Watsi certainly offers something unique to the lineup. I remember reading a while back that Science Exchange was trying to get the National Science Foundation to directly sponsor grant money to pay for scientific services "in real time" (as opposed to giving the grant money to the research organizations, which may be better or worse). It would be interesting to see Watsi make up a similar "philanthropic exchange" API where donors can directly cover thousands of campaigns at a time at their convenience and query constraints. Maybe you could next have charities/organizations bid for a contract to solve a campaign problem (like "[offering a cheap but reliable dialysis machine for] dialysis for John"), this way you would be able to incentivize long-term products and solutions as well, instead of just one-time solutions?
I often hear an argument to the effect of "well, charities don't experience a pressure to optimize as much as private ventures do because their incentives are different". But I am not sure how true that is. Some of them seem to be optimizing for convincing philanthropists to make regular, large donations which is a far cry from what you'd think their core mission would be (like "make healthcare cheaper" or "scan and torrent a billion books"). Maybe you can eat their lunch. GiveWell is trying to help this situation a bit.
As for a "philanthropic exchange" API, I imagine they are busy just keeping everything running at the moment, let alone trying for something far-sweeping and loosely defined as that.
> and a core mission that is held to much moreso than in private industry
"This benevolent, charitable and eleemosynary institution has been organized [...under the appropriate state law for a charitable organization...] and shall be operated exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, literary, or scientific purposes within the meaning of §501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as the same may be amended from time to time. Within the foregoing purposes and not by way of limitation, [the organization shall perform its core mission]."