The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 37

Decrypting Crypto for Nonprofits—Bitcoin Donations and Beyond, with Alex Wilson

In this Episode:

What happens when socially conscious millennials and others profit billions of dollars from cryptocurrency investments? They look for ways that their windfall can help those less fortunate.

This year, one platform alone will handle over $100 million in cryptocurrency donations to nonprofits. And they expect it to 10x next year.

What started out as a novelty in the tech and finance space has now turned into a three trillion dollar movement that impacts most aspects of life today. Yet, it still seems complex (cryptic?) for nonprofits to get involved. Between the technical aspects and the legal implications, most nonprofits have been hesitant to dive in.

Alex Wilson co-founded The Giving Block when he saw that nonprofits had a hard time overcoming the hurdles necessary to accept and process Bitcoin donations. He joined us this episode to demystify cryptocurrency donations for nonprofits and why it’s important to join the movement sooner rather than later.

Listen to this Episode

[00:00:04.370] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast and podcast where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better world for all of us.

[00:00:20.970] – Boris
Hi everybody and welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. Today is one of my favorite topics of late. I’ve been studying it a bunch lately. I think it’s got so much possibility for good and for humanity as a whole, whether it’s going to nonprofits or ways that it can revolutionize the way that we do so many things, including finances. It is the subject of cryptocurrency and on a broader level, the blockchain technology and I was very excited to get the co-founder and I believe CEO, he could correct me if I’m wrong of The Giving Block, Alex Wilson to come on the show.

[00:00:56.910] – Boris
Alex was formerly a management consultant where he worked with Fortune 500 companies to develop strategies around emerging tech like AI, IoT, Blockchain and cryptocurrency. As he went down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole as I’m doing right now, he began investing in and advising early stage cryptocurrency startups. Now he’s turned his attention to the nonprofit world, where he equips nonprofits to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency donations with The Giving Block.

[00:01:25.110] – Boris
Founded in 2018, The Giving Block is the leading crypto philanthropy platform, making cryptocurrency fundraising easy for nonprofits while empowering donors to give Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their favorite causes.

[00:01:38.730] – Boris
When I asked Alex what his superpower is, he quite simply said, it’s helping nonprofits fundraise crypto. Let’s bring him on to the show to talk to us about that and why it’s so important. Hey, Alex.

[00:01:49.230] – Alex Wilson
Hey, Boris. Thanks for having me on today.

[00:01:51.330] – Boris
It’s awesome to have you. As I said in the intro, I’m really excited about this because I want to learn more about it and about the way that you guys work and definitely share this opportunity with organizations that may or may not already be considering it, but definitely should as I think will make the case today. Before we get into that though, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, Alex? What’s your story? Why are you doing this?

[00:02:13.050] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So the back story, it’s pretty interesting, actually. Like you said, before starting this, I was a management consultant. Back then it was kind of the first time crypto and blockchain sort of went mainstream for the first time. You might have seen headlines about Bitcoin hitting 20,000 for the first time in end of 2017, basically.

[00:02:32.970] – Alex Wilson
Around that time a bit earlier, I got really, really into just trading and investing in cryptocurrency and was basically obsessed. I was like, I want to do nothing but think about crypto all the time and was thinking through basically different applications for it. And by the end of 2017, started to notice people, of course, making a lot of money as the market grew and also looking for ways to donate some of that Bitcoin or other crypto back to nonprofits. And we found that there were very few nonprofits accepting crypto at that time and there wasn’t a very easy way to accept crypto.

[00:03:09.570] – Alex Wilson
My co-founder, who was a good college friend of mine, Pat Duffy, he happened to be working at a nonprofit at the time and I dragged him into trading crypto, kind of kicking and screaming at first. He was a bit of a skeptic, but we started talking more and more about crypto and different applications. And in December of 2017, we saw something on Reddit called The Pineapple Fund. The quick story on that is this was an anonymous donor who posted on Reddit saying, “I’ve made a lot of money investing in Bitcoin and now I want to give a lot of that money away.” And essentially said, “Hey, nonprofits apply for some of this money, in this case Bitcoin, below in the comments.”

