So whilst we who participated in the nomination thread have a preference for the smaller charities, the membership in general will tend to go for the names with which they are familiar, and do we small unrepresentative group have right to change this?
Certainly I believe that once a charity has won the disqualification period should be increased, but unless giffgaff are persuaded against the views of the majority of the membership one of the winners should be a 'smaller' charity nothing will change.
This is, I think, similar to where I ended up in the last conversation we had about this. Yes, there's a feeling here among the folks who spend the most time on the community that smaller charities might benefit more, but when that's tested among the wider member base, there's a clear desire for the larger charities to benefit too. So @natty_noo - no, you're not the only one who would like it to go this way, and the system we've got right now doesn't reflect the wishes of you and some of the folks here, but we need to make sure that by addressing that we're not shutting out another group at the same time.
That's why the moves we've made have been around providing more information about the charities so people can be appealed to rather than just going on the name they know. As a direct result of the conversations we've had on the community before, we include members quotes in the emails that go out, and we generate five different versions of the email with them in different orders so that no charity is promoted over any other. We're trying to give those smaller causes a fighting chance.
One thing I think that's worth noting is that the criteria that makes only one charity we've ever given to eligible in one period is starting to have an interesting effect. After I'd applied it properly this time, it meant that I was skipping over a lot of nominations that had been given, which felt like it was having the same issue. A lot of people wanted money to go to a lot of charities, that due to the technicalities of how the nomination process has been built, just wasn't possible. That feels, again, like some members getting their wish over others - but it does mean that over time, smaller charities will have more visibility (albeit with much lower nomination counts).
I'm just fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of a small group of people making decisions without the input of the people who are affected by those decisions. It's a misinterpretation of the values of giffgaff - our community is everyone who uses giffgaff, regardless of how much they participate. It's a goal that's sometimes hard to reach but we should always be trying to make sure we're doing something that serves giffgaffers in a way that works for them, and it's why Labs is so often invoked - it's a good way to see by a show of hands how a wider swathe of people feel about something, due to the lower barrier to entry to have a say.
Where does that put us? Well, we can keep adding rules on top of the current system, although I'm beginning to suspect that the nomination-then-vote system might inherently have flaws that we could avoid by rethinking it from the ground up. It's very manual, which can lead to errors, as I fell prey to this time - and additional exclusions could complicate that further. It's also a lengthy process, sensitive to timelines that in many cases can't be moved.
I know there have been suggestions in the past of a system that let each person designate a specific charity for their Payback, which would allow someone to not only know that their donation was going to a cause that they trusted, but also then campaign for other members to choose their fund independently of having everyone to put their Payback to the same charity. There's a suggestion that's been mooted this year in the office of collecting nominations at the start of or in the middle of the Payback period rather than the end, so that the voting period can be longer and the charities can be displayed on the Payback choice page, too. Those are just two ideas - we don't have to stick to the same system and keep adding onto it if a different one would benefit more people in a better way.