Last week a friend shared an email he received about a movie in production called theBITmovie. Here’s an excerpt of the email:
I’m with the documentary film, theBITmovie (in production), which is currently touring through every major U.S. and Canadian metro area exploring the philanthropic elements of social change and fundraising with Bitcoin. Our producers, Scott Glass and Lee Poichuk, are making Bitcoin-funded donations to charities in the local areas they are visiting.
This sounds interesting at first glance but after a few minutes I asked myself “why does a “currency” like Bitcoin need a propaganda movie?
Don’t get me wrong-I know bitcoin is being used for transactions and yet I know of no one with a bitcoin and further into the email there is reference to someone having used bitcoin to buy $500 in CVS gift cards. Bitcoin sounds like cash, check or credit card right? It’s being used to buy cards to give to a nonprofit. The use of bitcoin here in this example isn’t anything to go to a movie to see.
You could say (and you’d be right) that I am not a proponent of bitcoin so when it’s being positioned via a movie as something nonprofits need to pay attention to allow me to offer your nonprofit three reasons why I think you needn’t worry about bitcoin.
REASON 1 – Bitcoin use pales in comparison to cash, check or credit card when it comes to giving to nonprofits
Bitcoin usage and ownership is paltry at best. Why adapt to something that almost no one uses? Perhaps that will change over time but as a currency, bitcoin is completely unproven versus cash, check or credit cards for giving.
I don’t see this changing in the foreseeable future at all.
REASON 2 – Bitcoin values fluctuate based on ??
I’ve followed the violent swings in bitcoin prices (here’s an opinion piece from Oct-2014 about why the drop in bitcoin values are supposedly a good thing?) and I have yet to figure out what drives the price other than pure speculation and seemingly unchecked intentional manipulation.
Sure, you may get a large donor giving you a stash of bitcoins but don’t hang on to them. They may be drastically less the day after you get them. Or they may be worth more. The point here is who knows what they’re worth from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. With this being the case, I suggest asking the donor to give you the US dollar equivalent of their bitcoins at the moment of their gift and then give the donor a big hug.
REASON 3 – Your nonprofit has bigger fish to fry
Someday, someday, bitcoin may be huge. I doubt it. Nonetheless, your nonprofit has much bigger fish to fry. The biggest of which is getting better at taking online gifts. Too many nonprofits are missing billions of dollars (according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy) by doing two things that can easily be corrected; 1) online giving has too many steps and too much friction. This hampers both the amount of the gift and the completion percentage of gifts started, and 2) far too many nonprofits use a PC giving experience for mobile online givers. This causes the same thing but likely at a higher rate than what happens in #1.
My advice is to follow what’s going on with bitcoin, ask bitcoin donors to convert them to cash and take the cash but above all, get a frictionless online giving experience for all 3 screens (like what we provide RAZ Mobile customers) TODAY.
Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.