[00:03:48.210] – Alex Wilson
And they stayed totally anonymous and ended up donating about $56 million worth of Bitcoin to about 60 different nonprofits. And for many of those nonprofits, that was their first time accepting a Bitcoin donation or any type of crypto donation. And we saw that there essentially wasn’t a very good way of accepting crypto. There was a lot more we could be doing. So in 2018, Pat and I essentially decided to start The Giving Block and now we’re here.

[00:04:20.130] – Boris
And now you’re here. Clearly, there is opportunity. Clearly, there is need. I mean, talk about the market driving the need. We’re talking the donors want it. So it definitely behooves organizations to be able to accept it and to work with it, assuming that it’s a good idea for them specifically, which I want to dive into when it is and when it isn’t. But first, there’s a lot of terms out there. Hopefully most of our listeners already know what cryptocurrency is, what blockchain is, what Bitcoin is. But can you give us just a 30-second primer on the subject so that we’re all up to speed?

[00:04:56.430] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. 30-second primer and I guess first to start with a couple of terms to clarify. So there’s Bitcoin, which is the first cryptocurrency. Now, there is thousands of cryptocurrencies out there and the underlying technology that most of these are using are called blockchain. So Bitcoin is still the largest and most well known. Cryptocurrency, for the sake of explaining it, we’ll pretend we’re just talking about Bitcoin.

[00:05:21.690] – Alex Wilson
So with Bitcoin, one thing that’s made it so popular and so unique is it’s essentially a way of democratizing access to financial services. It’s not backed by or controlled by any one company, country, or anything like that. It’s essentially governed and managed by the community and the users, so anyone can use it at any time. It never closes, it never goes down. You can send money around the world 24/7 and it’s incredibly transformative for a lot of use cases.

[00:05:55.770] – Alex Wilson
And one of them is actually… one of the reasons it’s been in the headlines so much is because there’s only ever going to be 21 million Bitcoin. So there’s built in scarcity of it. And the reason that’s particularly relevant right now is because people are more worried than ever about things like inflation, where the cost of things are going up and the value of the US dollar is worth a lot less than it used to be. So people are looking at Bitcoin as sort of this digital gold or this alternative store of value. And that’s one of the reasons it’s really picked up in recent years.

[00:06:27.870] – Boris
Very cool. That’s a great explanation. There’s a lot of other applications that are happening on the blockchain that I’m excited about also that I’m hoping nonprofits are going to be able to start capitalizing on soon, but definitely cryptocurrency and Bitcoin as the biggest one is the most important thing that they need to be thinking about right now. So what are you seeing out there in the nonprofit sector since you guys started three years ago? What’s been going on in terms of cryptocurrency and donations for nonprofits?

[00:06:57.990] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. I mean, it’s probably not surprising to hear that it’s really picked up especially in the last year and a half, two years. The first year was pretty tough, convincing nonprofits to be accepting crypto and not that many others are doing it. But Interestingly, most of our early clients were actually nonprofits who were already accepting crypto because of those Pineapple Fund donations, but they weren’t happy with how they were accepting crypto. So we set out with a mission of creating a better way for them to accept crypto.

[00:07:26.070] – Alex Wilson
So for the first year or two, we didn’t have a ton of clients. Now it’s taken off dramatically and we have over 700 nonprofits working with us and we expect to be working with over a thousand nonprofits before the year is over. And I think nonprofits are starting to realize what a huge, untapped market this is. And it’s important that nonprofits really think about this as a totally new donor demographic and not just a donation method. And nonprofits, I think, are often surprised to hear how big this market is, too.

