Despite repeated protestations of “Big Pharma shill!” from alternative medicine proponents, there never seems to be much money in skepticism. Most skeptic projects are done as hobbies by individuals. When money is needed for certain projects we tend to have fundraisers or do some begging. Even our national non-profit umbrella organizations have fairly small budgets as these things go.
As an example of that, the team behind The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, probably the top skeptic podcast with over 100,000 listeners in a given week, recently needed to use a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter to assemble the budget for new series of videos they wanted to produce. They were quite successful, reaching almost twice their original goal by the end of the campaign.
Crowdfunding is one of several new methods I recommend to skeptics looking to fund new projects. I have written about other techniques to fund projects here at the blog as well.
This month two new potential sources of cash for skeptics and skeptic projects have appeared. One is an old-fashioned non-profit that is offering small grants. The other is a unique new twist that combines elements of crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and competitive prizes.
Read on for more…
The Good Thinking Society
Author and skeptic Simon Singh has launched a new non-profit in the UK called The Good Thinking Society. It aims to promote good, skeptical thinking and to point out examples of bad thinking via a new annual award called the Golden Duck.
Apropos of the topic here, they have £5,000 they intend to offer to worthy skeptic projects in the form of small grants. According to what Simon has said in interviews, these grants are not necessarily limited to UK-based projects, either.
You can hear more about this effort on the latest episode of The Pod Delusion. Skeptics should listen carefully and think about how such a grant might be used to further your own project. And then apply!
The other new tool that appeared this month is something called Truth Market.
According to their press release this week, Truth Market was founded by Rick Hayes-Roth in order to create a marketplace for truth. By putting bounties on correct information, the idea is to incentivize bringing the truth to light. This is what skeptics do!
It’s an interesting approach, as the bounties themselves will be funded by users of the site. And those who respond to the bounties by debunking or confirming information, can collect the bounties and therefore earn money. Judging will be done by a “jury of neutral, professional, scientifically trained adjudicators.” It’s kind of like Kickstarter crossed with the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge!
And although many of the early bounties are about non-factual political speech, they do seem very interested in skepticism and skeptic topics. Alternative medicine and climate change are already listed on the site, and they have enlisted Shawn Otto of Science Debate and Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine on their Board of Advisors.
You can hear more about Truth Market on the latest episode of Point of Inquiry, in which the founder is interviewed. I highly recommmend it.
I encourage skeptics to get involved in both of these new projects. You might be able to score some cash to fund your latest crazy skeptic idea.