1) Automation. E.g. in the movie Office Space they take shavings off transactions (amounting to a few cents or less at a time) and pool them together. Another example: Auto-rounding up my grocery receipt, etc.
2) Recycling funds. I don't see how this would work in a donation based system where cash-flow is one directional, but it works really well for something like Kiva where funds are returned and the option to recycle is extremely easy.
If any non-profit is to be sustainable, they must put in a HUGE amount of effort to obtain large enough recurring funds or make it really easy to provide funds. Since you are targeting individuals, it's going to be difficult to do the former. The latter will take a little more thought.
All this said, I wish you the best of luck.
Or, I'm a member of a meta-charity called Foundation Beyond Belief, in which my contribution is distributed to various nonreligious charities based on priorities I set (e.g. 25% of funds to environmental causes, 50% human rights, 25% poverty, or whatever). So for Watsi, maybe I could predefine, say, types of medical treatment, country/region, etc. and then the system heuristically determines where to disburse.
And now that I think about it, Kiva optionally does something similar, so that loan repayments don't just sit stagnant in people's accounts because they haven't gotten around to manually distributing them.
Check it out:
Members of our team work for Kiva and Vittana (and I worked in microfinance for 4 years) and we would love to eventually try and offer a healthcare loan product (or at least encourage patients to open savings accounts). That said, there are lots of things that make this a tough market (e.g. people don't plan to get sick like they plan to start a business, cost of treatment can be more than they could ever repay, etc.). In all honesty, we can't even figure out healthcare in the US, and it's twice as hard in countries like Ethiopia.
Thanks for the feedback. We love it!
I would love to say that if you took X% off my paycheck, I would sign up instantly. But I would just be escaping my responsibility as a citizen then.
It's a tricky situation because I want automation for cash flow, but at the same time I want intimacy with the program and the people it involves.
Does that sound like something you would be interested in?
I appreciate that people want to have a connection to the people they fund, and I'd like to have that as well, but I don't necessary need it before I commit to funding--I just want to be able to follow up later on.
We'd love to implement this!
Such a scheme would also address the question of whether a patient should be expected to sacrifice their privacy in order to obtain funding.