[00:07:57.870] – Alex Wilson
I mean, the cryptocurrency market as a whole, the market cap is more than $3 trillion now. People are usually surprised to hear that number. And there’s over 200 million users around the world using crypto and that number is about doubling every year. So it’s a huge market and there’s a lot of opportunity and donation volume and the number of nonprofits accepting crypto is increasing dramatically. But there’s still a lot of opportunity to be an early mover and a relatively first mover as a nonprofit since not everyone is accepting crypto yet.

[00:08:31.710] – Boris
Those are some great numbers and stats there. Do you know—or maybe you know at least through your platform about how much has been donated with cryptocurrency over the last, let’s say, year?

[00:08:43.290] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So this year alone we’ll process over 100 million in donations…

[00:08:47.570] – Boris
That’s amazing!

[00:08:49.290] – Alex Wilson
which is pretty amazing. And we’re expecting to do about a billion next year based on our projections of new clients coming online and partners.

[00:08:57.750] – Boris
Wow. Okay. Okay. That definitely should alert everyone out there that’s listening that this is not something that’s just a fad, which I know a lot of people think Bitcoin is pure speculation, which there is a lot of speculation involved in that, but it’s real and it’s being used and you’re either taking advantage of it or you’re missing out at this point.

[00:09:19.950] – Alex Wilson

[00:09:20.310] – Boris
So why would… let’s talk about this donor demographic that you’re talking about. I talk about avatars all the time and I think it’s the same thing. What is the donor avatar that is going to be donating? How are they different whether they’re donating in USD or in stock or in cryptocurrency? What sets them apart?

[00:09:42.690] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So the interesting thing about this demographic is and maybe it’s not surprising, but they tend to be younger. Right? A lot of millennials and Gen Z’s were the early adopters of crypto. And over time, as this goes a bit more mainstream and big companies getting involved that will normalize in terms of the ages of people involved. But right now, still pretty heavily millennial-Gen Z. They are, of course, very, very tech savvy. And often they have pretty much all of their investments in crypto. Right? They prefer investing in crypto and holding crypto than stocks or other traditional asset types.

[00:10:17.130] – Alex Wilson
So we’re finding with these donors that they tend to be relatively wealthy. I mean, the average crypto user has an income over $100,000 a year. And because of that, we’re also seeing high average donation sizes. So average donation size over $10,000. So more than ten times the industry average for a credit card donation. And beyond that, they continue to have a lot of interest in supporting crypto adoption. Right? Like crypto made them a lot of money and they have an interest in seeing crypto continue to succeed. So they get really excited when nonprofits start accepting crypto, they start talking about crypto. It’s in some ways also very validating for them.

[00:11:02.370] – Boris
Yeah. So by donating, they’re kind of evangelizing—at the same time—cryptocurrency?

[00:11:07.890] – Alex Wilson
Exactly. Yep. And we push that messaging, right? Like, the more you donate crypto, the good thing for the entire industry.

[00:11:13.710] – Boris
So I understand that for sure in terms of evangelism. But are there any other reasons why don’t they first convert? For example, if they believe in a nonprofit, why not convert their Bitcoin or their Ethereum, whatever it might be into US dollars and then donate?

[00:11:30.690] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So great point. And the simple answer is for tax reasons. And if you’re familiar with how it works for donating stocks to a 501(c)(3), with crypto it’s very, very similar. And the reason for that is because the IRS has classified crypto as property. So as a donor, when you donate your Bitcoin or other crypto to a nonprofit, the donor does not have to pay capital gains tax on the appreciated crypto, and they get a fair market value on the donation at the time of donation.

[00:12:00.270] – Alex Wilson
So as an example, let’s say someone has $100,000 in Bitcoin. If they donate that one Bitcoin directly to the charity, they get a write off for the full value of that Bitcoin, and the charity receives the full value of the Bitcoin. Versus, if they sell the Bitcoin first for us dollars, they’re then going to have to pay, let’s say, 20% to 30% tax on it and then donate the remaining 70% to 80% of what the full value would have been. So it’s really a win-win for both sides. And of course, the nonprofits aren’t having to pay tax on either because they’re tax exempt.

