Charities are having a tough old time at the moment.
According to Give.org, 80.5% of charitable organizations are worried that coronavirus will have a negative impact on their revenues this year—with donors less able to contribute, and crucial fundraising events put on hold.
The sector has also been grappling with issues long before COVID-19 hit. Last year’s Give.org report revealed that just 19% of respondents highly trust charities.
Now, a new blockchain-based platform has launched which aims to address some of the challenges affecting good causes—and encourage younger donors to back charities they care about through fun, relatable initiatives.
GiveSafely.io has been launched in conjunction with renowned, accredited charities including Save the Children, Wild Animal Sanctuary, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and World Emergency Relief.
A big challenge that’s often associated with charitable giving lies in how well-intentioned consumers can end up being bombarded with calls and emails afterward. GiveSafely.io aims to change this by ensuring their data is secured on the Ardor blockchain—and confidential information is only passed on with the donor’s consent.
Those who allow their personally identifiable details to be shared are rewarded in TrustTokens. These can be redeemed for rewards that are in line with a charity’s mission—exclusive experiences such as a healthy cooking class or a discussion of what it’s like to work at a particular nonprofit.
The charity case
GiveSafely.io said its launch is in response to statistics that suggest millennials (those born from 1980-1994) and Generation Z (1995-2015) are much more willing to be approached by charities than the general consumer. They’re younger and more technologically proficient—and it is hoped this new platform will restore trust in online donations and offer a service “on terms more accustomed to them.”
One particularly important feature involves enabling cryptocurrency donations to be made directly to charities. In a news release, the organization cited research that suggests 25% of wealthy millennials hold or use digital currencies—and GiveSafely.io hopes to tap into a new revenue stream of young adults who are prepared to open their crypto wallets.
Art Taylor, the CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, said: “This platform will provide new forms of engagement with millennials and Generation Z which we believe are critical audiences for the future growth of philanthropy. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, charities were facing a wide variety of challenges in how their traditional fundraising model operated, we believe this new donation platform will help strengthen donor trust in charities while also providing a bridge to younger donors seeking new forms of engagement.”
Save the Children’s senior advisor Ettore Rossetti added: “For charities to thrive in these increasingly uncertain times, they should look to embrace new technologies when trying to reach new, potential donors. Test, learn, innovate.”
Several cryptocurrency industry companies have their own charitable foundations—but one thing that we’ve increasingly been seeing are internationally renowned charities exploring what blockchain has to offer.
Back in 2018, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) launched a novel charity campaign called Game Chaingers, in which PC gamers who use top-tier graphics cards were encouraged to use spare computing capacity to mine Ethereum and donate it to supporting Syrian children displaced by the civil war.
This was a particularly compelling concept at the time—giving those who have never had the financial means to donate an opportunity to do so.
Last October, UNICEF launched a cryptocurrency fund so it could receive, hold and disburse crypto donations. And in June, eight tech companies in seven developing and emerging countries were each given a 125 ETH grant (worth about $30,000 at the time of writing) to help in their quest “to solve local and global challenges.”
Chris Fabian, a senior adviser at UNICEF Ventures, explained at the time: “The transfer of these funds … took less than 20 minutes and cost us less than $20. Almost instant global movement of value, fees of less than 0.00009% of the total amount transferred, and real-time transparency for our donors and supporters are the types of tools we are excited about.”
The crypto community has a wide variety of charitable and philanthropic initiatives. The Celo Foundation’s four-month-old Alliance for Prosperity, for example, supports initiatives ranging from lowering the cost of migrant workers’ remittances home to the Grameen Foundation’s micro-loan programs. Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s charitable arm works on issues ranging from disaster aid to feeding children in developing nations And Square Crypto (and Twitter) founder Jack Dorsey in April announced a $1 billion fund to fight COVID-19, support health and education initiatives for girls, and support universal basic income.
But perhaps one of the coolest philanthropic initiatives seen in crypto was the Bitcoin-focused Pineapple Fund. An anonymous donor who had “far more money than I can ever spend” decided to give away 5,104 BTC to good causes—with 60 charities around the world sharing $55.75 million.
After five months of donations, “Pine” signed off with a post on Reddit, saying: “Thanks for following along with this experiment. I’m going to say goodbye now, but maybe there’s room for dessert in a few years. If you’re ever blessed with crypto fortune, consider supporting what you aspire our world to be.”