As interest in cryptocurrencies continues to grow, the number of people using them to donate to charity is increasing as well.
United Way Worldwide has seen a 350% increase in crypto donations in the last 12 months compared to the year before.
And it’s not limited to United Way. A Giving Tuesday event focused on crypto giving for 1,000 nonprofits raised millions of dollars in a single day.
“We’re seeing that we’re we are actually tapping into a new demographic and a new generation, and it’s just great to be early and be able to provide them with the opportunity to make an impact,” said Edwin Goutier, the VP of Innovation at United Way Worldwide.
Goutier says 80% of visitors to the bitcoin section of United Way’s website are men who tend to be younger. That’s compared to the rest of their website, where visitors are 80% women who tend to be middle-aged.
Rick Cohen with the National Council of Nonprofits says cryptocurrencies only make up a small portion of donations to nonprofits — something that the United Way says applies to them as well.
“I don’t know that cryptocurrency will get to the place where it’s taken over from regular contributions of dollars, but it’s something that over time, as nonprofits hear that it’s something their donors want to be able to utilize, they’ll go ahead and implement it when it makes sense for them,” Cohen said.
Small nonprofits are still approaching crypto giving with caution.
“It can be a bit volatile in value, and so it’s also something where it’s new to a lot of folks. particularly when you’re talking about smaller nonprofits that don’t have a lot of infrastructure. that don’t have financial experts on staff or even someone with a lot of financial expertise able to advise them,” Cohen said. “It’s something they’re they’re nervous about.”
United Way protects itself from market volatility by automatically selling the cryptocurrency as soon as they receive it.
Nonprofits are also watching how Washington could regulate cryptocurrencies in the future.
“What I do think will happen in the future, as more and more cryptocurrency adoption takes hold, is we’ll see vendors that typically already served nonprofits added as just a native payment type,” Goutier said. “So right next to PayPal, right next to Apple Pay, you’ll start to see more cryptocurrency options, but I think that’s still a few years out.”
Nonprofits need help this holiday season, no matter how donations are given. Cohen says smaller local nonprofits especially have seen giving go down, and relief funds that kept them going during the pandemic have run out.