[00:12:37.530] – Boris
That is a great explanation, which really clarifies why accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is smart for organizations due—for lack of a better word and a smart way for savvy crypto investors to also be donating instead of converting it back and forth. But we know that although it’s volatile overall, Bitcoin specifically has shot up. I think most of the cryptocurrencies, except maybe for what was the one based on the Netflix series that just went to zero?

[00:13:15.310] – Alex Wilson
Squid Game.

[00:13:15.550] – Boris
Yeah. Squid Game had the Squid coin. That one went to zero. So that was clearly not a good idea. But everything else Bitcoin is now at what? Over $60,000?

[00:13:24.130] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. It’s actually more like $68,000 even today. And that’s a really good point that I just remembered something I wanted to bring up, too. A lot of these donors are going to their financial advisors and saying like, I need to donate some to offset my taxes, what should I donate? And the short answer they’re usually getting is whatever asset has appreciated the most for you, donate that first. And for most people, that tends to be crypto because in both the last five year and ten year period, it’s the best depreciating asset class in the world. So for most people, it’s the most tax efficient way for them to give.

[00:14:00.970] – Boris
Awesome. Alright. So, assuming that our listeners are still with us and fascinated by this subject and are already sold let’s say to some degree on the idea of accepting cryptocurrency, what does it take for them to do it? What does it take for them to get set up to accept crypto with or without your services?

[00:14:19.090] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So we can do a kind of in parallel of what it looks like with us versus kind of trying to do it on your own. The first thing is, you need a cryptocurrency wallet to be able to accept these donations. Getting that wallet set up could be compared to, from a process perspective, like opening let’s say a bank account. Because the cryptocurrency exchanges where crypto is traded are regulated in a very similar way to banks, so they have to collect information about your organization. They have to know who’s going to be using the account and what the purpose is, things like that.

[00:14:54.010] – Alex Wilson
So whether you work with us or someone else, that’s always going to be part of it. There’s a pretty stringent compliance process to this, which is part of the onboarding. If you’re working with us, we also have a donation widget and a fundraising platform where we’d help you get donations. We’ve really worked hard to develop the full ecosystem of what it takes to fundraise crypto beyond just accepting crypto.

[00:15:21.010] – Alex Wilson
If you want to take crypto on your own, it’s certainly possible. It’s a bit technical and confusing, but you certainly can do it. But you’re going to be pretty limited in finding nonprofit-specific solutions, even ways of collecting donor info. You won’t be able to automatically convert the donations necessarily, or automatically tax receipt them. So it’ll be essentially much more manual and time consuming if you do it on your own. But you certainly can do it on your own. And we’ve seen plenty of nonprofits start that way and then kind of graduate to working with us when they found it’s taken too long or been too confusing.

[00:15:52.450] – Alex Wilson
And for us, we’re really trying to help nonprofits fundraise crypto, not just accept it. So we’re doing campaigns. We’re having one on one meetings with our client success team to help you market this. We always joke that we’re trying to keep the nonprofits from writing Bitcoin as two words on Twitter, because if you do, you might scare them away. There’s a lot of nuance to the marketing and the fundraising even with how you talk about it and when you talk about it, all that kind of stuff.

[00:16:18.070] – Boris
So you mentioned that you help them learn about the donors. Is that right? Because I know there are some laws about know your customer, that people need to collect certain information. Right? Everybody knows—that’s heard of Bitcoin—everybody knows that hackers like to ransom in Bitcoin and that it’s a great vehicle for money laundering. And obviously nonprofits don’t want any sort of connection with that whatsoever. So how does it work in terms of when you get a donation? How much do you need to know about your donor in this case? And how do you track that and report that?

