+ Is Wunderbar Foundation a real Foundation?
Good question. The answer is yes, it is real, but it isn’t a legal structure. We chose the name on purpose, and here’s why.
Unlike in the US, or Finland, or many other countries, in the UK the term ‘Foundation’ has no legal definition. That doesn’t mean it isn’t used in the way we mean it, as an entity that raises money and distributes it for a good cause. The Roddick Foundation, set up originally by Anita Roddick of The Body Shop, or The British Heart Foundation are good examples of organisations that use the word too. But here in the UK, there are no laws on the term.
The UK has ‘Trusts’ which do have a legal definition and, particularly relevant here, charitable trusts – more commonly, charities. Highly regulated. The British Heart Foundation is a charitable trust. It just has Foundation in its name. The Wunderbar Foundation is not a charitable trust. It just has ‘Foundation’ in its name.
The Wunderbar Foundation is an experiment that is creating an equivalent of a philanthropic body, able to, at its own whim and discretion, collect and allocate money without rules. It isn’t a charity with a governing document. Or in fact, any sort of organisation, though Wunderbar is. In other words, it’s an alternative name for our bank account.
+ What are Good Feels and Cool Friends?
They are our trading commodities! They are what you get in exchange when you give money to the arts. In fact, unless you are a robot, you get Good Feels you get whenever you donate - we mean that warm feeling you get when having done something good, or even the relief at having righted a perceived wrong. Cool Friends is about association, and is more specific to the arts, or other causes that are not about alleviating desperate need. Read more about them here
+ What is the origin of the quiz questions?
Right when we started this project, we thought about and spent quite some time devising what we called a Reverse Funding Application. This was meant to ask questions similar to those a funder may ask an applicant, but from the reverse point of view. In other words asking funders to apply to us, so we could assess whether or not to accept their money. It is an interesting exercise, and one we may return to. But in doing it we ended up with some tricky questions for ourselves, including: Should we restrict the number of donations we could ‘afford’ to receive? Should we have different criteria for different types of donor, differs amounts of money? And also, would anyone bother to fill in this lengthy questionnaire?
At the same time, we also were thinking about what is actually happening at the core of giving - basic, simple, human motivations. And one important factor was that we wanted to remove the idea of the size of donations and simply think about the act of giving a gift, where there is no apparent reciprocity. We discovered that, of course, there is a reciprocity - what we call Good Feels and Cool Friends (see above).
To make things simple, we created the Philanthropic Personality test questions. In the background are a number of philosophical, psychological and everyday ideas about human motivation – about the sort of things that can explain human action. Many psychologists have thought that humans can only be motivated by self-interest—that there is no such thing as altruism. Some philosophers have gone further and said that humans ought only to be motivated by self-interest. But there are also traditions of thought that identify human happiness with a life of good deeds. Recently much attention has been given to the so-called effective altruists, who have tried to maximise the impact of charitable donation by finding ways to take human motivation, feeling and empathy out of the act of giving altogether. Some of these underlying issues are explored in the pop-ups and the writings elsewhere on this site.
The questions don’t wear their complexity on their sleeves, but we hope that this simplified format offers a way to start a conversation about what is going on when we give, and begin to explore ethical options for everyone involved.
Lots of people have explore these ideas in books and publications. Here’s a few we’ve found interesting. eg Graeber, Hyde
+ What’s the difference between “Making Good Things Happen” and “Doing a Good Deed”?
In the quiz, these two questions are separated. This is so we can explore how results-oriented you are when you give. Here is why:
In English we have lots of words to describe good deeds: we say that a person did something kind, generous, thoughtful, charitable, friendly or honest. And when a person habitually performs good deeds of a particular sort we say that they themselves are kind, or generous, or thoughtful and so on. These are 'virtue' terms and they have opposites which are vices.
We also have lots of ways to describe things getting better or worse as a result of what someone did. We say that our actions made others happier, richer, smarter, or more miserable, poorer, stupider.
Usually doing good deeds makes things better. This congruence makes it hard to notice that there is an important difference between these two types of motive. Cases in which a virtuous act ends up making things worse, or a vicious one results in things being better, are the stuff of tragedy and comedy alike. Philosophers have given a lot of thought to this difference and what it means for our integrity.
I buy my employee a Christmas turkey. I act out of generosity and the result is happiness.
I give shelter to a man who goes on to commit a terrible crime. I act out of kindness but the result is misery.
I steal from the rich to give to the poor. I act dishonestly but the result is happiness.
