Initially, the plan for Rootlet.org was to become a non-profit organization that acted as a charitable clearing house that redistributed 100% of its funds to other charitable organizations by means of Participatory Budgeting.
The current plan is not to accept donations, since there is risk involved with handling money and ensuring that people do not find unintended ways of stuffing the virtual ballot box. Therefore, we exist primarily to demonstrate how Participatory Budgeting works. To make it interesting, we will donate $1000: it is up to you to decide how that money gets spent.
We welcome any feedback you might have on how to use technology to achieve the common good.
-the Rootlet.org team
The idea behind Rootlet.org is simple: use Participatory Budgeting to create a charity clearinghouse. All money donated to this site is re-donated to charities according to a budget determined by all of the members (i.e. Participatory Budgeting). So it achieves charitable donations while teaching about a particularly effective form of Direct Democracy.
A Direct Democracy is one in which the voting populace determines the actions of the government directly. Although today’s technology enables that to happen in a way that was previously impossible, detailed political decisions require deep understanding.
Budgeting is a far simpler process, and it divides problems nicely.
Traditionally, budgets are determined by electing representatives, and the representatives with the largest number of votes are responsible for the budget. That often means that the votes cast for the minority candidate have no effect, and the votes for the majority candidate only have an effect in so far as the candidate is honest.
In participatory budgeting, representation is not necessary: a 60% majority gets to allocate 60% of the budget, and a 40% minority gets to allocate 40% of the budget. This is entirely different than a two-party system, in which the minority candidate loses (and therefore does not get to allocate any of the budget). In other words, it is fair.
Sign up now for the annual vote in the beginning of December. If you just want to see how it works, just vote without signing up (which does not actually decide the allocation of the annual funds, or give you the opportunity to suggest new budget categories and charitable organizations).