[00:16:52.510] – Alex Wilson
Yeah, definitely. So that’s a really common sort of misconception that comes up as they’re like, “Oh, wait. I thought only criminals use crypto, right?” Or something like that. And it’s actually kind of the opposite. I mean, Bitcoin and crypto is the most transparent form of money ever created. And there’s even some interesting stories where the FBI and DEA have publicly said they wished everyone used crypto because it would be so much easier to follow the money.

[00:17:17.410] – Alex Wilson
If you remember that big Twitter incident where a lot of celebrity accounts were taken over and hacked and people were trying to basically get money from people, they only caught the person who did that because they used Bitcoin and were able to follow the money. If they dropped a duffel bag full of cash off somewhere much, much harder to trace than Bitcoin since every transaction is permanent and public.

[00:17:39.370] – Alex Wilson
But anyway, on the donor side of this, most nonprofits are applying whatever their existing gift acceptance policy is. So you have the option of taking anonymous gifts if your gift acceptance policy allows for that, or you can require every donor leaves their name, email address, or other information you might want to collect. What we’re finding is, though, even for the nonprofits that allow anonymous donations, the smaller gifts will often be anonymous because they don’t want to fill anything out for $50 donation, but the larger ones, let’s say $10,000 and up tend to not be anonymous because people want credit for them and often recognition.

[00:18:19.270] – Alex Wilson
So you won’t see too many anonymous million dollar gifts even if you’re willing to accept them. In the background too we’re also running scans using blockchain analytics to monitor all the incoming transactions, make sure they aren’t coming from any illicit sources and things like that.

[00:18:35.830] – Boris
Are there like repositories of, or databases of wallets that are known to be associated with fraudulent activity that you guys scan for or how does that work?

[00:18:45.010] – Alex Wilson
Yeah, exactly. So there is lists from OFAC and FinCEN they call it like the blocked list that can be compared against to make sure you’re not taking any donations from those.

[00:18:55.810] – Boris
Cool. So when it comes to the donations, let’s say we’ve decided to accept crypto donations whether we’re working with Giving Block or we’re doing it on our own. How do we then need to report these donations in our annual filings? Is it money? Is it property? Is it some other asset class? What is it?

[00:19:14.890] – Alex Wilson
Yes, it is property. So you’ll record it very similar to stock donations if you’re already taking stock, so it’s going to be reported as a non-cash contribution, and you fill out the same forms as you normally would for that.

[00:19:27.070] – Boris
But then are you actually receiving… but you are actually receiving cash, aren’t you? If you’re converting it back out. Or is it only… when do you—I guess I’m trying to figure out, if you’re accepting Bitcoin and holding it, is that one kind of filing versus if you’re accepting Bitcoin and then instantly flipping it back to USD or whatever denomination your organization operates in, does that work differently?

[00:19:50.590] – Alex Wilson
There’s a little bit of nuance with that difference, but in general, in both cases, even if it’s automatically being converted, you’re still technically getting crypto for a split second before it converts. So you’re technically still getting the non-cash asset before it’s converted to cash. The place where the nuance comes in if you’re holding crypto, is I believe there’s different filing requirements if you hold an investment for more than three years. I’m not an accountant or an attorney myself, but just from talking to clients, I’ve heard of that nuance once it becomes three years.

[00:20:26.170] – Boris
All right. Cool. So it’s coming up on end of year really fast. I know GivingTuesday… I get their newsletters and they’re talking every single week, “hey, counting down, counting down, counting down.” Most organizations have been planning their year end fundraising campaigns for over a month now, at least. I’m just checking my calendar. We’re almost midway into November. There’s not a lot of time left before they’re doing their full blast. Is it too late to get involved this year? Should they already be thinking for next year instead?

