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Cryptocurrency Donations: A New Way To Raise Money For Rescues + Shelters

Cryptocurrency is growing in use! Animal organizations can really benefit from learning more about this unique donation method to help grow their donations.

Accepting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others as donations can make a big impact on your overall fundraising efforts.

Some Crypto’s have been created just to help rescues, like Pawthereum that donated 26 Ethereum to the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home in Scotland. How much is 26 Ethereum you ask? Well, at the time of donation it was about $118,000 USD.

I just recently dipped my toe into the cryptocurrency world and bought a coin called Shiba Inu (SHIB)* – and yes, of course I would buy a dog coin! If you are up on financial news you may be seeing more and more talk about cryptocurrency and there is a reason for that.

It is taking off.

So what the heck does this have to do with animal rescue?

Well, a lot! More and more stores are accepting cryptocurrency and now it is time to get animal rescues and shelters to accept them as a form of donations.

I am going to try and break down (in plain English) how you can get started with accepting cryptocurrency for donations and help you see why you should.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that can be used to buy goods and services. It is what is called a “decentralized” currency which means the government and banks do not control it.

That is why it is growing in appeal.

Real cash is used to purchase cryptocurrency. Blockchain is an extremely secure method of technology that is used to handle the buying and selling of crypto.

While there are hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, some of the most popular are:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Binance Coin
  • Dogecoin
  • Tether

Reasons Why A Cryptocurrency Donation Is A Great Idea

I get it – it is new, it is scary and you are thinking how the heck do you think we will be able to set this up, we are not techies. But it is not as hard as you might think to get started accepting crypto donations – and below are several reasons you should.

Who Donates Crypto?
Millennials and Gen Z donors! An estimated 43% of millennials prefer crypto investing to stocks which means they have more crypto assets to donate.

Tax Deductible

Just like standard cash donations, crypto donations are tax deductible if your donor uses itemized deductions (Schedule A). The donation can also be accepted without the worries of capital gains tax.

On March 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that cryptocurrency is treated as property for tax purposes (IRS Notice 2014-21).

Fast + Transparent

Cryptocurrency transactions are fast with the coins being available usually being available same or next day. The ledger (blockchain) acts as a monitor of the transaction so everything is transparent which is important for charities.

Growth + Wealth

Cryptocurrency is growing – and fast! Many have become rich investing in crypto and they are looking for ways to give back to the community. With a younger demographic using crypto, this is a great way to get loyal long term donors.

Reach

Every opportunity you offer to accept donations the better. With a younger generation using crypto, it is a great way to maximize donations while engaging a new donor base for the future.

The Growth Of Crytpo Donations!
A report by Fidelity Charitable reflected the growth of crypto as donations. In 2016 just $7 million in cryptocurrency contributions were made to their fund, by 2020 that total was $28 million.

Reasons Why It Is Not A Good Idea

Just like anything else in life, there are the cons of accepting crypto as well.

Environmental

There is a process that cryptocurrency goes through that is called “mining”. I won’t go into the boring details on what this is, but it does have a negative impact on our environment. It is this reason that organizations like Greenpeace stopped accepting it for donations. There are efforts being made to address this issue though, so hopefully this will be an issue that can be resolved in the near future.

Volatility

Cryptocurrency is a very volatile option. For example, if you receive a $1,000 Bitcoin donation today, in a week it might only be worth $750. But on the flip side it might be worth $2,000 in that same time period.

PAWS Chicago Crypto Campaign

Curious about how it looks in action? Well, I got you covered.

PAWS Chicago is one of the largest no-kill animal shelters out there and started accepting cryptocurrency through their website in August 2021. They like to call their cryptocurrency “dogenations” – so when you see that talked about you know it is a part of their fundraising campaigns.

The shelter started accepting crypto with the promise they would use the funds to provide medical services to the cats and dogs throughout Chicago as well as 13 other states that have extremely high euthanasia rates.

The real fun begins with the campaign they created with a creative agency called Leo Burnett. PAWS Chicago wanted a campaign that would announce their acceptance of crypto currency in a viral way.

So, they bring you #LaserRayUntil100k memes.

Why is this a great play for them?

Well, earlier this year when crypto was skyrocketing there was a meme that was catching on by people everywhere. Laser eyes as they were called, were added to profile images across the web to show support for Bitcoin and help it hit a price of $100,000.

So, while people were doing this – PAWS Chicago thought it would be a great idea to include pets in the mix. So, we bring you laser-eyed pets!

image credit: PAS Chicago / Leo Burnett

These adorable ads would be showcased on digital billboards across Chicago. A QR code would be added to the ad that will take your directly to their crypto donation page.

RockitCoin

RockitCoin is a platform where you can trade cryptocurrency. They have an App and even ATM machines throughout the United States that you can visit to get some Bitcoin.

Oh, and I am bringing them into this story because they just donated $10,000 BTC to PAWS Chicago.

Getting Started Accepting Crypto Donations

The easiest way to get started is to work with a platform that offers the option that you can easily add to your website.

Below are a couple of options to consider which are easy to get up and running without really “understanding” crypto.

The Giving Block

the giving block widget

The Giving Block is the option we found most often being used on a variety of nonprofit websites.

They offer a nonprofit everything they need to be successful with their crypto fundraising launch. Setup, support, education and a customized widget that you will add to your website to get started fast!

Wright Way Rescue is currently sing The Giving Block on their crypto fundraising page so you can see it in action.

The widget is simple – the donor chooses the type of crypto they want to donate, the amount and completes their personal information – or they can choose to donate anonymously. The donation will be added to your crypto wallet when it is processed.

Engiven

PAWS Chicago is using Engiven to handle their crypto donations. Also added as a widget to your website it offers some options for customizations and even has a FAQ area to the right of the donation form.

I highly recommend you reach out to either of these companies if you are interested in adding crypto to your donation options.

Have a WordPress website?

I found a plugin that will help you insert a QR code into your crypto donation page. This QR code will allow people to scan the code – get your wallet address and easily send you a donation.

This will require you to acquire what is called a “wallet” which will give you the wallet string you see in the image below.

Check out the Cryptocurrency Donation Box plugin to learn more.

Below is how this plugin looks on the website of the Sterling Animal Shelter.

cryptocurrency donation qr code from wordpress plugin

Recommendations

First, I HIGHLY recommend having someone on board who can navigate the crypto world. I am not a youngster anymore and while I managed to buy some SHIB and finagle my way through, it is not the easiest route to tackle.

Using the platforms I mentioned above definitely makes it a LOT easier – but you should still have someone who can help you understand some of the basics of crypto.

Having an accountant that understands cryptocurrency is also important when it comes to reporting. So be sure you are all set up there as well.

If you do decide to go this route – I am confident it will be worth it! Definitely worth considering for any nonprofit looking for a new source of donations.

*Not financial advice.

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