Which causes do Bet2Give traders champion?

Updated Jan 11, 2008: When we launched the Bet2Give prediction market last fall, one of the things we were most interested in watching was what kinds of charities traders would choose to give their money to. Now, with over $4,500 raised (ie, funded into traders’ accounts) and over $700 already donated by a score of the more successful traders to their chosen non-profit organizations, we have some preliminary data to look at:

Bet2Give donations as of Jan 11, 2008

Several observations come to mind:

1) Although most of the gifts have gone to universal favorites like National Public Radio, cancer research, food banks and other aid to the unfortunate, plus a little bit of environment, and a touch of education, close-to-home causes are also well represented: Southern Florida, Western New York, South Dakota …

2) Bet2Give provides a great way to bring lesser-known (“long tail”) charities to the attention of a ready-to-give audience. Did you know about the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (“unleashing the possibilities!”)? Now you do, thanks to those donations from trader/dog-lover Bubba.

3) But what’s perhaps most intriguing, and pregnant with possibilities at the start of this new electoral year, is the emergence of a fund-raising duel between ex-presidents Carter and Reagan. One of the promises of Bet2Give is that it allows you to directly “engage the enemy” from across the political divide: make better predictions, win their money, give it to causes you love but they despise. For some, this may feel better than just winning money, or more painful when you lose!

1 Comment

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One response to “Which causes do Bet2Give traders champion?

  1. Paul

    While I understand the thrill involved in “engaging the enemy,” I personally cannot use Bet2Give precisely because I am unwilling to allow my funds to potentially go to causes I think are immoral. For example, since I am pro-life, my conscience does not allow me to risk the possibility of my money going to organizations like the Guttmacher Institute. Though the idea of the site is intriguing to me from both economic and moral perspectives, this flaw prevents my participation.

    One theoretical solution to this problem is for each user to promise to give the money they gain from winning a particular bet to a finite list of charities. Then users with moral objections to particular charities could specify either each a “white list” or a “black list,” and the system would have to make sure the money they bet would only go to the charities they approved. Admittedly, this would probably require some complicated programming, but it is theoretically possible.

    Another option would be seperate markets for groups of people with certain moral convictions. For example, there could be a “fundamentalist Christian” market where no pro-abortion or pro-gay rights groups could receive funds. Then people like me could trade in that market without fear that their funds would be used in ways that are morally-repugnant to them. The problem with this option is that somebody would have to manage the lists charities approved by each group, and the groups themselves.

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