[00:20:56.710] – Alex Wilson
They can certainly still get involved in this year, but definitely going to have to move pretty quickly. So our end-of-year plan, we run Crypto GivingTuesday, and that starts on GivingTuesday the same day on the 30th. And we run that in parallel. And then we do a month-long campaign in December, which we call Bag Season. We’ve got different initiatives throughout that month-long campaign. For example, this year, for the first time, we’re doing NFTuesday, which is basically GivingTuesday but for NFT-related philanthropy, which has been amazing, seen a huge boom in that. Many multimillion dollar donations coming out of that.

[00:21:31.870] – Alex Wilson
And another new thing we have this year, too, is our Crypto Giving Pledge, which is our spin on the traditional giving pledge that Gates and Buffett started but for high net worth individuals in the crypto community. We’ve got charity concerts. We’ve got all sorts of stuff going on throughout December. So even if you aren’t set up for the 30th of November, there’s plenty to catch for the whole month of December and we expect to raise more in December than the rest of the year combined. So even if you only catch a week or two in December, it’s still definitely worth your time because this isn’t going away and then you’ll be set up for all of next year, too.

[00:22:05.830] – Boris
How long does it take to get fully set up and started with you guys?

[00:22:09.130] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. Usually about a week on average.

[00:22:11.590] – Boris
Okay. So definitely still some time there. And then you mentioned GivingTuesday and your own spin on GivingTuesday. They’re an amazing organization. I love them. And they provide all kinds of marketing collateral, if you will. Copy for your newsletters or social media. Do you guys do all that kind of fun stuff too?

[00:22:28.030] – Alex Wilson
Yeah, we do. We send all of our clients what we call a marketing toolkit, which is going to be this long document of like when and how to talk about this and post on social media, put stuff in your newsletter. It’s going to say, all right, on the 30th you post this, on the 5 December, we recommend posting something along the lines of this, and a lot of it can be copy-and-pasted or slightly tweaked to incorporate your mission. Things like that.

[00:22:53.230] – Boris
Cool. You mentioned NFTs too. So obviously those are hot right now in terms of buzz if nothing else. A lot of art is going in the direction of NFT as well as other products and projects as well. So how does it work to… are you accepting NFTS on someone’s behalf, or what is it that you guys are doing with NFTuesday?

[00:23:16.450] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So with NFTuesday, what we’re generally encouraging creators or artists or NFT platforms to do is to donate a portion of their NFT sale proceeds to charities that they care about. Because one thing that a lot of people don’t realize is when you sell an NFT, you’re actually getting cryptocurrency. So now those creators get a lot of cryptocurrency and they want to be able to donate some of that crypto for the same tax benefits that we talked about earlier. Because when they’re selling their NFTs, they’re creating huge taxable gains when they sell the NFT and donating some of that crypto directly afterwards is a great way for them to reduce some of that tax burden. So we’re seeing huge, huge demand for that. And I mean, millions of dollars a month being donated from NFT creators.

[00:24:05.830] – Boris
So you guys are doing a lot of the work in terms of marketing this. You’re already out there talking to them and trying to create these campaigns, really on behalf of nonprofits and the nonprofit world as a whole, which is pretty cool. I’m sure you’re not just doing this out of the goodness of your heart. How does it work? Although obviously you are to some degree because you wouldn’t be working with nonprofits. How does it work in terms of your donation platform and fees? I know most CRMs and donation management systems take either a percentage or have set up fees and annual fees. How do you guys work?

[00:24:42.970] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. So we are very intentional in keeping this a familiar model. So, very standardized in the sense of it’s just like any other fundraising platform. We have a handful of different packages you can choose from. They start at $2,500 a year, and they go up from there basically, depending on how much hands on support you want from us and how much customization you want in building a crypto fundraising program.

[00:25:08.050] – Alex Wilson
So 2,500 will get you set up. You’ll still get support. You’ll still get help from our client success team fundraising crypto. But some, like American Cancer Society, some of the larger groups, they want to create a crypto research fund and really go all out on this and market it a ton. So some of it also depends on how much the nonprofit wants to do more passively or proactively when it comes to talking about and fundraising crypto. And then there’s also a transaction fee component to it as well, which is very similar to what you’d be paying on other fundraising platforms.

