The total number of nonprofits on the Giving Block has risen over the past year and a half to 1,500 in May from 900 in November and 100 at the beginning of 2021, according to the Washington, D.C.-based company.
Here in Michigan, 26 Southeast Michigan nonprofits were on the platform as of May, double the number that had subscribed to the platform in time for Giving Tuesday, an annual day of giving in late November and the biggest crypto fundraising day of the year for the Giving Block.
Donors gave more than $2.4 million in crypto donations last Giving Tuesday, almost six times the amount they gave in 2020, the platform said on its website. The average donation was $12,600.
Beyond capturing a new type of donations, crypto enables nonprofits to engage with younger donors.
The average crypto investor is 38 years old, while the average philanthropist in the U.S. is 64 years old, Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, said in an emailed statement.
“We’ve created an easy way for young crypto investors to donate to their favorite charities,” said Wilson,”and as a result, we saw crypto donation volumes increase every single quarter of 2021,” from $1.69 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $43.1 million in the fourth quarter.
There’s also evidence that larger percentages of crypto investors make donations, vs. other types of investors and that crypto investment is enabling people to start giving at a younger age.
Forty-five percent of cryptocurrency investors donated $1,000 or more to charity in 2020, compared to 33 percent of the full investor population, according to Fidelity Charitable. And more than one-in-three young investors, or 35 percent, own cryptocurrency, compared to 13 percent of all investors.
Jennifer Lohrer-Elstone, CFO and director of quality assurance and process improvement at Financial One Accounting, said she brought the idea of accepting crypto via the Giving Block to Pontiac-based social services organization Lighthouse after another client, the Autism Alliance of Michigan, asked for guidance on accepting crypto donations.
“At the time, that organization had a board member who asked their development director if he could donate crypto as it had appreciated significantly since he had made his initial purchase,” she said.
After researching, she recommended the Giving Block to the Autism Alliance and Lighthouse, both of which are on the platform today.
“With both organizations our policy is not to hold any crypto in our investment portfolio but rather to accept only through (the) Giving Block,” she said. That ensures appropriate internal controls.
Lohrer-Elstone was advising nonprofit clients against holding crypto as part of their investment portfolio even before the mid-May crypto market crash, due to the volatility.
“The nonprofit boards and executives I work with do not have the risk appetite for holding crypto,” she said. “Of course, they are looking to be responsible stewards of the assets they are charged with managing.”