Time is limited in the nonprofit space, so let’s jump straight to the punchline. Nonprofit organizations have a lot to gain from the adoption of cryptocurrency. Some of these benefits are obvious and others require a bit more forward thinking. And with that short introduction, we present the top reasons why more nonprofits should be at the forefront with cryptocurrency developers working to change the world.
Processing fees reduce the amount of the donation that reaches the nonprofit. It is not uncommon for online processing fees to eat up 2% to 3% of the overall transaction size plus 10 to 30 cents per transaction. Some platforms offer a “fix” that allows the donor the option to pay the fees, however there is still a transaction cost incurred (regardless of who pays for it) and less money reaches the nonprofit. Recognize this?
I would like to cover processing fees and other expenses to ensure more of my contribution reaches the nonprofit.
More money spent that goes to a payment processor. Further, this “fix” does nothing to address small donations that are cost prohibitive below a certain amount. For example, more than 30% of a $1 donation would be lost in fees. Even a $10 donation can cost upwards of 6% in fees.
Cryptocurrencies like Stellar lumens are designed to solve this problem and not simply shift additional costs to the donor. A transaction fee on the Stellar network costs only a fraction of a cent per transaction, regardless of its size. This makes both small and large donations cost effective and over time, could add up significantly for the nonprofit.
Many nonprofits and NGO’s have global initiatives where funds collected in country A, must be transferred to the currency of the country receiving services, country B. Just like with processing fees, the currency exchange fees charged by traditional banks can significantly eat into the dollars going to mission delivery. This disclaimer should look familiar for many nonprofits:
Please note that all donations are made in US dollars and additional exchange rate fees may apply.
This is the precise issue that cryptocurrencies like Stellar lumens and the Stellar network are designed to solve. They establish a common denominator to seamlessly exchange between global currencies at very low cost.
How money moves on Stellar — explained by Stellar.org
Lumens will act as a common trading pair so that someone can donate a US dollar via the Stellar network and a partner organization in Gambia will seamlessly receive Gambian dalasi for immediate use. This is not only cost effective for an organization’s global efforts, but greatly expands a cost effective method for receiving donations from anywhere.
Expanded Donor Pool
The combination of low fees and seamless global transactions also expands the potential donor base for nonprofits in two ways — socioeconomic and geographical.
Let’s face it, competition to gain favor with the limited population of mega donors is fierce. This means many nonprofit organizations need to find ways to connect with the other 99% — many of which have huge hearts and care deeply about the work of nonprofits, but just don’t have the financial means to make big donations.
By largely removing the processing fees, the socioeconomic donor base is expanded by making small donations cost effective. Low transaction fee cryptocurrencies, like Stellar lumens, make it possible to receive a little bit of help from lots of people. Just think how this could be used to greatly increase the fundraising conversion of that viral tweet!?
Vires In Numeris (strength in numbers).
In addition to expanding the socioeconomic donor pool, cryptocurrencies also expand the geographic pool. Thanks to the internet, the world is a lot smaller than it used to be. Websites and social media are viewable by people across the globe, which means the audience of potential donors is much larger than it used to be.
However, while the internet provides global access to a nonprofit’s work and messages, the current financial system significantly limits that global audience’s ability to respond. It’s also not just fees that hamstring the global response, it’s also limited or no access to the financial system itself.
For example, when people see the devastation of a natural disaster on the internet — many people that would want to provide aid simply cannot under the current system because they do not have access to a bank — let alone a Visa or Mastercard. This is another area where cryptocurrency can help — to bank the unbanked and provide a seamless avenue to send value across the globe.
Unlike traditional banking transactions that can take many days to clear and reach your bank account, the transactions on the Stellar network are available within a few seconds. This has value in many ways, but is not even where we see the most value for nonprofits. The value here comes from the quickness and ease in which a cryptocurrency donation can be initiated.
A cryptocurrency donation is nearly as easy on the donor as a one-click purchase is on an Amazon shopper. A donation can be initiated with a simple scan of a QR code on a mobile phone. When the new donor comes in contact with the organization, they simply open their crypto wallet on their phone, scan the QR code, enter the amount, and hit “send.” The donation then instantly goes to the nonprofit’s wallet. This means a fundraiser “on the go” can collect donations instantly and that the QR code can be included in any article or social media post and a donation can be sent to the nonprofit without the donor ever having to leave that webpage. (There are even wallet developers making “know your customer” wallets that are pre-verified so nonprofits can trust these virtual donors.) Ultimately this is sales 101, the more clicks it takes to ink the deal, the fewer the sales. The same principle applies to donations.
This is less of a benefit of the technology but more an opportunity to harness some of the energy and excitement that surrounds the cryptocurrency technology. There are today millions of people who are passionate about this technology who are looking for any opportunity to share their excitement. Accepting crypto donations and periodically tweeting about it with the associated hashtags (e.g., #Stellar #lumens #XLM) will surely garner a large group of people to stop and pay attention to see what your nonprofit is all about.
This technology is new and with it comes a lot of engaged users eager to blog or write about organizations that are jumping in. Give it a go, it’s cutting edge and may just cause your website to receive a new influx of eyeballs and potential donors from both the fiat and crypto variety.
It’s a Laudable Initiative
Our last reason is more of a general observation. Nonprofits exist to serve the public good. Low cost global financial transactions as well as banking the unbanked are laudable goals that are understood by both the cryptocurrency and nonprofit communities alike. These shared values might be reason enough to warrant some support from the nonprofit community.