Actually, with the most awe-inspiring transformational journeys, you feel good before, during, when and after you arrive. Why? Because you’re following something that calls to you. The siren song of the calling stirs you, continually. You, your organization, your supporters… you’re all journeying forward on a quest that takes you each where you’re pulled to…Details
I confess I know virtually zip about artificial intelligence.
But I’ve been learning. Fast.
Because it’s hard these days to travel anywhere in the world, including the social benefit sector, without hearing enticing things about it.
- How it can do all sorts of things faster and better than humans.
- How it can create cost savings.
- How it enables greater personalization.
- How it leverages effective use of data for marketing and fundraising purposes.
- How it tracks engagement and predicts future behaviors.
- How it creates efficiencies for program purposes.
At first blush this sounds good. But… the devil is in the details, right?
Which is why people are equally thrilled or unnerved at the prospect.
I wondered if using it could create unintended consequences. New tools used as blunt instruments could cause unintentional harm. So, I thought I’d do a little research to know whether I should advise fundraisers to jump on the AI bandwagon.Details
In Part 1 of this two-part series, I discussed cryptocurrency philanthropy basics.
Let’s say you’re intrigued, and want to dip your toes in the water?
How to Accept Crypto?
There is more than one way. These are listed in order of easiest to greatest need for tech and finance savvy.
- Donor advised funds and giving wallets. These are now being set up to accept cryptocurrency. If nothing else, you can alert supporters that if they have a DAF they can funnel crypto to you that way. Also, every.org and givewell are crypto wallets that act similarly to a DAF by accepting gifts from donors, then granting your nonprofit cash without you ever having to take custody of the asset. You never have to worry about accounting and legal concerns of accepting crypto.
- Software as a Service (SaaS solution) donor management platform. Organizations such as The Giving Block, engiven, Crypto for Charity by Freewill and Charitable Solutions, LLC are already set up to accept cryptocurrency on behalf of your organization (the list keeps growing). These dedicate crypto NGOs will sell the asset and transfer the proceeds to you. You can put a widget/button on your website to facilitate this. Crypto goes directly into exchange and is immediately traded for dollars (there is a small fee; around 1%). This is safe, secure and simple as generally the asset will be immediately liquidated (within milliseconds), which is super important with highly volatile assets like crypto. This protects you from a donor asking what you did with their $100,000, and you having to tell them you only realized $50,000 because you delayed a day to sell it.
- External custody. Behind the scenes, all platforms use a cryptocurrency brokerage or exchange. Three reputable ones are Coinbase Commerce, Kraken and Gemini. They typically charge 35 – 50 basis points per transaction. No donation processing or receipting is available. Nonprofits with expertise in asset management, trading and technology may consider building their own donation widget using these services. Be aware it can take many months to establish an account. Plus, you also need an “Alternative Asset Management Policy” [fold in crypto to your Gift Acceptance Policy; run this by your professional advisors and finance committee] to shield leadership.
- Self-custody. This is not for everyone and requires a hardware USB device that can be plugged into the computer when someone wants to make a transaction. They’re cold storage, kept off the internet, and highly secure. The downside is it requires a very savvy staff person and high security around custody. Plus it’s tricky to liquidate when you hold it in your hardware wallet. Some donors giving these digital assets like to see nonprofits holding those gifts as crypto, as part of an effort to see crypto go mainstream. If you have the ability to be strategic with investments, for example by building a reserve, you might consider holding onto crypto in its native form. UNICEF, for example, can receive, hold, and disburse cryptocurrency with its UNICEF CryptoFund. Again, you’ll want an “Alternative Asset Management Policy” to guide when you’ll sell.
How to Promote?Details
More than ever before nonprofit leaders must lead from vision, not mission.
Why? The world is moving really, really fast. Blame it on the digital revolution if you wish. But why waste time laying blame? It is what it is. Instead, get into the 21st century. Now.
The present (what you’re doing) is nothing more than a springboard to the future.
Never lose sight of the change you’re endeavoring to bring about. That’s what folks want to invest in. Positive, transformative change.
Nonprofits have tended to forget their visions in order to justify continued existence.
Sometimes founders and other leaders become too wedded to the status quo. They can’t let their babies grow up. This is wrong. Nonprofits are founded to meet needs and resolve problems. Needs change. Problems get resolved (or they should). Nonprofits should strive to go out of business, orDetails
As you plan for the year ahead, it’s smart to think about risk vs. reward.
Sometimes you feel like a risk; sometimes you don’t.
If everything is going along swimmingly, and you want to take things to the next level, then taking a calculated risk may be just the thing.
If you’re not yet maximizing return using tried-and-true best practices, then going the risky route may make less sense.
If you’re wondering when to take risks with your nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising, here’s my answer: When you’re ready.
Begin by determining which current strategies are your most rewarding. Do you have good basics in place?Details
A sailboat without a sail might float.
For a long time, in fact.
But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.
Floating is insufficient.
– Seth Godin
For you to ask and answer
- Is your nonprofit floating, or sailing?
- Are your development efforts floating, or sailing?
- Are your marketing communications efforts floating, or sailing?
These are serious questions that deserve your serious consideration.
So… take a moment right now to answer these three questions for yourself.
Put an “F” or an “S” next to each one of these.Details
Lemonade Standitis is a bit like Zika virus.
Silent, but deadly.
It infects you, but you may not realize it.
The symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed, only showing up later down the line in a different form.
By then, it’s too late.
If you’ve got it, you’re no doubt leaving money on the table, working harder than you need to, and putting the long-term sustainability of your nonprofit business at risk.
Want to avoid this dreaded sustainability killer?Details