Why your non-profit should accept bitcoin donations
Why would a branding & marketing agency write a post about bitcoin? Quite simply, we love it and what it represents. And we see huge potential for our clients – both non-profits and small businesses – to benefit from adopting cryptocurrency.
And yes, there are marketing AND branding opportunities here.
For instance, letting your customers know that you’re moving into the bitcoin space gives you something to announce and promote; what a great chance to market yourself. From a branding perspective, you’re showing your customers that you’re forward-thinking by aligning with an exciting new technology.
The digital currency remains a mystery for many, but it can add a new dimension to your non-profit’s donation campaign efforts. Imagine, for instance, the amount of money your organization would save every year if it didn’t have to pay transaction fees or processing charges for donations… that’s the power of bitcoin.
So what is bitcoin?
Bitcoin and its counterparts have been around since 2009, but hit an astronomical upswing in 2016 that has continued into 2018. (To see the value of a single bitcoin today, check out this site.)
Bitcoin is digital money. It is a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network powered by users—not banks. It is not regulated by traditional markets or governments. In fact, the mystery behind Bitcoin began with its inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, an alias for an unidentified person said to hold millions of the digital currency.
(I highly recommend picking up a copy of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper, if you have even a tiny interest in learning about bitcoin. It’s highly digestible reading and a truly fascinating story.)
Without needing to describe or even 100% understand the technical structure of blockchain technology or the potential of electronic cash, your non-profit can tap into this powerful network today.
If you’re more of an infographic fan, check out these basics:
Why does your non-profit need bitcoin?
As it becomes more mainstream, bitcoin is a powerful new donation tool for you to offer to your donors.
Especially if your donors tend to skew younger or are tech-savvy, bitcoin is a currency they know and use already. If your organization is tied to freedom-related or Libertarian ideals, for instance, then bitcoin should appeal to that audience already.
Accepting bitcoin improves international donations because it eliminates bank and credit card processing fees, PayPal or Western Union issues, and high exchange rates. Imagine how this might impact an organization that needs funds to benefit people in remote and impoverished areas of the world.
And then imagine all the money you would save if you didn’t have to pay Chase or PayPal every time someone donated to your organization.
How can your non-profit get started with bitcoin?
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1. Be sure you’re ready.
Speak with your financial advisor and ensure that you know what you need to know to get started with accepting bitcoin donations. You want to make sure you protect and educate yourself against possible scams as well.
2. Set up an account.
Set up your bitcoin account, called a wallet, to accept bitcoin donations. We recommend Coinbase or BitPay. Their payment processors have lower fees for bitcoin donations—lower than any credit card processor. They also make it easy to cash out (i.e., exchange your bitcoins for cash). In fact, in 2014, Coinbase eliminated fees for non-profit organizations all together.
3. Create a donation landing page
You’ll want to integrate bitcoin donations into your website. We recommend creating a standalone landing page and/or integrating it into your e-commerce site, if you have one. For instance, Shopify sites offer bitcoin integration. (Even Quickbooks will allow you to get paid in bitcoin!) Tie your landing page directly back to your wallet.
4. Create a launch announcement
Let your donors know through an email blast, social media posts, and other means that you’re now accepting bitcoin donations.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for non-profit organizations in adopting bitcoin as a form of payment or donation is the learning curve in understanding how it works.
Check out this quick video to understand it better—and grow those donation dollars!