I'll pay $10xN to the people who build this app, where N is the total karma of this post three months from now, up to a max of $20,000, unless something shady happens like some sort of bot farm. If it turns out this app already exists, I'll pay $1xN instead to the people who find it for me. I'm open to paying significantly more in both cases if I'm convinced of the altruistic case for this app existing; this is just the minimum I personally can commit to and afford. EDIT: What I'm doing here is trying to gauge the popularity of this would-be app; it's not worth funding unless a lot of people would actually use it. Maybe I shouldn't have used karma as a proxy for this, because it feels like vote brigading. So, going forward, let's just say I'm interested in funding this app if there's evidence that lots of people would use it. Speak up in the comments if you'd use it yourself and/or if you'd be willing to help fund it and/or if you'd be willing to help build it.
The app consists of a gigantic, full-screen button such that if you press it, the phone will vibrate and play a little satisfying "ching" sound and light up sparkles around where your finger hit, and then $1 will be donated to GiveDirectly. You can keep slamming that button as much as you like to thereby donate as many dollars as you like.
In the corner there's a menu button that lets you change from GiveDirectly to Humane League or AMF or whatever (you can go into the settings and input the details for a charity of your choice, adding it to your personal menu of charity options, and then toggle between options as you see fit. You can also set up a "Donate $X per button press instead of $1" option and a "Split each donation between the following N charities" option.)
That's it really.
Why is this a good idea? Well, I'm not completely confident it is, and part of why I'm posting is to get feedback. But here's my thinking:
I often feel guilty for eating out at restaurants. Especially when meat is involved. Currently I donate a substantial amount to charity on a yearly basis (aiming for 10% of income, though I'm not doing a great job of tracking that) but it feels like a chore, I have to remember to do it and then log on and wire the funds. Like paying a bill.
If I had this app, I think I'd experiment with the following policy instead: Every time I buy something not-necessary such as a meal at a restaurant, I whip out my phone, pull up the app, and slam that button N times where N is the number of dollars my purchase cost. Thus my personal spending would be matched with my donations. I think I'd feel pretty good while doing so, it would give me a rush of warm fuzzies instead of feeling like a chore. (For this reason I suggest having to press the button N times, instead of building the app to use a text-box-and-number-pad.)
Then I'd check in every year or so to see whether my donations were meeting the 10% goal and make a bulk donation to make up the difference if not. If it exceeds the goal, great!
I think even if no one saw me use this app, I'd still use it & pay for it. But there's a bonus effect having to do with the social consequences of being seen using it. Kinda like how a big part of why veganism is effective is that you can't hide it from anyone, you are forced to bring it up constantly. Using this app would hopefully have a similar effect -- if you were following a policy similar to the one I described, people would notice you tapping your phone at restaurants and ask you what you were doing & you'd explain and maybe they'd be inspired and do something similar themselves. (Come to think of it, it's important that the "ching" sound not be loud and obnoxious, otherwise it might come across as ostentatious.) I can imagine a world where this app becomes really popular, at least among certain demographics, similar to (though probably not as successful as) veganism.
Another mild bonus is that this app could double as a tracker for your discretionary spending. You can go into the settings and see e.g. a graph of your donations over time, statistics on what time of day you do them, etc. and learn things like "jesus do I really spend that much on dining out per month?" and "huh, I guess those Amazon purchases add up." Yes, there are plenty of other ways to track this sort of thing, but it's still a nice bonus.
Thoughts? Criticism? Anyone interested in building this? "awg" from LW is potentially interested in doing the front-end, but my sneaking suspicion is that the back-end would be the hard part (e.g. payment processing).