possible, finding a mechanism whereby the funding would come about via passive contributions linked to the purchase of goods or services.

The most important thing then is literally for the crowd to control where the embedded nano-pledges are directed. To that end there are 35 accounts on our system credited with $5 which can be claimed using the hashtag #NN11. This money can be ad-hoc donated to a cause or causes of your choice, or used for sending SMS online with an embedded nano-pledge each time you send a message.

Which cause? Well again, TMH members get to not only nominate causes, but also vote on their importance which elevates the cause in the nano-pledging structure & increases the number of nano-pledges which accrue to it, the more votes it gets.

I think it is a powerful, transparent example of what a crowd sourcing model looks like, but as with all crowd sourcing ideas, it needs the crowd to get involved. So I’d ask that you take a look & if you choose to sign up, experiment with the funds in your account, think about what causes are important to you, & help TMH build this from the ground up.

To sign up, go here and register for an account using the hashtag #NN11.

A link to an ad-hoc presentation of how to sign up is below.

Let me end with the statement that my presentation skills are certainly not the greatest, however, I have a great deal of faith in the progressive community, & believe that there will be attendees amongst the NN11 crowd who can see this platform how I see it, as a mechanism to support some great ideas, individuals & groups doing (or wanting to do) important work. And maybe, just maybe, people might run with it and make Trymoreharder their own. For that is what I always imagined the internet was meant to allow us to do.

People change as a result of what they notice, not just what they are told.
T Friedman

TMH embedded nano-pledging site : http://www.trymoreharder.com

A few notes :
1. No this is not my site, but a friend who I have been bouncing ideas off for well over 2 years.
2. The site should be considered beta, we have tested it, but not at scale and all bugs should be reported to the site administrator. A page exists for this : HELP
3. With regards to distribution to the causes of committed funds, a pre-determined amount will trigger an instant transfer for which the site will have proof of payment displayed.
4. The funds available to #NN11 to introduce members are real, straight from my bank account via a Paypal deposit.

Any questions you may have, I will try to answer as best I can.

Finally if you want to see some of the places where inspiration lives, and as to what this could be, please watch Katherine Fulton : You are the future of philanthropy

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But this is an intriguing proposition to begin with.

"Every purchase needs to have a contributory portion," he says, as though that's easily implemented.
I'll be back for a more thorough read.

And hey, btw, welcome back!