We all have the desire to contribute to the overall betterment of the society (at least we claim so), and our brain is actually hardwired to receive true pleasure when we help others or even conduct some sort of random act of kindness. Yet it is still rare to see a deep level of adoption in any kind of charitable campaign or seeing ‘do good’ become a regular event.
“Donate mylar balloon decors” by rawpixel on Unsplash
Are we doomed as human beings? Are we just born greedy and selfish? I’d rather believe in humanity. So what’s wrong with the current landscape of charity orgs or movements to create social impact?
1) No instant feedback
Just like why losing weight is so hard and eating that piece of cake when you are stressed out is so easy. Humans are irrational creatures tend to seek instant gratification. When it comes to doing good, that also applies.
“Do Something Great neon sign” by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash
Would you rather spending a day taking care of orphans or donating $ to the research facility that tried to cure cancer (or NGO that saves endangered animals), even we know that curing cancer sounds way profound than taking care an orphan, I’d choose the former one given I’ll feel good instantly after I see all those happy faces rather than knowing nothing about what my contribution actually helps or not.
Yet, the harder the problem we want to solve, the longer it takes. If we only focus on the instant gratification to justify our choices of doing social good, none of the long-term goal will be achieved.
2) Lack of trust / Possibility of corruption
It’s our nature to work against the people or cause when we have some incentives to do so, you just can’t fight with the greediness in people and trust them blindly. With all the incidents of people within the NGOs to put the donation into their own pockets, it inevitably becomes a losing battle, with people stop donating anymore due to lack of trust and good organizations finding it even harder to secure funds.
3) No easy way to promote
Think of three viral videos or campaigns on top of your head, I bet most of them will be related to commercial companies. Because that’s our job, as marketers, to come up with the most creative ways to attract customers, to utilize all resources and strategies we can to get your attention at the lowest cost possible.
But when it comes to social good, it all fell into this tedious, boring kind way to create awareness. How can we make protecting endangered animals sexy besides asking celebrity endorsement, how can we comfortably creating awareness to help refugees in the war zone? Some of the topics are just too heavy to deal with and so we tend to leave it out of our sight.
Can Blockchain help?
Let’s imagine a perfect scenario here.
If there’s something shows up all the time so you won’t miss it, it creates this urge for you to act, even though it requires you to put in some of your resources (your time, effort, or money), but you know it would make you feel good instantly to a point that justifies that investment, and you are 100% certain that your investment will be used for that sole purpose, would you do it?
I’d hope you would cuz it’s not even about being charitable or not. It’s just like buying a coffee in the morning, cuz you know that $3 cup of joe would make you feel refreshed and that’s $3 well-spent. In that case, it is our nature to act on it, cuz we want it.
So, can we actually create that perfect scenario using blockchain technology? I’m super positive about that, with all the consensus model, trust-less mechanism and innovative token economy design, we could actually build something to make ‘doing good’sexy and favorable for the first time in our life.
Let’s say the goal is to help clean the water in certain area so people there can finally have drinkable water source and preserve the nature at the same time. In order to conquer those three problems mentioned (instant gratification, trust and awareness), we could design something like:
1) Breaking down all tasks involved and quantify its impact.
Cleaning the water (in my naive understanding) requires:
· Get a baseline of the current condition
· Recruiting volunteers
· Getting necessary gears and equipment
· Getting all the physical trash out of the water
· Recruiting ‘water treatment’expert
· Putting measurement equipment in
· Using whatever chemicals or methods to purify the water
· Constantly monitoring the ‘clean level’of the water
· Job’s done
Based on the goal of water treatment, there are couple quantifiable outcomes we can get from it.
Overall score of the water quality
· # of trash cleaned out of the water
· # of days the water stays clean
· # of people get access to clean water
What we can do is to align all the tasks with the outcomes, and provide timely feedback to everyone involved, no matter how small the milestone is, it’s a great source for instant gratification and that’s what drives people engaged.
What blockchain can help with this part is to ensure the results are immutable and free from being tampered with. Yet the hard thing is to design this mechanism, to make us feel useful and relevant as frequent as possible. It is our job, as marketers, designers, thought leaders, to come up with the best idea to make it happen.
2) Using smart contract to release funds based on pre-set condition
In order to keep the funds being properly used, we can use smart contract to release the fund gradually every time a certain quantifiable milestone has been hit.
Better yet, combined with advanced IoT technology, we don’t even need to worry about the result being tampered with. A simple example could be a 10% fund release every time the water indicator shows a 10% increase in water quality.
As long as all the tasks are quantifiable (might be the hardest part here), and all the rules are pre-determined using code as the enforcement, people don’t need to worry about their donation being misused, they can get instant feedback on what their donation has helped to achieve and feel good about it. Also, social workers can get fair reward based on their contribution and essentially eliminate corruption once for all.
3) Using tokens/coins to help promote the cause and expand the impact.
For the sake of argument, let’s design a coin called FGC (Feel Good coin).
You can earn FGC by directly purchasing it or performing various tasks like participating at a social event, being a volunteer, or spreading the word out by inviting people.
为了论证这一观点，假设我们设计了一种叫做 FGC 的代币（愉悦币）。
You can spend them as a donation to the cause you care about, purchase meaningful products from a social venture, or even trade it back for fiat currency to reward yourself.
For philanthropists and people who want to donate, they can find a better way to donate their money and make the best use out of it thanks to smart contract and the trust-less network.
For people who want to do some kind of social good, or be a social worker, they can have a clear goal and get a fair reward without worrying about being ripped by crooked supervisor, and thus keep the organization properly working for a long time without purely replying on human merit.
For people like me, who are on the fence of donating money but are willing to put in some labor effort, I can earn FGC through helping the local community and use that FGC to contribute to other causes I care, even half way around the globe. The circulation of FGC will create this amazing circle that the more I do—the better I feel—the more I want to /can do—the better I feel again.
而对于像我这样的人，不愿意捐钱但愿意付出一些劳动力的，则可以通过帮助当地社区赚取 FGC，并为我所关心的其他公益事业捐赠 FGC，这些公益事业甚至可以是全球范围内的。FGC 的流通将进一步促进这样一个良性循环，即我做的越多-我感觉越好- 我想要/可以做得更多- 我感觉更加好。
Even for people who are greedy and selfish, we all see how crazy people went regarding FOMO 3D, by designing an interesting game mechanism, we can take full advantage of even the darkest side of human being and ‘trick’them into promoting social good by giving them a chance to win big while doing something meaningful. They don’t even have to care about the cause they promote, as long as their action brings real value in creating awareness, we can comfortably provide some incentives for those actions/efforts.
即使是对于那些贪婪和自私的人，我们都看到了人们对于 FOMO 3D 的疯狂程度，通过设计一个有趣的游戏机制，我们可以充分利用人类最黑暗的一面，“诱使”他们完成某些公益活动来获得机会赢取最终的大奖。他们甚至不必关心他们推动的是哪些公益事业，只要他们的行为能吸引到更多人的注意，我们就可以为这些行动/努力提供一些奖励。