[00:25:40.870] – Boris
So like a Stripe or PayPal kind of fee.

[00:25:42.910] – Alex Wilson

[00:25:44.950] – Boris
Interesting. All right. Very cool. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think organizations should know if they’re considering starting up with crypto donations.

[00:25:54.130] – Alex Wilson
I mean, the main thing is the sooner you get started, the more you’re going to benefit. Don’t put this off for too long because I can guarantee you crypto is not going away. The rate of growth is unbelievable and this isn’t going to become maybe 20% of your budget every year right away. But over time, it’s going to be a bigger and bigger part of donations in general. And there certainly is a big advantage of being one of the early movers, because these donors are going to remember who these early adopters were. Right now is the time to start building the relationships with these donors for their entire life. And right now you’re only competing with about 700 other nonprofits instead of 1.5 million nonprofits that take credit card donations. So huge opportunity to kind of get some market share in a sense.

[00:26:41.830] – Boris
I love that you said it’s about building relationships early on and it is absolutely critical. And I’m glad that earlier you also said that most donors do choose to give their information even if it’s not required by nonprofit because they want that recognition. But you also want to develop a relationship with them once you have the information. You want to obviously engage with them over time, whether it’s just thanking them or showing what the impact of their work is, which hopefully you’re doing as well, their donations. I should say.

[00:27:10.090] – Boris
Building that relationship is critical and getting a reputation for an organization that accepts cryptocurrency that is going to then engage with the donors around that maybe is forward thinking in general, because like you said, very small percentage of the entire nonprofit landscape is accepting cryptocurrency. Obviously the ones that are appear to be more tech savvy, more forward thinking. And so they’ll attract that kind of avatar as well. I think that’s absolutely critical. I love that you said that. So if nonprofits want to get started, are there any tools to look into?

[00:27:47.770] – Alex Wilson
Yeah. The easiest way is just to start learning a bit about cryptocurrency. You can even sign up for our newsletter on our website. We do a weekly newsletter that talks about all things you should know kind of at the intersection of nonprofits and crypto. Relevant news, blogs, events, all sorts of stuff. Otherwise, if you look up like CoinDesk, for example, is a more general crypto media outlet, you could read about crypto. They’ve got a daily newsletter, too.

[00:28:16.450] – Alex Wilson
I would just start thinking about crypto. Start thinking about how you can involve it for your organization. And ultimately, you know, longer term, this just becomes another tool for you to fundraise. Right? And this is something you want to weave in to your existing fundraising strategies and plans. This is by no means meant to be like a takeover and change everything. Right? This is in parallel to what you’re already doing. It’s just another tool of part of your greater plan.

[00:28:41.590] – Boris
And who knows, maybe one day it’ll take over everything and then you definitely want to be on board when that happens.

[00:28:46.750] – Alex Wilson
Yeah, exactly.

[00:28:48.430] – Boris
So if people are interested in The Giving Block specifically, what should they do? What’s your call to action for our heroes at home?

[00:28:56.530] – Alex Wilson
Yeah, you can go to our website at Sign up for our newsletter. Follow us across the different social media accounts. And if you really want to learn more and get started pretty quickly, you can also book a demo on our website. And someone from our team will reach out, spend 30 minutes with you, run you through all the details of how it works and how you can get started. And if you move pretty quickly, you can probably still make Crypto GivingTuesday or at least a couple of weeks of December campaign.

[00:29:24.670] – Boris
Awesome. So as always, we’re going to include all of these links and all of these resources that Alex just mentioned in our show notes. We are going to link back to The Giving Block, of course, as well directly to the “book a demo.” And we are happy to answer any questions here at our strategy. But Alex is the man when it comes to cryptocurrency donations and accepting those for your organization.

