If you’re looking to increase your revenue, you need to increase your donations. There are countless ways to achieve that goal—and your surest guarantor of success is to have a plan. Maybe you need to increase foundations activity or launch a direct mail acquisition effort.
Or maybe you need to add cryptocurrency giving options to your website. The best reason to accept cryptocurrency giving options, is that you should offer donors as many ways to give you money as possible. Don’t make your donor’s generosity onerous.
If you add crypto giving to your website, you need to determine how best to do it—and the considerations are not unlike your standard online giving form.
BALANCING FRICTION AND DATA
When you set up an online giving platform, you can typically decide how many fields to include. The more fields you include (like phone, mailing address, comments, and so on), the more “friction” you introduce. And the more friction you introduce, the most likely you drop donors on the way to completing the gift. At the same time, the more fields you have, the more useful your data is.
You need to balance the value of that data over the cost of the friction. The question to ask is, will you use that data you’re acquiring? If so, then add the friction. If you have an active direct-mail program so that you can engage your online donors in the mail, too, then acquire their mailing address. If, on the other hand, your organization is not positioned to use the data you’re bringing in, then eliminate the friction. Focus on getting the gift in the door . . . and then focus on improving you fundraising operations overall. (Plus, you can always run a data append later to acquire mailing addresses for any email addresses that you have.)
FRICTION AND DATA IN THE CRYPTO EQUATION
Cryptocurrency enables extremely anonymous giving. Like a standard online giving form, you can choose whether to include fields or not, except that cryptocurrency allows donors to send gifts completely anonymously—no name, email address, or any identifying factors.
The equation you need to make is more extreme, but it functions the same. Will you use the data or not? The difference in the context of cryptocurrency is that there is a cost associated with acquiring information. With your online giving platform, there is no cost difference whether you acquire more info or less (once you’ve contracted with a vendor). Crypto gifts, however, can be accepted completely free to you: simply open a crypto “wallet,” and place a QR code on your website tied to your wallet so that donors can send money there.
But if you want to acquire data on the crypto donor, you’ll need to partner with someone like the Giving Block to create a custom crypto giving form for you. In this case, then, you introduce the cost of friction and an actual hard cost of a vendor.
Nevertheless, you need to ask yourself the same question: will I make this cost worthwhile? In this case, are you going to actually promote cryptocurrency giving, and are you going to follow up with your donors? Then it may be worth the investment. I have had clients receive completely anonymous six-figure cryptocurrency gifts. The donation is helpful and appreciated, but they have no way of following up, thanking the donor, or renewing the gift.
Of course, in the cryptocurrency world, completely anonymous gifts—even if you have a way of acquiring donor information—are always possible. You cannot force a donor to give you their information, but you can give them the option.
WEIGHING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
When you’re thinking through these decisions for your giving page and your cryptocurrency giving options, don’t approach it as a right-or-wrong decision. Whether and how much “friction” to introduce depends upon where your organization is at the time. It’s important to make an honest assessment of where your organization is—how consistent is your follow up, how robust is your direct response program—and make your decisions accordingly.
If you determine that what’s best right now is to reduce friction, because your use of the data is minimal, then go that route. But you should also use that realization to begin planning to improve those efforts. You don’t need everything to be perfect to introduce new giving vehicles for your donors—just plan on improving them over time once they are available.
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