Do you want to know something that’s a total bummer? Charitable giving is not as charitable as it could be. Some organizations are overwhelmed with mismanagement, bad records, and lost funds. Others are outright greedy and don’t give what they promise they will.
Reader’s Digest gives the example of the Association for Firefighters and Paramedics:
“which paid a fundraising firm nearly 90 cents for every dollar it raised in 2012.” That means most of donors’ money went to employees of a for-profit company, not, you know, firefighters or paramedics.
There’s the Cancer Fund of America.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that they only used three percent of donations for helping patients with cancer. And if you ask the patients themselves, that aid was basically useless (gift boxes and unnecessary medications). Where did the rest of the money go? To the organization’s staff and CEO, who went on a trip to Disney World and whose family bought ten cars.
In 2016, Americans donated a total of $390.05 billion to charitable organizations.
It’s a shame to know that a great deal of that money didn’t go to what donors wanted it to. But there’s not only a new player on the scene, but an entirely new way of giving that may change the face of charitable donations forever.
Now that cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular, people are realizing that the blockchain that enables it to be so great can enable other things than banking to be just as awesome.
Steemit describes it this way: “Have you ever seen those US dollars with a stamp on it for a website like www.wheresgeorge.com, which let you see where that specific dollar in your hand has been previously? Now imagine that this dollar was tracked on that website EVERY time it changed hands, not just when someone thought to visit and input the serial number. Now imagine EVERY dollar was tracked EVERY time it was spent.” It would enable you to see how that dollar moved in sequence.
Basically, blockchain creates a ledger of every transaction ever made on it. So, if you were to donate to a charity using the blockchain, you would be able to see exactly how your money is spent (plus you’d get that feeling of satisfaction knowing something good was accomplished rather than you passing your money out into the void). Complete transparency.
Companies like Utopi are taking advantage of this new possibility by creating a blockchain-based platform that revolutionizes the way you donate.
Eric Westbrook, Utopi’s Chief Experience Officer, believes, “I do believe a blockchain-based system could revolutionize giving. Hands down. Blockchain provides the perfect sort of accountability to facilitate charitable giving that you know is having an impact. The open nature of a ledger shows us where funds go, but also importantly shows us where funds come from—giving donors the chance to see what their contributions have done and quantify their impact in the world.”
Not only is this a compelling opportunity for donors, but it also holds organizations accountable.
Cancer Fund of America would never see another cent if people were able to see how their money went to personal luxuries.
And it’s not just in regards to greed, but charities will be forced to manage their money with rapt attention.
Mr. Westbrook makes a good point, “In most cases, there’s a lack of transparency to how much donated funds go to overhead vs. helping a cause Especially when concerning rapid disaster relief—where funds can easily disappear or fall to wasteful spending with faulty oversight.” It’s understandable that natural disasters are chaotic times, but they are certainly not times when anyone wants money to be poorly distributed.
You don’t have to be a cryptocurrency expert to use Utopi, either; everyone on Utopi’s team is prepared to walk you through the process, so you’re not left floundering.
They even plan on launching creative community engagements to help inspire confidence in this world that is definitely new to many people. As Utopi’s team says, they are “creating a consumer-facing platform that offers unique content to an audience eager to consume it. We are not reinventing the wheel, but rather utilizing a rapidly growing technology (live streaming), celebrities and influences, and a demographic eager to produce and consume content. All the while this creation and consumption goes towards the greater good.”
Utopi is not alone, either. There are other platforms like Impact PPA, which offers blockchain tokens to help fund renewable energy research.
Alice uses the cryptocurrency method as well, but it holds certain amounts in trust to incentivize organizations to maintain a level of respectability and follow-through. There’s a lot of good in the world that needs to be done, so greed and bureaucracy should not stand in the way.
How do you think the blockchain will be used to improve charitable giving?