I’m pretty new to Beeminder (and AA) but am loving the service so far - I’ve been looking for something that does what Beeminder does for a while now, and though it’s early days I’m very positive.
One service I’ve been looking for, though, is the ability to set beneficiaries. While I know that this has been mooted as a premium feature, there’s the obvious disadvantage of a positive outcome (a warm feeling of charitable donation) arising from not meeting your goals.
However, I propose a different approach - that of pre-committing the donation, then divesting it to the charity in proportion to how completely you’ve met your goal. I can quantify how much of my disposable income I would like to commit to charity (and it’s currently debited directly from my account monthly). I would like to put that money at stake - if I achieve my goals, the charity gets the money anyway (so there’s no opposing incentive to soften the blow), if not, the money is lost (either to Beeminder, or an anti-charity - noting the commentary that the Beeminder team have made about the negatives associated with anti-charities here: http://blog.beeminder.com/anticharity/).
As a trivial example, if I made a monthly donation to Great Cause X, the amount donated could be instead debited and held in escrow by Beeminder. Let’s say I stay on the yellow brick road for 85% of the month, then 85% of the money goes to the charity, and the rest goes somewhere else (obviously, given humans are more sensitive to loss this should be framed to me as 'you have lost 15% of your donation to Great Cause X). I’m sure you could finesse this with different ramping between time on track vs proportion donated etc but that’s the general idea.
I think this would be a good way to up the ante and make goals have a more tangible outcome while encouraging altruism. It also means that goal pledges are decoupled from charitable donations - Beeminder can still take my $5 pledge every time I go off track, because I’ve already committed my donation amount separately.
This would be relatively easy to hack together using the API (and I will attempt to do so) but obviously it’d be cool if you could manage the whole system from the same interface, without duplicating too much infrastructure. I think that others might see this as a preferable option to the regular beneficiaries model too.
Anyway, love to know what people’s thoughts are.
(Apologies if this has already been discussed or misses stuff that’s commonly accepted within the AA community - I couldn’t find anything that specifically countenanced precommitment though)
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