Special Focus: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Crowdfunding
In 2016, I decided to remove my general fundraising resources page and refocus on just these timely topics: cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and crowdfunding. I was on my own, frankly. I kept going despite cries by conservative fundraisers that these topics were a “fad.” I remember when they said that about social media, too (and why they keep their positions of authority in our sector I cannot fathom).
If you have worked in major gift fundraising as long as I have, and you have worked closely with successful entrepreneurs, you would know how creative they are, and how determined they are to do what they mean to.
Shared below are links to a variety of articles I find noteworthy. But sharing doesn’t necessarily suggest endorsement – this information is posted solely for the sake of discussion.– Carolyn M. Appleton
Most nonprofit organizations have trouble understanding cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But a growing segment of the philanthropic community today is making use of cryptocurrencies for charitable donation purposes. Our sector cannot afford to ignore the subject any longer.
Cryptocurrency is, “any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions” (Merriam-Webster). Blockchain is also included in the online dictionary, as noted:
The resource list below is organized newest item of information first.
If your nonprofit would like to accept cryptocurrencies from donors, but you do not know how to launch the process, I have visited with The Giving Block at length. You might review their videos and information and reach out for assistance. They are an official NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network partner. But there are other platforms you might want to consider like Engiven and BitGive (and GiveTrack for fundraising), but you can also set up your nonprofit’s own account on Coinbase, for example.
Today, there are also many different types of cryptocurrencies. Okcoin, Inc. charts the most active among them, and you can gain a real time update on the prices page. If you are interested in NFTs for social good (non-fungible tokens), follow the link to read, “NFTs for social good” by Block.Co on Medium.
I also recommend the documentary film, “Cryptopia – Bitcoin, Blockchains and the Internet.” I was able to access it via the Al Jazeera app on Roku, but you can also find it on other platforms.
Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain
- Paul Sullivan for The New York Times, “Nonprofits Get a New Type of Donation: Cryptocurrency” (July 30, 2021).
- Andrea Pretorian of BitIRA via Philanthropy Impact, “Cryptocurrency Donor and Charity Fundraising Guide” (n.d.). This discussion includes helpful links and includes security issues.
- Manish Singh for TechCrunch, “Ethereum creator donates meme coins worth $1 billion to help India fight COVID-19” (May 12, 2021).
- Luca D’Urbino for The Economist, “The digital currencies that matter: Get ready for Fedcoin and the e-euro” (May 8, 2021).
- Leslie Albrecht for MarketWatch, “Coinbase CEO’s charity wants ‘ambassadors’ to help donate crypto to needy people” (March 17, 2021).
- Bernard Marr for Forbes, “The Six Biggest Blockchain Trends” (March 12, 2021).
- Michael O’Loughlin for Forbes, “Blockchain And The Feel Good Factor” (December 15, 2020).
- Liam Frost for Decrypt, “Bitcoin Now Has a Greater Market Cap Than Mastercard” (November 20, 2020).
- Nivesh Rustgi for Cryptobriefing, “Bitcoin Will Replace Gold, Says World’s Largest Asset Firm BlackRock” (November 20, 2020).
- Roger Brown and Rachel Walker for Cointelegraph, “Things to Consider When Giving Crypto to Charities or Others” (July 2020).
- World Economic Forum’s Alexandra May for Public Engagement, writes, “Blockchain to tackle supply chain failures exposed by COVID-19 and boost economic recovery” (April 27, 2020). You might also like to download, “Rebuilding Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit” from the World Economic Forum.
- 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).
- Devin Thorpe for Forbes, “New Equity Crowdfunding Site Fundopolis To Emphasize Blockchain” (November 18, 2019).
- 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).
- World Economic Forum’s Jochem Verberne of Global Partnerships at WWF International writes, “Can blockchain serve business, people and the planet?” (February 1, 2018).
- Jamie Smith of BitFury Group for 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).
- United Nations, UN Chronicle, “Blockchain and Sustainable Growth” (n.d.).
- 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.
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.
- Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, “The impact of gender on giving to crowdfunding campaigns” (2021). Downloadable report available.
- The Conversation, “4 new findings shed light on crowdfunding for charity” (June 4, 2021).
- Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, “Charitable Crowdfunding: Who Gives, to What, and Why?” (April 8, 2021).
- The NonProfit Voice Ep. 42: Using Tech to Boost Crowdfunding (2021).
- 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.).
- Kevin Johnson for Nonprofit Quarterly, “Crowdfunding Will Change Philanthropy – But How?” (March 15, 2017).
- You might want to invest in Devin Thorpe’s 2013 book, “Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World.”
- Tatyana Kapkan for Nonprofit Hub, “11 Indispensable Ingredients of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign” (ca. 2014).