[00:29:52.930] – Boris
Actually, I meant to ask because you and I talked about it earlier before we jump off. I am, of course, big on websites and interactive websites in general and things working as smoothly and frictionless as possible. Is there a way to incorporate The Giving Block essentially on a website?

[00:30:11.770] – Alex Wilson
Yes, there is. And when you sign up with us, there’s kind of two different points of entry. You’ll have a profile and a donation widget on our website, but then we also give you a donation widget, which can be really easily embedded onto your own fundraising pages.

[00:30:26.590] – Boris
Cool. All right, everybody. Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about cryptocurrency and about accepting it what the ramifications and advantages are for nonprofits. Alex, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. And everybody at home thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please give us a like and a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast platform so that we can reach more nonprofit professionals like you, help them create more heroes for their cause. See you next week.

[00:30:55.690] – Alex Wilson

[00:30:56.770] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. We hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform. And let us know what you think by leaving a review.

Concepts and Takeaways:

  • The story of how and why Alex and his co-founder, Pat Duffy created The Giving Block, starting with the Pineapple Fund’s $56M in donations. (2:13)
  • A primer on what is Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. (4:56)
  • This year alone, The Giving Block will process over $100M in donations, expecting to do $1 billion next year. (8:43)
  • The crypto-donor avatar – what makes them different and why they want to donate in cryptocurrency specifically. (9:20)
    • They’re younger, wealthier early adopters of the technology, who have made a lot of money with it
    • Their average donation size is over $10,000 (more than 10x the average credit card donation)
    • They have a vested interest in donating in crypto because they want to see greater crypto adoption
  • Why cryptocurrency investors prefer to donate directly in crypto, rather than converting to U.S. dollars or other fiat currencies: The tax implications are enormous for them. (11:13)
  • What it takes to get started with accepting cryptocurrency donations. (14:19)
  • Bitcoin anonymity versus knowing your donors: With the transparency of crypto, you can apply whatever your nonprofit’s standard donation policies are. (16:18)
  • Tax implications of accepting crypto donations for nonprofits. These currencies are considered assets, so the nonprofit receives and processes them as non-cash contributions, similar to stocks. (18:55)
  • When you receive the donation, you can either hold the cryptocurrency like an asset, or instantly convert it to your local currency. (19:50)
  • The Giving Block is organizing several marketing pushes for year-end giving. They even create marketing toolkits for nonprofits taking part. (20:56)
    • Crypto GivingTuesday
    • NFTuesday – encouraging artists and others making money from NFTs to donate a percentage of their windfalls
    • Crypto Giving Pledge – replicating what the Giving Pledge is doing, but for cryptocurrency philanthropists
  • It’s not too late to get involved with accepting crypto for this end-of-year season. It takes around a week to get set up and running. (21:43)
  • How The Giving Block works with organizations and fees to get started with their platform. (24:05)
  • Cryptocurrency adoption and donations are growing rapidly. The sooner you can get started working with and accepting the donations, the sooner you can start building relationships with donors who prefer cryptocurrency donations. (25:54)
  • With The Giving Block’s tools, you can either use their website or embed your crypto donation widget on your site/donation page for a more seamless experience. (29:52)

Action Steps: What Now?

  • Resource Spotlight

    In this episode, the following resources were mentioned:

  • Start implementing!

About this week’s guest

Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson

Co-Founder, The Giving Block

Founded in 2018, The Giving Block is the leading crypto philanthropy platform, making cryptocurrency fundraising easy for nonprofits while empowering donors to give Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their favorite causes. The company currently enables more than 700 mission-driven organizations, charities, universities, and faith-based organizations of all sizes to accept cryptocurrency donations and supports them to maximize their fundraising outcomes. Learn more and discover why cryptocurrency is the fastest growing donation method for Millennial and Gen-Z donors, at

Connect with Alex Wilson