Special Focus: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Crowdfunding

A few years ago I decided to remove my general fundraising resources page and refocus on just these timely topics: cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and crowdfunding. I kept going despite cries by conservative fundraisers that these topics were a “fad.” I remember when they said that about social media, too!

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, despite market volatility.

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:

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster

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 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. Last but not least, if you are serious about Bitcoin, consider subscribing to the monthly reports of ARK Invest, “The Bitcoin Monthly.”

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

“How to Navigate a Crypto Crash in 2022” by Kevin Voigt for NerdWallet. Like other assets, cryptocurrencies rise and fall in value. This article helps provide some context. “For those who have been investing in cryptocurrencies for years, dramatic gains and losses are nothing new.” Hang in there. You might follow ARK Invest for ongoing insights and guidance.

  • Fidelity, “Donating Bitcoin to Charity” (2019). “Fidelity Charitable accepts a wide range of cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple.” 


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.

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