crypto philanthropy
Fundraising Published Date, 2023

Crypto Philanthropy: 3 Things That Fundraisers Need To Know

Created By: Regina Cialone, CFRE and Amanda Nelson
March 30, 2023

On Thursday, March 23rd, Orr Group Vice Presidents Regina Cialone and Amanda Nelson facilitated the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Long Island Chapter’s latest webinar, “Cryptophilanthropy: What Fundraisers Need To Know”.

The dynamic discussion covered everything from the basics of cryptophilanthropy to the current state of the economy and addressing common concerns surrounding crypto’s viability for nonprofits and their donors. Here are our takeaways:

1. Cryptophilanthropy is here to stay.

Simply put, cryptocurrency is just another tool to bolster your fundraising toolbox. If your organization is looking to tap into new donor demographics, attract a growing asset class, or generally diversify your fundraising revenues, providing the opportunity to donate a fast-accumulating asset like crypto is a best practice, donor-centric solution. What’s more, the numbers are compelling. The total value of cryptocurrencies sits at nearly $2.5 trillion and accounts for about 7% of the world’s money. The average crypto donation is over $10,000 – 10x higher than the average cash donation. On top of that, with 400,000 cryptocurrency users for every 1 nonprofit accepting cryptocurrency, this is an asset class to pay attention to, and as fundraisers, you should definitely be tuned into new areas of wealth creation and opportunities for donor acquisition.

2. The time to decide if crypto is right for your organization is now.

While cryptocurrency continues to be a hot topic in philanthropy and finance, this doesn’t mean your organization should just jump on the bandwagon. As with any organizational decision or new initiative, conducting due diligence, assessing risk, and ensuring mission alignment must come first. Take your organization through the process of learning about cryptophilanthropy and getting the appropriate stakeholder buy-in from your CEO, CFO, board chair, finance committee, etc.

If your organization determines that cryptocurrency is the right opportunity for you, we recommend first putting policies and procedures in place before opening up your crypto shop. Consider implementing a crypto-giving platform, like The Giving Block, to make the donation process smooth and secure. Update your donor vetting and gift acceptance policies to include crypto-donations. Account for crypto philanthropy in your financial planning, annual fundraising goals, and donor communications. And perhaps most importantly, make sure your development staff are educated on crypto technologies, crypto markets, and best practices in order to effectively cultivate these donors.

3. Volatility is normal in crypto market cycles.

Despite crypto’s appeal as a cost-effective, near-instantaneous, and tax-efficient donation method, a primary concern among nonprofits skeptical to integrate crypto into their fundraising is the currency’s economic viability – particularly in recent years as we’ve seen market turmoil continue to plague our economy and, consequently, affect fundraising activity. On the contrary, volatility is a familiar concept in crypto market cycles. Market corrections are widely considered the best opportunity for companies and investors to build and acquire assets at a low price, and also allow nonprofits to enter the cryptophilanthropy market at a prime time to attract these donors.

According to a recent article from Candid.’s Philanthropy News Digest, the pace of crypto-based donations actually increased in 2022, despite the continued economic recovery from COVID-19 and the emerging bear market. The sector witnessed acts of generous cryptophilanthropy through the Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief effort, during Pride Month, and as news broke about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, all of which helped accelerate cryptophilanthropy during a down-cycle. The down cycle is a great time to invest in building your organization’s crypto platform, so that when the market cycles back up, you are ready to engage these donors. It’s also an important time to steward your crypto donors and be mindful of challenges they are experiencing.

As your organization evaluates ways to connect with new and younger donors, consider exploring crypto. Your board and senior team will have many questions and concerns, so be sure to do the needed research in order to navigate these conversations. This will help you effectively lead your organization through important readiness steps to accept crypto and successfully engage crypto donors. 

At Orr Group, we understand that fundraising and philanthropy follow the contours of finance. Get in touch to take advantage of our business mindset and sophisticate your fundraising.

Regina Cialone, CFRE is a Vice President at Orr Group. She brings 23 years of experience in nonprofit management to partner with organizations to meet and exceed their fundraising and strategic goals.

Amanda Nelson is a Vice President at Orr Group. Amanda has 15 years of professional fundraising experience and provides nonprofits with expertise in development and strategy implementation to drive growth.

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