So Blockchain has been around for a few years now. As we manage the donations platforms for many large charities, I get asked a lot by charities about Blockchain and if they should be investing in it. Will having that transparency for donors ultimately help raise more money? Will it be an admin nightmare to manage? Is it all just hype?
Charity sector examples
It’s still very much in it’s infancy within the charity sector, but I thought I’d share some examples of how some charities are using Blockchain or the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
In some cases, it’s being used in a relatively simple way to accelerate the movement of money from a charity to its beneficiaries, and to reduce or eliminate foreign exchange costs. An example here from the tech company Disberse which has been set up as a distribution platform for foreign aid with a trial by UK charity Positive Women. https://startnetwork.org/news-and-blogs/blockchain-experiment-humanitarian-aid
World Food Programmeis rolling out its use for the distribution of money directly to people in refugee camps, and enabling purchasing in accredited retail outlets, so that spending power reaches the people it’s intended for, allowing people to make their own decisions about what they need - case study at https://innovation.wfp.org/project/building-blocks
There’s also work being done to try to create greater transparency for donors on how their money is spent – an early example is https://aidcon.com which aims to create a mechanism for people who already have bitcoins, to use them to support charities – the assumption being that these people will give large amounts, and will want to be able to see exactly where their money was spent; however, if you dig through the details, you’ll see that this is still a long way from being achievable, but the direction of travel is interesting.
So hopefully sharing this handful of interesting use cases gives you some food for thought if you are considering how you could use Blockchain in your organisation.
Vicky Reeves is Digital Managing Director at WPN Chameleon, the digital and direct fundraising agency. Vicky is passionate about helping charities to increase their fundraising through new and emerging digital channels and technologies. She manages Additionthe digital product studio within WPNC which enables charities to take frictionless donations across different digital channels.