Thankfully we don't often have to face the stark choice between doing something good and making things better, but the effective altruists have pushed this question in the case of philanthropy. They say: don't think about being kind or friendly: think about what works.
So: what matters more to you -- how you act or what happens as a result? Is it a bit selfish to worry about whether you're being virtuous rather than thinking about how effective you're being at making things better? Or should we focus on doing the right thing and trust that the results will take care of themselves?
We're not proposing to go all Robin Hood but when you take the quiz, if you think your main motive for giving money is altruistic, we are interested to know whether you are motivated to give more by the desire to do the right thing or the desire to bring about results.
+ What is a Conscience Fund?
One of our favourite things! Not because we want people to be selfish (see above) but because we discovered while trawling the internet. You know how people complain about taxes - too high, too low, on the wrong things, too easy to dodge? In the UK, though people can dodge taxes, it isn't possible to pay more tax than you owe. Not so in the USA. There, patriots can willingly overpay taxes to support their love of their country, via a number of mechanisms.
One of these, set up in 1811 and still running to this day, is the Conscience Fund. Anyone who feels they have wronged the government - whether by major tax dodging, or even using a stamp twice - can absolve their conscience through donating to the Conscience Fund.
So thats what we set up too. You can donate to our Conscience Fund via one of two mechanisms: firstly if you prove through the quiz you are selfishly motivated in your donations, we offer you only the Conscience Fund as an option. Secondly, you can choose not to take the test and to donate via this mechanism. Or take the test and choose it anyway. We hope that it may offer a cathartic absolution. But no promises from us - that’s all on you.
+ Are you judging me?
Our intention with the Philanthropic Personality test is, mostly, to highlight what we feel is going on when you give money (or help, or food, or some other kindly gesture). We’ve done the quiz ourselves: Ilana, who doesn’t like being defined by boxes, is most often a xxx, but sometimes a xxx or xxx). Rachael prefers to be known as a XXX or XXX). We hope the Philanthropic Personality descriptions help to give some insight, and inject a bit of fun, into thinking about these questions.
There are a few instances where we say we don’t believe someone is eligible for the Cool Friendship we are offering. That's because we have set up a path through the questions that allow people to tell us that their only motivations for giving are entirely selfish - that for them, essentially, a donation is a way to buy something. So you could say we are a bit judgey in those cases. We'd say we're just choosing not to be friendly with someone who isn't really interested in being our friend - valuing good relationships over meaningless ones. But we'll still accept their money - they have the option to donate via the anonymity of the Conscience Fund (see below).
And how you choose to answer the questions is up to you. Although they are set up in a certain way, you are welcome to play the quiz many times, see how differently you come out in different moments. Maybe experiment with thinking about different scenarios when you might be a donor and try it that way? Or think of a famous person, and how they might be motivated.
+ Are you mining my data?
No, not at all. We are not gathering any personal data on you. In fact, the only time we know anything personal about you is if you choose to make a donation. You'll also have options to sign up to our mailing lists and so on - we'd love to stay in touch - but we will never share this, nor try to glean anything from it.
The only data we have is that we'll know if the game has been played, and the number of times each result is acheived, but we won't have any way to associate that info with an individual person - unless you tell us, or share, that is.
+ What will you do with any money I give you?
All the money raised by the Wunderbar Foundation is ploughed back into the projects Wunderbar does. Which includes the Foundation itself. You can read more about Wunderbar here.
We’re hoping that in future developments, we will be able to show where your money goes, as well as offer options for you to choose.
+ Does it matter how much money I give you?
Not at all. The Wunderbar Foundation does not distinguish people based on their means. If we have a party for donors, everyone of them is welcome and the fizz and canapés will be equally offered to all.
The only difference amounts of money makes to us is what use we can put the money to, because amounts matter when we spend it.
+ Can I play the quiz even if I don't donate?
With pleasure. We are looking to raise money, but we are equally interested in sharing our thoughts hearing responses. So please do play, as many times as you like. And if you’d feel like it, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Of course, not donating - or not sharing something with us - means you won't get all the Good Feels and Cool Friends. But then again, you might not want or need them. Who are we to say you do?
+ Can I donate without playing the quiz?
Good question. The answer is yes, but in a limited sort of way. You can skip straight to the anonymous Conscience Fund here, if you’d like. Also you can buy from our shop, but that isn't really donating, its buying, so you only get the t-shirt, not the good feels. Though the t-shirts do feel nice...