Free Book

RGB: Investing in the World - How to Develop a Balanced Portfolio of Causes

This book shares the vision for the non-profit stock exchange, and talks about the idea of color coding causes. It can be viewed free in this section of the website, and is also available for purchase on Amazon in print and Kindle format.

iPhone/iPad/Tablets: If you'd like to read electronically, you can also view directly at this link: - this method allows you to scroll easily the the entire book.

Chapter Overview

Part I: Sustainable Giving

Rationales and approaches for sustainable giving.

CH1 The RGB Approach: RGB is a method of color-coding causes, to help people think holistically about investment. Red (health), Green (environment) and Blue (community) are the “primary” colors. The goal is to reduce complexity, and provide a simple method for balanced investment in causes. Discussion of how this could include both traditional donation, as well as emerging forms of impact investment. General discussion of health, environment, and the importance of community. Includes invitation to join a community of choice, online or in person, to help strengthen involvement in changing the world.

CH2 Portfolio-based Giving: Portfolio-based giving is a philosophy and system for investment that suggests the creation of a portfolio of causes, rather than tying one’s giving to a single charity. The principles are based on the belief that “spreading investment” is better than focusing on a single cause or organization, because no single organization or cause can meet all the world’s challenges. In the same way that mutual funds or stock portfolios can maximize personal return on investment, a portfolio-based approach to giving can maximize social impact, through helping to provide continuity of funding across various areas of need. Portfolio-based giving also recognizes the overlap of various causes, such as the way that the environment can impact health

CH3 Incremental Giving: The case for considering variable donations, as an alternative to fixed donations. Recognizing the reality of donor fatigue, getting overwhelmed, becoming paralyzed. Scenarios include just starting with a small amount and growing over time

CH4 For-profit Investment: Discussion of for-profit investment, such as social impact bonds and social benefit corporations; microgiving sites such as (where money from repaid microloans can be withdrawn or re-invested). Each of these areas are based on the premise of leveraging for-profit structures to benefit non-profit outcomes.

Part II: Getting Started

Learning experiments and tools one can use to try sustainable giving

CH5 Experiment: Change the World: A simple, suggested starting point: gather spare change over time, take to the bank, donate. A learning experience for adults or kids, and an example that highlights the principle of incremental giving

CH6 Open Up Your Eyes: Suggested approaches for learning about opportunities around the corner and around the world

CH7 Online Discovery Tools: Review of methods and sites for discovering and identifying causes, including ratings agencies such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator.

CH8 MYOP: Make Your Own Portfolio: Introduction to some simple ways to make your own portfolio.

Part III: The Future

Conversation Starters - Wall Street and Its Alternatives.

CH9 NPOEx/RGB Exchange: Discussion of the story and approach for the idea of developing a non-profit stock exchange, showing the vision and opportunity for a global market-based system to draw more capital into play and help allocate it where it could be most effectively used. Discussion for the suggested approach of issuing virtual shares, with integrated impact ratings. Inclusion of user experience, prototypes as the NPOEx project takes shape, depending on when the writing is released.

CH10 All Money is Funny: The Case for Barter: Exploring the limitations of the present world economy, the limitations of currency in terms of fixed scarcity, and the vulnerability of people to opaque economic fluctuations. (ex: the domino effect of highly-leveraged investment bankers pouring money into securitized credit derivatives, and the ultimate impact on people in the developing world in the form of commodity fluctuations) Discussion of barter currency, like a non-profit stock market, as a fundamental alternative infrastructure, worthy of holistic investment

CH11 Shaping the World While Shopping: The Case for the ReGiftCard. Discussion of several proposed tools for changing the world on a transactional level: the Regiftcard, which seeks to turn a gift card on its head; Share Your Way – a system for transactional philanthropy on ecommerce sites, and the RGB Debit Card, a more radical option that would allow us to make a donation every time we bought something.

CH12 Declaration of Interdependence: Join a Community: The importance of community, and raising the question – which is more important? Time or money? Time is important, because it’s the most precious thing we have, and it’s finite. Also discussion of “Where to Go From Here”:  1) Make it incremental; 2) Do it in Community; 3) Share your story with others