This section of my blog used to contain a variety of articles on a wide range of topics of interest to nonprofits. In 2016, I decided to cull and focus it on two sometimes controversial topics that have today become more common: 1) Bitcoin and blockchain; and 2) crowdfunding.
In each section, I have listed most recent articles first.
Bitcoin and Blockchain
Bitcoin is digital money used for secure and instant transfer of value anywhere in the world. It is not controlled or issued by any bank or government – instead it is an open network which is managed by its users. Much in the way email improved communication by making it fast and cheap, bitcoin is an improvement on existing payment methods which were not designed for the internet era.
Unlike credit card networks like Visa and payment processors like PayPal, bitcoin is not owned by an individual or company. Bitcoin is the world’s first completely open payment network which anyone with an internet connection can participate in. Bitcoin was designed to be used on the internet, and doesn’t depend on banks or private companies to process transactions. (Coinbase)
At its most basic, a blockchain is a list of transactions that anyone can view and verify. The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, is a record of every time someone sent or received bitcoin.
This list of transactions is fundamental for most cryptocurrencies because it enables secure payments to be made between people who don’t know each other without having to go through a third party verifier like a bank.
Blockchain technology is also exciting because it has many uses beyond cryptocurrency. Blockchains are being used to accelerate cancer research, improve sharing of healthcare records, verify people’s identity, and so much more. (Coinbase)
If you live in the Austin area or visit on occasion, and you have an interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, you might like to attend meetings of the Austin Blockchain Collective Community Meetup. You might also enjoy reading the BitGive Blog.
- United Nations, UN Chronicle, “Blockchain and Sustainable Growth” (n.d.).
- Darryn Pollock for Forbes, “Blockchain For Good: How The United Nations Is Looking To Leverage Technology” (February 27, 2020).
- Nasdaq, “2020 Bitcoin Adoption: Why Nonprofits Will Lead the Way” (February 11, 2020).
- IBM in its IBM Blockchain Blog writes, “Five trends to shape blockchain in 2020” (January 21, 2020). While the article has a commercial focus, there are nonprofit applications as well, as via the Blockchain and food safety program. You might also like to follow IBM Blockchain on Twitter @IBMBlockchain. And, listen to their podcast.
- Devin Thorpe for Forbes, “New Equity Crowdfunding Site Fundopolis To Emphasize Blockchain” (November 18, 2019).
- Josh Hallwright and Nicole Hahn for Oxfam, “What can blockchain do for the humanitarian sector?” (June 28, 2019).
- Alan Murray’s Fortune CEO Daily, “Facebook announces plans to dive headfirst into cryptocurrency” (June 18, 2019). “From Bank of America: ‘With more than 2.5 billion users, Facebook and its partners could be a significant endorsement of cryptocurrency and a notable addition to the Facebook app ecosystem.'”
- BREAKERMAG, “73 Blockchain Social Good Organizations That Are Actually Doing Something” (February 1, 2019).
- Candid (2019), “A Scan of Community Foundations Accepting Cryptocurrency Gifts.”
- Fidelity, “Donating Bitcoin to Charity” (2019). “Fidelity Charitable accepts a wide range of cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple.”
- Dell Technologies, “Five Ways Organizations Are Using Blockchain For Good” (May 7, 2018), by Elana Lyn Gross.
- Devin Thorpe for Forbes, “Examples of People Using Crypto for Good” (March 18, 2018).
- GuideStar, “Bitcoin: What Nonprofits Need to Know and How It Might Give Your Fundraising a Competitive Advantage” (February 27, 2018).
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “‘It Just Felt Like a Miracle’: Small Groups Win Big in Bitcoin Donor’s $56 Million Giving Spree” (February 22, 2018).
- World Economic Forum, “Can blockchain serve business, people and the planet?” (February 1, 2018).
- pwc, “Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain … So what does it all mean?” (2018).
- Jamie Smith of BitFury Group for the World Economic Forum, “There is More to Blockchain Than Moving Money. It Has the Potential to Change Our Lives.” (November 9, 2016).
- TechSoup, “How to Set Up Bitcoin for Your Nonprofit” (July 6, 2015).
- Steve Forbes for Forbes, “How Bitcoin Will End World Poverty” (April 2, 2015).
- Aaron Tilley for Forbes, “Microsoft Begins Accepting Bitcoin for Purchasing Digital Goods” (December 11, 2014).
- Tanaya Macheel for CoinDesk, “United Way Reveals Why It Became Bitcoin’s Biggest Charity” (September 30, 2014).
- Gerrard Hartley for CryptoCoinsNews.com (which is now CCN Markets), “Bitcoin is Revolutionizing the Non Profit Sector [Infographic]” (2014).
Crowdfunding is the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business or social good venture. Crowdfunding makes use of the easy accessibility of vast networks of people through social media and crowdfunding websites to bring investors and entrepreneurs together.
The list below has been culled to include a few top choices. On a personal note and from the standpoint of a successful major gift fundraiser, crowdfunding requires many of the same types of preparation as traditional fundraising campaigns like capital and endowment campaigns. Crowdfunding should not necessarily be view as an “easy” way to replace major gift campaigns. When done well, neither type of campaign is necessarily easy. In addition, both methods can exist comfortably side-by-side in the context of the same major gift effort.
If you have questions at any time, let me know.
- Kevin Johnson for Nonprofit Quarterly, “Crowdfunding Will Change Philanthropy – But How?” (March 15, 2017).
- GlobalGiving, “GUIDE: Crowdfundamentals – The Beginner’s Handbook For Crowdfunding Success” (2016).
- Devin Thorpe on GoodCrowd.info, “Crowdfunding Platform Directory” (August 17, 2015).
- Tatyana Kapkan for Nonprofit Hub, “11 Indispensable Ingredients of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign” (ca. 2014).
- National Council of Nonprofits, “Crowdfunding for Nonprofits” (n.d.).
- Wild Apricot Blog, “Crowdfunding for Nonprofits: How to Succeed + 6 Platforms You Can Use” (n.d.).
You might want to invest in Devin’s 2013 book, “Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World.”